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Boito - Mefistofele
Stefan Soltesz conducts the Münchner Philharmoniker in a performance of Arrigo Boito's (1842-1918) Mefistofele. The only finished and preserved opera by Boito is based on Goethe's Faust and premiered at La Scala, Milan in 1868 under the baton of the composer himself. It was badly received, provoked riots and duels over its supposed Wagnerism and was closed by police after only two performances. Boito made a more successful and drastically cut second version which premiered in Bologna in 1875. Boito combines influences of Verdi and Wagner in his musical work: rousing choirs, intricate melodies accompanied by music that is almost cinematic in intent. The main role in this performance is sung by Erwin Schrott. Other soloists are Charles Castronovo, Angel Joy Blue, Alex Penda, Jana Kurucová, Bror Magnus Tødenes, Luciana Mancini and Rudolf Schasching. Recorded in the Festivalhaus Baden-Baden in Austria in 2016 and directed by Philipp Himmelmann.
The Berlin Philharmonic in Tokyo
The Berliner Philharmoniker is one of the world’s finest orchestras, its fame stretching all the way to Japan. Unsurprisingly, this 2000 concert, recorded at Tokyo’s magnificent Suntory Hall, was a resounding success. Mariss Jansons conducts a beautiful program that includes Antonin Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8, Carl Maria von Weber’s Overture to Oberon, and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto featuring star violinist Hilary Hahn (*1979)
Heitor Villa-Lobos Music for Cello and Piano - VI
In this six-part documentary on the life and work by Heitor Villa-Lobos, director Liloye Boubli takes viewers on a journey through the life and work of the Brazilian legend of classical music. The composer, conductor, cellist, and classical guitarist was born 1887 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Growing up amongst the immense social changes Brazil went through at the time - social revolution and modernization, abolishing slavery in 1888 - Villa-Lobos went on to become one of the best-known South American composers of all time. In this sixth and final episode of the mini-series, Brazilian musicians and experts discuss Villa-Lobos' everlasting legacy and how his compositions continue to inspire Brazilian composers and artists to this day.
Bizet - L'Arlésienne Suite
Mikhail Pletnev leads the Russian National Orchestra (RNO) in a performance of Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Lucas Debargue as the soloist. The concert opens with a selection of music by Georges Bizet based on Alphonse Daudet's play 'L'Arlésienne'. The music is compiled by Mikhail Pletnev. The first movement of Ravel's Piano Concerto No. 1 contains five distinctive themes, of which three are reminiscent of jazz. Debargue's performance of Ravel's concerto is followed by Gabriel Fauré's Barcarolle No. 4. The performance was recorded at Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow as part of the Ninth RNO Grand Festival.
CMIM - Final - John Brancy: Rameau, Verdi
US baritone John Brancy (1988) performs 'Nature, amour, qui partagez mon cœur' from Jean-Philippe Rameau's opera Castor et Pollux, 'Ya vas lyublyu' from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's opera Pique Dame, and 'Per me giunto… O Carlo ascolta' from Giuseppe Verdi's opera Don Carlo, during the Aria division finals of the Concours musical international de Montréal, 2018.
Mozart - Piano Quartet No. 2, K. 493
Christian Zacharias (piano), Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin), Tabea Zimmerman (viola) and Tilmann Wick (Cello) perform Mozart’s Piano Quartet No. 2 (K. 493) at the Ludwigsburg Festival in 1988. Mozart received a commission for three quartets in 1785 from publisher Franz Anton Hoffmeister. Hoffmeister thought the first quartet (K. 478) was too difficult and the public would not like it. He released Mozart from the obligation of completing the three quartets. However, nine months later, Mozart composed this second quartet anyway.
Brahms - A German Requiem, Op. 45
In this concert recorded in November 2016 at the magnificent Baroque basilica of Saint Florian, Austria – once the home of Anton Bruckner – the Wiener Singverein, the Cleveland Orchestra and its principal conductor Franz Welser-Möst pare down all traces of bombast wherever emotions could easily run out of control. Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45, reaches out to comfort the living through religious texts not traditionally associated with the Requiem Mass. The result is a work of great intensity that speaks to people of all faiths, believers and non-believers alike. The program’s two soloists – Hanna-Elisabeth Müller and Simon Keenlyside – are already at home on the world’s stages. While the former has carved a career for herself not only as an opera singer but also as a concert artist, the London-born Keenlyside has been building his impressive career around the prestigious guest appearances he has made during the past ten years.
Concerts in Quarantine: Eckardstein
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 the series, pianist Severin von Eckardstein performs Claude Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (arr. Gryaznov), Frédéric Chopin's Nocturne Op. 27, No. 1, Nikolai Medtner's Elegy Op. 59, No. 2, Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 8, Op. 84, and Medtner's Fairy Tale, Op. 26, No. 3.
Modena - The Belcanto School
This documentary by Mark Perna shows the training and professional growth actions for opera singers, the promotion and enhancement of the cultural offer of the city and province of Modena and the maintenance and development of the Modenese musical tradition in the field of opera.
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 2
Beethoven's third piano sonata opens with a characteristic figure, echoed in the bass, leading to a second subject in G minor. The recapitulation surprises in appearing to begin in D major, until it corrects its course. The slow movement, in the distant key of E major, leads to a C major Scherzo. The sonata ends with a showcase of the virtuosic technique. 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.
Le Chant de L'éschiquier
A top-ranking female singer, four nimble-fingered born musicians, the monumental Buxheimer Codex and a stiff dose of idiosyncrasy; this is a recipe for a first-rate concert. Guillermo Pérez and David Catalunya now belong among the elite of superior keyboard players and are at their very best in this prize-winning programme of chansons and ballades by Dufay, Binchois, Ciconia and contemporaries. The eschiquiers play a major role: keyboard instruments whose strings are struck with hammers.
In retrospect, the version for solo dance of Stravinsky’s Sacre du printemps can be interpreted as a bleak, oppressive dance about his own life. The ballet is one of the late works by Uwe Scholz, one of the most important choreographers of the twentieth century. During his short life, this wunderkind created over 100 ballets, including major stage successes such as Die Schöpfung, Die Grosse Messe and Bruckner 8. Scholz is regarded as a sensitive, highly musical artist with a fine sense of humor, but he was consistently plagued by an excruciating sense of perfectionism, self-doubt and fear. At times, this made work impossible for him. “Sometimes the great artist’s path does not lead to laurel-wreathed solitude, but to deep despair,” writes the ballet critic Klaus Geitel looking back on Scholz’s life. The film Soulscapes is a highly personal, moving portrait of Uwe Scholz, who died on November 21, 2004, at the age of 45. In one of his last interviews with the director Günter Atteln, Scholz talks about himself and his work with unprecedented candor. “I’m drawn to symphonic music from the classical and romantic periods,” he says. “I simply need these soulscapes.”
Dvořák - Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53
For the 2016 edition of the Waldbühne, the Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili and the Québécois conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin join the Berliner Philharmoniker for a beautiful concert. They present an all Czech program! We always think of Germany, Austria, and Italy when we name great classical composers, but the Czech Republic also delivered some master composers such as Antonin Dvorák, Bedrich Smetana, Leos Janacek, and Bohuslav Martinu. This concert starts with Smetana’s famous Vltava from Má Vlast. Lisa Batiashvili plays Dvorák’s Violin Concerto in A minor, and the concerts centerpiece is Dvorák’s Symphony No. 6.
Khachaturyan - Piano Concerto, Op. 38
The Svetlanov Symphony Orchestra of Russia and pianist Boris Berezovsky are led by conductor Vladimir Verbitsky in a performance of works by Aram Khachaturyan and Alexander Borodin. The concert was recorded in December of 2016 at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow and features Borodin´s In the Steppes of Central Asia, and Khachaturyan’s Piano Concerto in D-flat Major and “Adagio from Spartacus and Phrygia” (transcription for piano and orchestra). The programme 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.
Telemann - Der am Ölberg zagende Jesus, TWV 1: 364
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.
Glass - Einstein on the Beach
Einstein on the Beach is an opera by minimalist composer Philipp Glass, director Robert Wilson, and choreographer Lucinda Childs. The work premiered in 1976 at the Avignon Festival in France. It is the composer’s first and longest opera, lasting approximately 4.5 hours. The work’s title appears to refer to Nevil Shute’s novel ‘On the Beach’ (1957), taking place in a world that is destroyed after an atomic war. Breaking the rules of conventional opera, Einstein on the Beach has neither a narrative nor named characters. The work’s libretto consists of solfège syllables, numbers, and sections of poetry. It includes texts by Christopher Knowles, Samuel M. Johnson and Childs. The opera is in four acts, connected by so-called “Knee Plays” – interludes between acts. It contains several references to Einstein’s theories on time, space, and relativity, for instance the appearance of trains, which Einstein used as a metaphor in his theory of relativity. The music is performed by The Philipp Glass Ensemble conducted by Michael Riesman, and features Antoine Silverman as the solo violinist. Among the performers are Helga Davis, Kate Moran, Jasper Newell, and Charles Williams. The opera features dancers of The Lucinda Childs Dance Company. This performance was recorded at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, France, in 2014.
Songs by Wolf, Beethoven & Liszt
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.
Scriabin - Prometheus: The Poem of Fire, Op. 60
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.
Schubert - Four Impromptus, Op. 90: - I.
Roberto Prosseda (1975) performs Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 5 (KV. 283) and four Impromptus Op. 90 by Franz Schubert. The performance ends with Chopin's technically demanding Ballade No. 4, Op. 52. Prosseda is particularly noted for his performances of newly discovered works by Mendelssohn and has recorded a nine-CD series for Decca of the piano works of Mendelssohn. Since 2012, Prosseda also gives lecture-concerts with the robot pianist TeoTronico, as educational or family concerts, to demonstrate differences between a literal production of music and human interpretation.
Documentary: Gianandrea Noseda
Although the great Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi applied unsuccessfully to study at the Milan Conservatory, this renowned college of music was eventually named after him. Today, the ‘Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi’ counts numerous successful musicians among its alumni: from Giacomo Puccini, Alfredo Catalani, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Luigi Einaudi and Daniele Gatti, to Gianandrea Noseda. The acclaimed conductor Noseda (*1964) is one of the most important conductors of his generation. Recently, he taught a conducting masterclass at his alma mater for promising students from all over the world. For three days, Noseda joined forces with a hand-picked group of students to work on a varied concert programme. This documentary shows you these young, talented musicians rehearse compositions by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinsky under the enthusiastic guidance of Maestro Gianandrea Noseda himself.
Verdi - La Traviata
Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Choir in a performance of Verdi's (1813–1901) La Traviata. Among the soloists are Diana Damrau (Violetta), Juan Diego Flórez (Alfredo), Quinn Kelsey (Giorgio), Maria Zifchak (Annina), Marco Antonio Jordao (Giuseppe). Recorded at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York in December 2018. Verdi’s La Traviata survived a notoriously unsuccessful opening night to become one of the best-loved operas in the repertoire. Following the larger-scale dramas of Rigoletto and Il Trovatore, its intimate scope and subject matter inspired the composer to create some of his most profound and heartfelt music. With La Traviata, Verdi and Piave fashioned an opera from a play set in contemporary times—an anomaly in the composer’s long career .The title role of the “fallen woman” has captured the imaginations of audiences and performers alike with its inexhaustible vocal and dramatic possibilities—and challenges. Verdi’s musical-dramatic ability to portray the individual in a marginalized relationship to society keeps this work a mainstay on the world’s stages—according to popular lore, for the last one hundred years, there has been at least one performance of La Traviata somewhere in the world every single night.
Ennio Morricone - Filmsuite in Duo
Pietro Tagliaferri (clarinet) and Francesco Attesti (piano) play a suite with film music (C'era una volta il West - Mission - Nuovo Cinema Paradiso) by Italian film composer Ennio Morricone. The piece is arranged for piano and clarinet by Massimo Berzolla. Ennio Morricone is one of the most successful film composers. He composed music for over 500 films and tv-series and at the age of 86 won an Oscar for his work on Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015). This made Morricone the oldest winner of an Academy Award. Recorded at the Piano Hall in Yamaha Village, Lesmo. Directed by Pietro Tagliaferri.