miércoles, 31 de mayo de 2017

Véronique Gens / Münchner Rundfunkorchester / Hervé Niquet VISIONS

After an album of French songs (Néère) that earned her a Gramophone Award in 2016, Véronique Gens presents her new recital, this time with orchestra, which gives her an opportunity to display the maturity of her ‘Falcon’ soprano, the central tessitura typical of French Romantic opera, which takes its name from Cornélie Falcon, who created the works of Meyerbeer and Halévy staged in the 1830s.
She pays tribute here to a number of composers whose unknown operas she was the first to reveal in projects mounted by the Palazzetto Bru Zane (which also coproduced the present recording), including David, Godard, Saint-Saëns and Halévy. The programme selects arias from all the genres in vogue in the Romantic era: opera (Saint-Saëns, Halévy, Godard, Février), opéra-comique (David), oratorio (Franck, Massenet) and the cantata for the Prix de Rome (Bizet, Bruneau). A nod to Wagner and his Tannhäuser – in its French translation of the 1860s – completes this programme conducted by a longstanding colleague of the soprano, one of the leading specialists in French music, Hervé Niquet.

martes, 30 de mayo de 2017

Tedi Papavrami / Nelson Goerner FAURÉ - FRANCK Sonates pour Violon & Piano

Two great interpreters, poets and lovers of the French repertory and chamber music join forces here: the violinist Tedi Papavrami and the pianist Nelson Goerner. They have chosen to devote this programme to the two violin sonatas of Gabriel Fauré and the Sonata of César Franck. César Franck and Gabriel Faure were two of the main architects of the renaissance in French chamber music during the final decades of the nineteenth century. Both were members of the Societe Nationale de Musique they helped to found in 1871, along with Camille Saint-Saens, Romain Bussine, Henri Duparc, Jules Massenet and others. It was for this society that Faure wrote his first masterpiece, the Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major. Impelled by patriotism, they jointly undertook a crusade to safeguard French music, adopting the motto Ars Gallica. At the same time, in a century largely dominated by opera, they aspired to rehabilitate the neglected genres of symphonic and chamber music, and song- the typical genres of German music. They succeeded spectacularly, and the number of major works produced in France during this period is phenominal. (Presto Classical)

Joanna MacGregor The Complete CHOPIN Mazurkas

Joanna MacGregor is one of the world’s most innovative musicians, appearing as a concert pianist, curator and collaborator. Head of Piano at the Royal Academy of Music and Professor of the University of London, Joanna MacGregor is also the Artistic Director of Dartington International Summer School & Festival.
As a solo artist Joanna has performed in over eighty countries and appeared with many eminent conductors – Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev, Sir Simon Rattle and Michael Tilson Thomas amongst them – and orchestras, including London Symphony and Sydney Symphony orchestras, Chicago, Melbourne and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras, the Berlin Symphony and Salzburg Camerata. She has premiered many landmark compositions, ranging from Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Django Bates to John Adams and James MacMillan. She performs regularly at major venues throughout the world, including Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre and the Barbican in London, Sydney Opera House, Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

Schumann called Chopin’s mazurkas “canons buried in flowers”, a synthesis of Polish folk culture, nostalgia, poetry and political defiance. Performed chronologically they portray a subtle and confessional diary of a transcendent, innovative composer.
A lifetime’s study for any pianist, Joanna MacGregor peels back the layers of one of the greatest collections of piano literature. For Joanna, this has been a very personal journey: “I’ve loved Chopin’s mazurkas since childhood; I can think of no other collection that reveals a composer so intimately. Soulful, witty, and often dramatic, they can be experienced in a multiplicity of ways: as a diary of Chopin’s life; as his laboratory for compositional ideas; as a testimony to Polish culture, and his elegant improvisation.”
Recorded in the Britten Theatre at Snape Maltings, Joanna will also perform them in their entirety at the Wigmore Hall on 12 May 2017.
“I’ve taken the simple decision to record and perform all fifty-seven in order of composition, and to follow the intense unfolding of a composer returning to the same place again and again: from Chopin’s first mazurka to his last.”
As a student, Joanna clearly recalls hearing Horowitz perform in London in 1982: “I slept outside the Royal Festival Hall to be sure of getting a ticket. Of all the pieces he played at his recital, the miraculous Op.17 No.4 is the most vivid memory. Chopin’s porous, unresolved fluidity in these works has inspired so pianists; his mazurkas a witness to human vulnerability and longing.”
The Complete Chopin Mazurkas is recorded on Joanna’s own SoundCircus label. (SoundCircus)

The Complete Chopin Mazurkas [CD 1]
The Complete Chopin Mazurkas [CD 2]

sábado, 27 de mayo de 2017

Meret Lüthi / Les Passions de l’Ame SCHABERNACK - A Treasure Trove of Musical Jokes

Swiss violinist Meret Lüthi is artistic director and concertmaster of the baroque orchestra «Les Passions de l’Ame», which she co-founded in 2008. She was a guest musician with the Freiburger Barockorchester and has worked as a concertmaster in the Belgian ensemble «B’Rock». She has also taught at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp. She has participated in CD recordings, opera productions, concert tours and radio and television broadcasts with René Jacobs, Ivor Bolton, Adam Fischer and Gary Cooper, among others. In addition, Meret Lüthi is deeply dedicated to chamber music: at the «Young Artists in Concert» festival in Davos, she was featured in a variety of programs; in 2010, she made her debut at the Lucerne Festival. 
Meret Lüthi completed her violin studies at the Bern University of the Arts with distinction, having been taught by Monika Urbaniak-Lisik and Eva Zurbrügg. She studied with Walter Levin as a member of the Amaryllis Quartet, before specializing in baroque violin under the tutelage of Anton Steck at the State Academy of Music in Trossingen, Germany. Her talent was recognized at master classes with Igor Ozim, Christian Altenburger, Thomas Brandis, Ingolf Turban and Gerhard Schulz. Meret Lüthi was awarded scholarships from the Kiefer Halblitzel Foundation and the Kiwanis Club of Bern; in 2007 she was a prizewinner in the German University Competition for Early Music. 
As a specialist in historically-informed performance practice, Meret Lüthi works as an orchestra coach and is regularly invited to share her expertise in radio broadcasts produced by Swiss Radio SRF 2 Kultur. She is a lecturer of baroque violin at the Bern University of the Arts. 

Lucie Horsch / Amsterdam Vivaldi Players VIVALDI

If you've followed the early music scene in the 2000s and 2010s, you may have noticed the emergence of a school of really formidable recorder virtuosi from the Netherlands. These players have collectively blown away the whiny recorder sounds from the early days of the Baroque revival. You might check out any of them; Erik Bosgraaf makes a good one to start with. Lucie Horsch may not yet be at the top of this heap, but she was just 16 years old when this album appeared in 2016, and that made her not only a novelty but a possible role model, not to mention a source of sales, for the countless young people who study the recorder at school in England, the Netherlands, other European countries, and even occasionally the U.S. Sample the first movement of the Recorder Concerto in C minor, RV 441 to assure yourself of Horsch's smoothness in rapid arpeggios, and then move on to the slow movements, where she really is above average, with innate musicality and a lovely singing tone. A couple of recorder arrangements of vocal pieces work well in this regard, and a bonus is a real rarity as an encore: Jean-Jacques Rousseau's arrangement of the tune from the Spring concerto from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, apparently done as a kind of example of what the natural style in music could sound like. An entirely satisfying debut. (James Manheim)

viernes, 26 de mayo de 2017

Szymanowski Quartet / Marina Baranova DAMIAN MARHULETS Ecartele

Damian Marhulets is a Germany based composer, artist and producer. Damian's musical education began at the age of 6, when he was accepted to prestigious Minsk College of Music. It was not long until Damian began performing as an oboe soloist with some of the most renowned orchestras in the country and abroad. Still in his early childhood, Damian became a prizewinner of major international music competitions. His music career took a new turn in 2000 when he relocated to Germany. Following his artistic inquisitiveness he soon immersed himself in underground experimental music scene. His musical education shifted from oboe performance to modern composition and electronic music, that he studied first at the Music Academy Hannover and later in Cologne.
ECARTELE is an imaginary soundtrack for a feature film dating from the 1970s about the meeting between two of the major thinkers of the 20th century – the Nobel Prize winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli and the psychoanalyst and creator of the theory of archetypes, Carl Gustav Jung. The album relates in musical terms the story of the unusual friendship between the two scientists and explores the mysterious grey area between physics and the psychology of the unconscious.
The title of the album (from the French ‘écarteler’) refers both to the medieval tradition of quartering execution victims and to the Jungian concept of ‘quaternio’ – the intersection of two pairs of concepts that are polar opposites. Thus, in the exchange between Jung and Pauli, two other people play an important role: one is the young English doctor Erna Rosenbaum, who belonged to C.G. Jung’s circle in the late 1920s, and the other is the mathematician, astronomer and theologian Johannes Kepler, whose work was a powerful source of inspiration for Pauli. The album tracks are short, episodic, minimalistic and narrative – a musical screenplay and soundtrack for a film that was never made...
In order to achieve a tonal range that is both modern and cinematographic, the composer Damian Marhulets uses electronic sounds as well as working with the four string players of the famous Szymanowski Quartet and Marina Baranova on prepared piano.

Daniel Behle / L'Orfeo Barockorchester SCHUBERT Arias & Overtures

Of all the great composers, Schubert left by far the largest number of uncompleted works: symphonies, piano and chamber music, songs, choral music and operas. Six of the latter are represented on this disc—the early 'Adrast' written around the age of twenty and 'Fierebras' written in 1823, five years before the sudden end of his short life. Schubert made many attempts to achieve success on the Viennese operatic stage but was singularly unlucky in doing so. Consequently none of his operatic music ever entered the repertoire and today it remains the most unknown aspect of his work. Therefore this disc is an assembly of some very rare music indeed, most of which has never before been recorded. Indeed, most of these operas and singspiels have never been professionally staged since they were written. For this recording, German tenor Daniel Behle travelled to Linz/Austria and worked together with the L’Orfeo Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Michi Gaigg. German tenor and composer Daniel Behle is without question one of the leading lyric German tenors of the moment. He made his Royal Opera debut in the 2016/17 Season as Ferrando (Così fan tutte) and was highly-celebrated. Behle is possibly best-known for his adaption of Schubert’s Winterreise for tenor and piano trio, performed in 2015 at the Wigmore Hall and recorded for Sony Classical with Behle and the Oliver Schnyder Trio. (Presto Classical)

Trio Wanderer BEETHOVEN Complete Piano Trios

This is the Trio Wanderer’s 25th-birthday present to itself, and within the slimline package lie riches indeed. We begin with Op 1, the point at which Beethoven announced his presence to the wider world in a genre carefully chosen so as to avoid immediate comparison with Haydn or Mozart (which would have been the case with the piano sonata, string quartet or symphony). It was also a canny financial move, for the amateur trio market was booming.
The Wanderer are particularly impressive in this opus, capturing the puppyish energy with which No 1 opens and imbuing its slow movement with an affection that is almost unassuming: pitched just right for early Beethoven. Time and again we’re reminded that this is an ensemble who have no need for point-making, either to their audience or to one another, trusting the music to make its own impact. And what an impact. We experience anew the ducking and diving ebullience of the finale of the First Trio, the sheer inventiveness of the Presto of No 2 – with its razor-sharp accentuation precise and the phrasing-off of the violin line startling – and the dizzying Prestissimo conclusion to No 3.
Beethoven has learnt from his erstwhile teacher, but the influence is confidently transformed into something all his own. And though the piano-writing in these trios is overtly virtuoso, it never threatens to overbalance the other two lines, thanks to the Wanderer’s finely attuned collective ear.
Equally compelling is their understanding of the depth of the writing: the extraordinarily profound slow movement of No 2 (which they judge better than the Beaux Arts, who are just too slow here) or the mysterious opening to the great C minor Trio, No 3, though the period-instrument Staier/Sepec/Queyras recording is even more dramatic.
Among the other early works, the Wanderer’s reading of the Allegretto, WoO39, doesn’t charm quite as much as the Florestan in their benchmark set. But in WoO38 they relish the Haydnesque Scherzo to the full. The Kakadu Variations are also fundamentally early, with Beethoven adding a slow introduction and coda much later. Although he was a master of transforming the musical graffiti of others into great art, here he contents himself with sending up Wenzel Müller’s theme, promising much in the deeply serious introduction, only for the theme itself to arrive as a huge anticlimax. Trio Wanderer convey Beethoven’s intentional bathos perfectly.
And as we travel with them, the plaudits just continue. The Wanderer revel in Op 11’s easeful qualities and delight in the inventiveness of the variations that close the trio. Delight is on show in the Op 44 Variations too, another opportunity for Beethoven to dabble in the commonplace.
Throughout the set, we’re in the surest of hands and the Wanderer are keen to point up the gentler side of Beethoven’s character as well as exploring his redoubtable dramatic genius. Occasionally I found myself hankering after a greater sense of mystery: in the Largo assai of the Ghost, the other-worldly aspect is arguably revealed more tellingly by the Florestan and the plangently timbred Staier/Sepec/Queyras trio, though the unfettered, almost unhinged energy of the finale is wonderfully caught by the Wanderer. And at the moment where the theme of the slow movement of the Archduke is revealed, they miss the last degree of rapture (though they avoid the pitfalls of too slow a tempo, a trap into which the Beaux Arts fall). To experience that intensity to the full, you need to go back in time: to Thibaud, Casals and Cortot or to Zukerman, du Pré and Barenboim. That said, the Wanderer are again wonderfully natural in the sprint to the finishing line in the Presto of the same work’s finale. And let’s not overlook Op 70 No 2, the Ghost’s convivial sibling, where the Wanderer relish the brilliantly wrought double-variation Allegretto, the insouciance of the major key set against a driving C minor, while the energy and concerto-ish spotlighting of the finale reminds us that here we have not only one of the finest trios around today but also three remarkable personalities in their own right. Harmonia Mundi complete the pleasure with perceptive notes and a recording that combines warmth and clarity. (Harriet Smith / Gramophone)

Saleem Ashkar BEETHOVEN Piano Sonatas Nos. 3, 5, 14 Moonlight & 30

Saleem Ashkar made his New York Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 22 and has since worked with many of the World’s leading orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic, La Scala Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, London Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus, NDR Hamburg, DSO RSB and Konzerthaus orchestras in Berlin, Maggio Musicale Firenze, Santa Cecilia Rome, Mariinsky Orchestra St. Petersburg, and Danish Radio Orchestra among others.
He performs regularly with conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Muti, Ricardo Chailly, Fabio Luisi, Lawrence Foster, Philip Jordan, Nikolaj Znaider, Pietari Inkinen and Jaakub Hrusa. Following a highly successful debut with Christoph Eschenbach and NDR Hamburg, Eschenbach invited Saleem to play the Schumann Concerto with the Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra in the special Schumann Birthday Concert in June 2010. He toured extensively with Riccardo Chailly and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra performing Mendelssohn’s First Piano Concerto in appearances that included the Proms and Lucerne Festivals, in a tour celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of the composer’s birth. Chailly re-invited Saleem for concerts and to record with him the Mendelssohn Concerti for Decca.

Trio Wanderer SMETANA Piano Trio - LISZT Elegies

The combination of Smetana, one of the 19th century's more conservative composers, and Liszt, one of its radicals, is not a common one on recordings, but after you finish with this extraordinary album by France's Trio Wanderer it will seem to make perfect sense. It is the idea of the elegy, a popular one in the 19th century, that ties the program together. Several of the Liszt works involved are designated as elegies, but even those that are not somehow touch on remembrances of things past. The Smetana Trio in G minor, Op. 15, was written after the death of the composer's four-year-old daughter, Bedriska, of scarlet fever in 1855. The Trio Wanderer gives a very fine performance of this work, capturing the violent contrasts in the opening movement between moods of nostalgic memory and the fervent grief of the present. But it is the works by Liszt -- not a composer known for his chamber music -- that really set this release apart. All come from late in his career, and several are transcriptions of earlier works. These are not the usual sort of utilitarian Romantic-era transcription, however. Instead, they represent new stages in Liszt's thinking about the work, and about the events that inspired them, such as, in the case of the violin-and-piano version of the song Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth (The Cell at Nonnenwerth, track 2), his final excursion with his married lover, the Countess Marie d'Agoult. Liszt does not simply reproduce the original song, but adds a downbeat conclusion, as if pessimistically recollecting the story. All of the Liszt pieces have some kind of fluid identity, and they reveal a side of the composer's late style that has been there for all to see but hasn't been much investigated due to the tendency to place the "work" on a pedestal. The emphasis on the idea of elegy illuminates both Liszt and Smetana and reveals a largely ignored connection: one of the few champions of the Smetana trio when it appeared in the 1850s was none other than Franz Liszt. Notes by Jan Wolfrum, in French, English, and German, provide deep but highly readable background, and the engineering is nonpareil. Superb, groundbreaking, and quite moving music-making.

jueves, 25 de mayo de 2017

Trio Wanderer ANTONÍN DVORÁK Piano Trios Op. 65 & 90

The Trio Wanderer pays tribute to Dvořák and his last two trios. Alongside the sombre interiority and fiery intensity of the Trio No.3 in F minor, this programme presents a new version of the famous Dumky Trio, to which the Wanderers owed their first great success on record. Passionate and melancholy by turns, it is also the most innovative and the freest of Dvořák’s trios. A fine symbol for the Trio Wanderer, which has just reached its 30th year of existence without ever ceasing to surprise and touch us. Happy anniversary and hats off! (Harmonia Mundi)

 The Trio Wanderer, now 30 years old, sounds as sparkling and zestful as ever in Dvorák’s infectious “Dumky” trio, Op 90, truly a work to lift spirits, though not without melancholy. The last of the composer’s works for the medium, it bursts with Slavonic dance rhythms and lyrical folk melody, wonderfully captured by this incisive French ensemble. The Op 65 trio is less well known but deserving of attention. The passionate, big-boned style of its opening Allegro brings to mind the style of Dvorák’s great friend, Brahms, though the Scherzo returns to more familiar, springy Dvorák terrain and the energetic finale could be by no other composer. This is virtuosic playing of a high order. (The Guardian)

Enrique Bátiz CHÁVEZ - REVUELTAS - PONCE - HALFFTER - MONCAYO - JIMÉNEZ Música Mexicana

The orchestral honours here are shared between three orchestras. The main burden is taken between the Mexican State Philharmonic and the Mexico City Symphony Orchestra. The Royal Philharmonic take up the ‘slack’ with the Chavez Antigona and Romantica, the Violin Concerto by Halffter and the Chavez Chapultepec, Ponce’s Ferial and Instantaneas, the Revueltas Toccata and the Ponce Estampas.
All the recordings have been licensed out to Brilliant by the Sanctuary Group having originally formed part of ASV’s distinguished Mexican series.
Mexican orchestral music is represented here by three symphonies by Chavez (three of his six), two violin concertos (Ponce and Halffter), a piano concerto by Ponce and the Ponce Guitar Concerto. In fact we get all three of Ponce's dazzlingly imaginative concertos. Otherwise we hear nine pieces by Revueltas, ten by Chavez, eleven by Ponce including those three concertos and his most famous piece taken up by many violinists including Heifetz, Estrellita.
Chavez's Chapultepec overture is cheeky with a dash of Sousa-style excess to add a kick. Ponce's Ferial is from 1940 and is a lividly lit though subtle counterpart to Rapsodie espagnole. It was first conducted by Erich Kleiber. The Instantaneas are a series of short Mexican snapshots with the rasping rattle and gourd noises we may be familiar with from Villa-Lobos's Indianist and jungle pieces. These are interspersed with virile little village dances - sombrero commercial and drowsy sentimental. Revueltas's Toccata is jerky and fragmented, like a doll dance escaped from Pulcinella. Beside Ponce, Revueltas sounds like the modernist. Ponce's Estampas Nocturnas are substantial and their language is thoughtful, impressionistic and watercolour-sentimental - none of the lurid colours we associate with the Mexican sound. This is more Mexico City aspiring to Vienna than to Indianist and other ethnic origins.
After a disc of lighter if not always slight fare we next encounter three major works. Ponce's 1942 Violin Concerto is taken by Henryk Szeryng whose singing silver tone suits the work very well. This is a delightful chucklingly serenading romantic work closer to Barber, Walton and Glazunov than to anything grim. However something more Bergian seeps into the bones for the central andante espressivo. The finale is catchy and chipper. It uses the popular song Manitas. Chavez's India symphony is from the mid-1930s. It was premiered in New York with the composer conducting. It's in a single movement in one track incorporating four episodes. It is alive with virile rhythmic interest and with the flavour of ethnic percussion: tenebari, grijutian, teponaxtli and hupenhuehuetl, the latter two being drums and the former rattles. Beyond these decorative details the lyrical material reminded me of Copland. Revueltas's four movement La Noche de las Mayas is a half hour work in four movements. It is extracted from a film score written for the 1939 film of the same name. Its cinema origins probably explain why the music is often more commercial and even rather more like Ponce than the tough originality we come to expect from Revueltas. That modernity can be heard however in the terse, blaring and gritty Noche de encantamiento with its braying horns and rattle-scrape ostinati.
Madrid-born Rodolfo Halffter left Spain for Mexico in 1939. His 1942 Violin Concerto was written with Samuel Dushkin in mind; the same Dushkin who commissioned and premiered the Stravinsky Violin Concerto. It has some of the Stravinsky's brusque neo-classicism with a splash of de Falla to mitigate the desiccation. It also sports an affecting central Andante cantabile. It is heard in its 1953 edition made by the soloist here, Henryk Szeryng. This set has justified claims to definitive status given the involvement of Szeryng in both the Ponce and the Halffter.
Moncayo's Huapango is something of a fixture in Latino classical collections from Bernstein and Dudamel. It dates from 1941. It's a beaming bright and sharply rhythmic piece which is brilliantly orchestrated. Here it is carried off with panache.
Revueltas's Cuauhnahuac (1930) is his first major orchestral work. It's a portrait in sound of the town of Cuernavaca but by its Indian name. It is uproarious, howling and braying, whooping in the manner of a Markevich score, with a sentimental core and rampant closing pages.
The Ponce Concierto del Sur is played by Alfonso Moreno. It is one of the most instantly pleasing works on the disc and I commend it to you if you like the Rodrigo Aranjuez, Andaluz or Madrigal. It has a gift of a tune at 2:02 which returns from time to time. The sierra-cool Andante is hardly less fine. If you would like to sample then look no further than the final movement. Slake your thirst for more Rodrigo with this utterly captivating guitar concerto premiered by Segovia and Ponce in Montevideo in 1943.
Revueltas's Redes (Nets) I knew from the old RCA LP made by Eduardo Mata in the 1970s. It is an excitingly dissonant piece of explosive material. This is laced with haunted nostalgic divagations which can be quite affecting. Redes was written for a socialist-realist film of the same name which depicted the impoverished life of the fisherman. Three years before that score he wrote the Homenaje a Garcia Lorca in 1935. It's a raucous celebratory piece full of sour dissonance and Stravinskian gestures. Also memorable is the elegiac vinegar of a trumpet solo. Jimenez's Tres cartas de Mexico was a discovery for me with its Petrushkan bustle and poetically accessible local colour. Four guitars (Cecilia Lopez, Juan Reves, Jesus Ruiz, Alfredo Sanchez Oviedo) put in an appearance in the final Allegro. It's all very attractive.
Blas Galindo Dimas is better known as Blas Galindo. His Homenaje a Cervantes is neo-Baroque and undemandingly entertaining. It's followed by the fluffy Gottschalk-like pearly glitter of a turn of the century effusion for piano and orchestra by Herrera. Lastly, Chavez's transcription of a Buxtehude Zarabanda can be seen in the same league as the massive orchestrations of Bach organ pieces. This is however rather intensely romantic. These works lead naturally to Halffter’s transcriptions of three Soler sonatas. Their super-inflated orchestration and steroidal Handelian glare allow for a rather finely turned Allegretto grazia.
Revuletas's Sensemaya takes us back into the feral jungle and wild antiquity of the Mayan past. This is more in the whooping thudding direction of The Rite of Spring. Galindo's enjoyable Sones de Mariachi (1940) revels in Mexican postcard brightness. Ponce's classic hit Estrelita is a sentimental hit and is better known from the Heifetz transcription. Here it is heard in its heavily luxurious orchestral version - almost Korngold. Halffter's 1952 Obertura Festiva is flightily neo-classical but at times too heavily booted to take wing. More harmonically sour and thorny is the Tripartita of 1959. Revueltas's Janitizio of 1933 depicts the revels of a seaside resort. It’s honking, hip-swaying and uproarious. Although written for an instrumental Octet his Ocho por Radio (1933) is in much the same squeaky, impudent and characterful vein. Vilanueva's Vals Poetico apes the grand metropolitan waltzes of Europe and does so smoothly and with some style. Chavez's 1937 Chaconne is another wonderfully inflated and upholstered Buxtehude transcription belonging in the same noble league as the classic Stokowski-Bach arrangements. 
CD 6 is a fascinating all-Ponce collection. The sound glares a bit in the 1912 Ponce Piano Concerto but the work is in the gleamingly romantic conservative tradition of Liszt, Chopin and Arensky. Thunder and screes of pearly notes are thrown hither and yon by the impassioned Jorge Federico Osorio - very enjoyable if not appreciably Mexican. The affecting elegance of Gavota is in the aristocratic ballroom tradition. Balada Mexicana includes a piano solo part, here played by Seva Suk. It is once again in the exotic Gottschalk idiom with a smoking Latino element. The Dance of the Ancient Mexicans is skilled and shapely but the composer seems to caricature rather than suggest anything at all vivid or dangerous - fun though. Lastly the three movement Chapultepec is an impressionistic picture premiered in a concert it shared with Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole. This quarter-hour piece can be seen as an extension of Ferial which has a similarly Gallic impressionist signature. It is a fine discovery and well worth devoting listening time. Poema Elegiaco of 1935 breaks the deferential European mould with moody ambiguity and even tacit threat. This is one of the most attractive disks in the set. In fact Ponce emerges as hardly the most original figure but a composer whose music is often rewarding.
The seventh disc is an all-Chavez affair. His 1947 Toccata for Orchestra begins in an eerie Berlioz-like chill and finally erupts in a volcanic blast. The notes tell us that this impressive music is based on an incidental score for a ‘Don Quixote’ stage adaptation. The diptychal Paisajes Mexicanas (1973) is the most recent piece. It has a raw and glaring edge - something more in common with the blare of the classic Revueltas scores. The 1943 suite La Hija de Colquide (the Medea legend) was written for Martha Graham for performance at the Library of Congress. The five movement suite is allocated a single track where in this respect decisions for the rest of the set have been well handled. It ranges from gentle woodwind musing to indianist rattle, rasp, gong, whistle and mystery. We hear much the same smoking sense of peril as in Barber's Medea ballet - clearly a popular theme. The indianist aspect is to the fore again in the brilliant and rhythmically emphasised Cantos de Mexico of 1933 which ends in the dazzling white teeth, frills and uproar predictive of Copland’s El Salon Mexico. I wonder how these Mexican composers viewed Copland's work. The short 1953 Baile has that upstart, cheeky Mexican brightness and serenading brilliance. Both Cantos and the roaring Baile would pair well with the Copland work or make a nice change from it.
The last disc of the set pairs Chavez and Revueltas. The good though typo-ridden notes by David Moncur remind us that there are seven Chavez symphonies from the 1916 Sinfonia para orquesta (not numbered) to the 1961 Sixth. There is a Vox set of all the six numbered symphonies on VoxBox. The Sinfonia de Antigona is his first numbered symphony. It groans and rasps with Sophoclean tragedy. The material is drawn from music he wrote for Cocteau's updated rewrite of the work. Clearly scarifying Greek themes attracted him as his score for the Medea-based Martha Graham ballet Hija de Colchide shows. This is stern music with moments of repose from threat serving to emphasise what they separate yet also providing some spiritual let-up. The symphony ends in calm.
The Fourth Symphony is the Sinfonia Romantica in three movements. It was written to a commission from the stupendously active and affluent Louisville Orchestra. The Sinfonia Romantica is romantic certainly - not quite Howard Hanson but the first movement recalls Korngold at times. The molto lent middle movement sings with a little more remorse and reserve. A bustling dynamic enlivens the final Vivo with skirling trumpet fanfares, woodwind mariachi contributions and rowdy heroics. The first version of the finale is in fact the Baile heard earlier. 
The rest of the last disc is given over to Revueltas. His Caminos is jaunty, agreeably unsophisticated, explosive, jaunty and oompah-wild. Occasional passages sound as if Markevitch had worked over the Capriccio Italien. Musica para charlar (Music to converse to) is drawn from the score he wrote for his 1938 documentary film Ferrocariles de Baja California (Baja California Railroad). In this sense alone it parallels Virgil Thomson's music for the films Louisiana Story and The Plow that Broke the Plain. It's not as dissolute and fissile as Caminos and in fact from time to time amid the railway rhythms it indulges in turn of the century Ballroom lavish. It's a specially agreeable score and a little less challenging than some of his classic works. It's good that Revueltas chose to rescue it as a concert item. Ventanas (Windows) of 1931 revels in ambivalence. Its underlying thunder-cloud tension is sustained throughout. Imperious writing unleashes chaotic forces which rupture the mood. Revueltas happily sends murderous and rather haphazard military bands into the street scene with their band parts mixed up. This does not cause them to lose their overwheening confidence. Instead they lay into the music which at the last erupts in a furnace blast of sound. 
I trust that the Mexican government have bought stacks of these sets and are giving them away in delegate packs for conferences on the culture and attractions of a country in whose artistic musical achievements it can take a fierce pride. (Rob Barnett)

Gidon Kremer / Kremerata Baltica MIECZYSLAW WEINBERG Chamber Symphonies - Piano Quintet

In 2014 ECM New Series featured Kremerata Baltica in a widely-praised album dedicated to the music of Mieczysław Weinberg. Now Gidon Kremer’s orchestra continues the story, turning its attention to the four chamber symphonies completed in the last decade of the Polish-born Soviet composer’s life. The arc of the album – recorded in Vienna and in Riga in June 2015 – also embraces a striking new arrangement, by Gidon Kremer and Kremerata percussionist Andrey Pushkarev, of Weinberg’s early Piano Quintet.
In his recollection of Mieczysław Weinberg in the liner notes, fellow composer Alexander Raskatov speaks of the “incredible renaissance” of Weinberg’s music, a revival which might well have amazed its author. Since his death in 1996, Weinberg’s work has been widely re-evaluated, with Gidon Kremer and Kremeratica Baltica have been among the artists calling for broader recognition for a composer who “strongly opposed any division of music into avant-garde and ‘arrière-garde’, as Raskatov remembers.
The Kremer/Pushkarev arrangement of the Piano Quintet op. 18 extends the creative spirit of Weinberg’s reworkings of his own material: each of his chamber symphonies developed earlier music and took it to new places. The kernel of the Chamber Symphony No. 1 (1986) can be found in Weinberg’s Second String Quartet, written 45 years earlier. “He continued the process,” writes David Fanning in the liner notes, “by reworking his Third String Quartet as Chamber Symphony No. 2 and his Fifth String Quartet as Chamber Symphony No. 3. These were all rehabilitations of previously unpublished works. Finally he added the profoundly introspective Chamber Symphony No. 4, his last completed opus, based not on a string quartet but on several of his late works,”
Weinberg’s chamber symphonies are, Gidon Kremer says, “the most personal reflections of a great composer on his own life and his generation, like a diary of the most dramatic period of the 20th century.”
The violinist considers the present Weinberg recording “the most valuable landmark” in Kremerata Baltica’s discography, and the album is released in time for a major tour celebrating both the orchestra’s 20th anniversary as well as its leader’s 70th birthday. Weinberg’s compositions form an integral part of the orchestra’s concert repertoire in the current season. (ECM Records)

miércoles, 24 de mayo de 2017

The Siberian State Symphony Orchestra / Vladimir Lande ALICIA TERZIAN Off The Edge

Argentinian composer, conductor, and scholar Alicia Terzian's new Navona release Off the Edge is an incredible journey into the heart of the string orchestra. The four works on the album introduce listeners to Terzian's captivating compositional perspective and enchanting treatment of this ensemble's sonic potential. Her writing focuses heavily on the drama, nuance, and contrasts accessible through instrumental color, and Off the Edge showcases numerous audacious textures involving a simple string orchestra, as well as pairings of large string ensemble with percussion and voice. To this end, Terzian's work Tres Piezas para Orquestra de Cuerdas is the album's simplest presentation of strings, as it is the only piece on the album to feature string orchestra by itself. Even so, this highly sectional piece demonstrates the ensemble's considerable textural flexibility. As one might expect, the composer uses the group as a conventional and singular melodic force with the accompaniment of solo violin and cello. More importantly, Tres Piezas is a varied work, and yields many other situations that exploit string instruments' capacity to produce both compellingly powerful and delicate sounds. The other works on Off the Edge more commonly play to the extremes of the string orchestra's sonic palette. This tendency is encapsulated in the first minutes of Carmen Criaturalis, a concerto for horn, string orchestra, and percussion. Here, Terzian fuses the sounds of a rolling cymbal with trembling, sliding strings, which give way to the solo horn's moaning entrance. As the work proceeds, the orchestra accompanies its soloists with strings playing called "col legno battuto", a distinctive technique in which a player taps their instrument's strings with the wood of their bow. Canto a Mi Misma features an enthralling form, as well as rich, vivified string textures. Scored for string orchestra and percussion, the composition thrillingly withholds the percussionists' entrance until the work's finale minutes, delivering a stunning revelation to the listener at the precise moment one thinks the piece is winding down to its conclusion. The album's titular work combines strings, percussion, choir and bass soloist in a dramatic and expansive musical design. (Naxos)

Isabelle Faust / Alexander Melnikov / Salagon Quartet CÉSAR FRANCK Sonate pour Piano et Violon ERNEST CHAUSSON Concert

Chausson’s Concert for violin, piano and string quartet is chamber music, of course, yet displays a symphonic character that justifies the title. Some performances, such as the superb Decca recording by Pierre Amoyal, Pascal Rogé and the Ysaÿe Quartet, underscore the work’s quasi-orchestral heft; others, like the classic Columbia account by Zino Francescatti, Robert Casadesus and the Guilet Quartet, present a more intimate view. In this dazzling new version, Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov and the Salagon Quartet seem to be staking out a middle ground.
Faust and the quartet use vibrato rather sparingly, which clarifies the often intricate texture and creates a luminosity that, while lacking in bite and body, conjures and maintains a spellbinding, moonlit atmosphere. Note, for example, the pearlescent opacity of the passage at 6'26" in the first movement, and the almost spectral quality at the beginning of the finale – worlds away from the playful (yet equally magical) reading by Francescatti, Casadesus et al. Yet there’s no lack of drama. Indeed, Faust, Melnikov and the Salagon frequently bring Chausson’s fascination with Wagner to the fore and even anticipate the languorous sensuality of Scriabin (listen from 4'35" in the first movement), thanks in large part to Melnikov’s judicious phrasing.
Franck’s Violin Sonata is equally impressive. Here, again, Faust uses vibrato prudently, and in general finds intense expressivity in restraint and emotional directness. Pianissimo passages beckon in secretive, confessional whispers, and the sometimes blunt rhetoric of Franck’s style is allowed to speak for itself without overemphasis or apology. The electricity of the third-movement Recitativo-Fantasia, for instance, is conveyed not with bold gestures but through quiet, sustained tension, so that even the most sparsely textured passage keeps one on the seat’s edge. Melnikov’s tone can harden in loud passages, but this may be partly the fault of the engineering, which is pleasingly resonant yet also strangely muffled. In any case, the interpretations are so committed and forthright that any occasional sonic blemish is only momentarily distracting. The Decca recording with Amoyal and Rogé offers the same coupling in better sound but seems overwrought in comparison. Those looking for greater passion and tonal warmth in this repertoire are urged to hear a recent Aparté release with Rachel Kolly d’Alba, Christian Chamorel and the Chicago-based Spektral Quartet. (Andrew Farach-Colton/ Gramophone)

lunes, 22 de mayo de 2017

Aleksey Semenenko / Inna Firsova FRENCH TREASURES

Ukrainian violinist Aleksey Semenenko is praised for passionate performances replete with stunning technique and intonation, verve, wit, delicatesse, and beautiful phrasing” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer), as well as consistently demonstrating an unparalleled level of refined musicianship and stage presence” (The Strad).  This was evidenced in his triumph at the 2015 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium, where he captured Second Prize and went on to perform Laureate concerts throughout Belgium with the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège in Liege, Brussels, Namur, Charleroi, Hasselt, and Antwerp, and with the Brussels Philharmonic in Bruges and Ghent.  In 2015-2016, he performs in Europe at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Rotary Club d’Arlon in Belgium, and the Rotary Gent-Zuid in Gent, and in the U.S., where he appears in recitals and concerto engagements at University of Florida Performing Arts, Tannery Pond Concerts, Merkin Concert Hall, the Embassy Series, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony, the DuPage Symphony, and the Meridian Symphony.  He makes his Alice Tully Hall concerto debut with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s on the Young Concert Artists Gala Concert in May 2016.

Jorge Federico Osorio FINAL THOUGHTS The Last Piano Works of SCHUBERT & BRAHMS


Jorge Federico Osorio, “an imaginative interpreter with a powerful technique (The New York Times), deftly pairs Brahms’s final solo piano works with those by Schubert for an inventive program of richly satisfying works that capture the essence of each composer’s towering individuality. 
Osorio records Brahms’s Three Intermezzos, Op. 117, and Six Piano Pieces, Op. 118, for the first time. He revisits Brahms’s Seven Fantasies, Op. 116, and Four Piano Pieces, Op. 119, which he last recorded nearly two decades ago, to great acclaim: “Quite marvelous,” said BBC Music Magazine. “It’s clear that Jorge Federico Osorio is an important Brahmsian,” proclaimed the Chicago Tribune. On his new album, Osorio’s penchant for color accentuates the individual character of these concentrated miniatures. 
On this, his first Schubert recording, Osorio, whom the Los Angeles Times called “one of the more elegant and accomplished pianists on the planet,” presents the composer’s final two Piano Sonatas, D. 959 and D. 960, epic in scale and brimming with melodic invention. Osorio’s insights into the music’s architecture yield eloquent performances of these spacious, ambitious masterworks. Osorio’s Cedille Records albums of Mexican and Spanish music have introduced the pianist to new audiences worldwide. Now they can hear his artistry in more of the core German repertoire that has been central to his concert life for decades. 
Osorio has performed Brahms’s Piano Quintet with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Mexican-born, European-trained virtuoso has served as artistic director of Mexico’s Brahms Chamber Music Festival. He has received the Medalla Bellas Artes, the highest honor granted by Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Gina Bachauer Award. (Cedille Records)

sábado, 20 de mayo de 2017

Sandrine Chatron / Ophélie Gaillard / Michael Bennett A BRITISH PROMENADE

A 1994 graduate of the Paris Conservatory in harp and chamber music, Sandrine Chatron is also the winner of the Louise Charpentier Competition (1998) and the Arles chamber music competition, as well as being distinguished by the Natexis-Banque Populaire Foundation and the ‘Déclic’ series of Cultures-France. She avidly stands up for the repertoire of her instrument, from the classical harp to contemporary creation, whether as a soloist or chamber player, and within prestigious orchestral ensembles. 
As a soloist, she has performed in the Présences festival, at the Champs-Élysées Theatre, the Orsay Museum and the Maison de Radio France, with the Orchestre Colonne, the Ensemble Fa, La Grande Écurie & La Chambre du Roy, the Nederlands Kammer Orkest and the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra. She has premiered works by Pierre Boulez (Sur Incises), K. Maratka in 2010, S. Yoshida in 2009, and R. Nillni at the Festival Présences in 2008. 
She takes pleasure in revealing unpublished or little-known scores and has to her credit two critically-acclaimed albums, with Naïve for the Ambroisie collection (‘André Caplet and his contemporaries’ in 2005), and in 2009 ‘Le Salon de Musique de Marie-Antoinette’, recorded on a single-action Erard harp from the Musée de la Musique. She was appointed solo harpist of the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest in 2009. Since 2012 she has taught at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. 

As the title of her new disc British Promenade suggests it, the harpist Sandrine Chatron takes us on a musical wandering in the early 20th England. Along the journey, we meet little known artists, such as Herbert Howells or Cyril Scott, but also the famous Benjamin Britten. Their scores for harp carry us to England, among coastal views and bucolic landscapes. The lyricism of Ophélie Gaillard's cello and the warmth of Michael Bennett's tenor voice enhance the evocative power of the music and complete the pointillist qualities of the harp. (Aparté)

Sharon Bezaly WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Complete Works for Flute & Orchestra

When the greater part of the programme on this disc was released as the BIS 2005 Catalogue Disc, the response was electrifying. Sharon Bezaly was described as ‘God’s gift to the flute’ in The Times (UK), and a quote from the review in BBC Music Magazine is representative: ‘Bezaly's exquisite, technically immaculate, compelling playing sets new standards in this repertoire, as do Kalevi Aho's stunning cadenzas, composed especially for this recording.’ Other reviewers agreed, and the disc received top marks in Le Monde de la Musique, Crescendo, Musica and other magazines as well as on radio stations and web sites such as Classics Today. This staggeringly successful title – 145 000 copies sold worldwide! – is now made available again with the important inclusion of a newly made recording of the Concerto for Flute and Harp. At a session in October 2007, we reunited the performers and recording crew of the 2005 disc in the original venue, with the addition of the eminent harpist Julie Palloc as co-soloist. Furthermore, Finnish composer Kalevi Aho again provided the cadenzas for the work, as he had for the other concertos on the disc. The result is not to be missed – a 24 carat, complete collection of all Mozart’s works for flute and orchestra, on a hybrid SACD with the extremely generous playing time of 81 minutes and 52 seconds! (BIS Records)

Armida Quartett FUGA MAGNA

Since its success at the ARD International Competition in 2012, at which the Armida Quartet took First Prize, the Audience Prize and six other special awards, the career of the young Berlin string quartet has developed sensationally. 
Founded in Berlin in 2006, the quartet took its name from an opera by Haydn, the “father of the string quartet”. Still receiving the tutelage of Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartet) and Reinhard Goebel, the ensemble has also studied with members of the Artemis Quartet for several years.
The Armida Quartet won first prize at the Geneva Competition in 2011 and received several scholarships, including those of the Irene Steels-Wilsing Foundation and the Schierse Foundation in Berlin. The Armida Quartet is also taking part in the BBC New Generation Artists’ scheme between 2014 and 2016.

Armida Quartett MOZART String Quartets K. 169 - 464 - 589

The members of the Armida quartet have taken a very close look at the original manuscript of Mozart’s Quartet in A Major, K. 464. It is one of the six Haydn Quartets which he wrote after a ten-year hiatus in the genre. This time he dedicated the six works to Haydn in person: al mio caro amico Haydn – “to my dear friend Haydn”, with whom he was now making music in Vienna on a regular basis. Here, once more, Mozart was “reacting” to works written by his model: Haydn’s op. 33, to be specific. Johanna Staemmler notes: “Mozart seemed to have no interest in trying to please someone with this work”. Funda adds: “The first movement sets in rather sparsely, sounding like an uncertain quest”. “And in the last movement, a chorale emerges out of nowhere! Mozart was clearly composing music that would make him reach beyond his own horizons.” Johanna Staemmler pursues. In these quartets he was not writing for his large Vienna audience. While keeping them thrilled and happy with concertos and sym- phonies, he was embarking on a quasi-elitist exchange with Haydn. Spurred by his friend’s evident genius, he wanted to present him with his own ideas, staking everything in the game. And Haydn react- ed with the highest praise. He avowed to Mozart’s father: “As an honest man I swear to you before God: your son is the greatest composer I have ever met or heard of”. Funda points out that the parts in this quartet are more equally distributed. In fact, the part of the 2nd violin is a masterpiece in itself, as his colleague remarks: “This is an incredible part, in utter contrast with the 2nd violin in Quartet K. 169.” Staemmler particularly loves the D Minor variation in the 2nd movement: “Mozart’s creative process is quite interesting: he originally added this variation at the end of the movement, on the last page, as No. 6, but then chose to insert it as the 4th variation. In the score it’s fascinating to note how his plan evolved. You can tell that he was grappling with his own ideas. I am convinced that one should perform from the manuscript, which is much more inspiring than present-day printed scores with their predictably correct layout. In the autograph we see which emotions took hold of him – whether Mozart was composing tranquilly or in a rage; at ease, or pressed for time.”

viernes, 19 de mayo de 2017

Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks / The Hilliard Ensemble / Münchner Rundfunkorchester ARVO PÄRT Live

Arvo Pärt, who was born in Estonia in 1935, has succeeded in bringing sacred music back to a broader audience, and away from the confines of the church service, more than almost any other contemporary composer. The meditative character of his works, and his return to the simplest and most basic musical forms, convey moments of intense spirituality. Even before his emigration from the Soviet Union to Austria and then to Germany, Pärt had already invented what he termed the tintinnabuli style of composition (from the Latin word for a bell). He produced an early and important example of this style in 1977 with the ""Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten"", scored for string orchestra and bell, and it is also a key feature of the three great choral works that form the greater part of this new BR-KLASSIK CD ""Arvo Pärt: Live"", namely the ""Seven Magnificat Antiphons"" for mixed choir a capella, the large-scale oratorio ""Cecilia, vergine romana"" for mixed choir and orchestra, and the vocal work Litany Prayers of St John Chrysostom for Each Hour of the Day and Night for soloists, mixed choir and orchestra. Also included on this CD is the ""Collage on B-A-C-H"" for strings, oboe, harpsichord and piano. Composed in 1964, before Pärt's aesthetic reorientation, it is one of his most famous works. Despite its radical reduction of means of expression, Pärt's music demands the greatest care in execution from those performing it and this has been masterfully realized in the present recording by the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, whose combined and homogenous sound is a direct result of their regular cooperation. Ulf Schirmer, Marcello Viotti und the choir's current artistic director Peter Dijkstra here demonstrate their deep familiarity with the subtle sound-world of Arvo Pärt.These live recordings were made at Munich concerts in July 2000, February and December 2005, and January and October 2011, all of which received public and critical acclaim.

Rachel Barton Pine BEL CANTO - PAGANINI 24 caprices and other works for solo violin

Billboard chart-topping violinist Rachel Barton Pine traverses Paganini’s ground breaking set of 24 Caprices with virtuosic flair and, in equal measure, reverence for the bel canto, or “beautiful singing,'' style of the composer’s generation. Playing on the ‘ex-Bazzini, ex-Soldat’ Guarneri del Gesù violin from 1742, made by the same Cremona-based maker in the same year as Paganini’s own violin, Rachel channels the composer’s own technical wizardry as well as his love for beautiful melodies. Rachel was first introduced to Paganini’s Caprices at the age of six. In her early twenties she gave her first performance of all 24 Caprices in a single concert, a feat she has accomplished several times since including at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. and the Ravinia Festival. Rachel fills out this release with other pyrotechnical works by Paganini, including his “Duet for One”, Caprice d’adieu and the Introduction and Variations on ‘Nel cor più non mi sento’ from Giovanni Paisiello’s opera La molinara. Inspired by Paganini’s legacy of virtuosic themes and variations, Rachel concludes the set with her own Introduction, Theme and Variations on ‘God Defend New Zealand’, written in 2000 for the final concert of her first tour of that country. Paganini dedicated his 24 Caprices ''to all the artists.” Rachel in turn dedicates this recording to “all the listeners,” of which there will be legions.

jueves, 18 de mayo de 2017

Nataša Antoniazzo / Mia Elezović MIGNON Aus Goethes "Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre"

This recital CD by Croatian-born mezzo-soprano, Nataša Antoniazzo, is a traversal of various settings of the Mignon texts from Goethe’s ‘Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre’, the German master’s second great bildungsroman, in which the eponymous hero is drawn to the young maid, Mignon. The girl, having been abducted from her homeland in Italy gives the ever-present sense of nostalgia, loss and innocence in suffering and ultimately tragedy, that the romantic, particularly Germanic, composer finds himself drawn to. With her appendages of simplicity and the sunshine of the south, the girl Mignon suffuses the music she inspired. The most famous verses are the words of Mignonherself, including the most well-known: ’Kennst du das Land?’ Apart from the ever popular Schubert settings, this disc includes settings by Beethoven, Schumann, Wolf,Tchaikovsky, Liszt and the youthful Alban Berg.
Nataša Antoniazzo is a masters graduate of the Music Academy in Zagreb, Croatia. She has also taken part in international masterclasses with Sena Jurinac (Vienna), Grace Bumbry (at the international summer school of the Mozarteum, Salzburg), and Jonathan Morris (Switzerland) among others. She continues to perform as a soloist with the Croatian National Opera and around Europe, also performing widely as a lieder recitalist and has been broadcast by Croatian Radio and Television. in addition to performing, Nataša teaches music and dramatic studies at the Libertas International University in Zagreb and gives guest lectures at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.
 Japanese-Croatian pianist, Mia Elezović, studied at the Music Academy in Zagreb, Croatia, and continued her studies at the University for Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna and the Manhattan School of Music in New York. Mia is the laureate of many competitions and has been a grant recipient of the Soros Foundation. As well as giving solo recitals, she is in demand internationally as a chamber musician. In addition, Mia teaches courses in New York, the Royal Conservatoire in Liége, Belgium, and in the music academies of Split and Osijek, Croatia.

Leila Schayegh / Jörg Halubek JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Sei Suonate à Cembalo certato è Violino Solo BWV 1014-1019

Two rising stars in today’s firmament of Baroque music performance, Leila Schayegh and Jörg Halubek, join forces to record one of the major challenges in their joint repertory: the six Bach Violin Sonatas, BWV 1014-1019. 
The collection’s title, Sei Suonate à Cembalo certato è Violino Solo, reflects the close partnership demanded of the violin and harpsichord players, with Bach moving away from the idea of continuo support for a solo instrument and constantly making new technical demands on the musicians and thereby approaching the concept of the triosonata. Completed by around 1725, most of these richlycharacterful works combine the slow-fast-slowfast sequence of movements found in Italian works and a cantabile tone with elements of German contrapuntal style. 
The artistic partnership of Schayegh and Halubek, now in its tenth year, has seen them record chamber music by Jean-Marie Leclair, CPE Bach and Giovanni Mossi but the Bach Violin Sonatas represents their first joint recording for Glossa (Schayegh took part in the recent much-acclaimed recording of Caldara Trio Sonatas, Op 1 with Amandine Beyer for the label, as well as regularly having featured on many of La Risonanza’s Glossa releases). As Schayegh and Habulek mention in their shared booklet essay guiding the listener through the Violin Sonatas (and through the 12 represented keys which are also reflected in the set’s graphic design), they have added two movements from the earlier version of the final Sonata, BWV 1019a as a kind of cheerful and delightful encore.

miércoles, 17 de mayo de 2017

Christiane Karg PORTRAIT





"All of the recordings I have borrowed from, whether they be pure lieder programmes with Burkhard Kehring and Malcolm Martineau, or those with Jonathan Cohen and his ensemble Arcangelo, are the fruit of longstanding ideas, the outcome of hours of sifting through material in libraries and archives, and the result of discussions with artistic colleagues. All of these pieces provide some form of insight into my inner thoughts, my very soul." (Christiane Karg)

Le Concert Spirituel / Hervé Niquet LULLY Persée 1770

Nearly a century after its composition, Lully’s Persée was recreated in 1770 to mark an exceptional event: the inauguration of the Royal Opera House at Versailles Palace, built to celebrate the wedding of the Dauphin (the future Louis XVI) and Marie Antoinette. For this unique occasion, three composers (Antoine Dauvergne, François Rebel and Bernard de Bury) were commissioned to revise Lully’s work and adapt it to the new circumstances and the new venue, which was regarded as absolutely extraordinary in its time.
Lovers of Lully’s opera will therefore meet their mythological hero again, now with a richer orchestration and more for the chorus and the ballet dancers to do. There were only two performances in 1770, but they were absolutely sumptuous: 95 choristers, 15 soloists, 80 dancers, 100 extras, 80 instrumentalists, five sets and 530 costumes.
You can now relive that historic event thanks to a recording conducted by the leading specialist in this repertory, Hervé Niquet, and a CD-book richly illustrated with engravings of the period and photos of the Opéra Royal and of manuscripts of the score.
Recorded at Versailles Palace in 2016, in collaboration with the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles.

lunes, 15 de mayo de 2017

The Tallis Scholars ARVO PÄRT Tintinnabuli

Given that the music of Arvo Pärt is among a vanishingly small group by whom it is possible to follow a clear line back to ‘early’ music, The Tallis Scholars are, on paper, the best group imaginable to record his music. Peter Phillips has disagreed in the past with the idea that there is a direct link between the two – it is certainly the case that the stasis that underpins Pärt’s harmony creates a kind of timelessness that is less, not more, in need of historical context – but either way, the purity of The Tallis Scholars’ sound provides the perfect scaffolding for the pieces on this disc. Not least because the bell-like, note-clustering Tintinnabuli music of Pärt (illustrated here in its most basic form in the Magnificat) is there specifically to address the issue of perception, time and history.
The argument about whether Pärt is a composer affected by context or simply creating music out of a vacuum continues, but in many ways its calm equilibrium is an engaging mystery that could only be considered regressive if viewed in its dimmest light. And in their performance (immaculate as always, apart from a very few issues – largely at the top of the texture – with vowel sounds and clarity of words), The Tallis Scholars have presented their chosen repertoire in the way they have always done best – as a sound world of profound beauty. (Caroline Gill / Gramophone)

Julia Severus RACHMANINOV Rare Piano Transcriptions

Julia Severus began playing the piano at the age of four. She graduated from the Berlin University of Arts and from Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where she studied with Mikhail Voskresensky and Lev Naumov. She received her Ph.D. from the Technische Universität Berlin for her dissertation on J.S. Bach’s Articulation Practice.
In 2002 she founded the piano ensembles Aurora Duo and Quartet, performing numerous premières and world premières, among them Rodion Shchedrin’s Hommage à Chopin. Their recordings for two pianos, eight hands, of Russian Romantic piano transcriptions (Naxos 8.557717) and of Norwegian contemporary composers have received excellent reviews. With her colleague Alina Luschtschizkaja, Julia Severus made the first recording of the complete Tchaikovsky ballet suites (Naxos 8.570418). Her solo recordings of Franck’s early piano works (Naxos 8.572901) and Bizet’s complete solo piano works (Naxos 8.570831-32) have been highly acclaimed. The latter was presented on Le Carrefour de Lodéon and Les Stars du Classique, France, and was awarded CD of the Week by RBB, Germany. The Guardian wrote: “She just lets the music speak for itself...”

Sergey Rachmaninov’s songs rival his piano works in terms of popularity, and are the culmination of a uniquely Russian lyrical tradition. Piano transcription became a fashionable art form in its own right after Liszt’s work in the genre, and Rachmaninov’s elaborate piano parts make his romances ideal for solo performance in works that express effortless sensuality as well as darkness and loss. Unearthed in 2002, Rachmaninov’s own transcription of his remarkable Suite in D minor explores both tragic depths and lighthearted bravura.

domingo, 14 de mayo de 2017

Esther Hoppe / Alasdair Beatson MOZART & POULENC Works for Violin & Piano

The Swiss violinist Esther Hoppe is amongst the most interesting artists of her generation. Highly acclaimed by the press for her beautiful tone, her exceptional stylistic assurance and her sensitive yet virtuosic performances she always lets her stupendous technique serve the purest music making.
After studying in Basel (Musik-Akademie Basel), Philadelphia (Curtis Institute of Music), London (Guildhall School of Music and Drama) and Zürich (Zürcher Hochschule der Künste) she went on to win 1st Prize at the 8th International Mozart Competition Salzburg. Soon after she founded the Tecchler Trio with whom she concertized intensively until 2011. The trio won several first prizes at important competitions, such as 1st prize at the ARD-competition in Munich in 2007.
Since 2013 Esther Hoppe is professor for violin at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. She leads an exciting concert calendar and performs as a soloist with Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Münchener Kammerorchester, Orchestre Les Siècles Paris, Kammerorchester Basel, Zürcher Kammerorchester amongst others, and her chamber music partners include Clemens and Veronika Hagen, Nicolas Altstaedt, Vilde Frang, Heinz Holliger, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Alexander Lonquich, Christian Poltéra and Ronald Brautigam.Esther Hoppe is a regular guest at festivals such as Lockenhaus, Ernen, Luzern, Gstaad, Delft, Prussia Cove, Styriarte etc.
After her first CD for Claves records (2014, with works by Mozart and Strawinsky with pianist Alasdair Beatson) was highly acclaimed by the press, a second CD with sonatas by Mozart and Poulenc will be released by Claves records in January 2017, again together with pianist Alasdair Beatson. She has also recorded with Virgin Classics, Neos, Concentus Records, and Ars Musici.
Esther Hoppe plays on a 1690 Gioffredo Cappa violin. She lives with her family in Zürich.

Fabien Thouand / Andrea Rebaudengo SCHUBERT - SCHUMANN Der Wanderer

In 1996 Fabien Thouand was awarded first prize of the Conservatoire National de Region de Paris, where he studied in the class Jean-Claude Jaboulay. He then pursued his studies at the CNSM de Paris, initially under the guidance of Jacques Tys and Jean-Louis Capezzali, winning first prize unanimously in 2000, and then partaking in the master course of Maurice Bourgue there the following year.
In 2001 Thouand won the 2nd prize in the “Prague Spring International Music Competition” and the 3rd prize in the “Giuseppe Tomassini” international competition in Petritoli. He was awarded the 3rd prize at the “Toulon Wind Instruments International Competition” in May 2002.
Since then he has pursued a career in France and abroad, specializing in the field of orchestral and chamber repertoire. As a soloist, he has been invited to perform with orchestras including the ones of  La Monnaie (Bruxelles),Bayerischer  Rundfunk Symphonie Orchester, London Symphonie Orchestra, Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich), Opera de Lyon, Bamberger Symphoniker the Camerata Salzburg as well as the Toulouse National Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Ochestra of Europe. Furthermore, he has played under the baton of renowned conductors such as Ricardo Muti, Loreen Maazel, Zubin Metha, Yuri Termikanov, Kurt Mazur, Charles Dutoit, Claudio Abbado, Valery Gergiev and Daniel Barenboim
Beyond his career as a performing musician, he is also active as a teacher, being nominated principal oboe teacher at the Lugano School of Music in 2011 and assistant teacher at the CNSM of Lyon in 2010.
Recently nominated oboe teacher at the Royal College of Music of London.

sábado, 13 de mayo de 2017

Kate Lindsey / Baptiste Trotignon THOUSANDS OF MILES

Closing the distance between classical music and Broadway, between the old and new worlds, between opera and jazz... Thousands of Miles is born out of an encounter between two extraordinary performers: opera star Kate Lindsey and jazz pianist Baptiste Trotignon.
For their debut joint album, Kate Lindsey and Baptiste Trotignon have produced a rich and varied programme around the songs of Kurt Weill, from Nanna’s Lied and Trouble Man, to classics from The Threepenny Opera and Lost in the Stars. The journey through three European languages brings the listener to the very beginnings of jazz, and features new arrangements and deft improvisations by the award-winning Trotignon. They also pay homage to three composers who, like Weill, were forced to leave their homelands in Germany and Austria, emigrating to the ‘new world’ of the United States of America and taking their stories and styles with them: Alma Mahler, Zemlinsky and Korngold. The disparate group are united by a shared narrative, their songs all speaking of intense longing and homesickness. Several songs have rarely been recorded before.
London-based, American mezzo soprano Kate Lindsey has thrilled audiences around the globe with her performances of Mozart and Purcell, but grew up steeped in the music of Broadway, from Gershwin to Cole Porter. She comments “the works on Thousands of Miles all share a deep, complex search for a sense of belonging, for a collective spirit, for a physical and emotional home. In exploring this idea, Baptiste and I brought together our two very different musical worlds. It was a journey where we both had to open ourselves up and make ourselves vulnerable, myself as a classically-trained singer, and Baptiste, who has rhythm in his DNA. Together, I hope we developed a deep mutual understanding of each other's musical language and used it to enrich our own.”

viernes, 12 de mayo de 2017

Pacho Flores / Jesús "Pingüino" González ENTROPÍA

Project conceived from the fusion of two artists, shearing their musical experience and influences from their own Latin-American origin, in addition to those acquired through their solo careers. This work has had much care and attentiveness put into it, with a selection of the finest pieces of some of the most relevant composers, and interpreted in an exquisite, talented, and conscious manner. 

Pacho Flores was awarded First Prize in the “Maurice André” International Contest, the most renowned trumpet Contest in the world, as well as First Prize in the “Philip Jones” International Contest and First Prize in the “Cittá di Porcia” International contest. Trained in the marvelous Orchestra System for Youth and Children in Venezuela, he received top recognition for his performances, recitals, and recordings as a soloist.

Natalie Dessay BAROQUE

Baroque repertoire has always played a part in Natalie Dessay’s stellar career. She first started singing it in 1999, after meeting Emmanuelle Haïm during rehearsals for Alcina at the Opera de Paris - Palais Garnier. Erato presents this double CD containing a full portrait of Natalie Dessay singing baroque music, including sacred repertoire (Bach cantatas, Magnificat, Handel: Dixit Dominus) and opera (Handel: Giulio Cesare or Rameau: Les Indes Galantes) – mainly under the baton of Emmanuelle Haïm who she formed a baroque ‘double-act’ with for over a decade. As Emmanuelle Haïm writes in the booklet: “We performed Bach, Monteverdi, Handel and Rameau on stage as well as on recordings. Natalie is a wonderful interpreter of this music, as she always is, graceful and with a unique inspiration”.

jueves, 11 de mayo de 2017

Jirí Barta / Schola Gregoriana Pragensis DIALOGUES

The renowned ensemble Schola Gregoriana Pragensis and the leading Czech cellist Jiri Barta have been pursuing dialogues on concert stages for a number of years. They share abundant experience of music both early and contemporary, improvisation and seeking. The fruit of their encounters is a recording that is a multilayered dialogue between the sonorous sound of the cello and the male voice, a dialogue between the chorale and medieval polyphony and the creation of the past few decades, music written and improvised. The idea of "mirroring the past in the present" is the overarching theme connecting pieces by contemporary composers. Peter Graham's Suite for Cello Solo reveals his having been inspired by Bach solo suites. The contemporary musical phraseology and the Gregorian tradition are originally interconnected in the meditative composition Miserere by the Polish creator Paweˆ Szymanski, while the structure of Arvo Part's famous piece Fratres is a sort of reminiscence of medieval polyphony.
The music, in places verging on silence, affords the listener scope for inner soothing and perception of fine nuances that often remain concealed to us in the turbulent world around. (Supraphon 2010)