Various Artists – Pianissimo – Music for Quiet Moments (1998)

FrontCover1Only in the silence can music touch a chord within us, and create a distant echo. And it is through the silence that the piano can open and blossom with it incomporable voice, and the vibration of its strings melt into melody. Since the invention of the modern pianoforte in the 18th century, composers have again and again been inspired by its special sensibilities, and the capacity of this instrument to encompass the slightest expressive nuances and translate them into sound.

On this CD you will find a collection of the loveliest piano melodies in musical history: whether the “Adagio Sostenuto” from Beethovens Moonlight Sonata, or the “Largo” from his Piano Concerto, whether Liszt´s “Liebestraum” or Schumann´s “Träumerei”, the “Adagio” from Grieg´s Piano Concerto, or Chopin´s “Nocturen”, all show this instrument has struck a chord in these sompoers (taken form the original linernotes)

A great album for contemplation and solitude.

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Tracklist:
01. Alfredo Perl: Adagio Sostenuto (Mondscheinsonate) (Beethoven) 6.07
02. Lisa Smirnova & Jena Philharmonic Orchestra (David Montgomery): Largo Piano Concerto No 1 Op. 15 Beethoven) 10.44
03. Ricardo Castro: Adagio Piano Sonata KV 332 (Mozart) 4.17
04. Carmen Piazzini: Adagio Piano Sonata No 27 Hob. XVI (Haydn) 5.03
05. Nadja Rubanenko: Sehr langsam – Kreisleriana Op. 16 (Schumann) 4.16
06. Alfredo Perl & Orquesta Filarmónica De Gran Canaria (Adrian Leaper): Adagio – Piano Concerto Op. 16 (Grieg) 6.56
07. Carmen Piazzini: Danza del moza donosa (Ginastera) 3.30
08. Carmen Piazzini: Cancion de las Venusinas (Piazzolla) 2.10
09. Arkady Sevidov: Barcarolle The Seasons Op. 37b (Tchaikovsky) 5.20
10. Ricardo Castro: Nocturne #1 In B Flat Minor, Op. 9-1 (Chopin) 5.39
11. Michael Krücker: Liebestraum Op. 62 No. 3 (Liszt) 4.43
12. Andreas Bach: Träumerei  (Schumann) 2.20
13. Vladimir Mishtchuk & Russian Philharmonic Orchestra (Samuel Friedmann):  Adagio sostenuto Piano Concerto No. 2 Op. 18 (Rachmaninov) 11.37

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Vienna Philharmonic & Willy Boskovsky – Das Schönste aus den Neujahrskonzerten (The best from the New Year’s concerts) (1977)

FrontCover1The Vienna New Year’s Concert (Neujahrskonzert der Wiener Philharmoniker) is an annual concert of classical music performed by the Vienna Philharmonic on the morning of New Year’s Day in Vienna, Austria. The concert occurs at the Musikverein at 11:15. The orchestra performs the same concert programme on 30 December, 31 December, and 1 January but only the last concert is regularly broadcast on radio and television.

The concert programmes always include pieces from the Strauss family—Johann Strauss I, Johann Strauss II, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss. On occasion, music principally of other Austrian composers, including Joseph Hellmesberger Jr., Joseph Lanner, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Otto Nicolai (the Vienna Philharmonic’s founder), Emil von Reznicek, Franz Schubert, Franz von Suppé, and Carl Michael Ziehrer has featured in the programmes. In 2009, music by Joseph Haydn was played for the first time, where the 4th movement of his “Farewell” Symphony marked the 200th anniversary of his death. Other European composers such as Hans Christian Lumbye, Jacques Offenbach, Émile Waldteufel, Richard Strauss, Verdi, and Tchaikovsky have been featured in recent programmes. (wikipedia)

You can find more informations about the Vienna New Year’s Concert here.

Musikverein concert hall, Vienna

Willibald Karl Boskovsky (16 June 1909 – 21 April 1991) was an Austrian violinist and conductor, best known as the long-standing conductor of the Vienna New Year’s Concert.

Boskovsky was born in Vienna, and joined the Vienna Academy of music at the age of nine. He was the concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic from 1939 to 1971. He was also, from 1955, the conductor of the Vienna New Year’s Concert, which is mostly devoted to the music of Johann Strauss II and his contemporaries. Along with the Vienna Philharmonic, he was also the chief conductor of the Wiener Johann Strauss Orchester up until his death. A forerunner of this ensemble was the 19th-century Strauss Orchestra founded by Johann Strauss I in 1835. He died in Visp, Switzerland.

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In chamber ensemble he led the Boskovsky Quartet with Philipp Matheis (2nd violin), Gunther Breitenbach (viola) and Nikolaus Hübner (violoncello). The Boskovsky Quartet, together with Johann Krump (double-bass), Alfred Boskovsky (clarinet), Josef Veleba (horn) and Rudolf Hanzl (bassoon) formed the Vienna Octet.

Boskovsky was also a Mozart performer: he recorded all the sonatas for violin and piano, with pianist Lili Kraus, and the complete trios for violin, piano and cello, with Kraus and Nikolaus Hübner for Les Discophiles Français. He played in Brahms’ Double Concerto in A minor, Op.102, with Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting the Vienna Philharmonic.

A month after his last New Year’s Concert, after having already agreed with Alfred Altenburger to conduct again in 1980, on January 30, 1979, he was hit by a stroke, which caused him a slight paralysis on the right side. In October 1979, the convalescence being too slow, he communicated his decision to give up and the orchestra asked Lorin Maazel, designated director of the Wiener Staatsoper, to carry on the tradition of these concerts.

He died in Visp, Valais (Switzerland) at the age of 81. (wikipedia)

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And here is a double LP from Germany (the liner notes are written in German), exceptionally not a live recording, but studio recordings …

Some of the titles are quite funny and the Johann Strauss son was apparently also a joker, because he liked to use sound gimmicks like pistol shots, whip cracks or a whistle …

And then I would like to point out the “Pizzicato Polka”, a little gimmick of a special kind:

Pizzicato – this term is borrowed from the Italian language and literally means plucked. It refers to a playing technique in which the strings are plucked with the fingers.

So, a polka that is only plucked on the violin … is not something you hear every day.

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Personnel:
Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Willi Boskovsky

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Tracklist:
01. Ouvertüre from „Der Zigeunerbaron“ (Johann Strauß Sohn) 7.20
02. Wiener Blut, Walzer Op. 354 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 7.58
03. Tritsch-Tratsch, Polka schnell Op. 214 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 2.35
04. Frauenherz, Polka-Mazur Op. 166 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 4.00
05. Eingesendet, Polka schnell Op. 240 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 1.48
06. Bahn frei!, Polka schnell Op. 45 Eduard Strauß) 2.20
07. Freut euch des Lebens, Walzer Op. 340 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 8.01
08. Vergnügungszug, Polka schnell Op. 281 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 2.45
09. Fledermaus-Quadrille, Op. 363 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 7.50
10. Perpetuum Mobile, musikalischer Scherz Op. 257 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 2.47
11. Ouvertüre „Die Schöne Galathee“ (v.Suppé) 6.44
12. Plappermäulchen, Polka schnell Op. 245 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 2.38
13. Frühligsstimmen, Walzer Op. 410 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 6.02
14. Pizzicato-Polka (Johann Strauß Sohn) 2.34
15. Banditen-Galopp, Op. 378 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 2.12
16. Persischer Marsch, Op. 289 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 1.55
17. Eljen A Magyar, Ungarische Polka Schnell Op. 332 2.34
18. Auf der Jagd, Polka schnell Op. 373 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 2.05
19. Feuerfest, Polka Op. 269 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 2.51
20. Unter Donner und Blitz, Polka schnell Op. 324 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 3.02
21. Annen-Polka, Op. 117 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 3.56
22. An der schönen Blauen Donau, Walzer Op. 314 (Johann Strauß Sohn) 9.14
23. Radetzky-Marsch, Op. 228 (Johann Strauß Vater) 2.53

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Various Artists – Mozart For Meditation (2004)

FrontCover1The youngest child and only surviving son of Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus was born in Salzburg in 1756, the publication year of his father’s influential treatise on violin playing. He showed early precocity both as a keyboard player and violinist, and soon turned his hand to composition. His obvious gifts were developed, along with those of his elder sister, under his father’s tutelage, and the family, through the indulgence of their then patron, the Archbishop of Salzburg, was able to travel abroad—specifically between 1763 and 1766, to Paris and to London. A series of other journeys followed, with important operatic commissions in Italy between 1771 and 1773. The following period proved disappointing to both father and son as the young Mozart grew to manhood and was irked by the lack of opportunity and lack of appreciation for his gifts in Salzburg, where a new archbishop was less sympathetic.

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A visit to Munich, Mannheim and Paris in 1777 and 1778 brought no substantial offer of other employment and by early 1779 Mozart was reinstated in Salzburg, now as court organist. Early in 1781 he had a commissioned opera, Idomeneo, staged in Munich for the Elector of Bavaria, and dissatisfaction after being summoned to attend his patron the Archbishop in Vienna led to his dismissal. Mozart spent the last 10 years of his life in precarious independence in Vienna, his material situation not improved by a marriage imprudent for one in his circumstances. Initial success with German and then Italian opera and a series of subscription concerts were followed by financial difficulties. In 1791 things seemed to have taken a turn for the better, despite a lack of interest from the successor to the Emperor Joseph II, who had died in 1790. In late November, however, Mozart became seriously ill and died in the small hours of 5 December. Mozart’s compositions were catalogued in the 19th century by Köchel, and they are now generally distinguished by the K. numbering from this catalogue. (naxos.com)

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And here´s a real pretty good compilation …

It´s time to discover the one and only Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart again !

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Tracklist:
Janos Balint (flute), Nora Mercz (harp):
01. Andante in C major, K315 for flute and orchestra 6.19

Jenö Jandó (piano) & Concentus Hungaricus (Matyas Antal):
02. Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488: II. Adagio 7.15

Priti Coles (soprano). Kosice Teachers’ Choir & Camerata Cassovia (Johannes Wildner):
03. Vesperae solennes de confessore, K. 339: Laudate Dominum 4.56

Cappella Istropolitana (Harald Nerat):
04. Divertimento No. 15 in B-Flat Major, K. 287, “Lodron Night Music No. 2”: IV. Adagio 8.11

German Wind Soloists:
05. Serenade No. 10 in B-Flat Major, K. 361, “Gran Partita”: IV. Adagio 5.57

Kosice Teachers’ Choir, Camerata Cassovia (Johannes Wildner):
06. Ave Verum Corpus, K. 618  2.43

Jenö Jandó (piano) & Concentus Hungaricus (Andras Ligeti):
07. Adagio in E Major, K. 261 6.34

Jean Claude Gerard (flute) & Villa Musica Ensemble:
08. Flute Quartet No. 1 in D Major, K. 285: II. Adagio 2.42

Takako Nishizaki (violin) & Cappella Istropolitana (Stephen Gunzenhauser).
09. Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, K. 216: II. Adagio 8.24

 Cappella Istropolitana (Harald Nerat):
10. Divertimento No. 2 in D Major, K. 131: II. Adagio 5.58

Music Wolfang Amadeus Mozart

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Various Artists – Bach For Meditation (2004)

FrontCover1When someone like me travels to Leipzig, he can’t help himself … but to occupy himself with Johann Sebastian Bach !

Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March (or)21 March 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the late Baroque period. He is known for his orchestral music such as the Brandenburg Concertos; instrumental compositions such as the Cello Suites; keyboard works such as the Goldberg Variations and The Well-Tempered Clavier; organ works such as the Schubler Chorales and the Toccata and Fugue in D minor; and vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach revival he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers in the history of Western music.

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The Bach family already counted several composers when Johann Sebastian was born as the last child of a city musician in Eisenach. After being orphaned at the age of 10, he lived for five years with his eldest brother Johann Christoph, after which he continued his musical education in Lüneburg. From 1703 he was back in Thuringia, working as a musician for Protestant churches in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and, for longer stretches of time, at courts in Weimar, where he expanded his organ repertory, and Köthen, where he was mostly engaged with chamber music. From 1723 he was employed as Thomaskantor (cantor at St Thomas’s) in Leipzig. There he composed music for the principal Lutheran churches of the city, and for its university’s student ensemble Collegium Musicum. From 1726 he published some of his keyboard and organ music. In Leipzig, as had happened during some of his earlier positions, he had difficult relations with his employer, a situation that was little remedied when he was granted the title of court composer by his sovereign, Augustus III, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, in 1736. In the last decades of his life he reworked and extended many of his earlier compositions. He died of complications after eye surgery in 1750 at the age of 65.

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Bach enriched established German styles through his mastery of counterpoint, harmonic, and motivic organisation, and his adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach’s compositions include hundreds of cantatas, both sacred and secular. He composed Latin church music, Passions, oratorios, and motets. He often adopted Lutheran hymns, not only in his larger vocal works, but for instance also in his four-part chorales and his sacred songs. He wrote extensively for organ and for other keyboard instruments. He composed concertos, for instance for violin and for harpsichord, and suites, as chamber music as well as for orchestra. Many of his works employ the genres of canon and fugue.

Painting of Johann Sebastian Bach by ‘Gebel’, before 1798:
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Throughout the 18th century, Bach was primarily valued as an organist, while his keyboard music, such as The Well-Tempered Clavier, was appreciated for its didactic qualities. The 19th century saw the publication of some major Bach biographies, and by the end of that century all of his known music had been printed. Dissemination of scholarship on the composer continued through periodicals (and later also websites) exclusively devoted to him, and other publications such as the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV, a numbered catalogue of his works) and new critical editions of his compositions. His music was further popularised through a multitude of arrangements, including the Air on the G String and “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”, and of recordings, such as three different box sets with complete performances of the composer’s oeuvre marking the 250th anniversary of his death. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a real pretty good compilation …

It´s time to discover the one and only Johann Sebastian Bach !

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Personnel:
Unfortunately, the performers were not named on this CD.

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Tracklist:
01. Harpsichord Concerto, BWV 974: Adagio 4.18
02. Bach/Gounod: Ave Maria 3.09
03. Italian Concerto In F Major, BWV 971: Andante 5.11
04. Cello Suite No. 1: Prelude 2.34
05. Suite No. 2 In B Minor, BWV 1067: Sarabande 2.56
06. Jesu Bleibet Meine Freude 3.18
07. Orgelbüchlein: Ich Ruf Zu Dir, BWV 639 2.35
08. Piano Concerto In E Major: Siciliano 5.58
09. Easter Oratorio, BWV 249: Adagio 5.10
10. Suite No. 3 In D Major, BWV 1068: Air 5.02
11. Piano Concerto No. 5 In F Minor: Largo 2.48
12. Double Concerto In D Minor, BWV 1043: Largo 6.46
13. Sonata For Flute And Harpsichord In E Flat Major: Siciliana 2.06
14. Christmas Oratorio: Sinfonia 5.56
15. Violin Sonata No. 3 In C Major Trans. Guitar : Largo 3.20

Music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
except 02. composed by Johann Sebastian Bach & Charles Gounod

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The Bach Monument in Leipzig/Germany:
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The official website of the Bach Archive, Leipzig/Germany:
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Radu Lupu – Beethoven- Piano Sonatas #14, 8 & 21 (1973)

FrontCover1Radu Lupu CBE (30 November 1945 – 17 April 2022) was a Romanian pianist. He was widely recognized as one of the greatest pianists of his time.[3][4][5]

Born in Galați, Romania, Lupu began studying piano at the age of six. Two of his major piano teachers were Florica Musicescu, who also taught Dinu Lipatti, and Heinrich Neuhaus, who also taught Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels. From 1966 to 1969, he won three of the world’s most prestigious piano competitions: the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (1966), the George Enescu International Piano Competition (1967), and the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition (1969). These victories launched Lupu’s international career, and he appeared with all of the major orchestras and at all of the major festivals and music capitals of the world.

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From 1970 to 1993, Lupu made over 20 recordings for Decca Records. His solo recordings, which have received considerable acclaim, include works by Beethoven, Brahms, Grieg, Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann, including all of Beethoven’s piano concertos and five piano sonatas and other solo works; the Grieg and Schumann piano concertos, as well as three major solo works of Schumann; nine piano sonatas and the Impromptus and Moments musicaux of Schubert; various major solo works and the first piano concerto of Brahms; and two piano concertos of Mozart. His chamber music recordings for Decca include all of Mozart’s sonatas for violin and piano with Szymon Goldberg; the violin sonatas of Debussy and Franck with Kyung Wha Chung; and various works by Schubert for violin and piano with Goldberg.

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He additionally recorded works of Mozart and Schubert for piano four-hands and two pianos with Murray Perahia for CBS Masterworks, Schubert songs with Barbara Hendricks for EMI, and works by Schubert for piano four-hands with Daniel Barenboim for Teldec. In addition, Lupu is also noted for his performances of Bartók, Debussy, Enescu, and Janáček, among other composers.

Lupu was nominated for two Grammy Awards, winning one in 1996 for an album of two Schubert piano sonatas. In 1995, Lupu also won an Edison Award for a disc of three major piano works of Schumann. Other awards won by Lupu include the Franco Abbiati Prize in 1989 and 2006, and the 2006 Premio Internazionale Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli award. (wikipedia)

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Radu Lupu’s 1973 recital devoted to these popular “name” sonatas boasts gorgeous, roomy sonics that have not dated one iota. The performances, though full of absorbing and inspired pianism, are sometimes incongruous, stylistically speaking. The famous C-sharp minor sonata Adagio, for example, heaves, sighs, and swoons so that no dullard will miss its alleged “Moonlight” subtext. Mincing details soften the Allegretto’s woodwind-like atmosphere, while the finale erupts with violent accents and dynamic extremes. On the other hand, the grander-scaled Pathetique sonata is more conducive to Lupu’s theatrical conceits. Surprisingly, Lupu appoaches the Waldstein’s hurling brio with caution, yet turns in an inward, beautifully voiced Adagio that leads into a rather held-back finale–and do I hear some added octaves in the bass à la Backhaus? I also suspect that Lupu is cheating, playing the coda’s octaves with two hands, rather than as a glissando in one hand. Lupu might be way off base compared to more stylishly sound Beethovenians like Rudolf Serkin, Wilhelm Kempff, and Richard Goode. One thing’s for sure: Lupu’s performances are anything but faceless. (Jed Distler)

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Personnel:
Radu Lupu (piano)

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Tracklist:

Sonata In C Sharp Minor Op. 27 No. 2 ‘Moonlight’:
01. I: Adagio Sostenuto 7.05
02. II: Allegretto 2.35
03. III: Presto Agitato 7.48

Sonata In C Minor Op. 13 ‘Pathétique’:
04.
I: Grave – Allegro Molto E Con Brio 10.13
05. II: Adagio Cantabile 7.03
06. III: Rondo – Allegro 5.06

Sonata In C Major Op. 53 ‘Waldstein’:
07. I: Allegro Con Brio 10.58
08. II: Introduzione – Molto Adagio 4.35
09. III: Rondo; Allegretto Moderato – Prestissimo 10.34

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Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir – Forgotten Peoples (Veljo Tormis) (1992)

FrontCover1Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) is a professional choir based in Estonia. It was founded in 1981 by Tõnu Kaljuste, who was its conductor for twenty years. In 2001, Paul Hillier followed Kaljuste’s tenure, becoming the EPCC’s principal conductor and artistic director until September 2008, when Daniel Reuss took over the task. Since 2014 the choir’s principal conductor has been Kaspars Putniņš. The repertoire of the EPCC ranges from Gregorian Chant to modern works, particularly those of the Estonian composers Arvo Pärt and Veljo Tormis.

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The group has been nominated for numerous Grammy Awards, and has won the Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance twice: in 2007 with Arvo Pärt’s Da pacem and in 2014 with Pärt’s Adam’s Lament, the latter was shared with Tui Hirv & Rainer Vilu, Sinfonietta Riga & Tallinn Chamber Orchestra; Latvian Radio Choir & Vox Clamantis. In 2018 Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir won the prestigious Gramophone Award with its recording of Magnificat and Nunc dimittis by Arvo Pärt and Psalms of Repentance by Alfred Schnittke (conductor Kaspars Putniņš). (wikipedia)

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Veljo Tormis (7 August 1930 – 21 January 2017) was an Estonian composer, regarded as one of the great contemporary choral composers[1][2] and one of the most important composers of the 20th century in Estonia.[3] Internationally, his fame arises chiefly from his extensive body of choral music, which exceeds 500 individual choral songs, most of it a cappella. The great majority of these pieces are based on traditional ancient Estonian folksongs (regilaulud), either textually, melodically, or merely stylistically.

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His composition most often performed outside Estonia, Curse Upon Iron (Raua needmine) (1972), invokes ancient Shamanistic traditions to construct an allegory about the evils of war. Some of his works were banned by the Soviet government, but because folk music was fundamental to his style most of his compositions were accepted by the censors.

More recently, Tormis’ works have been performed and recorded by Tõnu Kaljuste with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, and others. In the 1990s, Tormis began to receive commissions from some a cappella groups in the West such as the King’s Singers and the Hilliard Ensemble.

Tormis famously said of his settings of traditional melodies and verse: “It is not I who makes use of folk music, it is folk music that makes use of me.” His work demonstrates his conviction that traditional Estonian and other Balto-Finnic music represents a treasure which must be guarded and nourished, and that culture may be kept alive through the medium of song.

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Born in Kuusalu in 1930, Tormis had a profound experience with choral music starting at an early age. His father was a choral director, organist, and music teacher. His delight in the contrasting timbres provided by the organ stops may also be connected to his later orchestration of choral textures, a hallmark of his mature style.[3]

Tormis began his formal musical education in 1943 at the Tallinn Music School, but was interrupted by World War II and illness. In 1949, he entered the Tallinn Conservatory and continued his studies at the Moscow Conservatory (1951–1956). He quickly acquired teaching positions at the Tallinn Music School (1955–60) and the Tallinn Music High School (1962–66), but by 1969 was supporting himself exclusively as a freelance composer. One of his pupils was composer Kuldar Sink.

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From his student days until his retirement from composition in 2000, Tormis composed over 500 individual choral songs, as well as other vocal and instrumental pieces, 35 film scores, and an opera. Despite the censorship of several of his more politically provocative works in the late 1970s and the 1980s, he remained an incredibly celebrated composer whose works were performed throughout the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. In Eastern Europe, he is regarded as one of the great contributors to the 20th century repertory of choral music. Dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 has allowed increased access to the Soviet censored compositional output. The music of Tormis, along with other composers in the region, is experiencing increased rates of programing and publishing, allowing for increased appreciation of the choral and vocal music traditions. (wikipedia)

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And here´s  real highlight of his work:

“I do not use folk song, it is folk song that uses me,” said Estonian composer Veljo Tormis (1930-2017). Tormis’ grasp of folk song and the intensity of the performance lend a shamanistic quality to Forgotten Peoples. This set of six song cycles aims to preserve the song heritage of peoples in the area from Estonia through Karelia and towards Finland, peoples whose language and songs have all but disappeared – “forgotten” peoples. There are, then, important socio-political concerns behind this work. And, as producer Paul Hillier noted, “The music of Veljo Tormis taps the most ancient of roots in a fluid, powerful idiom, and offers a fascinating counterpart to the work of another Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt.” In general one could say that Tormis as composer is extrovert, where Pärt is introvert.

The song cycles that make up Forgotten Peoples were composed over a twenty-year period, beginning in 1970, and had become widely known through the performances of the Estonian Chamber Choir under the direction of Tonu Kaljuste. in Forgotten Peoples, subtitled “The Ancient Songs of my Balto-Finnic Kinsfolk”, there are echoes of Bartok and the Stravinsky of “Les Noces” but the dominant impression is of the folksong-shamanistic essence. It is tonal music, based on modal idioms of traditional songs, and its repetitive nature frequently attains an almost hypnotic power. (taken from the original liner notes)

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The Estonian composer, Veljo Tormis, has long pursued a mission to preserve the musical heritage of the minority groups—the Forgotten Peoples—who live along the shores of the Gulf of Finland from Lithuania in the south to Karelia on the Russian-Finnish border. Over a period of years, he has composed six song-cycles for mixed chorus based on the folk music and poetry of these peoples who are now dying out or losing their separate identity. In an informative note, the composer points out that Estonian and Finnish folk-song is part of an ancient culture which these people brought with them from the Danube basin, from a pre-Christian, shamanistic civilization which was very close to nature.
Tormis integrates folk-material into his own style in much the same way as Bartok does. As a result, there is a great variety of timbres and textures in the songs that make up these six cycles. Pedals, ostinatos and dance-rhythms abound as does frequent alternation of solo and choral singing. He makes extensive use of accompanied Sprechstimme to narrate some of the lengthy ballads in Izhorian Epic. These ten songs are settings of creation stories (similar to the Kalevala epic) or poems which point moral dilemmas in either a sad or a humorous way.
Many of these delightful and attractive songs are about the natural world around us: birds, animals, the seasons of the year, life and death in the country. Each cycle is based on the folk music of the particular region and each cycle has an overall theme. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir under their conductor Tonu Kaljuste have been associated with these settings from the beginning and they sing them most beautifully. In fact, many good amateur choirs would find these songs a most rewarding challenge if they could manage to pronounce the words or if they could find someone to provide singable translations. (gramophone.co.uk)

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Personnel:
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste

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Tracklist:

CD 1:

Livonian Heritage 16:16:
01. Waking The Birds 5.20
02. Day Of A Herdsboy 3,23
03, Shrove Tuesday 1.38
04. Wee Winky Mouse 2.53
05. Sang The Father, Sang His Son 3.19

Votic Wedding Songs 11:36:
06. The Ritual Whisking Of The Bridge 1.06
07. The Arrival Of Wedding Guests 1.59
08. Mockery Singing 1.28
09. Distributing The Dowry Chest 1.26
10. Instructing The Newly-Weds 1.40
11. Praising The Cook 1.06
12. When I, Chick, Was Growing Up 2.59

Izhorian Epic 31:25:
13. Creation Of The World 3.09
14. The Call Of Three Cuckoos 4.24
15. The Wedding Song 1.56
16. A Son Or A Daughter 3.18
17. Recruitment 3.30
18. Oh, I’m A Luckless Lad 1.20
19, My Mouth Was Singing, My Heart Was Worrying 3.39
20. A Sword From The Sea 3.32
21. Incantation Of Snakes 0.49
22. Undarmoi And Kalervoi 5.52

CD 2:

Ingrian Evenings 19.04:
01. Röntuska I (A Dance Song) 3.07
02. Röntuska II 1.46
03. Röntuska III 1.52
04. Chastushka I (A Village Party Song) 1.25
05. Chastushka II 1.25
06. A Roundelay 2.03
07. Röntuska IV 2.33
08. Röntuska V 1.24
09. Ending And Going Home 3.33

Vepsian Paths 20.06:
10. My Sister, My Little Cricket 1.50
11. Urging Her Into The Boat 1.41
12. Heavenly Suitors 1.50
13. I Went To Kikoila 0.34
14. Cuckoo And Cuckoo 0.58
15. I Went To Fetch Some Water 0.15
16. Pussy-Cat, Pussy-Cat 0.36
17. I’d Like To Sing You A Song 0.36
18. Where Did You Sleep Last Night? 0.44
19. What Are They Doing At Your Place? 0.31
20.The Ox Climbed A Fir Tree 0.44
21. Forced To Get Married 2.05
22. A Cradle Song 1.47
23. The Only Son 1.56
24. Toot-Toot, Herdsboy 4.04

Karelian Destiny 26.40:
25. A Weeping Maiden 4.34
26. Suitors From The Sea 5.04
27. A Thrall In Viru 5.14
28. The Oak Cutter 5.28
29. A Lullaby 6.23

Music: Traditional/Veljo Tormis

Adapted By [Text] – Ada Ambus (Titel: 2-1 to 2-9), Arvo Laanest (Titel: 1-13 to 1-22), Elna Adler (Titel: 1-6 to 1-12), Herbert Tampere (Titel: 1-1 to 1-5), Jaan Õispuu (Titel: 2-25 to 2-29), Kari Laukkanen (Titel: 2-25 to 2-29), Maare Joalaid (Titel: 2-10 to 2-24), Tõnu Seilenthal (Titel: 1-6 to 1-12), Ulo Tedre (Titel: 2-25 to 2-29)

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Leonard Bernstein- Ode To Freedom (Ode an die Freiheit) (Beethoven) (1990)

FrontCover1Leonard Bernstein ( August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, pianist, music educator, author, and humanitarian. Considered to be one of the most important conductors of his time, he was the first American conductor to receive international acclaim. According to music critic Donal Henahan, he was “one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history”. Bernstein was the recipient of many honors, including seven Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, sixteen Grammy Awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Kennedy Center Honor.

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As a composer he wrote in many genres, including symphonic and orchestral music, ballet, film and theatre music, choral works, opera, chamber music and works for the piano. His best-known work is the Broadway musical West Side Story, which continues to be regularly performed worldwide, and has been adapted into two (1961 and 2021) feature films. His works include three symphonies, Chichester Psalms, Serenade after Plato’s “Symposium”, the original score for the film On the Waterfront, and theater works including On the Town, Wonderful Town, Candide, and his MASS.

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Bernstein was the first American-born conductor to lead a major American symphony orchestra. He was music director of the New York Philharmonic and conducted the world’s major orchestras, generating a significant legacy of audio and video recordings. He was also a critical figure in the modern revival of the music of Gustav Mahler, in whose music he was most passionately interested. A skilled pianist, he often conducted piano concertos from the keyboard. He was the first conductor to share and explore music on television with a mass audience. Through dozens of national and international broadcasts, including the Emmy Award–winning Young People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic, he made even the most rigorous elements of classical music an adventure in which everyone could join. Through his educational efforts, including several books and the creation of two major international music festivals, he influenced several generations of young musicians.

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A lifelong humanitarian, Bernstein worked in support of civil rights; protested against the Vietnam War; advocated nuclear disarmament; raised money for HIV/AIDS research and awareness; and engaged in multiple international initiatives for human rights and world peace. Near the end of his life, he conducted an historic performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. The concert was televised live, worldwide, on Christmas Day, 1989 (wikipedia)

The fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, on 9 November 1989, changed the world. Leonard Bernstein’s legendary live recording of Beethoven’s Ode To Freedom (Symphony No. 9) captured not only the elation of the moment but conveyed a celebration of and a longing for freedom which extended far beyond the occasion. To mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall a special 180g vinyl release, presenting Bernstein’s historic recording of Ode To Freedom on two LPs instead of one for improved fidelity, and a CD accompanied with a DVD of the live concert have been released for the first time.

On Christmas Day December 1989 Leonard Bernstein conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony featuring an international cast in the Konzerthaus at Gendarmenmark, Berlin, following the historical fall of the Berlin Wall. Significantly the words from Schiller’s Ode An Die Freude (Ode To Joy) were changed: the word “Freude” (Joy) became “Freiheit” (Freedom) – an intention that was said to have been in mind of Schiller and Beethoven already.

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Four soloists, three choirs and members of six top orchestras, representing the two German States and the four Occupying Power States of post-war Berlin, participated: musicians from orchestras of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, from Dresden, Leningrad (St Petersburg), London, New York and Paris. Three choirs supported Bernstein at his great Berlin Ode To Freedom concert: the Bavarian Radio Chorus; members of the Radio Chorus of what had been East Berlin; and the Children’s Choir of the Dresden Philharmonie. The solo quartet featured June Anderson, soprano; Sarah Walker, mezzo-soprano; Klaus König, tenor; and Jan-Hendrik Rootering, bass. When the musicians gathered in Berlin for the concert residents were chiselling away at the hated Berlin Wall. Leonard Bernstein also carved a chunk of the wall and sent it to his family in New York.

Bernstein’s biographer (and producer) Humphrey Burton noted the festive Berlin performances were to mark the absolute climax in the public life of the world citizen Leonard Bernstein. He was truly more than a conductor: he shook people awake from the rostrum, surrendering to Beethoven’s music and yet rendering it with all his heart and soul at the same time.

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Leonard Bernstein observed, “I feel this is a heaven-sent moment to sing “Freiheit” wherever the score indicates the word “Freude”. If ever there was a historic time to take an academic risk in the name of human joy, this is it, and I am sure we have Beethoven’s blessing. “Es lebe die Freiheit!”

Justus Frantz, the organizer of the concert, declared, “May this performance of the Ninth Symphony – the Harmony of the World resounding in Berlin – play a part in ensuring that this joy, ‘bright spark of divinity’, will never end.”

Leonard Bernstein lit a torch for the love of freedom and the longing for freedom that extended far beyond the occasion and is as relevant today as it was thirty years ago.
Craig Urquhart Remembers Bernstein’s Ode To Freedom in Berlin 1989

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Composer and pianist Craig Urquhart was Leonard Bernstein’s personal assistant for the last five years of his life. He recalled, “It was late December when Leonard Bernstein and I arrived in Berlin. Berlin was an excited city; historic change was taking place there. It was just weeks before that the government of East Germany had allowed its citizens to visit West Germany; the decades-long division of the city was literally crumbling. The thrill of this new-found freedom was electric in the air. Bernstein knew that this was a time for a grand musical gesture: he would conduct an international orchestra.

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It was made up of members of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra supplemented by musicians from the New York Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Staatskapelle Dresden and the Orchestra of the Kirov Theater, as well as the the Bavarian Radio Choir, Children’s Choir of the Dresden Philharmonic and the Radio Choir of East Berlin – not to mention a stellar cast of soloists – in a historic performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. It is common knowledge that Bernstein, had been a lifelong advocate for freedom, he took the liberty of changing the Schiller text from “Freude” to “Freiheit.” He said at the time, smiling, “I’m sure that Beethoven would have given us his blessing.”

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Under the grey winter skies the muted sound of hammers chiseling at the Berlin Wall became the soundtrack of the city. During the rehearsal period, Bernstein took pleasure in walking through the now opened Brandenburg Gate, mingling with the citizens of a reunited Berlin. The moment weighed heavily on his heart as he remembered all the suffering the city’s bifurcation had caused.

On Christmas Eve Bernstein and his musicians presented the first “Freiheit Concert” in West Berlin’s Philharmonie. It was also presented by a live feed onto a large screen, for a freezing but appreciative audience on the plaza of the Gedänkniskirche in West Berlin. But it was the concert on Christmas morning in the Schauspielhaus (now the Konzerthaus) in East Berlin that caught everyone’s imagination, not only among the public who watched on the big screen on the Gendarmenmarkt, but also of those who watched the live broadcast – over 100 million television viewers worldwide.

German vinly edition:
German Vinly Edition

All were moved by the magic of hearing the word “Freiheit” sung from the rafters. No words can describe the reverent energy, happiness and grave responsibility that was felt in the hall. Even as I write my eyes well up with tears, for we all felt a great divide had been healed. Lenny did not believe in division, and here was a dream come true. Everyone gave their all, and the performance was a historic moment captured forever on film and recording.

As a final gesture after the concerts and receptions, Lenny and I, with a couple of friends drove to the western side of the wall behind the Reichstag: no television, no reporters, just us private citizens of the world. Lenny borrowed a hammer from a young boy, and he took his turn at tearing down, at least this wall, among all those he’d so worked so hard to dismantle in the hearts and minds of man.”(Sharon Kelly)

Recorded live at the Schauspielhaus, Berlin, 25 December 1989

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Personnel:
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein
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members ofOrchestra Of The Kirov Theatre, Leningrad, Orchestre De Paris, Dresden Staatskapelle, London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic
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June Anderson (Sopran)
Klaus König (Tenor)
Jan-Hendrik Rootering (Bass)
Sarah Walker (Mezzo Sopran)
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The Berlin Radio Chorus
Dresden Philharmonic Children’s Chorus
Bavarian Radio Chorus conducted by Wolfgang Seeliger

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Tracklist.

Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125:
01. Allegro Ma Non Troppo, Un Poco Maestoso 18.04
02. Molto Vivace 10.44
03.  Adagio Molto E Cantabile 20.13
04. Presto – Allegro Assai 28.55

Music: Ludwig van Beethoven
Lyrics: Friedrich von Schiller

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East German students sit on the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate in front of border guards in November 1989:
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More from Leonard Bernstein:
MoreThe official website:
Website

Keith Clark + CSR Symphony Orchestra – Spanish Festival (1988)

FrontCover1Spain excersised a curious fascination over the nationalist composers of the ninenteenth century, with a particular appeal, in Russia, a country that was finding again it´s ohn identity in literature and music, after the Westerninisation initiated by Peter the Great. (taken orm the original liner notes).

And here is a really fine example of such compositions … all had the aim of approaching Spanish music, taking into account the folklore music there.

This album was recorded by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (CSR), conducted by Keith Clark:

Keith Clark studied at the Vienna Academy of Music and Tanglewood, was awarded diplomas and the conducting prize from the Chigiana Academy in Italy, and received his PhD degree with honors in composition from the University of California Los Angeles. From Vienna’s Musikverein to the Royal Philharmonic Hall and from Lucerne to Los Angeles, Keith Clark has appeared widely as conductor of orchestras and opera.

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He has participated in the Vienna, Bucharest and Siena Festivals as both conductor and composer, conducted on BBC, Austrian, Hungarian and Netherlands radio and television, and performed and recorded as conductor of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Following nearly ten years abroad, he returned to California as founding music director of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, and in five years has brought the orchestra to national prominence. (Press release)

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The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Slovak: Symfonický orchester Slovenského rozhlasu), previously known as Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra and CSR Symphony Orchestra, is a symphony radio orchestra based in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Founded in 1929 to serve Slovak Radio, the orchestra became particularly associated with the music of Slovak composers, notably Alexander Moyzes, Eugen Suchoň and Ján Cikker.

Chief conductors of the orchestra have included Krešimir Baranović, Ľudovít Rajter, Ladislav Slovák, Václav Jiráček, Otakar Trhlík, Bystrík Režucha, Ondrej Lenárd (1977–90), Róbert Stankovský (1990–2001), Charles Olivieri-Munroe (2001–03), Oliver von Dohnányi (2006–07), and Mario Kosik. in 2019, Ondrej Lenárd was installed as the chief conductor.

Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra

The orchestra has become well known abroad through its broadcasts and recordings, particularly for the Naxos Records label. (wikipedia)

Liten to this wonderful compositions and enjoy it !

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Personnel:
The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Keith Clark

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Tracklist:

Alexis Emmanuel Chabrier (1841–94):
01. España 6.00

Jules Emile Frederic Massenet (1842-1912): Le Cid (Balet Music):
02. Castillane 2.56
03. Andalouse 2.48
04. Aragonaise 1.42
05. Aubade 1.10
06. Catalane 2.59
07. Madrilene 4.14
08. Navarraise 3.07

Jules Emile Frederic Massenet (1842-1912): Don César de Bazan:
09. Sévillana 2.14

Edward William Elgar (1857–1934):
10. Sévillana 4.28

Rimsky Korsakov (1844–1908): Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34:
11. Alborada 1.10
12. Variations 7.17
13. Alborada  1.04
14. Scena E Canto Gitano 4.49
15. Fandango Asturiano 3.17

Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804–1857):
16. Summer Night In Madrid 9.16
17. Capriccio brillante on the Jota Aragonese 8.53

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Nigel Kennedy – Brahms – Violin Concerto (1991)

FrontCover1Nigel Kennedy (born 28 December 1956) is an English violinist and violist.

His early career was primarily spent performing classical music, and he has since expanded into jazz, klezmer, and other music genres.

Kennedy’s grandfather was Lauri Kennedy, principal cellist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra,[1] and his grandmother was Dorothy Kennedy, a pianist. Lauri and Dorothy Kennedy were Australian, while their son, the cellist John Kennedy, was born in England. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in London, at age 22, John joined the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, later becoming the principal cellist of Sir Thomas Beecham’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. While in England, John developed a relationship with an English pianist, Scylla Stoner, with whom he eventually toured in 1952 as part of the Llewellyn-Kennedy Piano Trio (with the violinist Ernest Llewellyn; Stoner was billed as “Scylla Kennedy” after she and John married). But they ultimately divorced, and John returned to Australia.

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Kennedy was born in Brighton. A boy prodigy, as a 10-year-old he picked out Fats Waller tunes on the piano after hearing his stepfather’s jazz records.[3] At the age of 7, he became a pupil at the Yehudi Menuhin School of Music.[4] He later studied at the Juilliard School in New York City with Dorothy DeLay. While there he helped to pay for his studies by busking with fellow student and cellist Thomas Demenga.

Kennedy has about 30 close relatives in Australia, whom he visits whenever he tours there. (wikipedia)

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And here´s his 16th album:

Cards on the table: I don’t greatly care how Nigel Kennedy chooses to present himself, either on the concert platform or on his record covers, provided he plays musically. I remember his reading of the Berg Violin Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra last year, when he appeared looking like a misplaced extra for the Rocky Horror Show—and delivered a very creditable performance. Nor does the discovery that this disc bears the UK number NIGE3 send my blood-pressure soaring. That Kennedy’s name should be set in larger, bolder type than that of the composer on the front of the booklet (and on the disc) is a minor irritation, but anyone who is hoping that this review will turn into an extended rebuke Nigel Kennedy03for frivolity before the throne of high art is going to be disappointed.
So too, I have to say, are those who are hoping for a critical rave. Technically Kennedy’s playing as represented on this disc is beyond reproach—anyone who can play the finale’s flying thirds and sixths with such dash and precision plainly knows how to get what he wants out of the instrument. The performance is, as you would expect, highly idiosyncratic, though fortunately there’s nothing to match the controversial stylistic excursions of his Four Seasons (EMI, 11/89). Kennedy supplies his own cadenza for the first movement, but restricts himself to material already heard, and the working-out contains no big surprises—though I admit I expected something a little flashier.
But while there are no shocks, there are passages which require some indulgence. It isn’t just the very slow tempo of the first movement that bothers me—Tennstedt and the London Philharmonic put up a very good case for it—but the way that in places where the orchestral contribution becomes less obviously important, Kennedy seems inclined to treat the movement as a kind of colossal accompanied cadenza. He pulls the tempo about pretty freely, and brings his full resources of colour and expression to bear in a way that can yield beautiful passing details but more often saps passages of any sense of forward movement. Perhaps the most striking example comes in the coda. Many other violinists have taken Brahms’s tranquillo to imply a broadening out, but in his concern to wring the juices from every note, Kennedy brings the music near to stasis. Two other young players, Xue-Wei on ASV (see below) and Anne-Sophie Mutter on DG, are both fairly expansive here, but in both versions what really holds the attention is the way the high-soaring violin line seems to emerge in a single flight—it makes you want to hold your breath until the D major resolution at the animato. Hold your breath for Kennedy and you risk suffocation.

Booklet04AAfter this very slow first movement, the equally expansive Adagio (Kennedy takes two minutes longer than Xue-Wei, who isn’t exactly pacey himself) sounds dangerously close to more of the same. Nevertheless, there’s a stronger sense of shape and flow, and Kennedy’s plaintive soliloquizing can be effective. His direct, passionate manner in the F sharp minor central episode is quite stirring. I have to say though that there’s still a great deal here that I find over-coloured or over-characterized. Again, both Xue-Wei and Anne-Sophie Mutter present an ardent, young person’s view of this music, but they also manage to make of it something dramatically tauter. My ideal here—and in that wonderful first movement coda—is Oistrakh: less inclined to wear his heart on his sleeve, but leaving one in absolutely no doubt that he has one. Any of his three currently available versions (with Konwitschny for DG, Klemperer for EMI and Kondrashin for Le Chant du Monde/Harmonia Mundi) will show how restraint and expressive power can be a deadly combination. All the same there’s more than one way of approaching this music, and both Xue-Wei and Mutter show that you can be generous without giving too much away. Kennedy, for all his evident conviction, often weakens his expressive effects by working too hard at them.

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In the finale Kennedy comes rather closer to his two young rivals. There’s brilliance, zest and—at last—real drive. But while Xue-Wei doesn’t sound quite as polished, and the ASV recording is less pleasing, his is the performance that seems to take the risks—and to bring them off. In fact, the ASV disc feels more like a performance: not without its rough edges, but genuinely alive, and the coupling adds greatly to the appeal. Mutter’s disc is even shorter than Kennedy’s (a mere 40’13”), and again the sound falls short of the EMI refinement, but musically it’s better value. Having just listened to the Kennedy again for the fourth time, I’m more convinced than ever that what it lacks most of all is what Xue-Wei, Mutter and Oistrakh all—in their different ways—embody triumphantly. For want of a better expression, I’d call it a sense of wholeness. Kennedy’s recording has its good things, particularly in the second and third movements, but the feeling grows with each successive hearing that the overall impression is significantly less than the sum of the parts.’ (by Stephen Johnson)

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Personnel:
Nigel Kennedy (violin)
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The London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Klaus Tennstedt

Personnel

Tracklist:
01. Allegro non troppo 26.12
02. Adagio 11.18
03. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace 9.16

Music composed by Johannes Brahms

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Liner Notes

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Luciano Pavarotti – Gala Concert At The Royal Albert Hall (1982)

LPFrontCover1Luciano Pavarotti (12 October 1935 – 6 September 2007) was an Italian operatic tenor who during the late part of his career crossed over into popular music, eventually becoming one of the most acclaimed and loved tenors of all time.

He made numerous recordings of complete operas and individual arias, gaining worldwide fame for his tone, and achieving the honorific title “King of the High Cs”.

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As one of the Three Tenors, who performed their first concert during the 1990 FIFA World Cup before a global audience, Pavarotti became well known for his televised concerts and media appearances. From the beginning of his professional career as a tenor in 1961 in Italy to his final performance of “Nessun dorma” at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Pavarotti was at his best in bel canto operas, pre-Aida Verdi roles, and Puccini works such as La bohème, Tosca, Turandot and Madama Butterfly. He sold over 100 million records, and the first Three Tenors recording became the best-selling classical album of all time. Pavarotti was also noted for his charity work on behalf of refugees and the Red Cross, amongst others. He died from pancreatic cancer on 6 September 2007. (wikipedia)

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This recording was made in April 1982 during a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. I’ve bought many Pavarotti concert recordings, but this concert is definitely one of my favourites, with a very nice atmosphere. Pavarotti sings (inter alia) ‘Il Lamento di Federico’, ‘Torna a Surriento’, ‘Nessun Dorma’, ‘Recondita Armonia’ and ‘E lucevan le Stelle’. I especially like ‘Il Lamento di Federico’, because Pavarotti succeeds extremely well in expressing Federico’s extreme desire. The interpretation of ‘E lucevan le Stelle’ is extraordinary. It’s very macabre, even for the great tenor himself. Unfortunately the orchestra doesn’t always play with the same compassion as Pavarotti sings, but that’s not a serious disadvantage for a Pavarotti-fan! (Bjorn)

This is not my kind of music … but: An impressive performance !

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Personnel:
Luciano Pavarotti (vocals)
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Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kurt Herbert Adler

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Tracklist:
01. Recondita Armonia (from “Tosca) (Puccini) 2.44
02, Ah, La Paterna Mano (from “Macbeth” (Verdi) 3.52
03. Un Giorno Di Regno Overture (Verdi) 5.43
04. La Mia Letizia Indondere (from “I Lombardi”) (Verdi) 2.48
05. Quando Le Sere Al Placido (from “Luisa Miller”) (Verdi) 6.01
06. Fra Poco A Me Recovero (from “Lucia Di Lammermoor”) (Donizetti) 7.41
07. E La Solita Storia (Lamendo Di Federico) (from “L’Arlesiana”) (Cilea) 4.44
08. Royal Hunt And Storm (from “Les Troyens”) (Berlioz) 10.27
09. E Lucevan Le Stelle (from “Tosca”) (Puccini) 3.22
10. Nessun Dorma (from “Turandot”) (Puccini) 3.45
11. Torna A Surriento (De Curtis) 3.41

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More from Luciano Pavarotti:
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The official website:
Website

Kurt Herbert Adler (2 April 1905 – 9 February 1988) was an Austrian-born American conductor and opera house director.

Adler was born in Vienna, Austria, to a Jewish family; his mother, Ida Bauer, was one of the first patients of Sigmund Freud. His work in the field of music led him to become the assistant to Arturo Toscanini at the Salzburg Festival in 1936 and he also worked in Italy. Following the Nazi occupation of Austria in 1938, as a Jew he was forced to leave and went to the Chicago City Opera Company as assistant chorus director where he worked for five years.

Gaetano Merola, then General Director of the San Francisco Opera, heard of him and, over the telephone, invited him to the San Francisco Opera in 1943 as chorus director.

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In the following ten years, he took on more and more administrative details as Merola’s health and energy diminished. While Adler was not the Board’s natural choice to replace Merola at the time of his death in 1953, after three months of acting as Artistic Director and with the help of its president, Robert Watt Miller, Adler was confirmed as General Director.

Adler’s aims in taking over the company were several. One was to expand the season and, by the 1969 season, eleven operas were given five or six performances each on average while the season ran to late November. He was tireless in seeking out up-and-coming new singers, whether American or European, by attending performances in both major and minor opera houses. Thirdly, his interest in developing stronger connections to opera stage directors in an attempt to strengthen the dramatic and theatrical elements of the works, led to a long relationship with Jean-Pierre Ponnelle.

Other innovations included the Merola Opera Program named after the founder of the San Francisco Opera, and “Opera in the Park”, which, from 1971, has been an annual free concert in Golden Gate Park on the Sunday following opening night of the fall season.

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He was not always regarded as an easy person to work for, but his principal achievements in San Francisco were to greatly raise the standards of the opera company and “to attract a stunning galaxy of European stars, some at the beginning of their careers, to a small city at the other end of the world, often at significantly lower salaries than New York or Chicago would offer”.

He retired in late December 1981 and continued to conduct and be involved with music until his death in Ross, California in 1988.

The Adler Fellowship program was started in his name by Terence A. McEwen to support young singers managed by the San Francisco Opera.

His son Ronald H. Adler is an opera director and has been artistic director at the Bavarian State Opera (2001–08) and the Berlin State Opera (2008–11). (wikipedia)

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