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Mozart - Così fan tutte
The opera, based on a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, is a romantic comedy about the complexity of relationships between men and women. With his sensual, spirited and passionate music, Mozart poses fundamental questions about love and brings to the libretto surprising psychological depth and an underlying seriousness not present in the original farce. Michael Haneke created a contemporary staging for the Teatro Real Madrid. The orchestra and chorus of the Teatro Real performed this masterpiece in 2013 under the baton of Sylvain Cambreling. The work features Anett Fritsch, Paola Gardina, Juan Francisco Gatell, Andreas Wolf, Kerstin Avemo, and William Shimell.
Rachmaninov - The Last Romantic
In 2013, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic closes the fourth edition of the Annecy Festival with a programme exclusively dedicated to Sergei Rachmaninov, led by Yuri Termikanov. The orchestra enchants, with multi-gifted musician Denis Matsuev, with performances of favorites like Rachmaninov’s famous Piano Concerto No.2, the Symphonic Dances, and many more. Denis Matsuev, co-artistic director of the festival and artistic director of the Sergei Rachmaninov Foundation, interprets the Piano Concerto No. 2 virtuously and passionately. The tradition of the Annecy Classic Festival was born in 1967, initiated by the renowned French pianist Eliane Richepin. What started out as intimate performances by local musicians for local audiences has become a relevant cultural collaboration between France and Russia over the years.
How to get out of the Cage - A year with John Cage
The compelling documentary How to Get Out of the Cage (2012) by award-winning filmmaker Frank Scheffer presents an intimate portrait of John Cage (1912-1992), one of 20th century's most important composers. From 1982 to 1992, Scheffer worked with Cage on numerous occasions, which resulted in unique archives of historical audio-visual material, including interviews, musical performances, and images of locations related to the composer’s life and work. In all Scheffer’s works related to Cage, he used the old Chinese method of chance operations based on the Yi Jing – as often used by Cage himself in his compositions. Instead of using chance operations, Scheffer edited the film in the usual way that is based on choice.
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.
Domaine Forget - Concert 2016
The ensemble Les Violons du Roy, led by Jean-Francois Rivest, performs a captivating concert of early and late classical music. Discover Franz Schubert's Overture for Orchestra in B-flat major, D.470 and his Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, D. 485. Schubert composed these pieces when he was 20-year-old in September and October 1816. Pianist Benedetto Lupo joins Les Violons du Roy for a classical intermezzo: a sparkling rendition of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major, K. 503. This atmospheric performance was recorded at the Canadian festival of Domaine Forget in Saint-Irénée in 2016.
Glière, Op. 20 and Shostakovich, Op. 57
The Valerius Ensemble, consisting of Robert Windak (violin), Michael Rein (violin), Eva Šušlíková (viola), Judith Chapman (cello) and Ingo Lylofs (piano) played a concert in Muziekcentrum Enschede on April 15, 2018. On the concert program are the Allegro Moderato from Glières String Quartet No. 2 and the Scherzo, Intermezzo, and Finale from Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet, Op. 57. The work is one of the more popular chamber music works by the composer and a year after its premiere it was awarded the Stalin Prize in 1941.
Sons of Vienna: Part 2 - A Lion’s Roar
The six-part series Sons of Vienna explores stories through the eyes of musicians, professors and musicologists. It portrays extraordinary composers who were active in the cultural city of Vienna and deserve the label of genius. In A Lion’s Roar (Part 2) we follow the life and work of Ludwig van Beethoven. More has been written about Beethoven than any other composer, yet he remains a man of mystery. In early adulthood he moved from Bonn to Vienna to study with Haydn. Within a year he had established himself as Vienna’s finest piano virtuoso. He admired Haydn and Mozart and learned much from them, yet his music was so unlike what came before. With Ludwig we always feel like a storm is just around the corner. His emotions would quickly erupt, like when he tried to break a chair over the head of his patron Prince Lichnowsky. It was Beethoven who built the creative bridge from the Classical Period to the Romantic Period, all while living in Vienna.
Pianomania - Pedro Burmester & Mário Laginha
The Portuguese pianists Pedro Burmester and Mário Laginha bundle their forces in a diverse concert program. This concert opens with a piano transcription of Astor Piazzolla’s La Grande Tango, which was originally composed for piano and cello. After this energetic performance, Burmester plays Chopin’s beloved First Ballade, Op. 23. Laginha joins again for two interesting two-piano transcriptions of impressionistic works: Debussy’s Prélude “À l´après-midi d´un faune,” and Maurice Ravel’s “La valse.” The duo close the concert with two more encores: Arthur Benjamin's “Jamaica Rumba” and “Rosa” by Pixinguinha. This concert is recorded at the Grand Auditorium of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation of Lisbon, in 2018.
Johan de Meij - Echoes of San Marco & Fellini
This concert is the result of the collaboration between the Giuseppe Nicolini Conservatory of Piacenza and the Giuseppe Verdi of Milan as part of the project "MIlanoPIACEnza ... suonare insieme.” On the program are works by the Dutch conductor and composer Johan de Meij. “Echoes of San Marco” is a tribute to the Venetian Renaissance composer Giovanni Gabrieli (1555-1612). Echoes of San Marco opens with a quote from Gabrieli’s “Canzon Septimi Toni” from the “Sacre Sinfoniae”, and is just like the original work composed for two choirs of brass instruments. “Fellini” is composed for solo saxophone and orchestra and is a tribute to Italian film director Federico Fellini (1920-1993). De Meij composed the work for saxophone player Hans de Jong, who during this concert is dressed as a melancholic clown to intensify the dreamy and imaginary worlds present in Fellini’s films. This concert is recorded at the Sala dei Teatini of the Teatri di Piacenza in 2018. Directed by Pietro Tagliaferri.
Shostakovich Symphony No. 5
The Royal Flemish Philharmonic ‘deFilharmonie’ specializes in the historically informed performance of various classical music styles. deFilharmonie’s unique character is shaped by several conductors, such as the Dutch conductor Edo de Waart and the Flemish conductor Philippe Herreweghe. Given his specific background and experience, Herreweghe focuses on the music of the Romantic era and before. The orchestra holds an unusual position in the Flemish music landscape due to its unique nation- and worldwide concert series. Concerts at the Musikverein in Vienna, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam have drawn crowds. This concert was performed at Antwerp’s Queen Elisabeth Hall under the baton of the Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden. On the programme is the Symphony No. 5 in D minor by Dmitri Shostakovich.
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.”
Mozart - Symphony No. 40, K. 550
Gianluigi Gelmetti conducts the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart in a performance of W. A. Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor (K. 550), directed for television by Janos Darvas. The work was composed in 1788 and is sometimes referred to as the "Great G minor symphony", with the Symphony No. 25 being the "Little G minor symphony". The two are the only of Mozart’s 41 symphonies that were written in a minor key. It is arguably the most popular of all of Mozart’s symphonies. The catchy opening melody became one of the most popular ringtones of mobile phones in the 90s. Scholars are not in agreement whether it was popular in Mozart’s own time. The composer performed it a few times and rewrote some parts of the score.
CMIM - Quarter Finals - Hagar Sharvit
Carl Philippe Gionet accompanies mezzo-soprano Hagar Sharvit (Isreal/Germarny, 1986) during the first round of the Art Song competition of the Concours musical international de Montréal of 2018 (CMIM). The program features La fleur qui va sur l’eau, Op. 85/2 by Fauré, Schubert’s Nachtstück (D. 672) and O, Waly, Waly by Britten. 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.
Stravinsky, Webern and Debussy
Today’s Brussels Philharmonic concert focuses on the diverse musical styles that characterized the first half of the 20th century. In addition to the impressionism of Claude Debussy's Jeux (1913), conductor Michel Tabachnik's ensemble focuses on one of the leading composers of modern music: Igor Stravinsky. His first ballet music, Firebird (1910), is a highlight of the concert. The concert opens with Anton Webern’s Five Pieces for Orchestra Op. 10 (1913). These five, ultra-short pieces are not thematically connected, nor do they include traditional formal plans or tonal relationships - prepare for a listening challenge!
Haydn - String Quartet in C Major Op. 20 No. 2
One of the most famous Austrian composers of the Classical period is Joseph Haydn. During his career he composed over a hundred symphonies which gave him the title ‘Father of the Symphony’, but he has also been a key figure in the development of chamber music such as the piano trio. Haydn is still very famous for his 68 string quartets that he wrote between 1762 and 1803. ‘Father of the String Quartet’ is therefore also a title that describes Haydn as a composer. The British String Quartet The Lindsays have recorded all substantial Haydn String Quartets during their active years, from 1965 to 2005. Besides Haydn, there are an extensive list of highly praised recordings such as Beethoven String Quartets, but also String Quartets by Mozart, Schubert and Dvorak. In 2004 they recorded seven Haydn String Quartets for television at the Kuhmo Arts Centre in Finland. One of them is Haydn's String Quartet in F minor Op. 20 No. 2. Opus 20 consist of six quartets that are considered a milestone in the history of composition. Haydn developed techniques in this composition that were to define the string quartet for the next 200 years. The quartets were composed in 1772 when Haydn was already an established composer in Europe.
Handel at Chambord Castle
This 2016 concert at Chambord Castle in France under the direction of Hervé Niquet features 70 musicians that gave a spectacular performance of Handel‘s Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks. In between Le Concert Spirituel also plays Concerto Grosso’s No. 4 and No. 5 also by Georg Friedrich Handel. After that you can enjoy the celebrated movement of Marc- Antoine Charpentier’s Te Deum, now universally known as the signature tune of Eurovision. The music brings to mind the splendor at the court of King Louis XIV, who sojourned in Chambord on several occasions.
Looking for Cole
The world-famous American composer and lyricist Cole Porter has long made his way into hearts and songbooks all around the globe. The documentary “Looking for Cole” by Wilfried van den Brande, which was recorded over the course of three years, gives a unique insight into the artist’s most interesting life as a “supreme sophisticate.” Van den Brande may well call himself an expert on Porter since he has completed a PhD on the topic and recorded the largest Porter anthology to date, and published concert recordings of 325 Porter songs online. In “Looking for Cole,” Van den Brande journeys in the composer’s footsteps, discusses his work and life with numerous experts, and shares the stage with musicians such as Kim Criswell, Wayne Marshall, the WDR Funkhaus Orchester, and the Brussels Philharmonic.
Franck - Stradella
On September 19, 2012, Liège, the economic and cultural centre of Wallonia, reopened its Opera house, anchoring one of Europe's most important Operas in modernity. The season opens with Stradella, the uncompleted work of the youth of the composer César Franck, who was born and raised in Liège, the 1842 manuscript of which was found in the National Library of France in 1984. The world's first production is therefore performed at the Royal Opera House of Wallonia, orchestrated by Luc Van Hove and directed by the film maker Jaco Van Dormael. The opera tells the story of the Duke of Pesaro. He has ordered his lieutenant Spadoni to abduct the beautiful maiden Leonor in the middle of the Carnival in Venice. Having locked her away in his mansion, the Duke tries to win her love by employing the famous singer Stradella to woo her, unaware that Stradella and Leonor are actually an item. Music by César Franck, Libretto by Emile Deschamps and Emilien Pacini.
Beethoven - Symphony No. 5
The Casco Phil, The Chamber Music Orchestra of Belgium, conducted by Benjamin Haemhouts, performs Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Op. 67. The symphony is one of the most famous works in classical music, mainly due its famous eight note opening (two times “ta-ta-ta-taaa”). The work was written between 1804 and 1808 and premiered in Theater an der Wien and achieved its prodigious reputation soon afterwards. Recorded at the Elisabeth Center in Antwerp, Belgium.