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Featured Releases - September 2019

RAVEL, M.: Piano Concerto in G major • Piano Concerto for the Left Hand • Tzigane
Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937)
Orchestral Works, Vol. 6
Piano Concerto in G major • Piano Concerto for the Left Hand • Tzigane

Dumont • J. Gilbert • Orchestre National de Lyon • Slatkin

Composed between 1929 and 1931, Ravel’s two piano concertos reflect his enthusiasm for jazz, though one that was thoroughly absorbed into his own idiom. The Concerto in G major, originally conceived as a Basque rhapsody, is lightly scored but sports a vivacious percussion section, galvanising motor rhythms and a slow movement of astonishing beauty. The Concerto for the Left Hand, commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein who had lost his right arm in the First World War, is a single movement tour de force, as is Tzigane, a gypsy violin showpiece of dazzling virtuosity.

ROSSINI, G.: Il barbiere di Siviglia (Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, 2017) [Opera]
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868)
Il barbiere di Siviglia
Libretto by Cesare Sterbini
after Le Barbier de Séville by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

Sempey • Trottmann • Angelini • Kálmán • Gleadow • Vestri • Unikanti • Le Cercle de l’Harmonie • Rhorer • Pelly

Rossini’s comic masterpiece was based on Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais’s French play Le Barbier de Séville and is the ultimate opera buffa. The score is a compendium of the composer’s wittiest and most brilliant writing, and includes the famous entrance aria Largo al factotum and a raft of superbly dynamic ensembles. This vibrant and youthful production features Florian Sempey, one of the world’s best Figaros, the ‘Rossini tenor’ Michele Angelini, vivacious and critically admired Catherine Trottmann, and the award-winning team of acclaimed director Laurent Pelly and conductor Jérémie Rhorer who directs his spirited period ensemble Le Cercle de l’Harmonie.

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0065V)

MAGNARD, A.: Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4
Albéric MAGNARD (1865–1914)
Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4

Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg • Bollon

Albéric Magnard became a French national hero when he died defending his home at the outbreak of the First World War and, although he wrote relatively little, his catalogue is full of expansive and beautifully crafted music. Magnard was a symphonist at heart, and with its evocations of landscape and expressive lyricism his Third Symphony was admired by Paul Dukas for its ‘perfect clarity’ and as an ‘all too rare creation’. The luminous Fourth Symphony is one of Magnard’s last surviving works—a masterpiece that successfully synthesises Wagnerian high drama with Classical transparency.

MIGUEZ, L. • VELÁSQUEZ, G.: Sonatas for Violin and Piano
Leopoldo MIGUEZ (1850–1902)
Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 14

Glauco VELÁSQUEZ (1884–1914)
Sonatas for Piano and Violin, Nos. 1 and 2

Emmanuele Baldini • Karin Fernandes

Leopoldo Miguez and Glauco Velásquez were both leading figures in Brazil’s classical music scene at the turn of the 20th century, bringing back influences from Europe to a homeland in a state of enormous social upheaval. The lyrical character of Miguez’s ambitious Violin Sonata, Op. 14 is developed in a far more sophisticated and contrapuntal manner to anything previously experienced in Brazil, while Velásquez’s two sonatas are even richer in nuance. The tropical Romanticism of these three works marked an important change in Brazil’s chamber music, from pieces intended largely for domestic use to works equal to the noble expression of its new Republic.

New Orchestral Hits 4 Kids – Mr. E and Me
Erik JOHANNESSEN (b. 1975)
Martin HAGFORS (b. 1960)
New Orchestral Hits 4 Kids

Mr. E and Me • Boine • Valebjørg • The Norwegian Girls Choir • The Norwegian Radio Orchestra • Eljas • Bergby

Catchy contemporary music for children performed by an orchestra is a rarity. New Orchestral Hits 4 Kids aims to open ears, new and old to the wonderful sounds of the orchestra. The songs are written, arranged and performed by two highly accomplished musicians, Mr. E aka Erik Johannessen of Jaga Jazzist fame and Me aka Martin Hagfors an acclaimed songwriter, artist and lyricist. The orchestra is The Norwegian Radio Orchestra directed by Anders Eljas of Chess and ABBA fame and by the eloquent Ingar Bergby. The orchestra is augmented by the internationally renowned Sami artist, Mari Boine, The Norwegian Girls Choir and percussionist Heming Valebjørg of The Oslo Symphony Orchestra. Enjoy!

KERNIS, A.J.: Flute Concerto • Air • Second Symphony
Aaron Jay KERNIS (b. 1960)
Flute Concerto
Air • Second Symphony

Piccinini • Peabody Symphony Orchestra • Slatkin • Alsop


Pulitzer Prize-and GRAMMY Award-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis’s Flute Concerto was inspired by and written for Marina Piccinini. Its four movements explore darker and lighter elements in various dance forms, most of which begin calmly but end up spiralling out of control. Kernis describes the songlike Air as ‘a love letter to the flute.’ His Second Symphony was composed at the time of the Persian Gulf War and signified a powerful shift of tone in his music. Non-programmatic but linear and compact, it forms a part of his ‘War Pieces’ of 1991–95.


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