The Best of Classica 2021
Saturdays in January
On five Saturdays evenings in January, Stingray Classica shows a selection of its best broadcasts of the past year. On New Year’s Day, the special opens with a concert program dedicated to Antonín Dvořák, where Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons leads the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and soloist Kristine Opolais in a performance of some of Dvořák’s most beloved works. On January 8, Stingray Classica broadcasts a chamber music concert in which Chinese pianist Zhu Xiao-Mei performs J. S. Bach's iconic Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) at the Leipzig Bach Festival. The next week, Stingray Classica presents Carl Orff’s celebrated cantata Carmina Burana, here performed by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Choir under the baton of Santtu-Matias Rouvali. On January 22, Semyon Bychkov leads the Czech Philharmonic in a performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 9, recorded at Rudolfinum, Dvořák Hall, Prague. The special ends on January 29, when Swedish conductor Hans Ek leads the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Vocal Ensemble in a tribute to iconic electro music and industrial rock from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Nelsons and Opolais perform Dvořák
Saturday, January 1 | 21:00
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 - Goldberg Variations (BWV 988)
Saturday, January 8 | 21:00
Chinese pianist Zhu Xiao-Mei performs J. S. Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) at the Leipzig Bach Festival. This June 2014 concert was recorded at St. Thomas Church, where Bach spent most time of his career as 'Thomaskantor', the musical director of the Thomanerchor church choir. The Goldberg Variations consist of one aria and a set of 30 variations. The work was first published in 1741 and was named after harpsichordist Johann Gottlieb Goldberg. In contrast to melodic variations on a theme, the Goldberg Variations do not follow the melody, but rather use the aria's bass line and chord progression. Every third variation in the series of 30 is a canon that follows an ascending pattern. The Goldberg Variations are among Bach's most celebrated works, which gained an even larger audience thanks to Glenn Gould's legendary recordings of the work in 1955 and 1981.
Carl Orff - Carmina Burana
Saturday, January 15 | 21:00
Santtu-Matias Rouvali conducts the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Choir in a performance of Carl Orff's cantata Carmina Burana. Vocal soloists are Ylva Stenberg, Brett Sprague, and Olle Persson. Carmina Burana, composed in 1935 and 1936, is based on 24 poems from a medieval manuscript of the same name. The piece's full title is "Songs from Beuern: Secular songs for singers and choruses to be sung together with instruments and magical images". It was first performed at the Oper Frankfurt on June 8, 1937. This concert was recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall (Konserthuset) in Sweden in 2018.
Mahler - Symphony No. 9
Saturday, January 22 | 21:00
Soviet-born conductor Semyon Bychkov leads the Czech Philharmonic in a performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 9, recorded at Rudolfinum, Dvořák Hall, Prague in April 2019. The Czech Philharmonic under the baton of Czech composer and conductor Otakar Ostrčil gave the first performance of this work in Prague in November 1918. The period when Mahler created his Ninth Symphony presented an important turning point in the composer's life. In 1907 he decided to end his ten-year tenure as artistic director of the prestigious Vienna Court Opera and to depart for America. His Symphony No. 9 tends to be viewed as Mahler’s farewell to this world. Whichever way it was intended, it is not only the composer’s last completed work: more generally, it was the last word in the symphonic genre for the entire nineteenth century.
Kosmische Musik - Tribute to Krautrock
Saturday, January 29 | 21:00
Renowned Swedish conductor Hans Ek heads the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Vocal Ensemble in this tribute concert to iconic electro music and industrial rock, focusing on the 1950s to the '80s. In addition to music by Kraftwerk, the orchestra performs repertoire of Tangerine Dream, NEU!, Einstürzende Neubauten, Rammstein, Karlheinz Stockhausen, as well as more recently written music. Special guest is the band Fontän, whose very own mix of psychedelia and club music has been delighting listeners around the world for over a decade. The concert, which was recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall in 2019, offers a one-of-a-kind musical experience, with wonderful stage design and lighting to boot.