Debussy - Pelléas et Melisande
Alain Altinoglu conducts the Philharmonia Zürich, Zusatzchor Opernhaus Zürich and SoprAlti der Oper Zürich in a performance of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, an opera in five acts to the French libretto from Maurice Maeterlinck's play. It was premiered at the in Paris by the Opéra-Comique in 1902. The plot concerns a love triangle; Prince Golaud finds Mélisande, a mysterious young woman. After marrying her he brings her back to the castle of his grandfather, King Arkel, where Mélisande becomes attached to Golaud’s younger half-brother Pelléas. Main soloists are Brindley Sherratt (Arkel), Jacques Imbrailo (Pelléas), Kyle Ketelsen (Golaud) and Corinne Winters (Mélisande). Directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov and recorded at the Opernhaus Zürich in 2016.
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!
The Violin's Voice
How can we describe the intimate connection between an instrument and its player? World renowned violinist Frank Peter Zimmerman refers to his 1711 Stradivarius "Lady Inchiquin" as the "love of his life," but what does it take for a piece of wood to achieve such reverential status? After having to return his beloved instrument, which was owned by West LB, Zimmerman turned to Martin Schleske, a violin maker considered by many to be a "21st Century Stradivari." This documentary intertwines Zimmerman's tale of separation and reunion with behind the scenes demonstrations of Schleske's work, charting the life of the violin from workshop to concert hall.
Haydn - String Quartet in C Major Op. 33 No. 3
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 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 six Haydn String Quartets for television at the Kuhmo Arts Centre in Finland. One of them is Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major Op. 33 No 3. Opus 33 consists of seven quartets that are most common under the name ‘The Russian Quartets’, because Haydn dedicated these quartets to Grand Duke Paul of Russia. The quartets premiered on Christmas Day in 1781 and the third quartet is nicknamed ‘The Bird’.
Buxtehude - Abendmusik
Dietrich Buxtehude is one of the founding fathers of the 17th century German school, whose influence on composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, his spiritual son, cannot be overestimated. Not only was he an indisputable master of organ music, but also a prolific composer whose oeuvre consists of more than 200 works. Buxtehude spent his life traveling between Lübeck and Helsingborg, Hamburg and Copenhagen. Very innovative, at a pivotal time in the history of music, Buxtehude established the ‘Abendmusiken’ (Evening Concerts) that were introduced by his predecessor Franz Tunder on the five Sundays preceding Christmas. Let’s us join the Masques ensemble and the Vox Luminis choir and discover 17th century baroque music and the composer Buxtehude through his vocal compositions, ranging from spiritual concert, choral, aria to cantata parties. The ensembles are led by Olivier Fortin and Lionel Meunier. This concert was recorded in 2017 at Centre Amuz in Antwerp, Belgium.
The Violin in Naples - Matteis and Guido
“No mortal ever played the violin better than Signor Nichola.” The English rubbed their eyes in disbelief when in the late 17th century Nicola Matteis demonstrated his superior playing. Josef Žák, Czech and violin prodigy of the latest generation, has selected three suites from Matteis’ Ayres for violin and basso continuo. He combines these with work by Giovanni Antonio Guido, who also studied in Naples and developed his career in France.
Semi Final I - Liszt Competition 2017
Yonghwan Jeong (1991, South Korea) performs Harmonies poétiques et réligieuses, No. 7 Funérailles, S173/7 and Grandes Études de Paganini, S141 during semi-final I (transcription) of the 11th International Franz Liszt Piano Competition, held in TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, in 2017. The competition actively presents, develops, and promotes piano talents from around the world. In doing so, it has become one of the prominent gateways to the international professional classical music scene for young musicians. The International Franz Liszt Piano Competition was founded in 1986 in the Netherlands and has since built a reputation as one of the world’s most prestigious piano competitions.
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 9, Op. 14, No. 1
The two sonatas of Op. 14 were completed after Beethoven's No. 8 “Pathétique” and were published together in 1799. The first of these sonatas, No. 9 in E Major, was later arranged by the composer for string quartet. Despite its relative popularity, this became the only such arrangement that Beethoven would write. This performance is taken from Daniel Barenboim's highly esteemed complete rendition of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas, recorded at the Schloss Hetzendorf, Vienna, Austria, in 1983.
Sibelius – Symphony No. 5
In 2013, the Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu was appointed principal conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Lintu studied piano and cello at the Sibelius Academy and the Turku conservatorium in Sweden’s southeast. He started conducting at the Sibelius Academy. His many concerts with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2012 made him the obvious replacement for Sakari Oramo, who, after many years as conductor and concert master, terminated his contract in 2012. The orchestra specializes in the performance of Finnish music, but also performs the great masterpieces of Gustav Mahler and Béla Bartók. The Finnish composer Jean Sibelius is the orchestra’s favourite, as well as the conductor. In cooperation with Finland’s national public broadcasting company Yle, all seven Sibelius symphonies are recorded and broadcast. After a brief spoken introduction about the piece, the orchestra performs the complete symphony. Sibelius celebrated his 50th birthday in 1915 with the premier of his Symphony No. 5. When he heard the piece, he was not happy with it, so he put it aside. After reworking the symphony, he published the work again in 1919. Because of this, the symphony consists of three rather than the usual four parts. A striking feature of the piece are the horn signals at the start of each movement. These are at the root of all that’s to follow in the movement.
Trios: Tchaikovsky, Op. 50 & Shostakovich, Op. 67
The Zadig Trio was born when two childhood friends from France, Boris Borgolotto (violin), and Marc Girard Garcia (cello), joined musical forces with American pianist Ian Barber. Today, they have received several international prizes at international competitions in France, Italy, Austria, and the USA. In this 2017 concert from the Auditorium St Pierre des Cuisines in Toulouse, France, the trio interprets several pieces by Russian composers. The programme features Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 50 and Dmitri Shostakovich's Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, for violin, cello and piano, Op. 67.
Discovering Masterpieces – Stravinsky
Watch the series 'Discovering Masterpieces’! Your audio-visual concert guide to the great masterpieces of classical music. The series brings you 20 half-hour documentaries on 20 classical masterpieces: acclaimed experts, famous soloists and outstanding conductors take you on a journey back to the time and place of composition. In today’s documentary, Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Le Sacre du Printemps’, ‘The Rite of Spring’. Almost no musical work has had such a powerful influence or evoked as much controversy as Igor Stravinsky's ballet score ‘The Rite of Spring’. The work's premiere on May 29, 1913, at the Théatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, was scandalous. The renowned English pianist and musicologist Peter Hill explains why and opens the door to Stravinsky’s energetic music.
On 18 December 2017, the Valerius Ensemble played a Christmas concert in Concordia, Enschede. The ensemble consists of Robert Windak (violin), Annemarie van Vliegen (violin), Eva Šušliková (viola) and Réne Geesing (cello). The program consists of “Das neugeborne Kindelein” from Bachs Cantata BWV 122, the Largo from Vivaldi’s Winter, the Allegro from Mozart’s Divertimento in D (KV. 136), Méditation from Massenet’s opera “Thaïs,” The Entertainer by Scott Joplin, the Vilja song from Léhars “Die Lustige Witwe” and the animated Romanian folk-tune Geampara. The Ensemble closes with Piazzolla’s Ave Maria (Tanti anni prima).
Penderecki - Symphony No. 7: 7 Gates of Jerusalem
The 2017 Prague Spring festival is brought to a powerful close as Krzysztof Penderecki conducts the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and Slovak Philharmonic Choir in a performance of his monumental seventh symphony "Seven Gates of Jerusalem". This work bears witness to an introspective thought about faith, written in honour of the city of Jerusalem, for soloists, choir and orchestra, with libretto taken from Old Testament. For expressive purposes, Penderecki uses specific instruments: the tubaphone, percussive objects designed by the composer himself, and the shofar, an ancient Jewish liturgical instrument. Soloists for this performance include Iwona Hossa (soprano), Karolina Sikora (soprano), Anna Lubanska (mezzo-soprano), Adam Zdunikowsk (tenor), Piotr Nowacki (bass) and David Švehlík (speaker). Also featured in the programme is a rendition of the "Serenade for Orchestra" by Czech composer Isa Krejci. Recorded at Smetana Hall in Prague, Czech Republic.
Mahler - Symphony No. 2
"It would be hard to find anything greater, more significant or more moving anywhere in musical life today: total harmony of mind and heart, poetry and outcry, fear and consolation, knowing and feeling," declared the Berne paper Der Bund after this stunning performance of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony in August 2003 by the newly founded Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Claudio Abbado had formed this ensemble from famous instrumentalists, celebrated chamber-musicians and experienced soloists from the world's best orchestras, and the event was sold out months in advance. In this performance, the magnificent soloists Eteri Gvazava (soprano) and Anna Larsson (mezzo-soprano) are accompanied by Orfeón Donostiarra choir.
Shostakovich - Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43
In this 2018 concert, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra is lead by Canadian conductor and pianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin in a performance of Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43. Born in 1975 in Montréal, Québec, the charismatic young musician was awarded the role of the 11th Principal Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006. For 12 years, he played a leading role in the orchestra's performances, before returning to North America to take on multiple key positions at the Orchestre Métropolitain (Montréal), the Metropolitan Opera, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Next to having been awarded 8 acclaimed classical prizes, Nézet-Séguin is also an honorary member and guest conductor of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Dufay: A Burgundian in Italy
The career of Guillaume Dufay – figurehead of Burgundian polyphony – begins in Italy. He seems to have particularly strong ties with Florence and her finest artists. Graindelavoix draws inspiration from this chapter in Dufay’s career in order to breathe new life into his dance-like oeuvre. Dufay’s pièce de résistance is of course included: Nuper rosarum flores, the motet used for the dedication of the cathedral of Florence.
Brahms - Symphony No. 3
Franz Welser-Möst conducts The Cleveland Orchestra in this performance of Brahms' Symphony No. 3. A late-romantic treasure, this work demonstrates the evolution of the composer's modest symphonic output, balancing the brightness of his Second Symphony with the monumentality of his Fourth Symphony. Strangely enough, even though the Third reaches several glorious outpourings of massed winds and strings, the work ends in pianissimo, leaving the listener taken aback, reflective rather than jubilant. This performance was recorded at the Vienna Musikverein, Austria, in 2014.
Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 3, Op 30
The legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989) won his first praise on his interpretation of Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto from the composer himself. When Rachmaninoff heard the young Kiev-born pianist play his work shortly after Horowitz's arrival in New York in 1928, he exclaimed: "He swallowed it whole." Fifty years later, on September 24, 1978, Horowitz electrified his audience once again with this monumental work. Accompanied by the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, he gave a special performance of this work as part of the celebrations honoring his U.S. debut 50 years earlier. His unforgettable account was recorded live on video and broadcast simultaneously throughout the United States. It was the last time Horowitz played the Third in his lifetime. The work itself, reverently called "Rach 3" by pianists brave enough to tackle its monstrous technical challenges, achieved international celebrity of a different kind in recent years.