martes, 31 de mayo de 2016

Christian Tetzlaff / Lars Vogt SCHUMANN Violin Sonatas

Robert Schumann's late music has undergone a revival, with its main traits of monothematicism, dense, close motivic work, and a certain spiky unpredictability having been redefined from faults into virtues. A good way, perhaps, to think about works like these three violin sonatas is that the young Brahms, visiting the Schumann household and mooning over the unavailable Clara, might easily have heard them and been directly influenced by them. Indeed, these pieces have the kind of long-range connections you find in Brahms, combined with a somewhat gnarly level of local detail, without the memorable tunes of Schumann's earlier works. Consider the motivically pregnant opening chords of the Violin Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 121, which Brahms could easily have written. The movement is not immediately appealing, but it yields its logic on repeated hearings. Recordings of them are not overly abundant, and violinist Christian Tetzlaff and his usual Romantic-music duet partner, pianist Lars Vogt, explicitly state their intention of reviving the music here. They succeed in general, for Tetzlaff is an excellent fit with this repertory. He has a rich, deliberate tone, never emotionally overwrought, that seems to delve calmly into this music's complexities, and Vogt is unfazed by the somewhat unidiomatic piano writing in the Violin Sonata No. 3, left unpublished perhaps precisely because it did not showcase Clara at her best. With fine sound Ondine's engineers, working in a Bremen studio, this release is recommended to anyone interested in the new directions in Schumann's music in the years before he succumbed to mental illness, in Brahms, or in the chamber music of the Romantics in general. (James Manheim) 

sábado, 28 de mayo de 2016

Andris Nelsons / Boston Symphony Orchestra DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9 - Suite from "Hamlet"

. . . played with insight and panache . . . [the performance Andris Nelsons] coaxes from his musicians is at the highest level and the deep soundstage of the recording makes it an excellent album for headphones . . . [Shostakovich 5]: Nelsons conducts with a storyteller's eye for detail. A passage near the end of the first movement . . . is dramatically poignant. In Nelsons' transparency, the soft pluck of a harp and the ping of a glockenspiel come into focus. Even menacing moments are judged for clarity . . . [Shostakovich 8]: Nelsons has a way with the BSO woodwinds as well . . . piccolos glare, double reeds converse in intimate asides and English horn player Robert Sheena gets plenty of space to breathe in his plaintive first movement solo . . . [Shostakovich 9]: [Nelsons lets] the BSO strings dance and sing while the brass wink and snarl . . . (Tom Huizenga / 19. May 2016)
[Shostakovich 9]: A stern-sounding fanfare -- the BSO horns have played brilliantly of late under the direction of the former trumpeter Nelsons -- makes the fourth movement, Largo, sound dramatic, but not tragic. The finale is a piece of concluding genius, played with professional exuberance . . . [Shostakovich 5]: The music is gripping, innately classical in concept, and full of originality. From the opening . . . listeners are engaged. (Keith Powers / 26. May 2016)

viernes, 27 de mayo de 2016


Discantus is women vocal ensemble that brings alive the vocal repertoire, primarily sacred, of the Middle Ages from the first Western musical notation of the 9 th century up to the 15 th century.
Founded in 1989 under the direction of Brigitte Lesne, it brings together passionate singers from diverse backgrounds capable of adopting a vocal style appropriate to the medieval repertoire, uniting unique individual timbres to form a coherent e nsemble sound. Since the 2000’s, Discantus’ handbells became like the "signature" of the ensemble.
Invited to the most prestigious festivals, Discantus performs regularly in France, in Western, Central and Eastern Europe (Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hung ary, Poland) and as far as Fes in Morocco, Beyrouth in Lebanon, New York, Perth, and also in Colombia. The 13th recording, "the Argument of Beauty" (sacred polyphonies by Gilles Binchois, at æon recordings) was rewarded as 2010 best recordings of the year by Le Monde newspaper. In 2014, « Music for a King » - also by æon – alternates 11th century repertoire with two pieces commissioned to young composers using texts of Boethius. Discantus keeps enlarging it's repertoire with two new programs incorporating typical medieval stringed instruments ( harp, hurdy - gurdy , psaltery, fiddle) played by the singers themselves: "A path to the field of stars, pligrim's songs" and "Santa Maria, At the court of Alfonso el Sabio".

martes, 24 de mayo de 2016

Christian Tetzlaff / Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / John Storgårds DVORÁK Violin Concerto - Romance SUK Fantasy

This performance of the fiery Fantasy in G minor for violin and orchestra, Op. 24, of Josef Suk, with violinist Christan Tetzlaff catching the full impact of the irregular form with its dramatic opening giving out into a set of variations, is impressive. And Tetzlaff delivers pure warm melody in the popular Romance in F minor, Op. 11, of Dvorák. But the real reason to acquire this beautifully recorded Ondine release is the performance of the Dvorák Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53, a work of which there are plenty of recordings, but that has always played second fiddle (if you will) to the Brahms concerto. Tetzlaff and the Helsinki Philharmonic under John Storgårds create a distinctive and absorbing version that can stand with the great Czech recordings of the work. Sample anywhere, but especially the slow movement, where Tetzlaff's precise yet rich sound, reminiscent for those of a certain age of Henryk Szeryng, forms a striking contrast with Storgårds' glassy Nordic strings. In both outer movements as well, Tetzlaff delivers a warm yet controlled performance that is made to stand out sharply. Ondine's Super Audio sound, captured at the Helsinki Music Centre, is another major attraction for a recording that's destined to become part of the core Dvorák repertory. (

Rolf Lislevand LA MASCARADE

 In this inspiring album – his first solo disc for ECM – Norwegian early music performer Rolf Lislevand turns his attention to the music of two composers from the court of Louis XIV: Robert de Visée (c. 1655-1732) and the Italian-born Francesco Corbetta (c. 1615-1681), and plays their masterpieces with historical awareness and an inventiveness which belongs to the tradition. De Visée wrote about playing what the instruments themselves called for, advice Lislevand takes to heart here, adding improvised introductions to passacaglias from both composers.
On La Mascarade, Lislevand uses two contrasting instruments. He plays the theorbo, the dark-toned and earthy king of the lutes, and the Baroque guitar, with its sparkling, crystal-clear sonorities. The 17th guitar, smaller than its modern counterpart, had five pairs of strings, tuned in unisons and octaves. “Musicians of four centuries ago had already developed the instrument’s playing style to explore all the possibilities of surprising strummed rhythms and harmonies, often very modern-sounding to our ears. Moreover the instrument’s many different tunings prefigure the experimental tunings used by improvising musicians today… It seems that guitar players of the seventeenth century did exactly what guitar players have done ever since: compose music with the guitar on their knees by listening to the exciting new sounds that unexpectedly occurred when they put their fingers on new and unusual places on the fingerboard.”
Where the Baroque guitar had no bass register, the theorbo was effectively a bass lute: “Together these instruments create a chiaroscuro in music, an image in sound of the Baroque theory of that magic tension that exists between light and darkness.”
Francesco Corbetta’s virtuosity was first celebrated outside his native Italy. In his fascinating liner notes, Lislevand reports that Corbetta charmed Charles II in London, “and left a whole court strumming on small Baroque guitars.” Robert de Visée was Corbetta’s student In Versailles, and went on to become one of the Sun King’s composers, as well as his guitarist and theorbo player. “De Visée played his own music at court,” writes Lislevand, “occasionally in the king’s bedroom, while the monarch was taking supper. On request he would play his guitar walking two steps behind the king during the daily royal promenade of the gardens of Versailles – the first Walkman in musical history.”

sábado, 21 de mayo de 2016

Ophélie Gaillard ALVORADA

Alvorada or the invitation to the voyage of cellist Ophélie Gaillard and her magical cello, a musical tour from Spain to Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Cuba) featuring, in particular, the composers Villa-Lobos, Granados, Piazzolla and Jobim. In an exceptional mixture of classical pieces and arrangements of the greatest themes of this intense music, the cello sings with the bandoneon, dances with the piano, guitar or percussion, and abandons itself in amorous intimacy with the voices. Alvorada immerses us in a sound universe where the feverish energy of the rhythms of this Hispanic and South-American music entrances us and from which a sensual nostalgia responds to a dizzying tango. All the senses are aroused when hearing these spellbinding songs and rhythms. The colour of the sun, from dawn to dusk, is found in the clever alternation of these enchanting, universal pieces. All the exceptional musicians (Sabine Devieilhe, Toquinho, Sandra Rumolino, Juanjo Mosalini, Rudi Flores, Emmanuel Rossfelder, Gabriel Sivak…) participating in the Alvorada voyage hypnotize and fascinate us, allowing us to accompany them at every instant in the progression of this dream proposed by Ophélie Gaillard.

Shai Wosner / Danish National Symphony Orchestra / Nicholas Collon HAYDN - LIGETI Concertos & Capriccios

Pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity and creative insight. His repertoire ranges from Beethoven and Mozart to Ligeti, and music by his contemporaries, and his imaginative programming communicates his intellectual curiosity. Wosner has performed as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, and has established close artistic associations that are renewed season after season. He has appeared with the Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and Frankfurt Radio Symphony, the Staatskapelle Berlin and the Vienna Philharmonic, among numerous others. He has also performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (conducting from the keyboard) and the St Paul and Philadelphia chamber orchestras. As a BBC New Generation Artist he has appeared extensively with the BBC Orchestras and in recital on Radio 3. He has worked with conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta, Leonard Slatkin, Donald Runnicles, Hans Graf, Alan Gilbert and Peter Oundjian, among others. Wosner has appeared in numerous summer festivals and toured as soloist with Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. As a chamber musician, he is widely sought after by colleagues for his spirit of partnership and has collaborated with many esteemed artists and ensembles including Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell, Ralph Kirshbaum, Christian Tetzlaff, and the Tokyo and Miro string quartets. Wosner is the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award.

Franziska Pietsch / Detlev Eisinger PROKOFIEV Works for Violin & Piano

Prokofiev's works reflect facets of Franziska Pietsch's own biography to a significant degree. As an emerging talent in the GDR, she enjoyed special state support; her musical training was thus initially shaped by the Eastern European school, bringing Prokofiev's music close to her heart. His two Violin Sonatas appear as two contrasting poles within his oeuvre - her life has also moved between extremes. The state support led to early success in the GDR. However, her father's escape to the West in 1984 was followed by two years of reprisals by the regime, intensively shaping Franziska Pietsch's understanding of music: deprived of any possibility of playing concerts or taking lessons, her chosen path towards hope - against desperation, refusal, fear and despotism - led inwards. Music became the only language in which she was able to express herself freely and which gave her the necessary strength to withstand external circumstances, continuing to hope for freedom. These were the origins of the intensity and artistic depth which characterise Franziska Pietsch's playing to the present day.
The two Violin Sonatas, written largely between 1938 and 1946 after Prokofiev's return to the Soviet Union, could not be more contrary: No 1 in F minor, Prokofiev's "Appassionata", is a tragic piece, whilst No 2 in D major, originally conceived for flute and piano, is predominantly joyful and serene. Prokofiev arranged it himself, with David Oistrakh advising him. The reworked version of the Cinq mélodies, composed in 1919/20 for voice (without text) and piano accompaniment, was also produced by Prokofiev himself. These chamber works expose three intrinsic aspects of his artistry: his ability to create a seamless, emotionally intense melodic line; his often concealed tragic side; and his classicist inclination. (Audite)

Richard Galliano MOZART

Accordionist Richard Galliano did for European folk -- specifically, the early 20th century French ballroom dance form known as musette -- what his mentor Astor Piazzolla did for the Argentinian tango. Galliano reimagined and revitalized a musical tradition, expanding its emotional range to reflect modern sensibilities, opening it up to improvisation learned through American jazz. In fact, Galliano was more of a jazz musician than a folk one, although he blurred the lines so much that distinctions were often difficult to make. Born in France of Italian stock, Galliano began playing accordion (as his father had) at a young age. He later picked up the trombone, and studied composition at the Academy in Nice; he also fell in love with jazz as a teenager, particularly cool-era Miles Davis and Clifford Brown, and had made it his primary focus by the late '60s. Making a living as a jazz accordionist naturally proved difficult; fortunately, after moving to Paris in 1973, he landed a position as conductor, arranger, and composer for Claude Nougaro's orchestra. He remained there until 1976, and went on to work with numerous American and European jazz luminaries, including Chet Baker, Joe Zawinul, Toots Thielemans, Ron Carter, Michel Petrucciani, and Jan Garbarek. After meeting Astor Piazzolla, Galliano refocused on his European heritage and set about reviving and updating musette, widely considered antiquated at the time. He signed with Dreyfus in 1993, and the label gave him enough exposure to cause a stir first in his home country, then among international jazz and world music fans. Regular recordings followed; some with clarinetist/soprano saxophonist Michel Portal, some with guitarist Jean Marie Ecay, and some with his favorite rhythm section of bassist Jean-François Jenny-Clark and drummer Daniel Humair (after Jenny-Clark's untimely death, Rémi Vignolo took his place). In 2001, Dreyfus released Gallianissimo, a compilation drawing from his seven albums for the label and a new recording, Face to Face, a duet recording with French pianist and vocalist Eddy Louiss. (Steve Huey)

viernes, 20 de mayo de 2016

Kristian Bezuidenhout MOZART Keyboard Music Vol. 1

South African-British historical keyboardist Kristian Bezuidenhout has emerged from accompanimental roles into solo concertizing and major-label recording, making quite a splash. The immediate attraction is his tone. Through frequent and varied use of the una corda pedal (the "soft pedal" of the modern piano), he coaxes a large range of dynamics and timbres out of his instrument, a modern copy of a 1795 Viennese Walter fortepiano. It may be easier with Bezuidenhout than with any of his peers to forget that you're listening to a historical instrument. And in this very nicely recorded selection of Mozart sonatas and other pieces, he often matches the instrument to the music in an admirably thorough way. The high point is the big Piano Sonata in F major, K. 533, an incomplete work joined as is usually done with the Rondo in F major, K. 494, to make a three-movement sonata. Bezuidenhout effectively draws out the contrasts in the first movement of this complex work, modulating the tone of his piano as the first movement moves from intellectual arcana (the Alberti bass of the opening suddenly being deployed as the top line of invertible counterpoint) to muscular crowd-pleasing arpeggios. The sparser late Piano Sonata in B flat major, K. 570, also receives a convincing, rather brooding performance. Elsewhere, Bezuidenhout is more idiosyncratic. He splits off the Fantasia in C minor, K. 475, from the Piano Sonata in C minor, K. 457, to which it is usually attached, and both there and in the innocent Variations on "Unser dummer Pöbel meint," K. 455, the interpretations seem a bit overwrought. Still, there's a good deal of pleasure in the sheer lushness of this album, which marks another step in bringing the fortepiano into the musical mainstream. (

Kristian Bezuidenhout MOZART Keyboard Music Vol. 2

South African-born keyboardist Kristian Bezuidenhout seems to search for a middle ground between those who treat the fortepiano as a kind of modified harpsichord and those who stress the ways its percussive potential can highlight the incipient Romantic qualities in music of the late 18th century. On this collection of Mozart piano works, he makes full use of the potential of his instrument, a copy by American-Czech builder Paul McNulty of an 1802 Viennese instrument by Anton Walter, often deploying the pedals to develop a range of sounds that take on added color from the unequal-temperament tuning. Yet his basic mode of playing is not terribly expressive. The combination works well in the muscular works that bookend the album, with the lower ranges of the McNulty fortepiano bringing out the full Beethovenian power of the Piano Sonata in C minor, K. 457 (played, unusually, without its introductory Fantasia in C minor, K. 475), and of the rather symphonic Piano Sonata in C major, K. 330. The smaller pieces at the center of the program suffer a bit from the relatively inflexible melodic idiom. To give great pathos to the bleak Rondo in A minor, K. 511, and Adagio in B minor, K. 540, may be to rely too much on knowledge of what was coming next stylistically, but the Adagio is taken at something more than the designated clip, and there's room for more emotion here than Bezuidenhout allows. Some variation is justifiable in repeats, but Bezuidenhout pushes the envelope; the flourish in the exposition repeat of the Adagio in B minor seems at odds with the exhausted, enervated quality of the music. The main attraction here may be the fortepiano itself, with its strong, clear tone; it begins to approach a grand in power, but the colors are different. Harmonia Mundi's studio sound is excellent and fully attuned to Bezuidenhout's rereading of the big sonatas. Notes are in English, French, and German. (James Manheim)

Kristian Bezuidenhout MOZART Keyboard Music Vol. 3

The influence of the early music movement on the performance of Mozart's keyboard music has reached a point where the listener can choose from among several strong fortepiano versions of most works. There are the compellingly dramatic, somewhat abrupt readings by Andreas Staier, the expressively melodic recordings of Ronald Brautigam, the clean, classical treatments of Malcolm Bilson, and now a cycle by South African-British fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout on the Harmonia Mundi label, which in classical terms is a major label. Bezuidenhout's instrument, a copy of a 1795 Walter fortepiano by American-Czech builder Paul McNulty (tuned in unequal temperament), is a star of the show here; for sheer fluidity and power it's probably unequaled on the historical-performance scene. The program displays it effectively here, making this a good introduction for those who want to sample Bezuidenhout's style. The Piano Sonata in B flat major, K. 333, is one of those Mozart sonatas that's virtually a concerto in miniature, with powerful bass lines and a little cadenza written into the end of the finale. It's the perfect showpiece for the McNulty/Walter instrument, and a very satisfying performance. After that you get the inexplicably rarely played Variations in F major on "Ein Weib ist das herrlichste Ding," K. 613, a late work that seems to twit the operatic melody in which it's based by retaining the simple tune at the beginning of each variation but then plunging unexpectedly into complex textures or harmonic twists. Bezuidenhout does not quite put the humor across here, but he's back on comfortable ground with the incomplete Fantasia in C minor, K. 396, and Piano Sonata in F major, K. 332. Very well recorded, as usual with Harmonia Mundi, this is as good a place as any to start with Bezuidenhout's series. (

Kristian Bezuidenhout MOZART Keyboard Music Vol. 4

Listeners can choose from among a number of historical-instrument performances of Mozart's keyboard works. There are the compelling irregular, somewhat abrupt versions by Andreas Staier, the expressive readings of Ronald Brautigam, the clean-lined treatments of Malcolm Bilson, and now a cycle by South African-British fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout on the Harmonia Mundi label. Bezuidenhout is a somewhat experimental player, and his ideas (as in his bizarre concerto readings) can backfire. But one of the strengths of his series has been his choices among fortepianos built by American-Czech maker Paul McNulty, copying instruments by Viennese builder Anton Walter of Mozart's and Beethoven's time. Here he uses a copy of an 1805 Walter instrument, a real powerhouse that's a couple of decades too late for much of the music. But it works, for these are for the most part big works in which Mozart was exploiting every bit of the new instrument's capabilities; Bezuidenhout's slight exaggeration of pianistic effects allows him, as it were, to bring out Mozart's excitement at discovering these capabilities. The two minor-key fantasies and the Prelude and Fugue in C major, K. 394, are presented here in muscular, intense readings that work very well. Even better are the 12 Variations on "Je suis Lindor" in B flat major, K. 354, which can be a very tricky work to bring beyond the mundane. In Bezuidenhout's hands it's a sonic adventure. It might be argued that, composed in the year 1778, these variations are close to the dividing line between fortepiano and harpsichord, but Bezuidenhout certainly makes a strong case for them as piano works, and a work written for his own virtuoso use in Paris would likely have been conceived with the latest technology in mind. The location of the recording by Harmonia Mundi USA is not specified, but it is quite fine: the inner workings of the fortepiano are heard but not fetishized. (James Manheim)

Kristian Bezuidenhout MOZART Keyboard Music Vols. 5 & 6

Mozart’s solo keyboard music inhabits a somewhat isolated corner. Great Mozartians from Clifford Curzon to Alfred Brendel to Clara Haskil left surprisingly few recordings of the solo sonatas and variations, which is why Kristian Bezuidenhout’s mandate to record all of them on fortepiano for Harmonia Mundi catches the attention. Hearing the discs themselves, one can hardly take one’s ears off the performances because they go so far inside the music and reverse much of what you thought you knew.
Bezuidenhout seems to piggyback lesser works (variations) on to major ones (sonatas) by juxtaposing them together, paired according to similar chronology, revealing moments of synchronicity as well as dramatic leaps in Mozart’s evolution, such as on Vol 7 when the 1773 Six Variations on ‘Mio caro Adone’ in G major, K180, are followed, in 1774, by the gargantuan theme-and-variations final movement of the Piano Sonata in D major, K284, showing Mozart working with an invention and rigour that almost sound like another composer. Elsewhere, though, Mozart’s freewheeling variations, at least in these performances, are doorways into the composer’s psyche in ways that the more formal, polished sonatas are not. The variations were like Mozart’s secret garden, offering glimpses of his improvisatory spirit. Dare I say that Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations came to mind repeatedly in these three volumes?
‘When Mozart played a simple scale,’ wrote Wanda Landowska, quoting the composer’s contemporaries, ‘it became transformed into a cavatina.’ That sums up the Bezuidenhout difference. His typical Mozartian attributes include firm command of structure, great instincts for sympathetic tempi and a technique refined enough to get at the tiniest details – in contrast to Paul Badura-Skoda’s more forceful but generalised fortepiano sonorities (Gramola). More distinctively, Bezuidenhout’s elastic tempi give him room to probe for meaning but also allow panache that’s so much a part of Mozart’s buoyant temperament and prompts some delightfully elongated final cadences. Not only does one hear the notes with more transparency than on a modern instrument but one also gets a stronger sense of Mozart’s larger world. Bezuidenhout’s stealth weapon, though, may be the unequal temperament of his copy of an 1805 Anton Walter instrument. The popular notion that equal temperament reigned exclusively after JS Bach just isn’t true. Experiments with alternative tuning – I’m thinking of Peter Serkin playing late Beethoven – can be colouristic revelations, which is also true of Bezuidenhout. So if you can only afford one volume of this series, which would it be? I refuse to say. Hear them all. (Gramophone)

Kristian Bezuidenhout MOZART Keyboard Music Vol. 7

The cycle of Mozart's complete keyboard music by Kristian Bezuidenhout has gained plenty of notice for its sheer originality and energy, including some from U.S. Grammy nominators at the end of 2015 for this volume. It's one of the best of the Bezuidenhout cycle, using the fortepianist's copy of an 1805 Anton Walter instrument (by the great American-Czech builder Paul McNulty) to magnificent effect in the almost symphonic Piano Sonata in D major, K. 284. In that work, taking all the repeats in the finale and introducing substantial tempo rubato in the repeats, Bezuidenhout gives the work an epic quality. But he does this with all of Mozart's variation sets, including the small one recorded here at the beginning. The Piano Sonata in A minor, K. 310, with its slashing accents and tense atmosphere, takes on a Beethovenian quality. Bezuidenhout in general emphasizes the experimental, proto-Romantic side of Mozart's musical personality and greatly minimizes the graceful Classical (and French) side. Whether you accept this may be a matter of taste, but it works exceptionally well in the two sonatas here, masterpieces of Mozart's middle period in Bezuidenhout's hands. Highly recommended. (

jueves, 19 de mayo de 2016

Kristian Bezuidenhout MOZART Keyboard Music Vols. 8 & 9

Kristian Bezuidenhout's cycle of Mozart's complete keyboard music concludes with this double album, which contains some real rarities that are ideally suited to Bezuidenhout's tough, wiry style. As such, it may not be the item to pick if you want to sample the series, but it's often fascinating. Bezuidenhout's basic modus operandi is to give considerable weight even to works conventionally thought of as light, using his powerful fortepiano (a copy of an 1805 Walter instrument by builder Paul McNulty) and its unequal-temperament tuning to bring out dissonances and sinewy lines rarely heard elsewhere. Here he has some really radical experiments to work with, and even if you find Bezuidenhout's readings idiosyncratic at times, you'll likely appreciate the likes of the Modulating Prelude F-C, K. deest (it is indubitably by Mozart), or the Menuetto in D major, K. 355, with its daring harmonies barely matched elsewhere in Mozart's output. Several of the sonata-form movements were abandoned by Mozart for one reason or another and have been completed by Mozart scholar Robert Levin; the joints are hard to hear. Some pieces, such as the Modulating Prelude and the Four Preludes, K. 284a, are examples of Mozart's improvisational abilities, which were rarely captured in notation. In the larger and more usual works, Bezuidenhout applies a heavy touch to the Piano Sonatas K. 279 and 280, and to three large variations sets, which are generally given a touch of French elegance. But in the Nine Variations on a Minuet by Duport, K. 573, Bezuidenhout achieves utterly distinctive results in a work that has almost no harmonic content and is completely about register and space. Bezuidenhout's Mozart is, to be sure, a matter of taste, but this is a fine conclusion to his series. (James Manheim)

domingo, 15 de mayo de 2016

Martha Argerich EARLY RECORDINGS Mozart - Beethoven - Prokofiev - Ravel

Martha Argerich’s exhilarating early recordings, released here for the first time, include sonatas by Mozart and Beethoven that appear nowhere else in her discography; Prokofiev’s Third Sonata is also a recording première. This set displaying the young virtuoso includes her first recordings of Ravel’s Gaspard and his Sonatine, as well as Prokofiev Seventh Sonata, full of mystery and verve. They show her to be an eloquent and imaginative artist at the age of 18, already at the peak of her abilities. This release documents some of the radio recordings she made for North German (NDR) and West German Radio (WDR) in 1960 and 1967 and is released in time for her 75th birthday celebration on 5th June 2016. (Presto Classical)

sábado, 14 de mayo de 2016

Novus Quartet 3 # 1 Webern - Beethoven - Yun

From the first note showed the Novus String Quartet mature musicality and sensitivity both in the formation of the ensemble sound." (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

"This ensemble's playing is incredibly solid and well-balanced. All four musicians perform at the same level and their music-making is enthralling." (Lukas Hagen)

It was with these words that Lukas Hagen, first violinist of the renowned Hagen Quartett, described the four musicians' artistic quality after their performance at the International Mozart Competition, held in Salzburg in February 2014, where Hagen was the Head of the Jury. The quartet went on to win First Prize at the Competition.
Established at the Korean National University of Arts in 2007, the Novus String Quartet is one of the leading chamber music ensembles in Korea.
Since the quartet’s triumph at the prestigious ARD International Chamber Music Competition in Munich in 2012, where it was awarded Second Prize, the Novus String Quartet has gained steady recognition in Europe. In February 2014, the four Koreans won First Prize at the Mozart String Quartet Competition, chaired by Lukas Hagen of the Hagen Quartett, in Salzburg.
One year after its founding, the quartet celebrated inaugural success at the International Chamber Music Competition Osaka, where the musicians were awarded Third Prize, the same prize they received in 2009 at the Chamber Music Competition in Lyon and 2012 at the International Haydn Chamber Music Competition in Vienna.
In 2010, the quartet was the first chamber music ensemble to be featured on the list of promising musicians of the year by the music magazine Auditorium. Since then, the quartet has performed concerts internationally, lauded by audiences and critics alike.
The Novus String Quartet studies under Professors Christoph Poppen and Hariolf Schlichtig at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich.
In 2013, the Novus String Quartet’s international engagements took them to the Haydn Music Festival, Salle Molière in Lyon, Chamber Music Hall in Berlin’s Philharmonie, Schwetzinger Festspiele and the Carnegie Hall in New York. The quartet’s South American tour, as part of the Credomatic International Music Festival, featured highly acclaimed concerts in such cities as El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama.

viernes, 13 de mayo de 2016

Alison Balsom / Tom Poster LÉGENDE

Star trumpeter Alison Balsom adds her first recital with piano to her rich Warner Classics catalogue. Recorded live at St George’s, Bristol, she and Tom Poster, her long-standing recital partner, explore fascinating works from the 20th century, by composers such as Enescu, Hindemith, Martinů, Françaix, Bernstein and Peter Maxwell Davies. They also present a work they themselves have composed jointly: The Thoughts of Dr. May, inspired by Brian May, lead guitarist of the rock band Queen.
2013 Gramophone Artist of the Year, three-time winner at the Classic BRITs and also three-time winner at the Echo Klassik Awards, Alison Balsom has cemented an international reputation as one of classical music’s great ambassadors and is ranked amongst the most distinctive and ground-breaking musicians on the international circuit today. “This day has been a long time coming,” she says. “We’ve wanted to record this … most important repertoire for trumpet and piano since we started playing together more than 10 years ago.” (Warner Classics)

jueves, 12 de mayo de 2016

San Francisco Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas MASON BATES Works for Orchestra

Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) will release a new recording featuring Bay Area composer Mason Bates’ s three largest electro - acoustic orchestral works on the Orchestra’s Grammy Award - winning SFS Media label on Friday, March 11, 2016. The album of Bates’s largest orchestral works features the first recordings of the SFS - commissioned The B - Sides and Liquid Interface, in addition to Alternative Energy . These three works illustrate Bates’s exuberantly inventive music that expands the symphonic palette with sounds of the digital age: techno, drum‘n’bass, field recordings and more, with the composer performing on electronica . MTT and the SFS have championed Bates’s works for over a decade, evolving a partnership built on multi-year commissioning, performing, recording, and touring projects .
“The three pieces on this album are my largest electro - acoustic works, my wildest explorations into the power of an expanded symphonic palette and its implications for imaginative new forms,” said Mason Bates. “The sounds range from glaciers to industrial techno to a NASA spacewalk. New sounds have of ten provoked new forms throughout music history... and I look to the digital world as an important twenty-first century expansion of the orchestral sound world.”

miércoles, 11 de mayo de 2016

Elizabeth Joy Roe JOHN FIELD Complete Nocturnes

Very few composers are credited with having ‘invented a form’, but the one thing most people know about John Field is that he invented the nocturne. It isn’t true, of course: others before him (Haydn for one) had used the term ‘nocturne’ or ‘notturno’, either for a short, lyrical piece or a kind of serenade. But it was Field who cultivated it both as an idea and a genre, and associated it inescapably with the piano. Perhaps more important is the fact that he was the first Celtic voice – certainly the first Irish composer – to make a contribution to European concert music. And his contribution, though not massive in itself, had huge consequences. Field came from a family of musicians and was something of a prodigy, giving his first concert in Dublin at the age of nine.

Pianist Elizabeth Joy Roe has been hailed “brilliant” (The New York Times), “an artist to be taken seriously” (The Chicago Tribune), “impressive” (BBC Radio), “a mature, fascinating interpreter and an artist of intelligence, insight, and a genuine grace” (The Southampton Press), and “electrifying” (The Dallas Morning News), and she was named one of the classical music world's “Six on the Rise: Young Artists to Watch” by Symphony Magazine. The recipient of the prestigious William Petschek Piano Debut Recital Award, she has appeared as orchestral soloist, recitalist, and collaborative musician at major venues worldwide, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Seoul Arts Center, the National Performing Arts Center (Beijing), the Ravinia Festival (Chicago), Salle Cortot (Paris), Teatro Argentino (Buenos Aires), the Esplanade (Singapore), the Adrienne Arsht Center (Miami), the Banff Centre (Canada), and the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Germany).

martes, 10 de mayo de 2016

Olga Scheps SATIE

May 17th sees Erik Satie's 150th anniversary and ECHO-Klassik Award winning pianist Olga Scheps presents the only new studio recording of his most beautiful piano solo works for the Satie celebrations 2016. Erik Satie is among the most popular composers worldwide, his most famous piano pieces such as „Gymnopédie No. 1” or “Je te veux” are instantly recognisable, having be used constantly in motion picture soundtracks and TV ads. As a special Bonus Olga Scheps recorded “Gentle Threat” by Chilly Gonzales, whom she frequently works together with on stage. Olga Scheps was born in Moscow in 1986, the daughter of two pianists, and discovered the instrument for herself at the age of four. She began studying the piano more intensively after her family moved to Germany in 1992. At an early age she had already developed her own unique style of keyboard playing, which combines intense emotiveness and powerful expressivity with extraordinary pianistic technique. Among those who discovered these talents was Alfred Brendel, who has encouraged Olga Scheps since she was fifteen. Olga Scheps has already recorded 5 albums for RCA Red Seal. All her recordings ranked high within the German Classical Charts and were highly praised by the press. Her debut album 'Chopin' immediately won the prestigious ECHO Klassik Award in 2010. (Presto Classical)

lunes, 9 de mayo de 2016

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir / Tõnu Kaljuste VELJO TORMIS Litany To Thunder

Since the 1992 release of Forgotten Peoples, the first major survey of Veljo Tormis to be released outside of Russia, ECM has paved an international appreciation of the Estonian composer, whose choral output exceeds 500 pieces. More than number, it is the melodic and textual content of those pieces that asks of the listener attention to source, meaning, and atmosphere. Although so much of Tormis’s work is drawn from Baltic folk traditions, his project is more one of expression than of preservation. He paints a distinct amalgam of texts and motifs, so that what we are left with is a sonic trajectory that moves ever forward. There is no group more qualified to follow that trajectory than the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. Under the direction of Tõnu Kaljuste, these intensely talented singers breathe the music on Litany To Thunder as if it were their own. (ECM Reviews)

sábado, 7 de mayo de 2016

musica intima VELJO TORMIS Forgotten Peoples

Veljo Tormis, born in Kuusalu near Tallinn in 1930, is considered by Estonians to be one of their most important composers of the 20th century. He has preserved the song heritage of peoples in the region between Estonia and Finland, peoples whose languages and songs have all but disappeared. The context for his work is the strong choral tradition and the history of Estonia (ancient and contemporary). Recently, its appeal has reached far beyond the Baltics. Having studied organ and choral conducting, he turned to composition in 1950. Almost all of his choral works are based on ancient Estonian and other Finno-Ugric folksongs. Tormis has been hailed for his colourful, almost orchestral style of writing for voices.
Internationally renowned for performances and recordings that sparkle with insight, youthfulness, and a vibrant musicality, Vancouver-based musica intima has earned a reputation as one of Canada’s most exciting vocal ensembles. This is musica intima’s third recording for ATMA Classique.

viernes, 6 de mayo de 2016

Markku Luolajan-Mikkola JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Sonatas and Partitas BWV 1001 - 1006

With an established fan base built over his two decades with viol consort Phantasm, Luolajan-Mikkola makes his solo Linn debut in style, tackling what is considered the pinnacle of Bach's output for violinists: the Sonatas and Partitas.
With two Gramophone Awards to his name and a reputation synonymous with excellence, Markku Luolajan-Mikkola is a musician who is at the top of his profession. Transcribing Bach's hugely popular works for cello, especially one in Baroque set-up, was not without its risks, although performing on Baroque cello also offers compelling advantages.
Luolajan-Mikkola takes his interpretative cue from the set-up of the Baroque instrument, which informs such issues as tuning, vibrato, fingering and articulation. Performing the Sonatas and Partitas on the cello is so challenging that it is almost impossible to imagine a cellist of Bach's day playing them, but Luolajan-Mikkola rises to the challenge with aplomb.
Luolajan-Mikkola's main aim in this recording has been to capture emotion and convey expression according to the respective key and character of each movement, which he achieves in spades. (Linn Records)

Bach's six solo Sonatas and Partitas might be sacrosanct for violinists - the instrument's Himalayas, George Enescu called them - but they're regularly pinched by violists, lutenists, mandolinists and others. So why not baroque cellists? Phantasm's Markku Luolajan-Mikkola sternly takes up the challenge on a 1700 instrument, and answers his own question along the way: it's tough going. Nimble passages (the Second Partita's Gigue) and chunky, double-stopped passages (the Second Sonata's mighty Fugue) sound like hard graft, but Luolajan-Mikkola is nothing if not resolute, and he seems to embrace the struggle as an expressive end in itself. His staunch approach to articulation is tricky to love, but the payoff comes in the slow movements: Sarabandes sung low and husky, unadorned, flawed and beautiful. The recording was made in a medieval church on the south coast of Finland, and the big reverb provides a warmth [to] the playing. (Kate Molleson / The Guardian)

Pumeza Matshikiza ARIAS

South African lyric soprano Pumeza Matshikiza is one of today’s rising opera stars. An exclusive Decca Classics recording artist, her debut album ‘Voice of Hope’ was released in 2014. Her second album ‘Arias’ will be released in May 2016 showcasing her operatic roles from Purcell to Puccini and newly arranged art songs by Faure, Hahn and Tosti.
Pumeza Matshikiza opened the 15/16 season singing solo concerts in Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Krakow. In October she made her debut with Sir Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome, singing the world premiere of Luca Francesconi’s Bread, Water and Salt, based on the famous speech by Nelson Mandela. These opening concerts of the Santa Cecilia season were broadcast live by RAI and she will reprise this new work as part of Radio France’s Festival Présence in February 2016, Mikko Franck conducting the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. On the operatic stage Pumeza sings Mimì (La Bohème) and as well as making her role debut as Micaёla (Carmen), both at the Staatsoper Stuttgart where she has been a leading ensemble member for the past three seasons. Her roles in Stuttgart have included Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Ännchen (Der Freischütz), Zerlina (Don Giovanni) and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte).
Pumeza’s second album ARIAS is a collection of many of the great opera roles in which Pumeza has blossomed: Mimì in La Boheme; Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro; Liù in Turandot; Dido in Dido & Aeneas; Concepcion in L’heure espagnole together with such operatic greatest hits as ‘The Song to the Moon’ from Rusalka and ‘Ebben, ne andro lontano’ from La Wally.
The album also features new arrangements of art songs such as Faure’s ‘Après un rêve’ and Reynaldo Hahn’s A Chloris as well as a Rosa Ponselle favourite, Tosti’s ‘Si tu le voulais’
Also included are arrangements of Sarti’s famous aria ‘Lungi del caro bene’ made by DECCA for Renata Tebaldi in the 1970s and recorded here for the first time since then and an arrangement of the classic song ‘La Paloma’ originally made for Victoria de los Angeles.

jueves, 5 de mayo de 2016


Land of Gold, Anoushka Shankar’s fourth album for Deutsche Grammophon, is her heartfelt response to the trauma and injustice being experienced by refugees and victims of war. Offering an uplifting message of hope for dark times, its music was inspired by recent news images of people fleeing civil war, oppression, poverty and unbearable hardship. The album contemplates the common thread of humanity and its power to reconnect people divided by hatred and fear. “The seeds of Land of Gold originated in the context of the humanitarian plight of refugees,” Anoushka recalls. “It coincided with the time when I had recently given birth to my second child. I was deeply troubled by the intense contrast between my ability to provide for my baby, and others who desperately wanted to provide the same security for their children but were unable to do so.”
Land of Gold is set for international release on 1 April 2016. Anoushka Shankar will perform pieces from the album on tour throughout the year, including festival dates in the summer in Europe and concerts in North America, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, India and the United Arab Emirates.
Mankind’s eternal quest for a place of safety fuelled Anoushka’s creativity and supplied her album’s narrative structure. “Everyone is, in some way or another, searching for their own ‘Land of Gold’: a journey to a place of security, connectedness and tranquillity, which they can call home,” reflects the five-times Grammy nominee. “This journey also represents the interior quest that we all take to find a sense of inner peace, truth and acceptance – a universal desire that unites humanity.” Land of Gold explores themes of disconnection and vulnerability. It also trains the light of hope on the soul’s darkest shadows.
Strong emotions flow throughout Land of Gold, expressed on sitar by Anoushka Shankar and reinforced in collaboration with an ensemble of gifted instrumentalists and guest artists. The music’s dynamic energy was further enhanced by the input of Joe Wright, Anoushka’s husband and director of movies such as Pride & Prejudice, Atonement and Anna Karenina, who worked with his wife on the album’s production, and by the cinematic soundscapes and textures of electronic producer Matt Robertson, Björk’s frequent collaborator. “My instrument,” comments Anoushka, “is the terrain in which I explore the gamut of emotional expression – evoking shades of aggression, anger and tenderness, while incorporating elements of classical minimalism, jazz, electronica and Indian classical styles.” 
Anoushka Shankar is joined by Hang virtuoso and co-writer of many of the album’s ten pieces Manu Delago, and by Sanjeev Shankar, a master of the haunting Indian reed instrument, the shehnai, who studied with Anoushka’s father Ravi Shankar. Land of Gold also includes guest appearances by rapper and refugee advocate M.I.A., singer/songwriter Alev Lenz, jazz double-bassist Larry Grenadier, dancer Akram Khan, cellist Caroline Dale, and actress and political activist Vanessa Redgrave, who reads a viscerally expressive poem by Pavana Reddy on “Remain the Sea”. All-girl children’s choir Girls for Equality makes its debut on the album’s closing song, “Reunion”. (Deutsche Grammophon)


This is a CD only a flutist could love: It is heavy on the solo repertoire and comprised entirely of “new” music. Juliette Hurel makes obvious choices such as pairing Syrinx and Densité 21.5 as disc openers, both of which she plays well, though the latter could use a little more vehemence, more force. She also closes the disc with three solo offerings, which is a lot of flute-alone for anyone (save for other flutists) to take in a single listening. Pascal Dusapin’s I Pesci is comprised of three short and sweet movements, and Hurel plays all of them beautifully if not a little to carefully–she seems determined to make every solo sound “pretty” rather than exploring the flute’s more dramatic expressive possibilities. Only when it comes to Phillipe Hersant’s Cinq Miniatures, each of whose five movements is intended to evoke a particular kind of non-Western flute style, does she allow her tone to vary.
The three accompanied works are worth a serious listen. Dutilleux’s 1943 Sonatine is delightfully spry and fiendishly difficult, challenges that Hurel and pianist Helene Couvert attack with frothy élan. Perhaps being spurred on a little by a musical cohort draws a less dark, more focused sound from Hurel. She and Couvert make short work of Jolivet’s furious Chant de Linos but fare not so well on Messiaen’s Merle Noir, where the tone of the two players seems mismatched, as if they are working at cross-purposes. The recording is intimate and focused, allowing the flute to sound beautiful but never shrill. (Classics Today)


I waxed lyrical, or tried to, about Kancheli’s Morning Prayers and Evening Prayers in April 1995. But I can’t compete with Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich’s booklet-essay for ECM’s companion disc containing the other two Prayers in the cycle. He claims a post-avant-garde historical significance for Kancheli which some may find hyperbolic, and which surely reads more into the music than the composer himself intended. Yet the high-flown imagery is not inappropriate: “In such trackless terrain, history seems to be arrested and sedimented in remembered traces of lost beauty, bygone battles, shattered happiness, and spent suffering... Like the Eskimos whose life experience has led to some three dozen linguistic descriptions of the all-pervasive white of their environment, Kancheli’s mournful expressivity gleans untold variations and nuances from the ‘white’ of his tonal environment.” That’s all well said, and though I can’t share the author’s apparent conviction that Kancheli’s recent work has the expressive power and innovative boldness of his remarkable symphonies from the 1970s, the new disc will certainly appeal to those who have already caught the Kancheli ‘bug’.
Midday Prayers and Night Prayers complete the cycle somewhat cryptically entitled A Life without Christmas. They are meditations on snatches of biblical text, as is the solo viola piece Caris Mere (Georgian for “After the Wind”). Night Prayers was originally composed for string quartet (are the Kronos Quartet, to whom it was dedicated, getting round to a recording?), and to my ears the revised arrangement, superimposing soprano saxophone, doesn’t sound entirely convincing. This may come as a disappointment to those expecting Jan Garbarek to emulate his wonderful collaboration with the Hilliard Ensemble on “Officium” (ECM, 10/94).
In Midday Prayers Kancheli’s familiar polarized extremes of near-hibernation and manic activity are faithfully captured by performers and engineers. So too, unfortunately, is a certain amount of traffic noise, which rather breaks the spell in passages of extreme hush. Kim Kashkashian plays her short solo piece to the manner born.
Not a top priority issue, then, but one which makes a valuable addition to the discography of a distinctive voice in contemporary music.' (Gramophone)

Cuarteto Casals METAMORPHOSIS Bartók - Kurtág - Ligeti

It is sometimes said that the essence of ‘classical' music lies in the principle of variation; but when the idea of incessant transformation of the musical material irrigates scores like these quartets by three eminent Hungarian composers of the 20th century, the resulting sonic impressions are very different. The governing principle here is metamorphosis, an idea as dear to Bartók as it was to the compatriots who succeeded him.

 “The Bartok Fourth Quartet receives a relatively 'classical', even cool account - not as relentlessly hard-driven as some other recent accounts of the piece but in itself perfectly valid (and certainly not as exhausting). On the technical elevel, it is practically perfect.” International Record Review, October 2010

“Bartók's piece has perhaps the most unsettling opening of any string quartet – a discomfiting premonition of the technical challenges ahead, from the furtive prestissimo to the biting pizzicatos of the allegretto, all navigated with sensitivity to the changing moodscape by the Quarteto Casals” The Independent, 30th July 2010 

“Cuarteto Casals hold their big-boned, heart-on-sleeve sound in reserve for much of this disc, unleashing it only in the brutal blur of the second movement of Métamorphoses nocturnes.” The Independent on Sunday, 3rd October 2010

miércoles, 4 de mayo de 2016

Juliette Hurel / Hélène Couvert À L'AUBE DU ROMANTISME

Juliette Hurel's 2013 album on Naïve explores pieces for flute and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert, evoking the period between Classicism and early Romanticism. Perhaps the subtlest work of the program is Beethoven's Flute Sonata in B flat major, WoO A4, written in 1790 and fashioned under the influence of Haydn. Its sunny disposition and light textures are periodically interrupted by unexpected key changes and sudden digressions into the minor, characteristics that anticipate Beethoven's later development and mark it as a transitional work. His Serenade for flute and piano, Op. 41, is an arrangement of the Serenade for flute, violin, and viola, Op. 25, and it has a similar, if sometimes deceptive, air of Classical simplicity, which is all the more apparent because of the brevity of the movements. Only Schubert's Variations on a Theme from Die schöne Müllerin is unequivocally Romantic, and its sudden changes of mood and key make it the most fascinating piece on the disc. Hurel and her accompanist Hélène Couvert play with grace and refinement, and their performances display expressive flexibility and technical control, particularly by balancing the poise and cheerfulness of the Beethoven pieces with the melancholy mood and volatility of Schubert's variations. Naïve's reproduction is clear and bright, with considerable presence. (

Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins SALLY BEAMISH Violin Concerto - Callisto - Symphony No. 1

Sally Beamish has enjoyed a productive association with BIS, which now releases three works involving full orchestra. The Violin Concerto (1994) is among her most immediate statements: its three movements, prefaced by quotes from Erich Maria Remarque’s novel about the First World War, All Quiet on the Western Front, proceed from a powerfully rhetorical conflict between soloist and orchestra, via a ruminative “intermezzo”, to a tense finale whose outcome is decisive if far from affirmative. Vividly scored (with some evocative writing for cimbalom), the work is ideally suited to Anthony Marwood’s blend of incisiveness and eloquence – as is Callisto (2005) to Sharon Bezaly’s resourceful flute playing. Here inspiration came from Ted Hughes’s translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Callisto’s transformations being represented by four types of flute and the “celestial beings” of Diana, Jove and Juno respectively by horn, trombone and trumpet – resulting in music by turns capricious, plangent and transcendent.
Yet the First Symphony (1992) leaves the strongest impression here. Beamish’s first work for orchestra is a set of double variations that integrates traditional Scottish bagpipe music with a paraphrase on Psalm 104, the outcome being a seamless though cumulative span that unfolds with truly “symphonic” inevitability. It makes no mean impact in this performance, Martyn Brabbins drawing a committed response from the Royal Scottish National players, who are hardly less attentive in the concertos. Spaciously recorded and with informative notes by the composer, this disc is ostensibly a first port of call for those new to Beamish’s music. (Gramophone)

lunes, 2 de mayo de 2016

Ödön Rácz / Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra CONCERTOS FOR DOUBLE BASS

Ödön Rácz was born on September  6, 1981, in Budapest and began his study of the contrabass at the state grade school at the age of nine. In 1994 he performed his first public solo concert at the Music Academy in Budapest, after which he continued his study at the Music Conservatory St. Stephan with Gergely Járdanyi, a student of Ludwig Streicher. In 2001, he transferred to the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where he joined the class of the Philharmonic's long-time principal contrabassist, Alois Posch. Following a successful audition, he joined the contrabass section of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra on September 1, 2004. In 2009 he advanced to the position of principal contrabass.
Already at an early age Ödön Rácz was a prize winner at numerous competitions, such as that of Hungarian Television (1996), the Euro Grand Prix (2000), the International Johann Prunner Competition (2002), and lastly obtained the third prize at the prestigious ARD Competition (2003). After having already released his first recording featuring works of Giovanni Bottesini, Johann Matthias Sperger and Hans Fryba, in 1997 for the Lamati label, he recorded the Double Concerto of Bottesini for Hungaroton in 2003. Ödön Rácz has also appeared as soloist with the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra and the Hungarian Virtuoso Orchestra.

domingo, 1 de mayo de 2016

Christina Naughton / Michelle Naughton VISIONS Adams - Bach - Messiaen

The twin-sister duo of Christina and Michelle Naughton have made a deep splash since graduating from the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and coming on the scene in 2008. They've recorded conventional duo-piano repertory and succeeded through sheer charisma, but they break through to a new level with this innovatively programmed album that takes its title from its opening work, Messiaen's ecstatic Visions de l'amen (Visions of Amen), composed in 1943. This is one of Messiaen's epic works of the World War II years, perhaps less often heard than the likes of Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus due to its unusual genre, and the Naughton sisters absolutely blow it away with a rare combination of technical brilliance and deep musical communion. Sample the finale, "Amen de la Consommation" (track 7), for an amazing bit of spiritual intensity from artists so young. The entr'acte, an arrangement of "Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeir" from Bach's Cantata No. 106, is a lovely, static nod to the sisters' traditional training, and then it's on to John Adams' rollicking and thoroughly enjoyable Hallelujah Junction, which somehow fits perfectly with the sisters' pop-star images. Beautifully recorded at a studio at Boston's WGBH radio, this is one of the most satisfying duo piano recordings in recent memory. (James Manheim)