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Puccini - La Bohème
Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Paris Opera Orchestra and Choir in a performance of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème. Recorded at the Opéra National de Paris in 2017 and directed by Claus Guth. Among the soloists are Nicole Car, Aida Garifullina Atalla Ayan and Artur Ruciński. La Bohème premiered in 1896 at the Teatro Regio in Italy. The opera's libretto focuses on the relationship between Rodolfo and Mimì. When young poet Rodolfo meets seamstress Mimì, it's love at first sight. But faced by the cruel realities of poverty and ill health, will the flame that burns between them flicker and die? Or will the timeless strength of their youthful passion withstand every trial and tribulation that life can throw at them?
Gala from Berlin 1998 - Songs of Love and Desire
Featuring W. A. Mozart and Giuseppe Verdi, love is the theme of this 1998 New Year's Eve concert. Maestro Claudio Abbado selected two of the best Mozart interpreters, Christine Schäfer and Simon Keenlyside, for this traditionally meaningful event. Marcelo Álvarez from Argentina, who some compare to a young Domingo, sings highlights of the tenor repertoire, and Italian prima donna Mirella Freni tops the occasion with a breath-taking performance of the letter scene from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Eugen Onegin.
Memory of a Concert
In 2006, Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich set out on tour performing solos and duets by Bartók und Schumann. The last of the concert series at the Berliner Philharmonie has been recorded for this film, featuring a rare solo performance by Martha Argerich. A concert film with personal and moving commentary by Gidon Kremer. Program: Schumann's Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 10, Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 121; Kinderszenen, Op. 15; Bartók: Violin Sonata No. 1 Sz 75; Violin sonata No. 2 Sz 76.
Haydn - Symphony No. 45 'Farewell'
Under the direction of Conrad van Alphen, the Sinfonia Rotterdam Orchestra performs Haydn's Symphony No. 45 at the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in The Hague. This piece is nicknamed "Farewell" because of a funny anecdote. Haydn and his musicians stayed every year from May to October at the magnificent Esterháazy Palace, at the request of Prince Nicholas. In early November 1772, the prince announced his intention to remain at the palace for two more months. The musicians then told Kapellmeister Haydn their disagreement with this forced extension of their stay. The solution proposed by Haydn was to compose a piece delivering a clear message: at the end of the last movement of the Symphony, the musicians were called to blow the candles on their lectern and leave the room one after the other. Prince Nicholas understood the message; the next day a car was waiting for the musicians to take them home.
Stravinsky - Symphony of Psalms
German conductor Wolfgang Gönnenwein leads the Orchester der Ludwigsburger Schloßfestspiele and the Süddeutscher Madrigalchor Stuttgart in a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms (1930). The composer included verses from Psalms 38, 39, and 150 from the Vulgate bible in Latin in his work, which was written for mixed chorus and orchestra. The three movements of the symphony are performed without break. Remarkable is the work’s unique orchestration, which leaves out violins, violas, and clarinets, as Stravinsky wanted to avoid a Romantic orchestral sound. This performance was recorded at the 1988 Ludwigsburger Schloßfestspiele.
Chopin - Piano Concertos No. 1 & No. 2
Antoni Wit conducts the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra in performances of Chopin's Piano Concertos No. 1, Op. 11 and No. 2, Op. 21. Soloists are Nikolai Demidenko and Evgeny Kissin. After performing the first concerto, Demidenko encores with Chopin's Mazurka Op. 17/4. Kissin closes the concert with Chopin's Etude Op. 10/12 and the Waltz in E minor, Op. post. This concert was part of the celebration of Chopin's 200th anniversary in 2010. Chopin composed the second concerto one year before the Concerto No. 1 and completed both works at the age of 20, before leaving his home country Poland and moving to Paris.
Baroque choral music by Bach, Schütz et al.
Five-strong vocal ensemble amarcord is joined by an extra alto and two soprano voices for this unusual concert at Leipzig’s St. Thomas Church. As amarcordplus, the ensemble presents a program focused on the city of Leipzig, which includes sacred madrigals by Johann Hermann Schein, motets from Heinrich Schütz’s collection Geistliche Chor-Music, as well as two motets by the most famous Thomaskantor: Johann Sebastian Bach. Moreover, various sacred works by lesser-known contemporaries Philipp Heinrich Erlebach and mononymous composer Liebhold are performed, in addition to compositions by other members of the Bach family, including Johann Michael Bach and Johann Christoph Bach. This performance was recorded on May 1, 2020.
CMIM Piano 2021 - Semi-final: Alice Burla
Alice Burla (Canada, 1996) performs Joseph Haydn's Piano Sonata No. 13 in G (Hob XVI: 6), 'Impromptu', 'Scherzino' and 'Canzonetta' from Ernő Dohnányi's Six Pieces, Op. 41, 'Fanfares' and 'Cordes à vide' from György Ligeti's Études, Book 1, and Béla Bartók's Dance Suite, Sz. 77, during the semi-finals of the 2021 Piano Edition of the Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM). This performance was recorded at the Grosser Saal of the Musik-Akademie in Basel, Switzerland.
Mahler - Symphony No. 4
The program is introduced with a short documentation about Schönberg's Pelleas et Melisande, based on a text by Claudio Abbado. Every musical theme relates to a special colour appearing on screen. What has been so remarkable about Abbado’s Mahler performances is that their impact has never been achieved at the expense of the multiple sensitivities, subtleties and extreme sophistication. Together with the world's leading youth orchestra – the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO) – Abbado performs Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Schönberg’s Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5. The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester was founded in Vienna in 1986, by Abbado’s initiative. The orchestra's high level of artistic quality and its international success have moved important conductors and soloists to work with the ensemble.
Works by Matteis, Tartini, Bach & Vivaldi
The six-concert series “Io suono italiano” is dedicated to music of Italian composers and performed by Italian musicians on Italian instruments. The concert programs cover four centuries of music: from Girolamo Frescobaldi and Antonio Vivaldi to more contemporary music by Ennio Morricone and Azio Corghi. Each program presents more familiar pieces alongside lesser-known compositions. These performances were filmed at the atmospheric Teatro Sociale in Rovigo, Italy, in January 2021. In this program, Federico Guglielmo (violin) and Roberto Loreggian (harpsichord) present Baroque music. On the program are Nicola Matteis’s Passaggio rotto e Andamento veloce per violino solo (from Ayres for the Violini), Giuseppe Tartini’s Sonata in G minor Op. 1 No. 10 (B.g10) “Didone abbandonata”, J. S. Bach’s Concerto in F major for solo harpsichord, BWV 978 (a transcription of Antonio Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in G major, Op. 3 No. 3, RV 310), and Vivaldi’s Sonata IV in D major, RV 755.
Music in the air
Television plays a crucial role in popularizing classical music. Not only has it preserved precious moments of music making, but it also helps shape the future of music. The Vienna-based IMZ International Music + Media Centre, a global association for all those involved in any aspect of classical and contemporary music, world music, jazz, and dance, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015. To commemorate this, renowned film maker Reiner E. Moritz produced the documentary 'Music in the air' to shed light on the history of classical music on television. The film dives into television's archives to demonstrate what the medium has done for the dissemination of music. It features rare footage of Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra in one of the first televised concerts, and captivating fragments from Leonard Bernstein’s Young People Concerts. Moreover, the film contains excerpts of great performances from the past, including those by Glenn Gould, Herbert von Karajan, Igor Stravinsky, and Pierre Boulez.
Mozart - Piano Sonata No. 13, KV 333
Roberto Prosseda (1975) performs Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 5 (KV. 283) and four Impromptus Op. 90 by Franz Schubert. The performance ends with Chopin's technically demanding Ballade No. 4, Op. 52. Prosseda is particularly noted for his performances of newly discovered works by Mendelssohn and has recorded a nine-CD series for Decca of the piano works of Mendelssohn. Since 2012, Prosseda also gives lecture-concerts with the robot pianist TeoTronico, as educational or family concerts, to demonstrate differences between a literal production of music and human interpretation.
First Snow
One of the first Christmas carols ever written is Perotin the Great’s Salvatoris Hodie. This brilliant 12th century composition, one of the first works ever written for four voices, opens First Snow: the atmospheric Christmas concert by the Brussels Philharmonic. Straying from ‘ars antiqua’, the program also features a performance of two contemporary melodies penned by conductor Bo Holten based on texts by the Icelandic poet Gunnar Gunnarsson (1889-1975). As an added bonus, a hand-picked selection of various Polish and French Christmas songs rounds off this enjoyable yuletide program.
Stravinsky - Jeu de cartes
Iván Fischer conducts the Budapest Festival Orchestra in a concert recorded at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall in Budapest, Hungary in 2015. The concert opens with Sergei Prokofiev's Overture on Hebrew Themes, Op. 34. After this, Thomas Zehetmair stars as solo violinist in Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 63. The second part of the concert is features music by Igor Stravinsky. On the program is music composed for the ballet 'Jeu de cartes' (1937) and the Firebird Suite, No. 2 (1919). 'Jeu de cartes' is one of Stravinsky's neo-classical works and consists of three parts ('deals'). The Firebird Suite, No. 2 is based on the music from the ballet of the same name, which was written for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and premiered in Paris in 1910.
Prague Ballet Gala
The Prague Ballet Gala is an exclusive dance event at the beautiful Prague State Opera featuring performances by leading ballet stars. Among these stunning dancers are Dmitri and Daniil Simkin, Maria Alexandrova and Sergey Filine, Jean Jacques Herment, and Viviana Franciosi. They present their favourite classical and modern pieces from legendary choreographers such as George Balanchine, Marius Petipa, José Limón and John Neumeier.
Lucerne Festival - Abbado conducts Mahler No. 1
Claudio Abbado conducts the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. The principal motif of this symphony, “Like a cry of Nature”, gave the Lucerne Festival 2009 its central theme. To Mahler, nature and art are not opposed but are rather symbiotic, with one informing the other. Abbado and the orchestra are joined by a special guest for a spectacular début: twenty-two-year-old Chinese pianist Yuja Wang performs Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3. In her Lucerne performance, Wang steps into the spotlights to display the full range of her artistry - the piano concerto demands not only lyricism and intimacy, but also brilliancy and virtuosity.
Emotion and Analysis
Conductor Pierre Boulez (1925-2016) best describes his relationship with the music of composer Béla Bartók (1881-1945) as a "sympathy between musicians". Both among the most influential artists of the 20th century, the Frenchman has worked with the music of the Hungarian composer for over five decades. A key work of Bartók is the Concerto for Orchestra, which premiered in Boston in 1944. The film Emotion and Analysis follows Pierre Boulez in his rehearsals of this composition with the Berlin Philharmonic, offering a fascinating look into the methods of a great master of modern music. The rehearsals take place in the spectacular setting of Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, where the Berlin Philharmonic performed their annual European concert in 2003. In a series of interviews, Pierre Boulez explains the historical origins of Bartók's late work, his own personal style of interpretation and his role as conductor as well as his love of composing.
Adriano 2
Nelsons and Opolais perform Dvořák
Andris Nelsons, together with his then-wife, the great soprano Kristine Opolais and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig present a program dedicated to Antonin Dvořák, singing the melodies that the composer hid in all layers of his music with tender, warm, soft colors. Nelsons’ tempos remain calm and relaxed, allowing the omnipresent beauty of Dvořák’s music to unfold and flood the Gewandhaus. The program opens with Othello, a Concert Overture for Orchestra, Op. 93. Opolais performs “Song to the Moon” from Rusalka, “Songs my Mother Taught Me” from Gypsy Songs, Op. 55/4. This is followed by the Polonaise and 'O, marno, marno to je' from Rusalka and 'Dobrá! Já mu je dám!... Jak je mi?' from Smetana's opera Dalibor. The concert closes with a performance of Dvořák's Symphony no. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 (“From the New World”). Recorded at the Gewandhaus, Leipzig in May 2017.
Bach - Partita for Violin No. 2 (BWV 1004)
Celebrated German violinist Isabelle Faust performs J. S. Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D minor (BWV 1004). The work is part of the composer’s well-known Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin (BWV 1001-1006). Partita No. 2 is made up of four dance movements, concluded by its famous Chaconne, a monumental piece within the violin repertoire. In this Chaconne, Bach develops a series of continuous variations from a theme, exploring a complex range of harmonic possibilities. This performance was recorded at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany, in 2020.