Naxos has long shaken off the mere ‘budget label’ moniker and has become the world’s leading classical music label, not just in terms of the unbeatable range of music it releases but, as importantly, in terms of the outstanding quality of the musicians with whom we work. Learn more this month about two such musicians who enjoy international standing among the best of the best – pianist Eldar Nebolsin and violinist Philippe Quint – whose Naxos recordings have gained the highest critical praise.
Photo: Mikhail Vaneev/ Waniewski
Pianist Eldar Nebolsin won the Sviatoslav Richter Prize in the 1st Sviatoslav Richter International Piano Competition in Moscow in 2005, where he was also honoured with the Special Award for the best Mozart Concerto performance. He commenced his early international career following his triumph at the 11th Santander International Piano Competition in 1992 where he won, in addition to the Grand Prix, the award for the best performance of a Mozart concerto.
International performances have taken him to the stages of some of the most famous orchestras of the world - New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Orchestra of Spanish Radio and Television, Tokio Metropolitan Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra with outstanding conductors such as Ricardo Chailly, Yuri Temirkanov, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Dutoit, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yakov Kreizberg, Vasili Petrenko, Nikolaj Alexeev, Vladimir Spivakov, Lawrence Foster, Mstislav Rostropovich, Bernhard Klee, amongst others.
During the 2009/2010 concert season Eldar Nebolsin will enjoy the honor of being Artist in Residence for Music Sacrum in Arnhem. In June he performed at the Risor Festival playing chamber music with Truls Mørk, cello, Lisa Batiashvili, violin and Leif Ove Andsnes, piano. He holds a place on the faculty of the International Institute of Chamber Music in Madrid teaching alongside Ralf Gothoni, Menahem Pressler and Bruno Canino.
A former student of renowned Russian pianist Dmitri Bashkirov, his Naxos recordings have been critical acclaimed.
Chopin’s youthful Piano Concerto No. 1 is dominated by the brilliant piano part that the teenage performer-composer wrote to showcase his extraordinary virtuosity. Its ravishing Romanza (‘reviving in one’s soul beautiful memories’, as the composer described it) is framed by an opening movement rich in dramatic lyricism and a vivacious Rondo. The Fantasia on Polish Airs, Op. 13 and Krakowiak are similarly vehicles for Romantic reverie and bravura which pay tribute to the music of Chopin’s homeland. Eldar Nebolsin’s recording of Liszt’s piano concertos (8.570517) was ranked ‘among the finest’ by Gramophone.
‘both Nebolsin and Falletta giving very distinguished performances, with the variations very well characterised, and Dohnányi’s poking fun at various composers is well captured…this Naxos issue is very good and it will give much pleasure.’ – MusicWeb International
‘Eldar Nebolsin offers an interpretation that is perfect in style and colour. It is perfectly seconded by conductor JoAnn Falletta…At the Naxos price, it is difficult to pass up this very beautiful CD’ – ResMusica.com
‘performances that rank among the finest…Nebolsin… is a virtuoso of power and poetry.’ – Gramophone
‘Clearly Nebolsin has this music in his fingers…There is sheer pyrotechnic display on offer here that rivals the best on my shelf’ – American Record Guide
‘The disc is special, with excellent performances and excellent sound, a secure investment all the way around… Naxos engineers provide the piano and orchestra with good, clean, wide, robust sound.’ – Classical Candor
‘Naxos has done it again. Nebolsin is a Russian pianist with all of the technical skills necessary to handle this difficult music. More important is his musical ability to make far more of the Preludes than a mere splattering of notes and empty bravura.’ – American Record Guide
‘This immediately becomes one of my favourite recordings…Nebolsin strikes a middle-ground between Richter’s unabashed modern Romanticism and Rachmaninov’s purposefully less emotional, more rhythmically driven performances.’ – 5 STARS Limelight
From the moment he takes the stage, violinist Philippe Quint captivates his audience with his charismatic presence. Mr Quint was born of a rich musical heritage in St Petersburg, Russia; his mother, Lora Kvint, is celebrated as one of Russia’s most well-known popular composers. Mr Quint left the former Soviet Union in 1991 and is now an American citizen who harbors a strong commitment to the music of his new country, frequently performing works by William Schuman, Lukas Foss, Leonard Bernstein, Ned Rorem, John Corigliano, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and Lera Auerbach. His recordings of the Schuman and Korngold Violin Concertos (Naxos 8.559083 & 8.570791) each received a total of four Grammy® nominations. His recording of Bernstein’s Serenade (Naxos 8.559245) with Marin Alsop and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra was Gramophone ‘Editor’s Choice’. His Naxos discography includes the world première recording of Corigliano’s Red ViolinCaprices (Naxos 8.559364), works for violin and piano by Miklós Rózsa (Naxos 8.570190) and Rorem’s ViolinConcerto (Naxos 8.559278). Philippe Quint also recorded for Naxos the virtuosic violin concertos nos. 2, 3 and 5 of Charles de Beriot (1802–1870), one of the masters of the 19th century school of violin playing (Naxos 8.570360). This recording is part of the Naxos series devoted exclusively to music composed by 19th century violin virtuosos.
Although temperamentally quite different and born a century apart, both Nicolò Paganini and Fritz Kreisler enjoyed stellar careers as violin virtuosos, touring widely and thrilling audiences with their astonishing virtuosity and innate showmanship. Kreisler’s arrangements of Paganini’s music, including two large-scale sets of variations based on themes from Rossini operas, the famous La campanella and several Caprices, brought these charming and demanding pieces to an enthusiastic public. Acclaimed Russian-born, American-based violinist Philippe Quint follows the path of his illustrious forebears with equal measures of stunning technique and immense sensitivity.
‘When Naxos suggested making a new recording of my music, the idea was to give a full panoply and to emphasize the changes in style that occurred over time, from the very early First Symphony, through the experimental years (while working with George Szell in Cleveland as the orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence), the lighter side with two short concert tangos, and finally a score for a film that did not get made,’ notes acclaimed composer-conductor José Serebrier. ‘In my music, while the style changed in the 1960s and 1970s, the “message” remained the same. The lyrical line, the atmosphere, and a certain Slavic undertone are there in all these works.’
‘Philippe Quint enjoys himself, too: the flashy passagework holds no terrors for him and he’s equally at home with Bériot’s sweet, graceful melodic writing… it’s appealing and full of interest, and very well served here.’ – Gramophone
‘Philippe Quint sails through it all with unfazed aplomb.’ – Fanfare
‘Quint’s unquestioned mastery of some tremendously difficult passagework…singing line…a winning light touch…an excellent addition to the library for anyone interested in the art of the violin.’ – American Record Guide
‘I just heard Philippe Quint’s new recording of my Red Violin Caprices and he was absolutely amazing.’ – John Corigliano
‘All the playing on this recording is stunning’ – American Record Guide
‘Philippe Quint's panache is stunning and this CD offers some of the most attractive music for solo violin in the entire repertoire.’ – Gramophone Editor’s Choice
‘Such fine performances of rarely heard works are what make the American Classics series indispensable. Indeed, this is one of the most consistently satisfying projects in the entire Naxos catalogue.’ – MusicWeb International
‘[Philippe Quint] is a splendid violinist. His technique is brilliant, his tone intense and strikingly beautiful, and he plays with genuine expressiveness and idiomatic identification. Wolfram, a fine pianist, is an empathetic partner.’ – All Things Strings
‘Philippe Quint, a young Russian-American, makes an affirmative case for the music. A must-have for fiddle fans.’ – 4 STARS Montreal Gazette
‘While other recordings of these works are presently in the catalogues it is doubtful that any of them can outdo Philippe Quint with his combination of technical ability and subdued feeling for the composer’s native idiom.’ – MusicWeb International