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Naxos collaborates with top violinists in a new series dedicated to 19th century virtuoso violin music

September 18, 2007

While many other record labels are content to record the same violin music over and over again, Naxos has chosen to raise the bar to a new level by recording 200 albums—possibly even more—dedicated exclusively to music composed by 19th century violin virtuosos. Our list of fine virtuosos dedicated to this project includes Friedemann Eichhorn, Chloe Hanslip, Misha Keylin, Philippe Quint, and Tianwa Yang. With the dedication and skill of these and other astounding violinists, this series will revive this unjustly neglected segment of the classical repertoire and create excitement among a whole new generation of listeners for the golden age of violin music.

The first release of this series combines the brilliant playing of Philippe Quint with the smoothly virtuosic 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Concertos of the great Belgian violinist Charles de Beriot (1802-1870). All of the concertos of de Beriot contain some of the trademark virtuoso techniques that were so common in his day: tremolo legato, left hand pizzicato, artificial harmonics, sweeping runs, and extended arpeggios; however, de Beriot, like his student Henri Vieuxtemps, used these to complement the singing qualities of the noble violin. This album marks the world premiere recording of the 3rd Violin Concerto in E Minor, a dramatic and beautiful work that will now be remembered forever thanks to the brilliant efforts of Philippe Quint, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, and our team of talented producers.

Passionate and full melodies combined with outstanding displays of virtuosity are also the hallmark of Beriot’s 2nd Violin Concerto in B Minor. Although not the first CD recording of this wonderful concerto, it is the first to strictly follow Beriot’s own writing to better capture the composer’s intended purpose. To complete this stirring album we have chosen the light 5th Concerto in D Major. Filled with cheerful melodies and virtuoso technique, this concerto provides a perfect ending to this album, the second in a series dedicated to recording all ten of Beriot’s violin concertos. We hope that the brilliance displayed by Quint along with the beautiful melodies composed by de Beriot will preserve the composer's name as not only a violinist of remarkable skill but as a composer worthy of the modern concert stage.

With this series we will reintroduce the world to the great names and music of the 19th century virtuosi. For instance the name Pierre Baillot (1771-1842) is not well known today but was one of the biggest names in 19th century France, both as a pedagogue and a performer. Along with two other famous violin virtuosos, Pierre Rode and Rodolphe Kreutzer, he created one of the most famous violin methods in history, the then-official method of the Paris Conservatory. In addition to his teaching duties and travels, Baillot managed to compose many works, including nine violin concertos. All of Baillot’s nine violin concertos, many of which have not been played for well over a century, make their world premiere recording within this collection.

This project will also mark the recording debut of concertos by Rodolphe Kreutzer (1766-1831, 19 Concertos), Felipe Libon (1775-1838, 6 Concertos), Francois Habeneck (1781-1849, 2 Concertos), Alfredo d’Ambrosio (1871-1914, 2 Concertos), Ferdinand David (1810-1873, 5 Concertos), Ludwig Maurer (1789-1878, 9 Concertos), Nicholas Wery (1789-1867, 3 Concertos), Jacques Mazas (1782-1849, 2 Concertos), and numerous others.

One part of this collection of complete violin concertos includes the thirteen violin concertos by the French virtuoso Pierre Rode (1774-1830). Earlier this year Friedemann Eichhorn recorded concertos 7, 10, and 13 with the SWR Radio Orchestra Kaiserslautern conducted by Nicolas Pasquet. When this collection of amazing concertos is complete it will be a 'must own’ for discerning music collectors everywhere, providing listening pleasure for years to come.

While all of our talk so far has been about the 19th century violin concerto, we have not forgotten about the many works for solo violin, violin/piano, and violin duo!

In addition to providing an extensive collection of 19th century violin concerti, this series will bring to light generally unknown works for solo violin. Today, the general public is exposed to very little other than the solo works of J.S. Bach, Eugene Ysaye, and Nicolo Paganini and while the works of these three composers are absolutely amazing, there is just so much more to explore! We plan to include solo works by past masters such as Delphin Alard, Charles de Beriot, Ferdinand David, Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, Emile Hait, William Henley, Johannes Kalliwoda, Emile Leveque, Karol Lipinski, Pierre Rode, Napoleon de Saint-Lubin, and many others.

The list of selections for violin with piano accompaniment planned for this collection is vast, but one notable album has recently been recorded. It is an album of works by Antonio Bazzini. Although known today only for his brilliant showpiece "The Round of the Goblins", Bazzini was a prolific composer and professor of composition, Puccini was among his pupils. This first recording will represent only a small selection of the great music composed by Bazzini, performed with dazzling precision and fire by the award-winning Chloe Hanslip and accompanied by the pianist Caspar Frantz. Hanslip’s dedication to this series continues with future recordings of the complete concertos of Jeno Hubay and the recently-recorded album of Benjamin Godard’s two Violin Concertos with the Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra.

As a continuation of the huge success of the violin concertos, our Henri Vieuxtemps specialist Misha Keylin will be tackling the composer’s complete works, starting with an album of showpieces followed closely by an album of opera fantasies, both for violin and piano. Vieuxtemps, a pupil of de Beriot, was close to being both a first rank virtuoso and a first rank composer, and he managed to combine these two talents to create some of the most beautiful and difficult music ever composed. Unlike so many of his contemporaries, Vieuxtemps used his versatility as a tool to communicate his music to a broad audience while maintaining the integrity of a well respected composer, gathering admirers such as Wagner and Hector Berlioz along the way. This series offers many first-ever recordings of Vieuxtemps, all handled with outstanding skill by Keylin.

Pablo Sarasate has never been forgotten and never will. Although it has been attempted before, no label has ever recorded all of Sarasate’s many works and transcriptions. With the help of one of the world’s leading experts on Sarasate, Joseph Gold, we plan to record the complete works of Pablo Sarasate, featuring violinist Tianwa Yang, a first-rank maestra with few equals.Yang’s first album of works by Sarasate was released in late 2006 and received rave reviews. Sarasate’s demonstrated flair and charming melodies are a perfect match for the talents of Yang.

In addition to all of the wonderful music for violin/orchestra, solo violin, and violin/piano, we will offer many recordings of pieces for two violins. Planned for recording are duos by Jacques Mazas, Francois Habeneck, Federigo Fiorillo, Pierre Rode, and Henryk Wieniawski. Just recently Christine Sohn and John Marcus recorded an album of duos by Charles de Beriot including the 3 Duos Concertants, op.57 and the Airs Espagnols, op.113. This recording premieres the op.113 Airs Espagnols based on themes taken from Prince Nicolai Youssopov’s Ballet Espagnol. Also offered will be recordings of music for two violins and orchestra, including music by Rodolphe Kreutzer, Johannes Kalliwoda, and Delphin Alard, as well as double concertos by Louis Spohr with one of our outstanding house violinists, Henning Kraggerud.

If the violin world has lost some of its sense of burning excitement over the years, Naxos is determined to rekindle the flame by releasing our recordings to the public. After all, these compositions were designed to be enjoyed by the entire public, not just a handful of violinists. This series will reintroduce music lovers to a vast world of nearly forgotten but still wonderful music. By offering the best 19th century compositions played by superb violinists, our goal is to ensure this wonderful music lives on forever.

Jonathan Frohnen
Naxos - 19th Century Violin Repertoire Consultant










 
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