The Last Night of the BBC's 2015 Promenade Concerts is directed again this year by Naxos Artist Marin Alsop. Stepping up to the podium for the Last Night of the world's largest classical music festival in 2013, Marin became the first woman in its 120-year history to take charge of events, a truly distinguished achievement.
This month also sees the release of the latest addition to Marin's Naxos discography – a CD of music by Leonard Bernstein, featuring his Symphony No. 3, 'Kaddish'. Marin was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein and there are few conductors today who understand his music better than she does.
The music of Brahms also occupies a significant spot in Marin's recorded works. No surprise, then, to find her conducting music by the German master at one of this year's earlier Promenade concerts. Marin's Prom on September 1 included his First Symphony; her recordings for Naxos of all four Brahms symphonies have attracted critical acclaim from the media, as can be seen below.
Click here for Marin Alsop's biography and complete Naxos discography.
8.559742 * To be released in the USA and Canada
on November 13
Three examples of Leonard Bernstein’s vocal art can be heard in this recording. His Symphony No. 3 ‘Kaddish’ shuns traditional symphonic ideas in favour of an eclectic theatrical and oratorio-like form with a prominent rôle for speaker. For this recording Marin Alsop has returned to the work’s original narrative text, heard before the 1977 revision. TheLark—heard in a concert version with added narration—derives from Lillian Hellman’s adaptation of L’Alouette on the life of Joan of Arc, and it was this music that Bernstein reworked into his Missa Brevis many years later.
Watch the video trailer
featuring Missa Brevis
Listen to the opening of Symphony No. 3, 'Kaddish'
Listen to the opening of The Lark
About the Artists
Marin Alsop is an inspiring and powerful voice in the international music scene, known for her innovative programming and artistry. With her inaugural concerts as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO), she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra. Alsop is also principal conductor and director of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and conductor emeritus at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom.
The GRAMMY® Award-winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is internationally recognised as having achieved a pre-eminent place among the world’s most important orchestras. The BSO made musical history in September 2007, when Marin Alsop led her inaugural concerts as the Orchestra’s twelfth music director, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra and ushering in a new era for the BSO and its audiences.
Claire Bloom’s most notable stage rôles have included Juliet, Ophelia, Viola, Miranda and Cordelia at the Old Vic, and principal rôles in many productions in London’s West End and in New York. Her films include Limelight, The Man Between, Richard III, Look Back in Anger, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Charley, The Haunting, A Doll’s House, Clash of the Titans, and Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Kelley Nassief’s performances have included Beethoven’s Ah, perfido! with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony, Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with Seiji Ozawa at the Tanglewood Music Festival, Brahms’s Requiem with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra under Neemi Järvi, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic.
The Brazilian countertenor Paulo Mestre has a busy career as a soloist in international concerts, with appearances in musical centres in France, Germany, Portugal, Israel, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Canada and the United States. In Brazil he has appeared in festivals of early music and with leading Brazilian orchestras.
Other discs featuring Marin Alsop and the music of Leonard Bernstein
“... this recording, one of the most important issues of the past decade, proves beyond all doubt the power of this Mass to move, to inspire, to break and remake hearts. This recording is one for the ages.”
– MusicWeb International
“... it's good to have a new Naxos recording with Marin Alsop conducting the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in sensitive, exciting, and impressively lucid performances of three Bernstein works.” – The New York Times
Discs featuring Marin Alsop and the music of Brahms
“To have both the Academic Festival and Tragic overtures as bonuses, and in such excellent performances, makes this disc an irresistible bargain.... Among recent recordings, you could do a lot worse, but you are not likely to do a lot better.”
“Alsop’s approach to the German Requiem seems to acknowledge, intuitively, the freshness, openness, and unaffectedness of the music,
and she communicates that to her choristers and soloists.” – Fanfare
“Marin Alsop’s reading [of Symphony No. 3] is certainly fine: dark of hue, lyrical and long drawn, though never, even for a moment, comatose. Rhythm is good, articulation keen, phrasing exquisite, the reading’s crepuscular colours glowingly realised by the LPO ... It is a long time since I heard a performance of the Variations as well grounded and as keenly profiled as this.” – Gramophone