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.
Stravinsky - Symphony of Psalms
This live performance marks Fabio Luisi’s very first concert with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in DR Koncerthuset, Copenhagen. Beethoven’s fantastic Eroica symphony is a milestone in classical music, and with Stravinsky’s mighty Symphony of Psalms and Strauss’ virtuosic Don Juan, this production fully demonstrates the unique chemistry between Fabio Luisi and the orchestra of which he today is the celebrated Chief Conductor. This performance was recorded in 2017.
Sons of Vienna: Part 1 - Papa & Wolfgang
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 Papa & Wolfgang (Part 1) we follow the lives and work of “Papa” Josef Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In 18th century Vienna, a dynasty was born from the unbreakable bond between these two extraordinary men of music. It was a bond forged from respect and friendship. Learn how their individual skills and imagination grew and flourished; how their friendship and mutual respect took their music to places then unimagined; how their joy of life and living molded Vienna’s unique musical culture. Their story is told against the background of their time.
Janáček - Glagolitic Mass
Mariss Jansons conducts the chorus and instrumental ensemble of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass (1926) at the Lucerne Easter Festival of 2012. The work is divided into eight sections that give the greatest prominence to the chorus while also containing impressive solos, especially for soprano and tenor. Completely unexpected is the startlingly wild and furious organ solo (Iveta Apklana at the organ) that follows the Ordinary of the Mass and precedes the final movement. Janáček, who achieved worldwide celebrity late in life, wanted to emphasize the common bonds between the Slavic nations by writing the text in Old Church Slavonic, which used an alphabet devised by Saints Cyril and Methodius called ‘Glagolitic’. The choice of this ancient language also reflects the Moravian composer’s sympathies with the Slavic nations that were under the yoke of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Telemann - Jesus liegt in letzten Zügen, TWV 1:983
The film Jaroussky sings Bach & Telemann is a portrait of a very special vocalist, and of two exceptional composers. When Philippe Jaroussky - whose angelic voice seems almost timeless, not belonging to any one epoque or decade - sings works by Telemann and Bach, it becomes abundantly clear that the sheer emotional force and the purifying power of their music have not diminished over the centuries. The works performed in this film are Telemann's Jesus liegt in letzten Zügen and Sinfonia from Brockes-Passion; Der am Ölberg zagende Jesus, and Bach's Sinfonia from Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis and Ich habe genug.
Josquin in Spain - Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariæ
Spanish and Flemish musical chapels characterized the music practice at the courts of Charles V and Philip II. But how would Josquin sound in the Spanish tradition, with singers doubled by wind instruments? And how would Josquin sound alongside music by his admirer Guerrero? Música Temprana consists of a capilla (singers) and ministriles altos (wind players), and juxtaposes Josquin’s Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae with music by Morales and Guerrero.
Orff - Carmina Burana
Rodolfo Barráez conducts the Orchestra and Choir of the Academia de Musica del Palacia de Mineria in a performance of Carl Orff's cantata Carmina Burana. Soloists are Anabel de la Mora (soprano), Andrés Carrillo (tenor) and Daniel Cerón (baritone). Carmina Burana, composed in 1935 and 1936, is based on 24 poems from a medieval manuscript of the same name. The 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.
Concerts in Quarantine: Transcriptions and songs
Between March and May 2020, Schinkel Pavillon Berlin opened its unexpectedly vacated exhibition space for a concert series in isolation titled Concerts in Quarantine. As part of this series, baritone Roman Trekel and pianist Francesco Piemontesi perform a chamber music program alternating between Gustav Mahler's Sieben lieder aus Letzer Zeit and piano arrangements of works by J. S. Bach. The full program is as follows: J. S. Bach/Ferruccio Busoni – Prelude, BWV 552; Gustav Mahler – I. Revelge; J. S. Bach/Wilhelm Kempff – Wachet auf, rust uns die Stimme, BWV 645; Mahler – II. Liebst du um Schönheit; III. Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder; Bach/Busoni – Nunn komm' der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659; Mahler – IV. Ich atmet' einen linden Duft; Bach – Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel herunter, BWV 650; Mahler – V. Um Mitternacht; Bach/Kempff – Siciliano, BWV 1031; Mahler – VI Der Tamboursg'sell and MVII – Ich bin der Welte abhanden gekommen; Bach/Busoni – Fugue, BWV 552.
Dvořák - Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95
Soviet-born conductor Semyon Bychkov leads the Czech Philharmonic in a concert program dedicated to Czech composers, recorded at the Rudolfinum, Dvořák Hall, Prague in 2018. On the program are Overture and dances 'Polka', 'Furiant', and 'Skočná' from Bedřich Smetana's opera The Bartered Bride. The program continues with Bohuslav Martinů's Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano, and Timpani (H. 271). Soloists are Ivo Kahánek (piano) and Michael Kroutil (timpani). The concert closes with Antonín Dvořák's well-known Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95, "From the New World".
Beethoven - Last Sonatas, Op. 109, 110 & 111
Beethoven’s last three sonatas – Opus 109, 110 and 111 – explore the intimate meanders of the human soul, from despair to transfiguration. At the time of their composition, Beethoven was already locked in himself by his deafness. This deeply affected his relationship to others and to the world. This "psychological framework" is explored by director Mariano Nante, setting pianist Alexandre Tharaud in a film inspired by the universe of Tarkovski. Filmed in abandoned castles, and lit by director of photography Yorgos Arvanitis, this work evokes solitude and introspection and offers an inner journey through images and music.
The Red Priest and the Tanguero
The ensemble YES Camerata (Young European String Camerata) and violinist William Hagen perform The Red Priest and the Tanguero at the Academiezaal in the Belgian city of Sint-Truiden in 2017. The concert program includes The Four Seasons of Antonio Vivaldi (1679-1741) and Las quatros estaciones porteñas of Astór Piazzolla (1921-1992), in a transcription of Leonid Desyatnikov. YES Camerata is a young dynamic string ensemble that performs without a conductor. The young American violinist William Hagen was the third winner of the prestigious Queen Elisabeth competition in 2015.
Mozart on Tour - Episode 11: Frankfurt
The 13-part Mozart on Tour series chronicles the journey of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart across Europe. When Austria's Emperor Leopold II went to the congress city of Frankfurt to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1790, Mozart hoped to be honored with a commission for a coronation work. The results were disastrous: Antonio Salieri received the commission for a coronation opera and Mozart was asked to write and perform a piano concerto for the coronation ceremonies, a work that was virtually ignored at the time of its creation. In this episode, soloist Radu Lupu performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 19, KV 459 with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, under the baton of David Zinman. The recording took place at the Imperial Hall in Munich.
Bach - Sonata No. 1 BWV 1014
This Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord No. 1 BWV 1014 is the first of the set of sonatas Johann Sebastian Bach composed before 1725, probably during his time as chapel master in Köthen. Presumably, he wrote these sonatas for Prince Leopold and later adapted them for further use in Leipzig. Maybe this is why these pieces are well playable for amateurs, while every sonata still has the finesse that can offer a challenge to professional musicians. The different pieces are meant to be a set, just like the Brandenburg concertos.
Dvořák - The Golden Spinning Wheel, Op. 109
Sir Simon Rattle conducts the Czech Philharmonic in this concert program featuring works by Antonín Dvořák and Gustav Mahler, recorded at the Rudolfinum, Dvořák Hall, Prague on March 1, 2019. The program opens with Dvořák's symphonic poem 'The Golden Spinning Wheel', Op. 109. The work is a poetic treatment of a fairytale by Czech writer Božena Němcová. Dvořák’s Golden Spinning Wheel was premiered in private by the orchestra of the Prague Conservatoire conducted by Antonín Bennewitz in 1896. The Czech Philharmonic concludes the program with Mahler's symphony Das Lied von der Erde. Soloists are Magdalena Kožená (mezzo-soprano) and Simon O’Neill (tenor). In May 1908, Gustav Mahler returned to Europe after his first season in New York and spent the summer holiday in South Tyrol, where he began composing Das Lied von der Erde to texts from the collection Die chinesische Flöte ('The Chinese flute'), adaptations of Chinese poetry by Hans Bethge. Mahler finished the fair copy of the score the following autumn while staying in the Moravian town Hodonín.
The Divan Orchestra from the Alhambra
Millions of television viewers in Germany, France, Portugal, Greece and Finland experienced live the moving open-air concert within the highly symbolic surrounding of the Alhambra in Granada. Music as a language of peace – this vision unifies the young musicians of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra who come from Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Europe. They perform side by side in the orchestra formed in 1999 by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said. The orchestra has taken on the complex challenge of performing music to promote peace. Soloists are Kyril Zlotnikov and Nabil Shehata. On the program are Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3, Bottesini's Fantasia on a theme by Rossini, Brahms' Symphony Nr. 1 and Vorspiel and Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.
Lang Lang – The Third Dimension
Chinese pianist Lang Lang performs some of the greatest works in the piano repertoire at Berghain in Berlin in 2010. The concert program includes the first movement of Piano Sonata No. 23, op. 57, called Beethoven's Appassionata, the precipato of Prokofiev's Sonata No. 7, and the mention of Iberia (Book 1), the masterpiece of Isaac Albéniz. Lang Lang closes the evening with a powerful version of the ''Heroic'' Polonaise, op. 53 from Chopin.
Luisi conducts Strauss, Beethoven & Schoenberg
Fabio Luisi conducts the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1. This work is one of the most popular and frequently performed horn concertos written in the 19th century, and the first orchestral piece the composer wrote for the instrument. Strauss’ father, Franz, was a virtuoso horn player, and one of the leading performers of his time. Also featured in this program are performances of Beethoven’s immortal Symphony No. 7 and Schoenberg’s early work Verklärte Nacht. The soloist for Strauss’ virtuoso Horn Concerto is the DNSO’s principal horn player Lasse Mauritzen. This performance was recorded at the DR Koncerthuset in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2017.
Concerts in Quarantine - Liszt, Chopin et. al
Russian pianist Zlata Chochieva performed live at Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin on April 13, 2020. The program opens with a selection of Felix Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words: Op. 67, No. 5 and No. 2. Then she performs Frédéric Chopin's Etudes Op. 10, No. 3 and No. 5 and Opus 25, No. 2, No. 6, No. 7 and No. 10. The program continues with Franz Liszt's Mephisto Waltz No. 2, S. 515, and four pieces by Sergei Rachmaninoff: his Canon in e minor, Prelude in F, Op. 2, 'Fragments', and 'Oriental Sketch'. The recital closes with Nikolai Medtner's Canzona Serenata in F minor, Op. 38 No. 6.