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Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873–1943)
Piano Concerto No. 2*
Études-Tableaux, Op. 33
Giltburg • Royal Scottish National Orchestra* • Prieto*
Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is one of the most passionate and beloved concertos in the repertoire, its lyricism and virtuosity charting a trajectory from darkness through idyll to dazzling triumph. The Études-tableaux, Op. 33 are richly characterized musical evocations, expressive and often explosive, that reflect a more angular, modern aspect.
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Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868)
Bianca e Falliero
Libretto by Felice Romani
Forte • Yarovaya • Tarver • Anderzhanov • Viotti • Banaś • Sargsyan • Kubla • Zabeo • Camerata Bach Choir, Poznań • Michalak • Virtuosi Brunensis • Mitáš • Fogliani
Naxos 8.660407-09 [3 CDS]
Bianca e Falliero was commissioned by La Scala, Milan, for its prestigious Carnival season of 1819-20, enjoying a run of no fewer than 39 performances. Rossini responded with a score the virtuosity and expressivity of which outdid even his Neapolitan works. Prevailing tastes at La Scala meant that ensembles predominated over arias but behind the conventional dictates Rossini lavished the utmost care on his work, fashioning an opera full of dramatic coloratura and powerful theatrical craft and notable for its rich and often surprising use of harmony.
Richard WAGNER (1813–1883)
Concert Overtures Nos. 1 and 2
König Enzio • Die Feen
MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchetra • Märkl
Before his emergence as one of the greatest musical figures of the 19th century, Richard Wagner wrote a series of overtures that chart his early compositional development. The two high-octane Concert Overtures reflect his Beethovenian and Classical lineage, whereas the overture to the historical tragedy König Enzio reveals a greater sense of melancholy and nobility. Heroism is the key to his first opera, Die Feen, while his second, Das Liebesverbot, is saturated in beguiling Mediterranean colour. Siegfried Idyll, a surprise birthday gift for his second wife, Cosima, is a tender and intimate celebration of scenes of family life.
Bob CHILCOTT (b. 1955)
All Good Things
Nidaros Jazz Mass† • Jazz Songs of Innocence†
Ophelia, Caliban, and Miranda† • Weather Report
A. Hawkins • Greenway • Mizraki • J. Scott • Commotio • M. Berry • Chilcott
†WORLD PREMIÈRE RECORDING
Bob Chilcott is one of Britain’s most popular and respected composers and his choral music is performed worldwide. He has always embraced a broad stylistic palette and his writing for voice combined with jazz instrumentation gives these works a sense of vitality and energy. Performed by leading jazz soloists and Commotio, the distinguished promoters of contemporary repertoire, this sequence of brilliant villanelles, folk song arrangements and witty settings reveals once again the breadth of Chilcott’s musical imagination.
Robert ALDRIDGE (b. 1954)
Libretto by Herschel Garfein
Zabala • Phares • M. Morgan • Jordheim • Cunningham • Florentine Opera Chorus and Company • Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra • Boggs
Naxos 8.669039-40 [2 CDs]
Described by Opera News as “an important addition to the American operatic canon,” Sister Carrie takes as its themes the lure of money and social standing. Robert Aldridge’s inventive score is richly melodic and unapologetically tonal. Herschel Garfein’s libretto is based on Theodore Dreiser’s groundbreaking 1900 novel, which depicts a smalltown girl’s tortuous path to fame and her lover’s abject descent into despair.
Georges ONSLOW (1784–1853)
String Quintets, Vol. 2 – Nos. 10 and 22
WORLD PREMIÈRE RECORDINGS
It was Robert Schumann who praised the Anglo-French Georges Onslow, alongside Mendelssohn, as one of the successors to the chamber music legacy of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. His string quintets were intended for a market of cultivated amateurs, with parts for a second cello or bass. No. 10 in F Minor, Op. 32 reflects Beethoven’s influence, its Sturm und Drang elements revealing a masterly balance between the stable and unpredictable. No. 22 in E-flat Major, lively and playful, offers an almost Schubertian songfulness.