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Luigi Rossi - L'Orfeo
The Ensemble Pygmalion performs Luigi Rossi’s (c. 1597-1653) l' Orfeo (1647), an opera in three acts in a staging by Jetske Mijnssen. The libretto written by Francesco Buti is based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. L’Orfeo is one of the earliest operas ever to be staged in France. The Ensemble Pygmalion is directed by Raphaël Pichon. Among the soloists are Judith van Wanroij (Orfeo), Franscesca Aspromonte (Euridice), Giuseppina Bridelli (Aristeo), Giulia Semenzato (Venere, Proserpina) and Luigi de Donato (Augure, Plutone). Recorded at the Opéra National de Lorraine in Nancy, France in 2016.
Tchaikovsky Night at the Verbier Festival 2017
The farewell concert of the Verbier Festival 2017, conducted by legendary Mikhail Pletnev, brings together the mysterious and rare Glazunov’s From the Middle Ages orchestral Suite and Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony. The maestro shows a precise knowledge of both pieces and gets from the young Verbier Festival Symphony orchestra lush strings and delicate woodwinds and booming bass. Buoyant Janine Jansen sweeps the whole place off their feet with an energetic Tchaikovsky violin concerto performance. The encore played by Janine Jansen is Tchaikovsky's Souvenir d’un lieu cher.
Gala from Berlin 1996 - Dances and Gypsy Tunes
Italian coloratura mezzo-soprano opera singer, Cecilia Bartoli teams up with Russian virtuoso violinist, Maxim Vengerov, lending radiance to Claudio Abbado's gala performance of 1996. The concert features Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, Gypsy Songs, op. 103 and Es tönt ein voller Harfenklang, op 17, Maurice Ravel’s Tzigane, Vocalise en forme de Habanera and La Valse, Héctor Berlioz’ Zaide and parts of his Hungarian March, and selections from Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola.
Handel - Brockes-Passion (HWV 48)
The Apollo Ensemble performs Händel’s Brockes-Passion (HWV 48) in the Oudhoornse Kerk in Alphen aan de Rijn, The Netherlands. The Brockes-Passion is a German oratorio libretto by Barthold Heinrich Brockes first published in 1712 and revised multiple times in the years after. Brockes was an influential German poet who re-worked the traditional form of the Passion oratorio, adding reflective and descriptive poetry into the texture of the Passion. The most famous setting of the text is by Händel. It is not known exactly why or when the composer set the text of the Brockes-Passion, which was already used by other composers, but it is known the work was performed in Hamburg in 1719. Händel's Brockes-Passion is said to be a worthy contribution to the genre, with passages of great beauty, such as the duet for Mary and her son. Bach was influenced by the work in his famous St John Passion.
Celebrate St. Patrick 2017
Celebrate St. Patrick (2017) was filmed at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. Choirs from as far as Santa Barbara, California seized the opportunity to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and perform with local Irish musicians for the congregation of this historic cathedral. The concert merges sacred music, traditional Irish instruments and music from the Irish diaspora. Featuring performers from the highly acclaimed Voices of Ireland, the power of the choirs is complemented by the beauty of the Irish harps. Avalon brings a special blend of traditional Irish pipes with classical strings. With readings from the words of St. Patrick and HD footage of Counties Armagh and Down, Celebrate Saint Patrick is a feast for the ears and eyes.
Lucerne Festival 2004 - Pollini plays Beethoven
Maurizio Pollini and the Lucerne Festival play under the baton of maestro Claudio Abbado. At the yearly Lucerne Festival in Switzerland they perform the beautiful Piano Concerto No 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven. This Piano Concerto was composed between 1805 and 1806 and Beethoven himself played the solo when the concerto premiered in December 1808. In this concert the solo is played by the Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini, well known for his interpretations of works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Chopin. This concert was recorded at the Lucerne Festival in 2004.
Discovering Masterpieces - Brandenburg Concertos
This episode presents the Brandenburg Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Musical excerpts played by the Freiburger Barockorchester conducted by Gottfried von der Goltz. Bach's six Brandenburg Concertos rank among the undisputed favorites of all baroque fans. They have become a firm fixture in music education and an integral part of our international musical heritage. So what's their secret? The internationally acclaimed pianist and Bach expert Robert Levin provides an answer.
Verbier Festival 2017 - George Li Piano Recital
George Li won the silver medal at the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow in 2015 and, according to the Washington Post, his performance "left no doubt that he combines staggering technical prowess, a sense of command and depth of expression." His program for the Verbier Festival, very demanding in terms of virtuosity and grace, suits him perfectly: Appassionata, which is part of the cycle "Heroic", one of the most difficult sonatas of Beethoven to play, and Sonetto del Petrarca and Reminiscenses by Don Juan de Liszt, composed in the early 1840s, in the same powerful breath that prompted Liszt to invent, for one of his concerts given in London in 1840, the now well-known expression "recital of piano ".
Beethoven - Violin Concerto
Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman and the Berlin Philharmonic perform the Violin Concerto, Op. 61 by Ludwig van Beethoven under the direction of Daniel Barenboim. Beethoven dedicated his Violin Concerto to his colleague Franz Clement, a prominent violinist of the time. The first of the piece was presented in Vienna in 1806. The piece was only interpreted a handful of times during the following decades. However, the work took a new lease of life in 1844, when the young violinist Joseph Joachim, barely 12 years old, performed with the London Philharmonic Society, under the direction of Mendelssohn. Since then, Beethoven's Violin Concerto has been one of the most important concertos in the classical repertoire. This work, renowned for its wide range of cadenzas, poses a great technical and intellectual challenge, brilliantly picked up by Perlman and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 2
The Verbier Festival Orchestra under the baton of Antonio Pappano plays Brahms’s second piano concerto with Yefim Bronfman on the piano. Brahms’s second piano concerto is the longest concerto in the repertoire – a titanic masterpiece in four movements (most of the concertos composed up to that time had only three) which interpretation calls for an artist of Yefim Bronfman’s stature. In Philippe Roth’s own words, Yefim Bronfman “has strolled into the music shed out of a circus where he is the strongman who takes on the piano as a ridiculous challenge to the gargantuan strength he revels in”. This recording was made at the Verbier Festival 2017.
Rossini - La Cenerentola
Gioachino Rossini's opera La Cenerentola ('Cinderella'), with a libretto by Jacopo Ferretti, was first performed in February 1816 following the success of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Interestingly, much like its predecessor, the first performance of the opera was received with some hostility, but the work soon became popular throughout Italian theaters and beyond. The opening of La Cenerentola is one of the most famous Rossini pieces, evoking a spirit of lightness and freshness. The work’s originality lies in the violent contrast between the heroin’s tenderness and the plot’s sentimentalism mixed with Rossini’s virtuosity and unbridled sense of humor. This 2015 performance of La Cenerentola at the Opéra de Rennes is conducted by Darrell Ang and features the Symphonic Orchestra of Brittany and choir of the Opéra de Rennes and José Maria Lo Monaco, Daniele Zanfardino, Marc Scoffoni and Bruno Pratico.
Mahler - Symphony No. 5
The Lucerne Festival Orchestra performs Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5 under the direction of Claudio Abbado. This unique orchestra was formed as part of the annual festival in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Gabor Takasc-Nagy conducts the VFO & Andras Schiff
As part of the Verbier Festival 2017, Hungarian conductor Gabor Takacs-Nagy conducted the Verbier Festival chamber orchestra, accompanied by pianist Andras Schiff. The program includes Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 and Schumann's Symphony No. 1. Brahms' first piano concerto is one of the most titanic pieces in the keyboard repertoire. Its excess makes it a real challenge for both the pianist and the conductor. András Schiff - whose mastery of form and structure is matched only by the clarity of the game - finds an ideal partner in Gabor Takacs-Nagy, a warm and passionate conductor. The affinity between the two Hungarian musicians is palpable and serves well the music of Brahms, whose love of music and Hungarian musicians is well documented. Gabor Takacs-Nagy has been artistic director of the Verbier Festival's chamber orchestra for over ten years. It is enough for him to throw a simple "with your horn don’t talk to your mother, talk to your father instead" to the horn player during rehearsal to ensure a solid and subtle interpretation of these great orchestral works.
CMIM - Quarter Finals - Lauren Margison
Janelle Fung accompanies soprano Lauren Margison (Canada, 1992) during the first round of the Aria competition of the Concours musical international de Montréal of 2018 (CMIM). The program features Ah! Je ris de me voir from Gounod’s Faust, Puccini’s Tu che di gel sei cinta from Turandot and Porgi, amor, qualche ristoro from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (K. 492). Founded in 2002, the CMIM is an annual event that draws thousands of spectators to concert halls, as well as listeners on the radio and the web. The competition seeks to discover and support musicians who demonstrate exceptional mastery of their art. It’s the only international competition in North America to be held annually and to present three disciplines (voice-violin-piano) in a three-year rotation.
CMIM - Quarter Finals - Dilyara Idrisova
Esther Gonthier accompanies soprano Dilyara Idrisova (Russia, 1989) during the first round of the Aria competition of the Concours musical international de Montréal of 2018 (CMIM). The program features G. F. Handel’s Ah, think what ills the jealous prove (Hercules), Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben from Mozart’s Zaide (K. 344) and Anch’il mar par che sommerga from Vivaldi’s Bajazet (RV 703). Founded in 2002, the CMIM is an annual event that draws thousands of spectators to concert halls, as well as listeners on the radio and the web. The competition seeks to discover and support musicians who demonstrate exceptional mastery of their art. It’s the only international competition in North America to be held annually and to present three disciplines (voice-violin-piano) in a three-year rotation.
Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker
Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker is one of the best known and most beloved pieces from the composer. The music has inspired many choreographers to the tell the colourful Christmas fairy-tale of E. T. A. Hoffmann and Alexandre Dumas senior in the language of dance. Ben Stevenson is to this day considered one of the most important influencers of the American ballet art. For almost thirty years, he has been the art director of the Houston Ballet, and under his leadership the company has grown into an internationally acknowledged ballet theatre. Since the year 2003 he’s held the position of Artistic Director of the Texas Ballet. His stage productions have earned several awards and praise from the critics, and have been staged at Opéra de Paris, Canadian National Ballet, La Scala, Bavarian State Opera, London City Ballet etc. This performance of the Nutcracker is recorded at the Teatro La Fenice (Venice) in 2012. With the Estonian National Ballet and star dancers Vladislav Lantratov and Galina Laush.
Beethoven - Symphony No. 9
Beethoven's Symphony no 9 is interpreted by the Berlin Philharmonic under former chief conductor Claudio Abbado at the Berliner Philharmonie in 2001. The recording features interpretations that are the fruit of decades of Claudio Abbado’s involvement with Beethoven. Listening to the music, one hears how the Berlin Philharmonic transforms Abbado’s musical intentions into sound – there is a sense of unity that can only be achieved through many years of shared artistic experience and attention to detail.