Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (Kurt Mazur) – Beethoven Triple Concerto (1974)

FrontCover1Ludwig van Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano in C major, Op. 56, commonly known as the Triple Concerto, was composed in 1803 and published in 1804 by Breitkopf & Härtel. The choice of the three solo instruments effectively makes this a concerto for piano trio, and it is the only concerto Beethoven ever completed for more than one solo instrument. A typical performance takes approximately thirty-seven minutes.

Beethoven’s early biographer Anton Schindler claimed that the Triple Concerto was written for Beethoven’s royal pupil, the Archduke Rudolf of Austria. The Archduke, who became an accomplished pianist and composer under Beethoven’s tutelage, was only in his mid-teens at this time, and it seems plausible that Beethoven’s strategy was to create a showy but relatively easy piano part that would be backed up by two more mature and skilled soloists. However, there is no record of Rudolf ever performing the work.

The Triple Concerto was publicly premiered in 1808, at the summer Augarten concerts in Vienna. The violinist in the premiere was Carl August Seidler,and the cellist was Nikolaus Kraft,[3] who was known for “technical mastery” and a “clear, rich tone”.: 162  The concerto was Beethoven’s first work to use advanced cello techniques.

In the published version, the concerto bore a dedication to a different patron: Prince Lobkowitz.

Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven (1803):
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The first movement is broadly scaled and cast in a moderate march tempo, and includes decorative solo passage-work and leisurely repetitions, variations, and extensions of assorted themes. A common feature is a dotted rhythm (short-long, short-long) that lends an air of graciousness and pomp that is not exactly “heroic,” but would have conveyed a character of fashionable dignity to contemporary listeners—and perhaps a hint of the noble “chivalric” manner that was becoming a popular element of novels, plays, operas, and pictures. The jogging triplets that figure in much of the accompaniment also contribute to this effect. In this movement, as in the other two, the cello enters solo with the first subject. Unusual for a concerto of this scale, the first movement begins quietly, with a gradual crescendo into the exposition, with the main theme later introduced by the soloists. Also unusually, the exposition modulates to A minor instead of the expected G major. (Beethoven’s friend Ferdinand Ries later did the same mediant transition in his sixth concerto.) This movement takes sixteen to nineteen minutes.

The slow movement, in A-flat major, is a large-scale introduction to the finale, which follows it without pause. The cello and violin share the melodic material of the movement between them while the piano provides a discreet accompaniment. This movement takes about five to six minutes.

Notes

There is no break between then second and third movements. Dramatic repeated notes launch into the third movement, a polonaise (also called “polacca”), an emblem of aristocratic fashion during the Napoleonic era, which is, thus, in keeping with the character of “polite entertainment” that characterizes this concerto as a whole. The bolero-like rhythm, also characteristic of the polonaise, can be heard in the central minor theme of the final movement. This movement takes about thirteen to fourteen minutes.

In addition to the violin, cello, and piano soloists, the concerto is scored for one flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, and strings. The flute, oboes, trumpets, and timpani are tacet during the second movement. (wikipedia)

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Czech symphony orchestra. Established in 1894 as the orchestra of The National Theatre (Orchestr Národního Divadla) in Prague. First performed under its name on January 4, 1896, conducted by Antonín Dvořák. Independent orchestra since 1901.

The orchestra is ranked among the best in the world for its particular sound. The orchestra’s principal concert venue is the Rudolfinum.

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

Their conducor for these recordings was Kurt Masur:

Kurt Masur (18 July 1927 – 19 December 2015) was a German conductor. Called “one of the last old-style maestros” he directed many of the principal orchestras of his era. He had a long career as the Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and also served as music director of the New York Philharmonic. He left many recordings of classical music played by major orchestras. Masur is also remembered for his actions to support peaceful demonstrations in the 1989 anti-government demonstrations in Leipzig; the protests were part of the events leading up to the fall of the Berlin wall. (wikipedia)

Enjoy these historic recordings of another masterpiece by Ludwig van Beethoven !

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Personnel:
The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kurt Masur
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Josef Chuchro (cello)
Jan Panenka (piano)
Josef Suk (violin)

Kurt Masur

Tracklist:

Concerto For Violin, Cello, Piano And Orchestra In C Major, Op. 56
01. Allegro 16.30
02. Largo / Rondo Alla Polacca 18.04

Music: Ludwig van Beethoven

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Alena Cherny – For You – The World’s Best Loved Classical Piano Pieces (2013)

FrontCover1The Ukrainian pianist, Alena Cherny, found her own way to music. Her unique development in part has its origins in her extraordinary educational biography even this course has been relatively standard for the career of an inrernational pianist. A passionate pianist, she studied with professor Natalia Vitte at the Tchaikovsky Corservatoire in Kiev and then pursued solo studies with professor James Avery at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg im Breisgau, graduating in each case with flying colours. After that she earned a diploma for chamber music and Lied accompaniment at the State Academy of Music at Trossingen under professor Michael Uhde. These studies were accomplished with the highest distinction. In Kiev Cherny also received valuable support and inspiration from the famous piano pedagogue and pianist Boris Archimovitch. She also participated in master-classes with András Schiff and in international piano competitions – she was a finalist in the Concours Clara Haskil at Vevey in 1991.

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The more unique part of Cherny’s musical development came from her early years though not through any musical family tradition. She discouvered the music in her little hometown through childhood curiosity and by her own initiative. Very influential in her wish to become a pianist were her visits to the house of Nicolai Bashchanov, the Russian biographer and music publicist who was personally acquainted with the most important musicians of the Soviet Union. Bashanov had retreated to the country side and had brought with him a record collection and more importantly his Petrof upright piano. To children in the neighborhood hungry for knowledge, he passed on to them the literature of music, and for Alena, this was her first encounter with her own talent. She had the ability to respond to this talent and to take full responsibility for it. Her mother, a teacher, and her father, a lorry driver, recognized Alena’s gift and supported her first steps to her calling.

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Extensive recital tours in the USA, in England, Israel, Germany, Italy, Austria and Japan made her name known in the leading music centres of the Western world. As a professional musician, Alena Cherny is somewhat exceptional. She is a pianist who does not allow her career to be determined by the rules of the music industry. Her successful concertizing is not based on any routine formulas, she is rather guided by artistic considerations, total independence, and following her inner voice. Although today she does not deny that her first dream profession was to become an actress, she found the door to a wider world through music.

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An immense treasure of masterworks provide her with constant sources for further musical development. When Cherny performs, she shares with her audiences her musical discoveries. Whether performing chamber music together with musicians such as Gidon Kremer, Gerard Caussé, Maria Kliegel, Thomas Demenga, Christoph Homberger, Peter Sadlo, or when she performs the works of her favourite composer, J.S. Bach, the classics, romantics, and contemporaries, in concerts or on sound studios, in all cases she relates the ideas and passions that come out of the works of her repertoire. Her interpretations are marked by narrative freedom, a close dialogue with the audience and the unconditional striving to rediscover the work of music time after time. And in all cases she leads the listener through the written music to the composer. This is the unconditional obligation of a musician, an artist.

Today Alena Cerny lives in Switzerland. (bach-cantatas.com)

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And here´s a pretty good album(2 CDs) with „The World’s Best Loved Classical Piano Pieces“.

A wonderful overview of the highlights of classical piano music !

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Personnel:
Alena Cherny (piano)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Jesu bleibet meine Freude (Bach) 3.01
02. Allegretto. Alla turca (from Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K. 331) (Mozart) 3.20
03. Adagio sostenuto (from Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor Moonlight) (Beethoven) 3.57
04. Adagio (from Toccata, Adagio & Fugue, BWV 564) (Bach) 3.37
05. Intermezzo in A major, Op. 118/20 (Brahms) 6.04
06. Albumblatt für Elise, Bagatelle in A minor, WoO 59 (Beethoven) 3.29
07. Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 6390 (Bach) 3.41
08. Rondo a capriccio, Op. 129 „Die Wut über den verlorenen Groschen“ (Beethoven) 7.10
09. Fantasia No. 3 in D minor, K. 397/385g (Mozart) 4.40
10. Waltz in A-flat major, Op. 39/150 (Brahms) 1.23
11. Erbarme dich, mein Gott (from Matthäuspassion, BWV 244) (Bach) 6.27
12. Lieder ohne Worte, Op. 62 No. 6: Frühlingslied (Mendelssohn-Bartholdy) 2.22
13. Träumerei (from Kinderszenen, Op. 15) (Schuhmann) 1.44
14. Wiegenlied, Op. 49/40 (Brahms) 1.59
15. Pavane pour une infante défunte05:09

CD 2:
01. Pavane pour une infante défunte, M. 19 (Ravel) 5.09
02. Nocturne No. 20 in C sharp minor, Op. posth. (Ravel) 4.20
03. Frühlingsrauschen, Op. 32/30 (Sinding) 2.51
04. June (from The Seasons, Op. 37) (Tschaikowsky) 4.13
05. Auf dem Wasser zu singen, D. 774 (Schubert) 5.18
06. October (from The Seasons, Op. 37) (Tschaikowsky) 3.48
07. Tango (from España, Op. 165) (Albéniz) 2.40
08. Comptine d’un autre été: L’après-midi (Tiersen) 2.01
09. Golliwogg’s Cakewalk (from Children’s Corner) (Debussy) 3.07
10. Waltz in C-sharp minor, Op. 64/2 (Chopin) 4.53
11. Gymnopédie No. 10 (Satie) 3.28
12. December (from The Seasons, Op. 37 (Tschaikowsky) 3.45
13. Ave Maria, D. 839 (Schubert) 7.47
14. Gnossienne No. 1 (Satie) 4.56
15. The Heart Asks Pleasure First (Nyman) 2.23
16. Le Piccadilly, Marche (Satie) 1.56
17. Big My Secret (Nyman) 2.35

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The official website:
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Walter Gerwig – Lute Suites Nr. 3 G-Minor BMV 995 (Bach) (1954)

UKFrontCover1A pioneer of the early music revival One of the pioneers of the early music revival, the guitarist and lutenist Walter Gerwig was born in Frankfurt an der Oder on 26 November He left school at the age of twelve and was conscripted into the German army as soon as war broke out in Not until 1919 did he return from the Baltic, when he began an apprenticeship with a violin-maker in Hamburg, later studying singing and various aspects of music theory. He was initially self-taught as a guitarist. It was the musicologist and lutenist Hans Dagobert Bruger who, as the recent recipient of a doctorate, introduced Gerwig to the Renaissance lute at an exhibition of musical instruments in Berlin in around Bruger, who was a few years older than Gerwig, was particularly interested in rediscovering lute music. In 1921 he had published the first complete edition of Johann Sebastian Bach s works for the instrument, which he had transcribed for the modern lute. (The modern lute was not the Baroque lute familiar to Bach, its strings arranged in courses of two strings each, but the single-course guitar with an additional set of bass strings.) Gerwig later used Bruger s edition for his Bach recording (CD 3). Gerwig was inspired by Bruger to take up the Renaissance lute and to develop a performing technique whose starting point was melody rather than the instrument s ability to play chords, an ability familiar from its traditional use in accompanying songs, especially among members of the German Youth Movement for whom the guitar was the privileged instrument.

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In 1952, in an Open Letter to Lute Players, Gerwig wrote: When we oldies began to play, there was no one to tell us not to start with four-part chords but as with any other instrument to start by cultivating monophonic playing. No one explained to us the fixed technical and musical rules that must be applied as a matter of course if we were to make the playing sound like singing. Gerwig moved to Berlin in 1924 and found himself at the centre of the lute renaissance. Two years earlier Helmuth Osthoff had completed his doctorate under the title of The Lutenist Santino Garsi da Parma: A Contribution to the History of Upper Italian Lute Music at the End of the Late Renaissance. And in 1926 Georg Sparmann published his inaugural dissertation, Esaias Reusner and the Lute Suite. The following year in Berlin, Hans Neemann published a contemporary anonymous abridged arrangement of a Haydn string quartet for lute, violin and viola da gamba. It was presumably Sparmann who in 1928 encouraged Gerwig to publish five suites from Reusner s Neue Lauten-Früchte. In 1950 Gerwig used Neemann s edition of the Haydn trio to record this particular work , and in 1952 he used his own edition of a suite by Reusner , following this up in 1953 with a recording of works by Garsi da Parma based on Osthoff s transcriptions of these pieces .

The Lauten Collegium (Walter Gerwig, Eva-Juliane Gerstein und Johannes Koch), 1953:
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Throughout this period instrument-makers, too, made an important contribution to the rediscovery of the lute, for it was in the 1920s that the first doublecourse lutes were built based on historical models. One instrument-builder active in this field was Hans Jordan, a number of whose replicas of Renaissance lutes Gerwig later used in his recordings of 18th-century music as well as of the earlier period. In 1925 Fritz Jöde appointed Gerwig lute teacher and chorus master at his newly founded Music School in Berlin. By 1935 Gerwig was running the school. Here Gerwig was able to impart to his pupils an idea of the vast richness of this music one music teacher reported enthusiastically on a course that Gerwig held on the East Frisian island of Juist in the North Sea: In July 1926 Walter Gerwig (of the Music School in Charlottenburg) introduced us to some wonderful old lute music by Neusidler, Judenkünig, Schlick and also Bach, of whom we were even able to hear a fugue for the lute. After 1928 Gerwig also taught the instrument at the State Academy for Church Music and School Music in Berlin. In 1939 he was again called up but within a year was exempted from all further active service in order for him to focus on teaching and entertaining the troops. In 1943 the Reich Radio sent him to St. Florian in Linz, a priory closely associated with Bruckner. Together with the viola d amore player Emil Seiler, the recorder player Thea von Sparr and a number of other musicians, he was to establish an ensemble for Baroque music that made chamber music recordings for a variety of broadcasters and also gave concerts in honour of young artists who have fallen in battle and at services in the priory. After the Second World War Gerwig settled in Hamburg, giving solo recitals in Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, England and Switzerland, and performing in concert with Eva-Juliane Gerstein (soprano) and Johannes Koch (viola da gamba and recorder), the two musicians who also appeared in his Lauten-Collegium.

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Between 1946 and 1949 the Lauten-Collegium alone gave more than 300 concerts. The performers travelled in a jeep that they had jointly acquired. Their preferred fee in these times of rationing and austerity was petrol. Among Gerwig s fellow chamber recitalists were a number of leading proponents of the early music movement, including the gambist August Wenzinger (CD 1), but he also made numerous gramophone recordings, as well as taking part in countless radio and television broadcasts at this time. It was not least as a result of these recordings that Gerwig became known and admired as an influential lutenist and as a leading artistic authority on the lute, his reputation extending far beyond the borders of his native Germany. In 1952 Walter Gerwig was invited to teach the lute at the Cologne Academy of Music, where he was also responsible for a course on the performing practice of early music. As such, he was the only German lutenist active at any of the country s music academies during the 1950s. His most famous pupils include Eike Funck, Jürgen Hübscher, Dieter Kirsch, Michael Schäffer, who took over Gerwig s lute class after his death in 1966, and, above all, Eugen Dombois, who in 1962 established a lute class at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, where he continued to teach until Among the alumni of Dombois s class are Paul O Dette, Toyohiko Satoh and Hopkinson Smith, all three of whom are still active and widely considered to be among the most important lutenists currently appearing on the world s stages. Gerwig was held in high esteem by his pupils. Dieter Kirsch, who for many years was the principal of the Würzburg Academy of Music, recalls: His language, which grew correspondingly rich in imagery whenever he needed to clarify musical processes; his wealth of ideas whenever he had to find succinct examples to illustrate technical problems; and his ever-present superiority whenever he picked up his instrument in order to demonstrate his ideas on music left such a lively impression that all who think of him as a person are also bound to think not only of the picture of a creative individual and sensitive artist but also of an exemplary teacher. Eike Funck reports something very similar. She set up the first course in the performing practice of early music as a lecturer in early music at the Hamburg Academy of Music:

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An essential hallmark of his teaching was a language that was rich in imagery and that he used to explain musical processes. For example, he would demonstrate how a musical phrase should end by reference to a bird coming in to land, breaking its landing by stretching out its wings and coming to rest softly on the ground an admirable image for the purposeful shaping of a melodic line with an unaccented final note. Improvisation was a recurrent theme in all his lessons, not just in continuo playing. In this regard he proved to be unusually witty: the exercises that he devised on the train from Bonn to Cologne and that became harder with each passing week turned out to be highly Romantic harmonizations of simple nursery songs, producing a guessing game that brought cheer to the hearts and minds of the students who were struggling to master difficult chords. The period of Gerwig s teaching activities in Cologne in the 1950s also coincided with the reconstruction and dissemination of early music, especially through the medium of gramophone recordings. Deutsche Grammophon had launched its Archiv- Produktion label in 1947 in order to promote early music. Two years later Gerwig recorded Bach s Lute Suite BWV 995 for the label, a pioneering feat in every way. In order to appreciate the achievement that this recording represents, we need only to recall that it was not until 1946 that the first complete recording of one of Bach s five multi-movement works for the lute had been released, when Wanda Landowska s harpsichord recording of the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro BWV 998 had appeared. Previously, it was above all guitarists who had availed themselves of Bach s works for solo violin and cello and recorded arrangements of individual movements from them. Gerwig remained without any imitators for many years, for no other lutenist during the 1950s was prepared to risk making a recording of a complete Bach suite. Not until 1964 did an LP devoted exclusively to lute works by Bach first appear on the international market: it was by Gerwig. The following year he received the German Record Critics Award for another recording of Baroque music for the lute. Gerwig s standing among professional circles is clear not least from the fact that his entry in the encyclopaedic Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart the Bible of musicologists at that time had nothing but praise for him: In Germany, Walter Gerwig has raised the lute from its relatively theoretical and amateur beginnings and thanks to his artistic mastery granted it a place among concert instruments. He must take considerable credit for the rediscovery and dissemination of the lute and of its music, especially through his numerous gramophone recordings. Devoted to Walter Gerwig, the present anthology offers a small insight into the great legacy of this pioneer of e arly music. (Jörg Jewanski)

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Personnel:
Walter Gerwig (lute)

The German edition:
GermanEdition

Tracklist:
01. Präludium 6.53
02. Allemande 5.34
03. Courante 2.36
04. Sarabande 3.18
05. Gavotte 5.40
06. Gigue 1.46

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Alison Balsom – Paris (2014)

FrontCover1Alison Louise Balsom, Lady Mendes, OBE (born 7 October 1978) is an English trumpet soloist, arranger, producer, and music educator. Balsom was awarded Artist of the Year at the 2013 Gramophone Awards and has won three Classic BRIT Awards and three German Echo Awards, and was a soloist at the BBC Last Night of the Proms in 2009. She was the artistic director of the 2019 Cheltenham Music Festival.

Balsom attended Tannery Drift First School in Royston, Hertfordshire, where she started taking trumpet lessons from the age of seven, followed by Greneway Middle School and Meridian School, whilst also playing in the Royston Town Band from ages eight to 15. Subsequently, she took her A-levels at Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge.

Playing in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain from ages 15 to 18, Balsom studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 2001 with first class honours and the Principal’s Prize for the highest mark. She has also studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and at the Conservatoire de Paris with Håkan Hardenberger

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Balsom has been a professional solo classical trumpeter since 2001. She is a former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, during which time she performed much of the major concerto repertoire for solo trumpet and orchestra with all of the BBC Orchestras,[6] and she released her debut album with EMI Classics in 2002. In 2005, she released her second disc, Bach Works for Trumpet, as part of a contract with EMI Classics. In 2006, Balsom won ‘Young British Classical Performer’ at the Classical BRIT Awards and was awarded the ‘Classic FM Listeners’ Choice Award’ at the Classic FM Gramophone Awards. She won ‘Female Artist of the Year’ at the 2009 and 2011 Classical BRIT Awards.

Her third album (the second disc in the EMI contract), Caprice, was released in September 2006, and her Italian Concertos disc was on the list of New York Times albums of the year. Balsom was a soloist at the 2009 Last Night of the Proms, performing, among other pieces, Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a jazz arrangement of George Gershwin’s “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” with mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly.

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In collaboration with playwright Samuel Adamson, Balsom devised Gabriel, a play using the music of The Fairy-Queen and other pieces by Henry Purcell and George-Frideric Handel, which she performed with actors and The English Concert as part of the 2013 summer season at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Balsom was the principal trumpet of the London Chamber Orchestra.[8] Her main trumpet is a Bob Malone-converted Bach C trumpet.[citation needed] About her natural trumpet playing, Balsom said in 2014, “I have been playing since I was in the 3rd year at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama – so since I was 21. I just fell in love with this instrument as soon as I started learning it, as it makes total sense of the whole Baroque era in terms of phrasing, colour and the difference in keys and certain notes of the scale, which you lose on a modern instrument such as the piccolo trumpet. I play various different makes but my favourite is by Egger of Switzerland.”

She is a Visiting Professor of Trumpet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

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She gave the world premiere of Qigang Chen’s Joie éternelle for solo trumpet and orchestra at the 2014 BBC Proms, and Guy Barker’s Lanterne of Light trumpet concerto at the 2015 BBC Proms. In addition to 14 years of solo appearances at the Proms, Balsom has also appeared at the iTunes Festival, Latitude Festival, Henley Festival, Un Violon Sur le Sable, France and Wege durch das Land, Germany.

In 2014 Balsom was chosen as one of 27 artists, including Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Florence Welch, and Sam Smith, to feature in one of BBC Music’s first broadcasts, an extravagant cover of the 1966 Beach Boys classic, God Only Knows. This track marked a first-time collaboration between the Warner, Sony and Universal Music labels.

She appeared on BBC Radio 4’s long-running Desert Island Discs programme on 4 October 2015.

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In 2014, she returned to BBC Young Musician of the Year as a presenter of the category finals and semi-final of the competition alongside Miloš Karadaglić. In 2016 she co-presented BBC Young Musician with Clemency Burton-Hill.

Balsom succeeded Richard Rodney Bennett as President of Deal, Kent Festival in 2015. She was artistic director of the 2019 Cheltenham Music Festival, then stepped down in July 2019 to concentrate on performing and recording.

Balsom was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to music.

She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the University of Leicester (2015) [20] and Anglia Ruskin University, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

She has a son with the English conductor Edward Gardner. In 2017, she married film director Sir Sam Mendes. Their daughter was born later that year. (wikipedia)

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And here´s her 9th solo album:

Studying in Paris helped to define Alison Balsom’s belief of what a virtuoso trumpet soloist might achieve in the footsteps of her mentor, Maurice André. This potpourri of a recital is, though, very much of its own time, eclectically flavoured in its collaborative elements and juxtaposition of music languages, and deftly underpinned by Balsom’s considered curating.

If the opening Satie Gymnopédie represents something of a beguiling temptress, a pair of Piazzollas reveal the soloist’s inimitable capacity for shaping a melody with the seasoned tonal focus and impeccable intonation which are integral to Balsom’s admired armoury.

For all the ‘loungey’ resonances in the arrangements, there is considerably more skill here than meets the eye. One could never imagine how Michel Legrand’s La valse des lilas could morph successfully into a reimagined vision of Messaien’s ‘Le baiser de l’Enfant-Jésus’ – but it does with almost Ravelian exoticism. Purists who followed Yvonne Loriod’s Vingt regards around the world may run a mile, but the result is an ensemble piece of kaleidoscopic discrimination and invention.

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Slow-tempo trumpet discs can take their toll in a single sitting, however fine the playing, but there is a pleasing overall shape here; only in the arrangement of the slow movement of the Ravel concerto does the removal of the composer’s exquisite original textures occasionally outweigh the gains, not helped by some neutral longueurs in the emotional journey. Atmospherically recorded (as if in a smoky Montmartre club), with a high proportion of excellent arrangements to match Balsom’s measured panache, the key to this project’s success lies in how she, Guy Barker and Timothy Redmond have restitched a seam of Parisian music culture and envisaged a world which has taken on a life of its own. (by Jonathan Freeman-Attwood)

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Personnel:
Alison Balsom (trumpet)
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The Guy Barker Orchestra conducted by Guy Barker / Timothy Redmond (on 05.-07. + 09.)
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Al Cherry (guitar on 11.)
Miloš Karadaglić (guitar on 02.)

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Tracklist:
01. Gymnopedie No. 3 (Satie) 2.28
02. Cafe 1930 (Piazolla) 7.06
03. Oblivion (Piazolla) 4.07
04. La Valse Des Lilas (Legrand/Marnay/Barclay) 3.28
05. Le Baiser De L’Enfants Jesus Tres Lent, Calme (Messiaen) 5.46
06. Le Baiser De L’Enfants Jesus, Modere (Messiaen) 4.55
07. Piece En Forme De Habanera (Ravel) 2.43
08. Piano Concerto In G – Adagio Assai (Ravel) 8.18
09. Gnossienne No. 3 (Satie) 3.20
10. Les Feuilles Mortes (Autumn Leaves) (Kosman) 4.58
11. Nuages (Reinhardt) 4.13

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The official website:
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Daniil Trifonov & The Philadelphia Orchestra – Destination Rachmaninov – Departure (Piano Concertos 2 & 4) (2018)

FrontCover1Daniil Olegovich Trifonov (born 5 March 1991) is a Russian pianist and composer. Described by The Globe and Mail as “arguably today’s leading classical virtuoso” and by The Times as “without question the most astounding pianist of our age”, Trifonov’s honors include a Grammy Award win in 2018 and the Gramophone Classical Music Awards’ Artist of the Year Award in 2016. The New York Times has noted that “few artists have burst onto the classical music scene in recent years with the incandescence” of Trifonov. He has performed as soloist with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony and the Munich Philharmonic, and has given solo recitals in such venues as Royal Festival Hall, Carnegie Hall, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Berliner Philharmonie, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Concertgebouw, and the Seoul Arts Center.

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Born in Nizhny Novgorod, Trifonov began studying piano at the age of five and performed in his first solo recital at the age of seven. In 2000, he began studying with Tatiana Zelikman [ru] at the Gnessin School of Music in Moscow. From 2009 to 2015, Trifonov studied with Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music. In 2011, he won the First Prize and Grand Prix at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in addition to the First Prize at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, and in 2010 was a prizewinner at the International Chopin Piano Competition. In 2013, Trifonov signed a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon; his first album for the label, a live recording of his debut solo recital at Carnegie Hall, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. He later won a Grammy in 2018 for an album of the complete transcendental études for piano by Franz Liszt. His albums have appeared on international record chart rankings, with seven ranking on Billboard Top Classical Album charts. (wikipedia)

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And here´s his 9th solo-album:

Following their much-praised release of Rachmaninov’s “Paganini Variations”, Daniil Trifonov, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin start with what will become a complete cycle of the Rachmaninov Piano Concertos. This release includes the famous Second Concerto, along with the less popular Fourth, the later recorded live in Philadelphia.

The Second Concerto is a highly energetic, fully charged performance. Trifonov pushes forward from the first bar, and the Philadelphia Orchestra is right along with him. The Phillis have their unique connection with the Russian composer, having worked with him extensively while he was in a practically forced exile in the states, and his own legendary recordings of the concertos were made with this orchestra. Is there still a hint of the late 1920’s and 1940’s sound to the ensemble? Some say their sharp yet warm strings sound is part of their DNA going back to the Ormandy era, and it shines through here as well. Time and again, the orchestra’s contribution to these performances is indispensable, with small touches rarely heard in other versions. Hear for instance the delicate dialogue and accompaniment of all parties at 3:50 in the first movement. They do a jolly good job following Trifonov intricate tempo changes, which to me never sound out of place, serves the music’s statement in full and never mannered. If one goes back to the composer’s own version under Stokowski (RCA), his attitude toward rubato as a tool to increase the intensity of musical phrasing is very reminiscent of Trifonov’s.

Daniil Trifonov04Speaking of the Rachmaninov version (1929), his slow movement is one of the greatest recordings of all time, mainly because of his beauty of tone and heart-warming simplicity. Trifonov’s approach is more direct, more outward. It’s not as moving, but highly effective when listening as part of the whole concerto. What occurs in 5:00 at this movement is a good example of pianist and conductor masterful control over tempo changes – The peek of the musical phrase is emphasized with slowing down, holding all the weight, while right afterward the pianist takes us back to the original tempo with his solo re-entering. On other performances, it would have sounded too “romanticized” – here it sounds just right.
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The third movement finds Trifonov, the Philadelphians and Nézet-Séguin at their most energetic – with a cost. This is the only movement in this album where at times the partners are not entirely in sync (0:30), though Trifonov’s virtuosity and the players enthusiastic soon make you forget about this tiny details. I liked very much the pianist’s handling of the famous second subject, played with a forward-moving energy rather than dwelling over it like in so many other performances. In sum, it’s an energetic, very nicely done and fully “live” Rachmaninov Second, even under studio conditions. Competition is so fierce these days that why should one even bother to compete – But I will mention Rachmaninov’s own version as a point of reference, Krystian Zimerman (also on DG) impressive pianism, Lugansky and Orano with the CBSO for their almost chamber-like collaboration, and a hidden jam – Barry Douglas, the LSO and Tilson Thomas for their delicate, mature and penetrating account. Trifonov in comparison has an irresistible energy, and is also very well recorded.

Daniil Trifonov05

If you heard some hidden treasures in the Second Concerto’s score, then you’re in for a treat in this version of the Fourth, maybe even more impressive a performance than the second. One has to admit the piece’s small weaknesses; It’s not as accessible, seductive or well-organized a composition as the other three concertos, but it certainly can’t be dismissed or ignored for lack of originality. Trifonov and his partners are fully committed to this somewhat enigmatic concerto, the same high spirit coming through even more here (maybe due to the tension of the live recording). Trifonov emphasis of rhythmic elements within phrases makes this a fascinating version – hear for instance his off-bit left-hand staccato at 3:50 in the first movement, or his building up the tension with the brass and woodwind sections from 5:00 onward.

The Fourth’s second movement is perhaps sentimental to a fault, but Trifonov direct, almost muscular handling of it and the orchestra’s warm string accompaniment work extremely well. It’s not Michelangeli’s serenity as heard in his legendary EMI version, but very nicely done indeed. The outburst in the middle of the movement and the exit of its entanglement is another example of the masterful collaboration between soloist and orchestra.

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The third movement is perhaps the most problematic and maybe can be partly blamed for the relative lack of popularity of this interesting concerto. What strikes the most of Trifonov and Nézet-Séguin’s version is how modern it can sound in the right hands – finally you could hear Rachmaninov looking forward to the 20th century rather than looking back to the 19th – listen to 0:55 and elsewhere and you could swear hearing hints of Prokofiev and Shostakovich. You rarely exposed to these connections on other versions, if ever.

The fill-up in this album is Rachmaninov’s arrangement of 3 movements from Bach’s Violin Sonata No. 3. It’s well played and wisely placed between concertos – It makes you want to hear some original Bach from Trifonov one day. The next installment with Concertos No. 1&3 is coming within a year. This release makes it highly anticipated. (Tal Agam)

And I add as a bonus his fantastic version of the legendary Piano Concerto No. 1 (by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky),recorded live at the Carnegie Hall, New York in 2011.

BackCover1

Personnel:
Daniil Trifonov (piano)
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The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Yannick Nézet-Séguin01

Tracklist:
Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No.2 In C Minor , Op. 18:
01. Moderato – Più Vivo – Maestoso (Alla Marcia) – Moderato 11.14
02. Adagio Sostenuto 11.47
03. Allegro Scherzando – Moderato – Allegro Scherzando – Presto – Moderato – Allegro Scherzando – Ala Breve. Agitato – Presto – Maestoso – Risoluto 12.16

Suite From J. S. Bach’s Partita For Violin In E Major, BWV 1006:
04. Preludio. Non Allegro 3.48
05. Gavotte 2.45
06. Gigue 1.42

Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No.4 In G Minor , Op. 40:
07. Allegro Vivace 10.07
08. Largo 7.05
09. Allegro Vivace 9.24

Music composed by Sergei Rachmaninov
except “Partita For Violin In E Major, BWV 1006” composed by Johann Sebastian Bach

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10. Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 (live at Carnegie Hall, October 11, 2011) (*) 35.45

(*) Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev

Daniil Trifonov03

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The official website:
Website

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra – Má Vlast (Smetana) (1987)

FrontCover1And here´s the most important composition of Bedřich Smetana:

Bedřich Smetana ( March 1824 – 12 May 1884) was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style that became closely identified with his people’s aspirations to a cultural and political “revival.” He has been regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his opera The Bartered Bride and for the symphonic cycle Má vlast (“My Fatherland”), which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer’s native Bohemia. It contains the famous symphonic poem “Vltava”, also popularly known by its German name “Die Moldau” (in English, “The Moldau”).

Smetana was naturally gifted as a composer, and gave his first public performance at the age of 6. After conventional schooling, he studied music under Josef Proksch in Prague. His first nationalistic music was written during the 1848 Prague uprising, in which he briefly participated. After failing to establish his career in Prague, he left for Sweden, where he set up as a teacher and choirmaster in Gothenburg, and began to write large-scale orchestral works.

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In the early 1860s, a more liberal political climate in Bohemia encouraged Smetana to return permanently to Prague. He threw himself into the musical life of the city, primarily as a champion of the new genre of Czech opera. In 1866 his first two operas, The Brandenburgers in Bohemia and The Bartered Bride, were premiered at Prague’s new Provisional Theatre, the latter achieving great popularity. In that same year, Smetana became the theatre’s principal conductor, but the years of his conductorship were marked by controversy. Factions within the city’s musical establishment considered his identification with the progressive ideas of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner inimical to the development of a distinctively Czech opera style. This opposition interfered with his creative work, and may have hastened a decline in health that precipitated his resignation from the theatre in 1874.

Smetana03

By the end of 1874, Smetana had become completely deaf but, freed from his theatre duties and the related controversies, he began a period of sustained composition that continued for almost the rest of his life. His contributions to Czech music were increasingly recognised and honoured, but a mental collapse early in 1884 led to his incarceration in an asylum and subsequent death. Smetana’s reputation as the founding father of Czech music has endured in his native country, where advocates have raised his status above that of his contemporaries and successors. However, relatively few of Smetana’s works are in the international repertory, and most foreign commentators tend to regard Antonín Dvořák as a more significant Czech composer.

Smetana01

Má vlast (Czech pronunciation: [maː vlast]), also known as My Fatherland,[n 1] is a set of six symphonic poems composed between 1874 and 1879 by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana. The six pieces, conceived as individual works, are often presented and recorded as a single work in six movements. They premiered separately between 1875 and 1880. The complete set premiered on 5 November 1882 in Žofín Palace, Prague, under Adolf Čech.

Má vlast combines the symphonic poem form, pioneered by Franz Liszt, with the ideals of nationalistic music of the late nineteenth century. Each poem depicts an aspect of Bohemia’s countryside, history, or legends.

The works have opened the Prague Spring International Music Festival, on the 12 May anniversary of the death of their composer, since 1952.

Má vlast consists of six pieces:

Vyšehrad (The High Castle)
Vltava (The Moldau)
Šárka
Z českých luhů a hájů (From Bohemia’s Woods and Fields)
Tábor
Blaník

Vyšehrad above the Vltava River:
Vysehrad

The first poem, Vyšehrad (The High Castle), composed between the end of September and 18 November 1874 and premiered on 14 March 1875 at the [Prague] Philharmonic,[6] describes the Vyšehrad castle in Prague which was the seat of the earliest Czech kings. During the summer of 1874, Smetana began to lose his hearing, and total deafness soon followed; he described the gradual, but rapid loss of his hearing in a letter of resignation to the director of the Royal Provincial Czech Theatre, Antonín Čížek. In July 1874 he began hearing anomalous noise and then a permanent buzzing. Not long after the onset he was unable to distinguish individual sounds. At the beginning of October he lost all hearing in his right ear, and finally on 20 October in his left. His treatment was based on maintaining isolation from all sounds, but was unsuccessful.

Notes

The poem begins with the sounds of the harp of the mythical singer Lumír, and then crosses over into the tones of the castle’s arsenal. This section of the music introduces the main motifs, which are used in other parts of the cycle. A four note motif (B♭–E♭–D–B♭) represents the castle of Vyšehrad; this is heard again at the end of ‘Vltava’ and once more, to round the whole cycle off, at the conclusion of ‘Blaník’.

In the score two harps are required to perform the opening arpeggios. After a dominant seventh chord, the winds take up the theme, followed by the strings, before the whole orchestra is employed to reach a climax. In the next part, Smetana recalls the story of the castle, using a faster tempo which becomes a march. A seemingly triumphant climax is cut short by a descending passage depicting the collapse of the castle, and the music falls quiet. Then the opening harp material is heard again and the music reminds again of the beauty of the castle, now in ruins. The music ends quietly, depicting the River Vltava flowing below the castle.

Army of knights led by St. Wenceslas: Věnceslav Černý:
Cerny-Jirasek

Conceived between 1872 and 1874, it is the only piece in the cycle to be mostly completed before Smetana began to go noticeably deaf in the summer of 1874. Most performances last approximately fifteen minutes in duration.

Vltava, also known by its English title The Moldau, and the German Die Moldau, was composed between 20 November and 8 December 1874 and was premiered on 4 April 1875 under Adolf Čech. It is about 13 minutes long, and is in the key of E minor.

In this piece, Smetana uses tone painting to evoke the sounds of one of Bohemia’s great rivers. In his own words:

The composition describes the course of the Vltava, starting from the two small springs, the Cold and Warm Vltava, to the unification of both streams into a single current, the course of the Vltava through woods and meadows, through landscapes where a farmer’s wedding is celebrated, the round dance of the mermaids in the night’s moonshine: on the nearby rocks loom proud castles, palaces and ruins aloft. The Vltava swirls into the St John’s Rapids; then it widens and flows toward Prague, past the Vyšehrad, and then majestically vanishes into the distance, ending at the Labe (or Elbe, in German).

Moldau02

Vltava contains Smetana’s most famous tune. It is an adaptation of the melody La Mantovana, attributed to the Italian renaissance tenor, Giuseppe Cenci, which, in a borrowed Romanian form, was also the basis for the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah. The tune also appears in an old Czech folk song, Kočka leze dírou (“The Cat Crawls Through the Hole”); Hanns Eisler used it for his “Song of the Moldau”; and Stan Getz performed it as “Dear Old Stockholm” (possibly through another derivative of the original tune, “Ack Värmeland du sköna”).

The piece is featured in the 2011 American movie The Tree of Life and in Don Hertzfeldt’s Everything Will Be OK.

The third poem was finished on 20 February 1875 and is named for the female warrior Šárka, a central figure in the ancient Czech legend of The Maidens’ War. Šárka ties herself to a tree as bait and waits to be saved by the princely knight Ctirad, deceiving him into believing that she is an unwilling captive of the rebelling women. Once released by Ctirad, who has quickly fallen in love with her, Šárka serves him and his comrades with drugged mead and once they have fallen asleep she sounds a hunting horn: an agreed signal to the other women. The poem ends with the warrior maidens falling upon and murdering the sleeping men. It was first performed under the baton of Adolf Čech (sources disagree whether this was on 10 December 1876 or 17 March 1877).

Šárka

Smetana finished composing this piece, commonly translated as “From Bohemia’s Woods and Fields” or “From Bohemian Fields and Groves”, on 18 October 1875, and it received its first public performance nearly eight weeks later, on 10 December. A depiction of the beauty of the Czech countryside and its people, the tone poem tells no real story. The first part is dedicated to the grandeur of the forest with a surprising fugue in the strings, interrupted by a soft woodland melody of the horns, which is later taken over by the whole orchestra. In the second part, a village festival is depicted in full swing. This tone poem was originally written to be the finale of Má vlast.

Bohemia's Woods

This piece, which was finished on 13 December 1878 and premiered on 4 January 1880, is named for the city of Tábor in the south of Bohemia founded by the Hussites and serving as their center during the Hussite Wars. The theme for the piece is quoted from the first two lines of the Hussite hymn, “Ktož jsú boží bojovníci” (“Ye Who Are Warriors of God”).

Blaník was finished on 9 March 1879 and premiered on 4 January 1880. It is named for the mountain Blaník inside which a legend says that a huge army of knights led by St. Wenceslas sleep. The knights will awake and help the country in its gravest hour (sometimes described as four hostile armies attacking from all cardinal directions).

Musically, Blaník begins exactly as Tábor ends, “hammering” out the motto which was left unresolved, but now continuing on, as if in the aftermath of the battle. Thus these last two tone poems of the cycle form a cohesive pair, as do the first two; the High Castle’s theme returns as the Vltava’s river journey triumphantly reaches that same destination, and again returns triumphantly at the end of Blaník. Once again, the Hussite hymn used in Tábor is quoted, though this time it is the third line which rings out in the march at the end of the piece. The original lyrics to this line in the hymn are “so that finally with Him you will always be victorious”, a reference to the eventual victorious rise of the Czech state. (wikipedia)

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And here´s the version of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra , Amsterdam (produced for the German record market; the booklet is in German only)

Czech composer Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884), an intense nationalist, wrote the six symphonic poems known collectively as Ma Vlast (My Country or My Fatherland) between 1874 and 1879, ironically, following his having a nervous breakdown and going deaf. He dedicated the cycle of works to the city of Prague, the first two movements dealing with the sights and sounds of the city.

With Hungarian conductor Antal Dorati leading the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Newton Classics’ current reissued Philips recording, we get spirited, red-blooded accounts of all six episodes of the score, with plenty of color and characterization. The performances perhaps lack something of the subtlety and stylishness of several rival versions, like those from Neumann (Berlin Classics), Kubelik (Supraphon), Berglund (EMI), Pesek (Virgin), and Wit (Naxos), but Dorati’s energy, vivaciousness, animation, and warmth more than make up for any minor concerns.

The cycle begins with Vysehrad (1874), named after the venerable castle of Bohemian kings in Prague. Under Dorati, the music sounds beautifully smooth, lyrical, and Romantic yet well sprung, too, with finely articulated tensions and releases. Dorati perfectly judges the tempos throughout this segment, even if they are a tad faster than we usually hear. Still, the conductor works up a passionate response in the process.

Antal Dorati

Next up we hear Vltava (1874), which describes the river called in German the Moldau, and uses an old Czech folk tune as its principal theme. Smetana’s original program notes tell us that the music traces the countryside the river runs through: meadows, forests, even conjuring up water nymphs along the way. This is the most-famous section of the work, and conductors often play it by itself; thus, you’ll find quite a few more separate recordings of Vltava (or The Moldau) than of the complete Ma Vlast, my own favorite Moldau being one recorded long ago by Leopold Stokowski, available in an RCA collection of rhapsodies. In any case, here Dorati again seems brisker than other conductors, yet his timing is actually slower than four other recordings I had on hand for comparison. It’s a trick Dorati employs, seeming to be quickening the tempo when he is really slowing it.

After that we get Sarka (1875), which refers to a female warrior in Czech legend who exacts a bloody revenge on the male sex. This portion of Ma Vlast ties in with the final two sections in describing Bohemia’s fierce struggle for independence. Dorati succeeds in capturing its excitement and mystery.

Alternate frontcovers:
AlternateFrontCovers

From Bohemia’s Woods and Fields (1875) is pretty much self-explanatory. In this segment we’re back to the pastoral pleasures of the countryside. Dorati is properly lilting and melodic, the music’s lively ebbs and flows harking back to the conductor’s handling of the Vltava section.

Tabor (1878), which introduces us to a Hussite war tune (the Hussites were followers of John Huss, who initiated a nationalistic movement in Bohemia in the late fourteenth century); and Blanik (1879), the mountain where the Hussites retreated before their ultimate fight for liberation. I always think of these final portions of the cycle as the battle sequences. Like other people, I’m sure, though, I have never found these pieces as satisfying as Smetana’s preceding music; it’s a little long and more than a little repetitious. Nevertheless, Dorati plays up the drama for all it’s worth and makes one sit up and take notice as much as or more than other interpreters have done. Perhaps only in the concluding section, Blanik, does Dorati seem a touch hesitant or tardy, but without a direct comparison to other recordings, he seems right on. Besides which, the more relaxed pace lends a greater weight and dignity to the final chapter.

The companion filler piece, the symphonic poem In Nature’s Realm by Smetana’s countryman, Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904), makes an appropriate choice. Dvorak wrote it as the first in a trio of independent overtures connected by a related musical theme. Dvorak’s idea was to show Man in the face of Nature and how nature can affect one in a positive way if we let it into our lives. Dorati conducts it delicately yet powerfully and allows us to take pleasure in the music’s sweet harmonies. ( John J. Puccio )

BackCover1

Personnel:
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Antal Dorati

BookletA

Tracklist:
01. Vyšehrad 13.37
02.  Vltava (The Moldau) 13.12
03. Šárka 10.41
04. Z Českých Luhů A Hájů (From Bohemia’s Woods And Fields) 12.26
05. Tábor 13.54
06. Blaník 15.26

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The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is a Dutch symphony orchestra, based at the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw (concert hall). Considered one of the world’s leading orchestras, Queen Beatrix conferred the “Royal” title upon the orchestra in 1988. (wikipedia)

The-Royal-Concertgebouw-Orchestra

St. Matthews Choir & Orchestra – The Creation (Haydn) (2010)

FrontCover1On a day like this, I thought of this oratorio:

The Creation (German: Die Schöpfung) is an oratorio written between 1797 and 1798 by Joseph Haydn (Hob. XXI:2), and considered by many to be one of his masterpieces. The oratorio depicts and celebrates the creation of the world as described in the Book of Genesis.

The libretto was written by Gottfried van Swieten. The work is structured in three parts and scored for soprano, tenor and bass soloists, chorus and a symphonic orchestra. In parts I and II, depicting the creation, the soloists represent the archangels Raphael (bass), Uriel (tenor) and Gabriel (soprano). In part III, the bass and soprano represent Adam and Eve.

The first public performance was held in Vienna at the old Burgtheater on 19 March 1799. The oratorio was published with the text in German and English in 1800.

Haydn was inspired to write a large oratorio during his visits to England in 1791–1792 and 1794–1795, when he heard oratorios of George Frideric Handel performed by large forces. It is likely that Haydn wanted to try to achieve results of comparable weight, using the musical language of the mature classical style. Among the Handel works Haydn heard was Israel in Egypt, which includes various episodes of tone painting, perhaps an inspiration to Haydn’s own pervasive use of this device in The Creation.

Joseph Haydn01

The text of The Creation has a long history. The three sources are Genesis, the Biblical book of Psalms, and John Milton’s Paradise Lost. In 1795, when Haydn was leaving England, the impresario Johann Peter Salomon (1745–1815) who had arranged his concerts there handed him a new poem entitled The Creation of the World. This original had been offered to Handel, but the old master had not worked on it, as its wordiness meant that it would have been four hours in length when set to music. The libretto was probably passed on to Salomon by Thomas Linley Sr. (1733–1795), a Drury Lane oratorio concert director. Linley (sometimes called Lidley or Liddel) himself could have written this original English libretto, but scholarship by Edward Olleson, A. Peter Brown (who prepared a particularly fine “authentic” score) and H. C. Robbins Landon, tells us that the original writer remains anonymous.

The Creation, notice for the first public performance at the Burgtheater on 19 March 1799:
Anschlagzettel1799

When Haydn returned to Vienna, he turned this libretto over to Baron Gottfried van Swieten, who led a multifaceted career as diplomat, director of the Imperial Library, amateur musician, and patron of music. He had already collaborated with Haydn as librettist, editing the text for the oratorio version of The Seven Last Words of Christ, premiered in Vienna in 1796. Swieten recast the English libretto of The Creation in a German translation (Die Schöpfung) that Haydn could use to compose. He also made suggestions to Haydn regarding the setting of individual numbers. The work was published bilingually (1800) and is still performed in both languages today.

For the quotations from the Bible, Swieten chose to adhere very closely to the English King James Version. According to Temperley, “the German text corresponds to no known German Bible translation. Instead, it is so constructed that the word order, syllabification, and stress patterns are as close as possible to the English. Haydn and Swieten must have realized that English audiences would not easily accept changes in the hallowed text of their Bible; and there were the formidable precedents of Messiah and Israel in Egypt to bear in mind.”

In the final form of the oratorio, the text is structured as recitative passages of the text of Genesis, often set to minimal accompaniment, interspersed with choral and solo passages setting Swieten’s original poetry to music. Swieten incorporated excerpts from Psalms for choral movements..

Gottfried van Swieten

Van Swieten was evidently not a fully fluent speaker of English, and the metrically-matched English version of the libretto suffers from awkward phrasing that fails to fit idiomatic English text onto Haydn’s music. For example, one passage describing the freshly minted Adam’s forehead ended up, “The large and arched front sublime/of wisdom deep declares the seat”. Since publication, numerous attempts at improvement have been made, but many performances in English-speaking countries avoid the problem by performing in the original German. The discussion below quotes the German text as representing van Swieten’s best efforts, with fairly literal renderings of the German into English; for the full versions of both texts see the links at the end of this article.

The first performances in 1798 were mounted by the Gesellschaft der Associierten, a group of music-loving noblemen organized by van Swieten to sponsor concerts of serious music; the Gesellschaft paid the composer handsomely for the right to stage the premiere (Salomon briefly threatened to sue, on grounds that the English libretto had been translated illegally). The performance was delayed until late April—the parts were not finished until Good Friday—but the completed work was rehearsed before a full audience on April 29.

Performance of The Creation in 1808 in the Festival Hall of the old University of Vienna/Austria:
Aufführung 1808

The first performance the next day was a private affair, but hundreds of people crowded into the street around the old Schwarzenberg Palace at the New Market to hear this eagerly anticipated work. Admission was by invitation only. Those invited included wealthy patrons of the arts, high government officials, prominent composers and musicians, and a sprinkling of the nobility of several countries; the common folk, who would have to wait for later occasions to hear the new work, so crowded the streets near the palace that some 30 special police were needed to keep order. Many of those lucky enough to be inside wrote glowing accounts of the piece. In a letter to the Neue teutsche Merkur, one audience member wrote, “Already three days have passed since that happy evening, and it still sounds in my ears and heart, and my breast is constricted by many emotions even thinking of it.”

The old Covent Garden theatre, site of the English premiere in 1800. Engraving from 1808:
CoventGardenTheatre
The first public performance at Vienna’s old Burgtheater at the Michaelerplatz on 19 March 1799 was sold out far in advance, and Die Schöpfung was performed nearly forty more times in the city during Haydn’s life. The work became a favourite of the Tonkünstlersocietät, a charitable organization for the support of widows and orphans of musicians, for which Haydn frequently conducted the work, often with very large ensembles, throughout the remainder of his career. The Creation had its London premiere in 1800, using its English text, at Covent Garden.

The last performance Haydn attended was on March 27, 1808, just a year before he died: the aged and ill Haydn was carried in with great honour on an armchair. According to one account, the audience broke into spontaneous applause at the coming of “light” and Haydn, in a typical gesture, weakly pointed upwards and said: “Not from me—everything comes from up there!”

The Creation was also performed more than forty times outside Vienna during his life: elsewhere in Austria and Germany, throughout England, and in Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Russia and the United States. Despite the eclipse in Haydn’s reputation as a composer in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the work never left the repertoire during this time, and today it is frequently performed by both professional and amateur ensembles. There are many recordings

A typical performance lasts about one hour and 45 minutes. (wikipedia)

LinerNotes01

And here we hear this legenday composition by St. Matthew´s Choir & Concert Orchestra, Ealing/London.

Biography

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And it´s such a such a moving and intimate recording …

Recorded live at the St. Matthews church, 20th March, 2010, Ealing/London

St. Matthews church

Personnel:
Adam Crockatt (Tenor; Uriel)
Clément Dionet (Baritone; Adam)
Aurélia Jonvaux (Soprano; Eve)
Antoine Salman (Bass; Raphael)
Joanna Marie Skillett (Sopran; Gabriel)
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St. Mattew´s Choir & Concert Orchestra conducted by Phiroz Dalal

Concert Poster

Tracklist:

First Part:
01 .Representation Of Chaos 2.38
02. In The Beginning 4.05
03. Now Vanish Before The Holy Beams 2.03
04. And God Made The Firmament 2.13
05. The Marvellous Work 0.50
06. And God Said, Let The Waters 4.52
07. Boiling In Foaming Billows 0.34
08. And God Said, Let The Earth 5.31
09. With Verdure Clad 0.14
10. And The Heavenly Host 2.22
11. Awake The Harp 0.47
12. And God Said, Let There Be Light 2.57
13. In Splendour Bright 4.26
14. The Heavens Are Telling 0.33

Second Part:
15. And God Said, Let The Waters 8.10
16. On Mighty Pens 1.57
17. And God Created Great Whales 0.25
18. And The Angels 4.48
19. Most Beautiful Appear 2.28
20. The Lord Is Great 3.43
21. Now Heaven In Fullest Glory Shone 0.43
22. And God Created Man 3.55
23. In Native Worth 0.32
24. And God Saw Everything That He Had Made 1.33
25. Achieved Is The Glorious Work 4.07
26. On Thee Each Living Soul Awakes 3.34
27. Achieved Is The Glorious Work 4.02

Third Part:
28. In Rosy Mantle Appears 10.11
29. By Thee With Bliss 2.49
30. Our Duty We Have Now Performed 0.43
31. O Happy Pair 3.45
32. Sing The Lord Ye Voices All

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Lang Lang – Memory (2005)

FrontCover1Arguably the most famous Chinese pianist of all time, Lang Lang has become a superstar on the Classical music stage, with the popularity and charisma of many leading rock musicians. Many of his performances and interviews are available online, and several have drawn over one million hits. His recordings are hits, too, and his concerts are regularly sold-out well ahead of schedule. Lang’s manner during performance can be eccentric but fascinating: he is very animated, often smiles, and often looks away from the keyboard even during extremely difficult passages. While Lang plays many traditional and contemporary Chinese works, he performs mostly Western repertory, with the names Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Prokofiev regularly appearing on his programs. Lang has toured widely throughout Asia, Europe, the U.K., U.S., and elsewhere across the globe. He has made numerous recordings, most of them available from DG, Decca, Telarc, and Sony.

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Lang Lang was born in Shenyang, China, on June 14, 1982. His father is a well-known musician in China who plays the ehru. At three, reportedly inspired by a scrap of one of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies in a Tom and Jerry cartoon, Lang began piano lessons and at five won a local competition. In 1991 nine-year-old Lang moved with his father to Beijing for studies at the Central Music Conservatory. Despite initial troubles there, he advanced under the guidance of Zhao Ping-Guo. Lang won the 1993 Beijing-based Xing Hai Cup Piano Competition and the following year captured first prize at the International Competition for Young Pianists, in Ettlingen, Germany.

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Lang appeared on Japanese television in 1995 in a performance of the Chopin Second Concerto, with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. At 15 (1997) he began studies at the Curtis Institute with Gary Graffman.

In 1999 he debuted at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago with an acclaimed performance of the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto. 2001 was another breakthrough year: Lang debuted at Carnegie Hall in a program of Haydn, Schubert, Tan Dun, Schumann, Chopin, and Liszt, and then went on tour to Beijing with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He also debuted later that year at the Proms, in Royal Albert Hall, London.

Lang’s 2003 CD of the Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn first piano concertos with Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, on DG, drew much critical acclaim. Further successful recordings and concerts followed, including his 2007 appearance at the Nobel Prize ceremonies in Stockholm, Sweden. Lang’s performance at the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing was reportedly viewed by more than a billion people. Lang appeared with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall for the 2010 New Year’s Eve China Festival. He is the author of an autobiography, Journey of a Thousand Miles; it has also been released as Playing with Flying Keys, a version for children.

Lang Lang03Controversy erupted in Lang’s career when on January 19, 2011, he appeared at the White House and performed an arrangement of My Motherland, a Chinese melody once associated with anti-American feelings. Lang graciously responded to negative commentary that he intended no criticism whatever of the U.S. Among Lang’s more acclaimed recordings is his 2010 Sony CD/DVD, Lang Lang Live in Vienna, which features works by Beethoven, Chopin, Prokofiev, and Albeniz.

In the 2010s Lang has aimed squarely at mainstream audiences and has been rewarded with consistently strong album sales. He has released survey albums devoted to Liszt (My Piano Hero), Chopin, and Mozart, as well as thematic programs: Piano Daydreams and New York Rhapsody (both 2016). On the latter album he served as accompanist to such diverse popular singers as alternative country songwriter Jason Isbell and traditional jazz chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux. The year 2017 saw Lang record a pair of piano concertos by film composer Howard Shore of Lord of the Rings fame. (by Robert Cummings)

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And here is his 4th solo album:

If it is possible to play the piano charismatically, then that is what Lang Lang does. His total identification with each piece gives his playing a warmth, a personal touch, that is unique. His performance of Mozart’s K. 330 is ideally classical. The opening movement seems played with the fingers just touching the keys. The big Chopin sonata is given an imposing, dignified reading, and Lang Lang plays the frisky scherzo–the most perky one Chopin ever wrote–with obvious glee.

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The performance of Schumann’s “Kinderszenen” is filled with characterization: dreamy, filled with wonderment (“Curious Story”), wackiness (“Catch me if you can”), and stillness (“Child falling asleep”); Lang Lang manages to avoid affectation throughout. A bonus CD offers Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 in Vladimir Horowitz’s arrangement and is dizzying in its virtuosity. This is a must-have; Lang Lang is not being over-hyped. (Robert Levine)

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Personnel:
Lang Lang (piano)

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Tracklist:

Piano Sonata No. 10 in C major, K. 330 (K. 300) (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart):
01. Allegro moderato 6.35
02. Andante cantabile 7.29
03. Allegretto 5.47

Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58, CT. 203 (Frederic Chopin):
04. Allegro maestoso 15.09
05. Scherzo. Molto vivace 3.24
06. Largo 14.09
07. Finale. Presto non tanto 5.39

Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood) for piano, Op. 15 (Robert Schumann):
08. Von fremden Ländern und Menschen (About foreign lands and peoples) 1.51
09. Kuriose Geschichte (Curious story) 1.11
10. Hasche – Mann (Catch me if you can) 0.28
11. Bittendes Kind (Pleading child) 0.52
12. Glückes genug (Happiness) 1.25
13. Wichtige Begebenheit (Important event) 1.01
14. Träumerei (Dreaming) 3.17
15. Am Kamin (At the fireside) 1.21
16. Ritter vom Steckenpferd (Knight of the hobby – horse) 0.35
17. Fast zu ernst (Almost too serious) 1.51
18. Fürchtenmachen (Frightening) 1.45
19. Kind im Einschlummern (Child falling asleep) 2.41
20. Der Dichter spricht (The poet speaks) 3.12

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Franz Liszt:
21. Hungarian Rhapsody, for piano No. 12 in C sharp minor (aka “No. 2”) 9.05

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Derek Bell – Plays With Himself (1980)

FrontCover1George Derek Fleetwood Bell, MBE (21 October 1935 – 17 October 2002) was a Northern Irish harpist, pianist, oboist, musicologist and composer who was best known for his accompaniment work on various instruments with The Chieftains.

Bell was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Because he had been misdiagnosed at an early age as having a disease that would lead to blindness, his parents gave him a musical upbringing. He was something of a child prodigy, composing his first concerto at the age of 12. He graduated from the Royal College of Music in 1957. While studying there, he became friends with the flautist James Galway. From 1958 to 1990 he composed several classical works, including three piano sonatas, two symphonies, Three Images of Ireland in Druid Times (in 1993) for harp, strings and timpani, Nocturne on an Icelandic Melody (1997) for oboe d’amore and piano and Three Transcendental Concert Studies (2000) for oboe and piano. He had mastered and held a notable collection of instruments, including various harps, harpsichord, piano, cymbalom, and all the members of the oboe family of instruments (musette, oboe, cor anglais, bass oboe) and the heckelphone.

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As manager of the Belfast Symphony Orchestra, Bell was responsible for maintaining the instruments and keeping them in tune. Out of curiosity, he asked Sheila Larchet-Cuthbert to teach him how to play the harp. Over time he had many harp teachers. In 1965 he became an oboist and harpist with the BBC Northern Ireland Orchestra. He had been known to be able to skilfully play the pedal harp, neo-Celtic harp, and wire-strung Irish-Bardic harp. Bell served as a professor of harp at the Academy of Music in Belfast.

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Bell was briefly featured in a 1986 BBC documentary, The Celts, in which he discussed the role and evolution of the harp in Celtic Irish and Welsh society. Derek Bell also appeared with Van Morrison at the Riverside Theatre at the University of Ulster in April 1988. An hour-long BBC special was broadcast in which Derek Bell talks extensively as well as accompanying Morrison on several songs including “On Raglan Road”. The video is available on YouTube in full “VAN MORRISON – In Conversation and Music 1988”. Apart from this, video of him only exists in minor interviews and performances with The Chieftains.

Bell died of cardiac arrest in Phoenix, Arizona on 17 October 2002, just four days shy of his 67th birthday. He is remembered at Cambridge House Grammar School, Ballymena, as House Patron of Bell House. (wikipedia)

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And here´s one of his solo-album …. with this really bizarre cover.

Derek Bell, was best known as the harpist and piano player of the Chieftains. However, he played a multitude of instruments. On this album, recorded in 1980, he plays piano, harpsichord, harps, cor anglais, oboes and cimbalom. The music is largely classical with some adaptations of folk melodies. (propermusic.com)

And:
Could Derek Bell have picked a better title for this baroque extravaganza? No. No he could not ! (classicfm.com)

What a nice album !

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Personnel:
Derek Bell (all instruments: harpsichord, concert harp, piano, neo-Irish harp, oboe d’amore, cimbalom, oboe)

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Tracklist:
01. Minuet (from The Duo Concertane Opus 74 in B Flat For Concert Harp and Piano) (Dussek) 4.41
02. Sonata In C Major For Oboe And Harpsichord (Besozzi) 7.30
03. Rondeau Ecossais For Pianoforte (Field) 4.15
04. Peruvian Dances (Traditional) 4.09
05. Tocata Burlesca For Oboe And Piano (Bell) 3.06
06. Mazurka Opus 28 For Concert Harp (Holý) 3.54
07. Notturno Opus 12 For Concert Harp (Holý) 2.52
08. Spanish Dance Opus 7 For Concert Harp (Holý) 3.45
09. Turkmenian Melody (for Cor Anglais and Piano) (Korchmarev) 2.46
10. Lotus Land Opus 47 For Pianoforte (Scott) 3.38
11. Three Bagatelles For Oboe D’Amore And Piano (Strutt) 5.18
12. Hungarian Folk Dances Cimbalom Solo With Harpsichord (And Piano, Harp And Oboe) (Traditional) 3.31

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Antonio Carlos Barbosa Lima – Concerto en Modo Frigio (1965)

LimaFrontCover1Antonio Carlos Ribeiro Barbosa Lima (born December 17, 1944) is a classical and jazz guitarist from Brazil. He has spent most of his professional life as a resident in the United States, devoting much of his time as a recitalist on international concert tours. He has appeared often as a soloist and with orchestras

Born on December 17, 1944 in São Paulo, Brazil, Barbosa-Lima grew up in the Brooklyn district of the city. He states that he began playing guitar when he was seven.

Barbosa-Lima recalls that his father, Manuel Carlos, hired an instructor to teach him how to play guitar. The lessons were then transferred from the father to the son, and the child became known in the neighborhood as a prodigy. After two years of lessons with Benedito Moreira, the young man was introduced to Brazilian guitarist composer Luiz Bonfá. Under the recommendation of Bonfa, Barbosa-Lima was directed to Isaias Savio, the father of the classical guitar school of Brasil. At the behest of family, friends, and acquaintances, he made his concert debut in Sao Paulo in November 1957 when he was twelve years old. During the next year, he performed on a television variety show that introduced young musicians and gave a solo concert in Rio de Janeiro. He signed a contract with Chantecler, which was part of RCA Brazil, and in June 1958 he released his first album, Dez Dedos Magicos Num Violão De Ouro.

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In 1960 Barbosa-Lima began the life of a traveling musician, touring in Montevideo, Uruguay, and eastern Brazil. He made his American debut in Washington, D.C, in 1967. He toured through the U.S. and Central and South America. Barbosa-Lima was now making his own arrangements for guitar. In 1964 he released an album of arrangements by the popular Brazilian songwriter, Catullo. Friends of Barbosa-Lima heard these arrangements and encouraged him to continue arranging for guitar.

In 1967 Barbosa-Lima gave his New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall (then known as Carnegie Recital Hall). This concert was met once again with excellent reviews and moved his career onto the global concert stage. In 1968 he went to Madrid to play for Andrés Segovia. After returning two years later, he gave a concert in New York’s Town Hall.

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At the conclusion of this concert he was approached by Harold Shaw and Shaw Concerts who offered him a steady stream of concert dates within the United States. With the heavy concert schedule and Master classes now available to him through Shaw Concerts Barbosa-Lima took a teaching position at Carnegie Mellon University (1974–1978). It was during this time that Barbosa-Lima’s reputation as a world class guitarist began to blossom and composers began writing works for him. One very important composer of this time was Alberto Ginastera who composed the Sonata for guitar, op. 47 for Barbosa-Lima. The later end of the decade (1977) saw Barbosa-Lima perform Francisco Mignone’s Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

As the 1980s began Barbosa-Lima moved to New York City (1981) and took a teaching post at the Manhattan School of Music. Once in New York Barbosa-Lima began to perform with Jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd. Upon hearing Barbosa-Lima’s arrangements Mr. Byrd immediately arranged for Barbosa-Lima to meet and perform for Carl Jefferson (the owner of Concord records). Carl Jefferson signed Barbosa-Lima and eleven recordings were to follow on the Concord Jazz label.

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In 1982 Barbosa-Lima made frequent contact with fellow Brazilian, Antônio Carlos Jobim, one of the world’s most popular composers of all time. Barbosa-Lima would often meet him at Jobim’s upper east side apartment in New York City for impromptu jam sessions. It was out of these sessions that came the recording Carlos Barbosa-Lima plays Music by Antônio Carlos Jobim and George Gershwin a crossover CD before the word was popular. Jobim was immediately impressed with Barbosa-Lima’s arranging technique for guitar which Barbosa-Lima describes as “multi-linear” basically meaning several voices moving at once like classical guitar technique. At the time of their meetings Jobim was more familiar with the Brazilian guitar technique which utilized a “block chord” technique as Jobim himself used.[21] “…Barbosa-Lima brings an ear attuned to counterpoint and technique that gives each independent line its own voice.

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His transcriptions find and define every moving part, in bossa novas and countermelodies together as he does in Gershwin, he sounds like a team of guitarists”. And in keeping with Barbosa-Lima’s multi-linear technique the Cuban composer Leo Brouwer, who has long been a personal friend of his, has said; “…when unknowingly I [Brouwer] walked by a hotel room and heard guitar music I thought I was listening to a guitar duo and then suddenly recognized the music and realized it was Barbosa-Lima playing solo. If I weren’t a guitar player and guitar composer who noticed a mistake by one of the violinists during a rehearsal of a seventy-member orchestra my confusion could be justified. I believe that Carlos Barbosa-Lima is a genius of transcriptions of Latin American music for guitar.”

Currently Barbosa-Lima records for the Zoho music record label and has released five recordings under this label and the direction of Barbosa-Lima’s recordings as well as his concert programing have a definite Latin American concept. In April, 2010 Barbosa-Lima celebrated the release of his fiftieth recording release, Merengue (Zoho Music, CD 200911) at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. (wikipedia)

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And here is one of his early albums … On the one hand he plays the great concerto by Eduard Grau and then he interprets classical composers like Bach and Mozart alone on the guitar ! An early masterpiece !

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Personnel:
Carlos Barbosa-Lima (guitar)
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unknown orchestra on 01. – 03.

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Tracklist:

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Concerto em Modo Frígio Para Violão e Orquestra (Grau)
01. Allegro 5.55
02. Adagio quasi largo 5.39
03. Alegro energético 6.07

04. Fuga (Bach) 5.00
05. Variações Sobre Um Tema (Mozart) 9.49
06. Na Ilha Abandonada (Sávio) 3.47

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