Featured Releases -
Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897)
Violin Concerto, Op. 77 • Double Concerto, Op. 102 *
Tianwa Yang • Gabriel Schwabe* • Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin • Antoni Wit
Brahms’ string concertos are indissolubly linked with the musicians for whom the works were written. He wrote his Violin Concerto for Joseph Joachim, and in it he combined what a contemporary critic termed ‘the great and serious’ with songful lyricism, melodic beauty, and a fiery Hungarian finale. To mend a breach with the violinist, Brahms later composed a concerto with the unusual combination of violin and cello, the latter played at the premiere by Joachim’s colleague Robert Hausmann. Neither instrument predominates in a work of reconciliation that embodies both drama and reflection.
Jonathan LESHNOFF (b. 1973)
Symphony No. 4 ‘Heichalos’
(featuring the VIOLINS of HOPE)
Guitar Concerto * • Starburst
Vieaux* • Nashville Symphony • Guerrero
WORLD PREMIERE RECORDINGS
Distinguished by The New York Times as ‘a leader of contemporary American lyricism,’ composer Jonathan Leshnoff is renowned for his music’s striking harmonies, structural complexity and powerful themes. Leshnoff’s works have been performed by more than 60 orchestras worldwide, including commissions from Carnegie Hall, the Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, and Nashville Symphony orchestras, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the IRIS and Philadelphia orchestras. Jonathan Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4 is a powerful new work written for the Violins of Hope, a collection of restored instruments that survived the Holocaust (www.violinsofhopensh.com). The composer draws inspiration from an ancient Jewish mystical text, Heichalos, to explore spiritual and ethical questions at the heart of the Jewish experience. This world premiere recording also features his energetic Starburst and his Guitar Concerto, a stunning virtuoso showcase for soloist Jason Vieaux.
Vincent D’INDY (1851–1931)
Médée • Karadec Suite • Saugefleurie
Malmö Symphony Orchestra • Darrell Ang
Described by Gabriel Fauré as the ‘Samson of Music’, Vincent d’Indy enriched French musical culture considerably as it made its transition into the 20th century. His orchestral works in particular demonstrate great skill and creativity, with his eclectic style often drawing inspiration from other composers, especially Wagner. At other times his music integrates Gregorian chant or French folk tunes, as in two of the works that feature on this recording, Médée and Karadec, both drawn from his incidental music for plays. Based on a poem about a lonely fairy, d’Indy’s superbly crafted symphonic poem Saugefleurie is permeated by Wagner’s influence while remaining quintessentially French.
Angelin PRELJOCAJ (b. 1957)
La Fresque (‘The Painting on the Wall’)
Music by Nicolas Godin (b. 1986)
The famous traditional Chinese tale of La Fresque (’The Painting on the Wall’) tells of two travellers who take shelter at a small temple, one of whom becomes so enraptured by the image of a beautiful girl in a fresco that he is transported into another dimension. Angelin Preljocaj, one of France’s leading contemporary choreographers, explores this mysterious relationship between representation and reality with a spectacular and unforgettable ballet filled with dynamic action, emotive lyricism and powerful responses to the music of Nicolas Godin, one half of the celebrated music duo Air. La Fresque has been admired for its ‘breath-taking scenes’ (La Terrasse) and its ‘dark and splendid beauty’ (L’Humanité).
Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0094V)
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841–1904)
Text by Jaroslav Vrchlický
Kohútková • Bytnarová • Černý • Šaling • Mikuláš • Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir • Svárovský
Antonín Dvořák’s success in Europe during the 1880s led to invitations to visit England and the commissioning of his oratorio Saint Ludmila for the Leeds Festival. It tells the moving and turbulent story of Ludmila’s conversion to Christianity, an important event in Bohemian history that led to her becoming Bohemia’s patron saint. Written for large forces and with a predominant part for the chorus in the tradition of Handel, Saint Ludmila is full of Dvořák’s typical warmth and melodic beauty, and stands alongside his Stabat Mater and Requiem as one of his greatest works.
Manuel de FALLA (1876–1946)
El amor burjo (1915 original version)
El retablo de Maese Pedro
Fernández • Zetlan • Garza • García • Perspectives Ensemble • Moughalian • Gil-Ordóñez
Manuel de Falla is renowned as the greatest Spanish composer of the early 20th century, melding diverse stylistic, folk or literary influences into distinctive new musical languages and forging masterworks that have become cultural emblems of his homeland. This synthesis can be found in the original 1915 version of El amor brujo, a heartfelt representation of a young Roma woman’s dramatic quest to free herself of the ghost of her lover. The mini-opera El retablo de Maese Pedro pays homage to Cervantes’ beloved Don Quixote using instrumentations and rhythms that conjure both Spain’s Golden Age and the vibrant energy of new European music in the 1920s.
Havergal BRIAN (1876–1972)
Symphonies Nos. 7 and 16
The Tinker’s Wedding: Overture
New Russia State Symphony Orchestra • A. Walker
Havergal Brian’s late creativity is almost unparalleled in musical history – in the last two decades of his life he wrote 25 symphonies. No. 7, the last of his truly large-scale symphonies, was inspired by Goethe’s autobiographical account of his time as a student in Strasbourg. Symphony No. 16 is a tough single-movement work, evoking Ancient Greece and the savagery of the Persian Wars. In bright contrast The Tinker’s Wedding is a sparkling comedy overture based on the play by J.M. Synge.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
Variations on themes by Grétry, Paisiello, Righini and Winter
Piano Sonata in C Major, WoO 51 • Waltzes, WoO 84 and 85
Even so great a composer as Beethoven wrote music that is now almost completely neglected and unperformed. This sequence brings together a portfolio of such works that focuses on his variations on popular operatic music of the time by Giovanni Paisiello, Peter Winter and André Grétry, and includes the witty and inventive variations on an arietta by Vincenzo Righini. The Piano Sonata in C Major, WoO 51 was found among Beethoven’s papers after his death and published in 1830. While it lacks a finale, it too offers a revealing look at an overlooked composition as do the two charming and unusual waltzes.