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Mozart - The Magic Flute
Antonello Manacorda leads the Orchestra and Choir of Teatro La Fenice in a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s beloved opera Die Zauberflöte (‘The Magic Flute’). Mozart probably started to compose his masterpiece in May 1791, less than six months before his death. The work’s libretto is written by Emanuel Schikaneder. In its fairy tale-like narrative, Prince Tamino is commissioned by the Queen of the Night to rescue her daughter Pamina, who has been captured by priest Sarastro. Accompanied by bird-catcher Papageno, Tamino begins his quest. After finding Pamina in Sarastro’s territory, Tamino is first subjected to a number of trials in order to prove he is worth marrying Pamina. Die Zauberflöte features wonderful arias, including the famous 'Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen' ("Hell's vengeance boils in my heart"), a virtuoso aria for coloratura soprano sung by the Queen of the Night. Among the soloists are Goran Jurić, Antonio Poli, Ekaterina Sadovnikova, Alex Esposito, Olga Pudova, and Caterina di Tonno. This performance was recorded at Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Italy, in 2015.
Waldbuhne 1998: Latin American Night
Pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, Argentina's most famous musician, brings a Latin American flavour to the Berlin Philharmonic's 1998 concert at the Waldbühne amphitheater. The concert opens with Maurice Ravel's famous Boléro, a one-movement composition for orchestra originally composed as a ballet. A straightforward composition, it is based on a rhythm that repeats throughout the whole piece, with two melodies alternating between different instruments. The steady tempo increases in loudness until the final crescendo. The second piece is Georges Bizet's Carmen Suite No. 1. Following a chilling introduction, the oboe plays an instantly recognizable theme. The program gets more exotic when guitarist John Williams takes the stage for a performance of Joaquín Rodrigo's famous Concierto de Aranjuez. The rest of the program consists of beautiful Latin American pieces: Mangoré - Una limosna por el amor de dios, "El ultimo canto", Ginastera - Estancia Suite, Op. 8a: IV Malambo, Lecuona - La Comparsa, Malagueña, Salgan - Don Agustín Bardi, Piazzolla - Adiós Nonino, Decarissimo, Gardel - El día que me quieras, Rodriguez - La Cumparista, Mores - El Firulete and ends with Paul Linke's Frau Luna and Berliner Luft.
Rocamadour: W. A. Mozart's short Masses
Over the course of eleven days in August 2020, the French town of Rocamadour hosted the fifteenth edition of Festival de Rocamadour, a music festival dedicated to sacred music from the classical, baroque, and romantic periods. On August 23, the French conductor Hervé Niquet led the ensemble Le Concert Spirituel, which he had personally founded in 1987, for a concert at the medieval Basilique Saint-Sauveur. Backbone of the concert are W. A. Mozart's two 'missae breves' written in Salzburg. These strikingly short masses are here performed with thematically related compositions by Joseph Haydn and his junior brother Michael interspersed. Firstly, we hear Mozart's Mass in F major, KV. 192, combined with two other compositions: after the Kyrie and Gloria from this Mass we hear the Church Sonata in C major, K.328 followed by the Mass's Credo, Sanctus and Benedictus. Preceding the Agnus, Le Concert Spirituel performs Michael Haydn's rarely played Ave verum, MH 654. In the second half of the concert, we hear Mozart's Mass in D, KV. 194, combined with two other compositions: following the Gloria of this Mass we hear the Church Sonata in A major, KV. 225, followed by the Credo of this Mass. Before rounding off the concert with the Mass's Agnus, Le Concert Spirituel performs Joseph Haydn's Adagio from his Concerto for keyboard instrument and orchestra in C major Hob. XVIII no. 8, followed by Mozart's Ave verum corpus, KV. 618.
Mozart - Symphony No. 29, K. 201
The Berlin Philharmonic, led by maestro Claudio Abbado, perform their first Europakonzert in Prague in 1991. Since then, the founding of the orchestra on May 1st in 1882 is annually celebrated with a concert in a European city of cultural significance. Soloists in this first edition are soprano Cheryl Studer and pianist Bruno Canino. On the program are various works by W.A. Mozart, like the overture and a selection of arias from the opera "Don Giovanni", his Symphony No. 29 (K. 201), Scena and Rondo for Soprano and piano forta obligato and Orchestra (K. 505) and the Symphony No. 35 (K. 385), nicknamed "Haffner".
Mozart - Piano Quartet No. 1, K. 478
Christian Zacharias (piano), Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin), Tabea Zimmerman (viola) and Tilmann Wick (Cello) perform Mozart’s Piano Quartet No. 1 (K.478) at the Ludwigsburg Festival in 1988. Mozart received a commission for three quartets in 1785 from publisher Franz Anton Hoffmeister. Hoffmeister thought the first quartet (K. 478) was too difficult and the public would not like it. He released Mozart from the obligation of completing the three quartets. However, nine months later, Mozart composed this second quartet anyway.
Tales of Two Cities: Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House
The Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra also known simply as Tafelmusik, is a Toronto-based Canadian baroque orchestra, specialised in early music. Its musical director is Jeanne Lamon. Together with the Trio Arabica they celebrate the music and culture in the eighteenth century. The cities of Leipzig and Damascus both lay at the crossroads of ancient trading routes and are important centres of scholarship and famous for their coffee houses, where music was performed by the most brilliant musicians of the day. This concert presents works by Bach, Telemann, Handel and treasures of classical Arabic music. In this cross-cultural café, music, words, and images are used to explore the ways in which people separated by great distances are bound together by trade, ideas, and art. Recorded at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. Created by Alison Mackay and staging by Marshall Pynkoski.
Saint-Saëns - Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 22
Pianist Mikhail Pletnev is accompanied by the Russian National Orchestra led by Kirill Karabits in a performance of Camille Saint-Saëns's Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 22. At its premiere in 1868, the orchestra was led by Anton Rubinstein, with the composer himself at the piano. The current concert was recorded at the Moscow Philharmonic Society and opens with a performance of Sergei Prokofiev's symphonic picture 'Dreams'. The concert was part of the Ninth Russian National Orchestra Grand Festival from 2017.
CMIM Piano 2021 - Final: Dimitri Malignan
Dimitri Malignan (France, 1998) performs J. S. Bach’s Adagio in G major, BWV 968, and Fantasia in C minor, BWV 906, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109, Nikolai Medtner’s Improvisation, Op. 31 No. 1, and La Campanella, Op. 20 No. 2, followed by Bruyères, Général Lavine – Excentric, and Feux d'artifice from Claude Debussy’s Préludes, Book 2, L. 131, and John Burge’s Allegro energico, Spring Thaw, and Off-beat Waltz of the Twenty-Four Preludes, during the finals of the 2021 Piano Edition of the Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM). This performance was recorded at Salle Cortot of the École Normale de Musique in Paris, France.
Dvořák - Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70
Soviet-born conductor Semyon Bychkov leads the Czech Philharmonic and London Voices in a concert recorded at the Rudolfinum, Dvořák Hall, Prague in October 2018. On the program are Luciano Berio's Sinfonia for eight voices and orchestra and Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70. When Bychkov selected the program for his first subscription concert as chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, he suggested Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 without hesitation, thus honoring the orchestra’s national tradition from the very start of his tenure at the helm of the Czech Philharmonic. His choice for Berio’s Sinfonia presents a striking contrast: this major, ground-breaking work in twentieth-century music had not been performed in the Czech Republic for 20 years.
Concerts in Quarantine: Eckardstein
Between March and May 2020, Schinkel Pavillon Berlin opened its unexpectedly vacated exhibition space for a concert series in isolation titled Concerts in Quarantine. As part of the series, pianist Severin von Eckardstein performs Claude Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (arr. Gryaznov), Frédéric Chopin's Nocturne Op. 27, No. 1, Nikolai Medtner's Elegy Op. 59, No. 2, Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 8, Op. 84, and Medtner's Fairy Tale, Op. 26, No. 3.
The Three Lives of Clara Schumann
The documentary “The Three Lives of Clara Schumann” traces the fascinating life story of German pianist and composer Clara Schumann. Born Clara Wieck in Leipzig in 1819, she was an exceptionally talented pianist, with an impressive international music career. She first met Robert Schumann, whom she married in 1840 and eventually had eight children with, in 1828. Basing itself on her letters and diaries, her compositions, and on accounts from musicians who have intensively studied her music, this 2019 documentary offers a multi-angled perspective on Clara Schumann. It records the various places where she lived, and the cities she visited as a pianist. This thought-provoking film was directed by Andreas Morell and Magdalena Zieba-Schwind.
Chopin - Mazurkas
Between March and May 2020, Schinkel Pavillon Berlin opened its unexpectedly vacated exhibition space for a concert series in isolation titled Concerts in Quarantine. As part of this series, Israeli pianist Iddo Bar-Shaï performs – on a Steinway grand – several excerpts from François Couperin's 'Pièces des Clavecin': Les Ombres Errantes, Soeur Monique, Les Tambourins, Le Rossignol en amour, La Muse Plantine, Les Roseaux, Le Tic-Toc Choc ou Les Maillotins, La Couperin, and Les Barricades Mystérieuses. This is followed by Frédéric Chopin's Mazurkas Op. 17, No. 1 & 4, Op. 24, No. 2 & 3, and Op. 33, No. 4. Joseph Haydn's Piano Sonata in D, Hob. XVI:24 rounds off the concert.
Misha Fomin at the Concertgebouw
Since his spectacular debut recital at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in 2002, pianist Misha Fomin has become an indispensable part of Dutch musical life. National and international press praise his playing for its fluently natural virtuosity, rich color palette, and great musical intelligence. In this concert, recorded at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Fomin performs a number of pieces including Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (1874). The movements are separated by the Promenade: a recurring, varied theme that evokes the walk from one painting to the next. The various promenades are variations on the same theme, which recurs in two other movements (Cum mortus in lingua mortua and The Bogatyr Gates (In the Capital in Kiev)). Mussorgsky wrote this cycle in three weeks’ time in 1874. When Mussorgsky visited the exhibition of his friend, the late painter Viktor Hartmann, he wrote to a friend that “sounds and ideas hung in the air, I am gulping and overeating, and can barely manage to scribble them on paper.”
Brahms - Violin Concerto
Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman and the Berlin Philharmonic perform Johannes Brahms' Violin Concerto (1833-1897) under the direction of Daniel Barenboim. After Beethoven's Violin Concerto, Brahms' piece is probably the most famous German Violin Concerto ever written. These two works have much in common, especially the tone in D major in which they were composed. Highly technical, Brahms' Violin Concerto is reserved for virtuosos because of the marked presence of arpeggios, rapid passages of scales and rhythmic variations. Perlman and the Berlin Philharmonic are brilliantly meeting the challenge of this technically and intellectually demanding work.
Le Sacre: A ballet in two parts by Uwe Scholz
Uwe Scholz, one of the most important choreographers of the 20th century, created two interpretations of Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps for the Leipzig Ballet. Sacre I, for one dancer, can be interpreted as a bleak and oppressive dance about Scholz’ own life. This unique solo is performed by Giovanni Di Palma to the four-handed piano version. The powerful Sacre II is staged for nearly 60 dancers, here accompanied by the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Kiyoko Kimura, one of Uwe Scholz’ muses, is the featured dancer. The full ballet was filmed as part of a portrait of Scholz in February 2003. By popular demand, this unique showcase of Uwe Scholz’ exceptional talent is now, at last, available for public viewing.
Barati & Debargue perform Debussy, Brahms & Franck
Violinist Kristof Barati and Pianist Lucas Debargue pair for the first time in a duo concert at the 25th anniversary edition of the Swiss Verbier Festival in 2018. Although this was their inaugural collaboration, the two young artists found a perfect understanding around this romantic programme. The two featured works were written very few years apart from one another (Brahms’ first sonata for violin and piano in 1879 and Franck’s sonata in A in 1886). The Brahms sonata was recorded by Kristof Barati a few years ago, while Franck’s is known to be a favourite of Lucas Debargue. The virtuoso piano part suits his gigantic hands and the fantasy of the third movement his love for improvisation. The cyclic form and the many echoes between the piano and violin parts unite the two artists, like accomplices in possession of the best assets to bring in all the emotion these romantic works have to offer. The listener is suddenly in a position to re-discover the scores and cannot but join the admiration marks that escape from the audience in between the movements. A very moving performance which deserves its benchmark status.
Heitor Villa-Lobos Music for Cello and Piano - IV
In this six-part documentary on the life and work of Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, director Liloye Boubli takes viewers on a journey through the life and work of this legend of Brazilian classical music. The composer, conductor, cellist, and classical guitarist was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1887. Growing up during a time of immense social change in Brazil – with the abolishment of slavery in 1888, this was a time of social revolution and far-reaching modernizations – Villa-Lobos went on to become one of South America's best-known composers of all time. This fourth episode dives deeper into the composer's "Bachianas brasileiras", particularly the "Ária (Cantilena)" from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, which is one of Villa-Lobos's most renowned pieces.
Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 1 & Symphony No. 2
At the age of seven, Argentine pianist Martha Argerich made her debut with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15, a piece that would accompany her throughout her career. The celebrated pianist performs this signature piece at the Lucerne Festival with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under the baton of Swedish conductor Herbert Blomstedt, who makes his festival debut with the orchestra. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36, is also on the program. This performance was recorded at the Lucerne Culture and Congress Center (KKL), Switzerland, in August 2020.
Benefit Concert from Rudolfinum Prague
In April 2020, the Czech Philharmonic organised a benefit concert raising funds to help elderly Czech citizens in times of COVID-19. Moreover, it raises the profile of freelance musicians who are unable to work during the pandemic. Conductor Jakub Hrůša leads the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. Featured soloists are violinists Josef Špaček, Jan Mráček and Jiří Vodička, French horn player Radek Baborák, organ player Aleš Bárta, and pianist Ivo Kahánek. On the program are Anton Bruckner's Tota pulchra es Maria in an arrangement by Miloš Bok, J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major, Hans Leo Haßler's Canzona in an arrangement by Verne Raynolds, excerpts from Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, and Largo from Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 in E minor in an arrangement for horn ensemble by Radek Baborák. The program continues with the first, third and fifth movements of Antonín Dvořák's Serenade for strings in E, Camille Saint-Saëns's Andante for horn and organ, the Finale from Felix Mendelssohn's Concerto for violin, piano and strings in D minor, 'Postludium' from Leoš Janáček's Glagolitic Mass, and an arrangement of Anton Bruckner's motet 'Ecce sacerdos magnus'. The concert was recorded at Dvořák Hall in Prague's Rudolfinum.
Von Zemlinsky - Clarinet Trio, Op. 3
The Valerius Ensemble, consisting of Jorge Gaona Ros (clarinet), Ksenia Kouzmenko (piano) and René Geesing (cello) plays Von Zemlinsky’s Klarinet Trio, Op. 3. It was recorded in Concordia, Enschede, on February 18, 2018. Zemlinsky was born in Vienna of a Slovak father and Sarajevan mother and studied at the Vienna Conservatoire. In his early twenties, his chamber work was performed at the Wiener Tonkünstlerverein. After the première of his String Quintet in 1896, Brahms criticized Zemlinsky for his harmonic recklessness and tonal inconsistency. Zemlinsky took Brahms's criticisms to heart in composing the Clarinet Trio. The work shows the influence of Brahms both in its form and its content.