Luigi Rossi - L'Orfeo
The Ensemble Pygmalion performs Luigi Rossi’s (c. 1597-1653) l' Orfeo (1647), an opera in three acts in a staging by Jetske Mijnssen. The libretto written by Francesco Buti is based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. L’Orfeo is one of the earliest operas ever to be staged in France. The Ensemble Pygmalion is directed by Raphaël Pichon. Among the soloists are Judith van Wanroij (Orfeo), Franscesca Aspromonte (Euridice), Giuseppina Bridelli (Aristeo), Giulia Semenzato (Venere, Proserpina) and Luigi de Donato (Augure, Plutone). Recorded at the Opéra National de Lorraine in Nancy, France in 2016.
Mahler - Symphony No. 9
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.
Sons of Vienna: Part 6 - Life Against the Odds
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 episode no. 6, Life Against the Odds, we follow the life and work of Gustav Mahler. Antisemitism haunted the composer, but he did little to improve this situation. A womanizer, he fought enormous opposition from all sides when he married his wife Alma who, like Mahler, proved to be unfaithful. Reoccurring ill health may have led to his histrionics and lack of patience. As a conductor he was cordially loathed by musicians and patrons alike. Yet he still managed to bring a well-documented mastery that kept him steadily employed. Why were his compositions so unappreciated during his lifetime yet widely performed and praised today? Was it his reputation as a volatile conductor that forced his compositions into the shadows? Was it his antisocial behavior or simply antisemitism?
Beethoven - Symphony No. 2
In September 2016, we celebrated the birthday of one of Japan's best-known conductors: Seiji Ozawa. Renowned for his advocacy of modern composers, Ozawa founded the Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto in 1992. As of 2015, it is better known as the Seiji Ozawa Festival. Seiji Ozawa appeared on stage himself with 63 Saito Kinen Orchestra members, passionately conducting Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 and No. 7. Beethoven's Second Symphony was mostly written during the composer's stay at Heiligenstadt, at a time when his deafness was becoming more pronounced. The work premiered in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna on April 5, 1803. The Seventh Symphony premiered with Beethoven himself conducting in Vienna in 1813 at a charity concert for wounded soldiers. The Allegretto was the most popular movement and had to be encored.
Beethoven - 6 Songs by Gellert, Op. 48
German baritone Dietrich Henschel and pianist Arno Waschk bundle their forces in a Lieder program featuring compositions by Hugo Wolf, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Liszt, recorded at Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin on April 10, 2020. The program opens with three of Wolf's Mörike-Lieder: 'Neue Liebe', Karwoche', and 'Wo find' ich Trost', followed by Beethoven's Gellert-Lieder, Op. 48. This is followed by three more songs by Wolf: 'Wohl denk' ich oft', 'Alles endet, was entstehet', and 'Fühlt meine seele'. The program closes with Liszt's Three sonnets of Petrarch, based on Petrarch's sonnets 47, 104, and 123.
Celebrate St. Patrick 2020
Celebrate St. Patrick 2020 was filmed in March 2020 at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, Northern Ireland. Choirs from far and near seized the opportunity to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and perform with local Irish musicians for the congregation of this historic cathedral. The concert merges sacred music, traditional Irish instruments and music from the Irish diaspora. Performances from the highly acclaimed Voices of Ireland, jig dancers, and the rendition of Christ Be Beside Me by the combined choirs are among the many emotional highlights. Readings from the words of St. Patrick and footage of Ireland's glorious landscape make Celebrate Saint Patrick 2020 a feast for the ears and eyes!
Mozart Gala in Prague
This gala concert at Prague's beautiful Estates Theatre is one of the highlights of Mozart Year 2006. Conducted by Manfred Honeck, the Czech Philharmonic performs W. A. Mozart's finest compositions connected to the city of Prague in general or to the Estates Theatre in particular. Among them is Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, which premiered in Prague in 1791. This 2006 recording features clarinettist Sharon Kam. Mozart's Prague Symphony is invariably on the program. The Overture to Don Giovanni is also associated with the Estates Theatre, which is where Mozart conducted it in 1787.
Schubert - Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 100, D. 929
Ester Hoppe (violin), Christian Poltéra (cello) and Francesco Piemontesi (piano) perform Schubert's Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 100 (D. 929) during the International Chamber Music Festival in Bellinzona, Switzerland, in 2019. This trio was among the last compositions completed by Schubert and is dated November 1827. It was published late 1828, shortly before Schubert's death and first performed in January 1828 to celebrate the engagement of Schubert's friend Josef von Spaun. The second theme of the opening movement is based on a theme from the Trio of Schubert's Piano Sonata No. 18 (D. 894). The main theme of the second movement is used as a central musical theme in Kubrick's film Barry Lyndon (1975).
Pletnev conducts Ravel & Scriabin
The Russian National Orchestra and the Moscow Synodal Choir are led by maestro Mikhail Pletnev at a concert from the 9th Russian National Orchestra Grand Festival. The orchestra opens with a performance of Maurice Ravel's music suite to the ballet 'Daphnis and Chloe'. Furthermore, Lucas Debargue is the solo pianist in Alexander Scriabin's 'Prometheus: The Poem of Fire', Op. 60, a tone poem for piano, orchestra, choir, and a clavier à lumières ("Chromola"). A clavier à lumières actually is a musical instrument, especially invented by Scriabin for use in this work. Only one copy of the instrument was constructed for a performance of the piece in New York, 1915. As encore, Debargue performs Erik Satie's Gnossienne No. 1. This concert was recorded at Moscow's Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in 2018.
Mahler - Symphony No. 8
Fabio Luisi conducts the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 8. The work one of the largest-scale choral works in the classical concert repertoire and is frequently called the "Symphony of a Thousand." The work was composed at Mahler's Maiernigg villa in southern Austria in the summer of 1906 and is the last work which was premiered in Mahler's lifetime. Soloists include Ricarda Merbeth (soprano), Henriette Bonde-Hansen (soprano), Sofia Fomini (soprano), Marianne Beate Kielland (alto), Olesya Petrova (alto), Stefan Vinke (tenor), Russel Braun (baritone), and Günther Groissböck (bass). Among the participating choirs are the Danish National Concert Choir, MDR Leipzig Radio Choir and Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir. Recorded at the Opernhaus Zürich, Switzerland, in 2017.
Concerts in Quarantine: Works for Piano and Cello
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, cellist Gabriel Schwabe and pianist Nicholas Rimmer perform Franz Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata, D. 821, Frédéric Chopin's Sonata for Cello and piano, Op. 65, and Camille Saint-Saëns's The Swan from The Carnival of the Animals (arr. Jascha Heifetz).
Sons of Vienna: Part 4 - Cherchez la Femme
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 Cherchez la Femme (Part 4) we follow the lives and works of Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms. Both were born into well-to-do families and unlike Mozart, the vaudeville-style tour as a child prodigy was refused for the young Brahms. As Brahms grew to maturity, his nights were in dance halls and Inns. Schumann was the son of an intellectual, with little interest in music. Schumann’s crippling mental condition certainly had a strong role in his death. Was Schumann’s mental anguish heightened by the ever-deepening relationship between his wife Clara and his friend Brahms? Although Brahms died a bachelor, he considered Clara his true love. How much did the relationship of these two gifted composers, their mutual respect, and their rivalry, help inspire the threads and patterns of the fabric of classical music?
Ravel - Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano
In this beautiful concert from the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall of Moscow, two exceptional Russian soloists join forces. Violinist Vadim Repin, who at the age of 17 became the youngest winner of the violinist section of the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition 1987 in Brussels, is specialized in interpreting works of Russian composers. Together with renowned pianist Nikolay Lugansky, he brings to the stage a performance of prestige and virtuosity. The programme features Ravel's Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano in G-major. It is produced by the Moscow Philharmonic Society, which Saint Petersburg-born composer Dmitri Shostakovich himself once described as playing a significant role "in the development of musical life [in Russia]. It is a kind of university which is attended by millions of music lovers and thousands of musicians.” The Moscow Philharmonic Society was founded in 1922 by then-Commissar for Culture, Anatoly Lunacharsky, and has over the years come to be Russia's leading concert organizing institution.
Solo Finals - Liszt Competition 2017
Minsoo Hong (1993, South Korea) performs Liszt’s Sposalizio from Années de Pèlerinage: Deuxième Année (S161/1) and Bellini/Liszt’s Réminiscences de Norma (S394) during the Solo Finals of the11th 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.
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra: 60th Anniversary
In 1996, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra celebrated its 60th anniversary with a gala led by maestros Zubin Mehta and Daniel Barenboim. This musical event features world-renowned soloists, including veteran violinist Isaac Stern, up-and-coming musicians Maxim Vengerov and Gil Shaham, as well as Pinchas Zukerman, Shlomo Mintz, and Itzhak Perlman. The evening begins with a moving speech about the early days of the orchestra. The evening's program continues with Bach's Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV1043, Brahms's Symphony No. 2, Halvorsen's Violin, Violoncello and Viola Pass, Mozart's Serenade No. 6, K. 239., Vivaldi's Concerto in B minor for four violins and orchestra, and Weber's Oberon overture.
Lucerne Festival 2004 - Pollini plays Beethoven
Maurizio Pollini and the Lucerne Festival play under the baton of maestro Claudio Abbado. At the yearly Lucerne Festival in Switzerland they perform the beautiful Piano Concerto No 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven. This Piano Concerto was composed between 1805 and 1806 and Beethoven himself played the solo when the concerto premiered in December 1808. In this concert the solo is played by the Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini, well known for his interpretations of works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Chopin. This concert was recorded at the Lucerne Festival in 2004.
Slatkin conducts Bolcom, Beethoven & Ravel
American conductor Leonard Slatkin leads the Orchestre National de Lyon in a concert recorded at the Auditorium de Lyon in 2014. The concert opens with William Bolcom´s Circus Ouverture, which was specially composed for Slatkin's 70th birthday. The concert continues with a performance of Beethoven's Triple Concerto in C, Op. 56 performed by three female soloists: Olga Kern (piano), Baibe Skride (violin) and Sol Gabetta (cello). The work is the only concerto which Beethoven ever completed for more than one solo instrument. The concert closes with Ravel's beloved orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.
Villa-Lobos - String Quartet No. 9
Quarteto Radamés Gnattali performs Heitor Villa-Lobos's String Quartet No. 9 at the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janiero, Brasil. The ensemble was founded in 2006 and consists of Carla Rincón and Francisco Roa (violins), Fernando Thebaldi (viola), and Hugo Pilger (cello). The quartet, which specializes in Brazilian music, focuses on educational activities. Their recording of all of Villa-Lobos string quartets is a major achievement and was very well received by international music critics. Except for his Bachianas brasileiras, the performance of many of the Brazilian's compositions is limited to Latin America. Highly regarded as a composer, conductor and educator in his native country, Villa-Lobos has operas, symphonies, concertos, piano repertoire, choral music, and seventeen string quartets to his credit.