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The Red Violin Continues Its Journey

October 30, 2008

Just two weeks after the release of the orchestra's first John Corigliano CD for Naxos (American Classics 8.559331), the Buffalo Philharmonic and music director JoAnn Falletta recorded a second disc of the composer's music in Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo.

In February 2007, Falletta and the Philharmonic had recorded the world premiere of Corigliano's Mr. Tambourine Man on a CD that also included the composer's Three Hallucinations from Altered States [8.559331]. On 17, 18 and 19 October 2008, the orchestra recorded two more important works by the American composer. This new CD will contain his acclaimed Violin Concerto "The Red Violin" with violin Michael Ludwig tackling the virtuosic solo part. Drawn from the material Corigliano wrote for the popular film, the concerto was written in 2003 and is a 35-minute tour-de-force of extreme technical brilliance and haunting poetry for the soloist and the orchestra. Michael Ludwig performed and recorded the concerto on one of the most beautiful instruments still in existence from the actual time of the violin in the film—the legendary Mary Portman Guarnerius del Gesu (formerly owned by Fritz Kreisler) on loan to him by Clement and Karen Arrison. The Philharmonic also recorded Phantasmagoria, a tone poem inspired by the composer's opera The Ghosts of Versailles, composed in 1992 on commission from the Metropolitan Opera.

Both of these beautiful and evocative works are programmatic. The Violin Concerto's inspiration is the journey of an extraordinary violin from the hands of its famous luthier through three centuries of music, tragedy and upheaval. Phantasmagoria's music echoes Corigliano's imaginative opera which combines the characters of the French Revolution with famous opera personalities, with humorous hints of Mozart, Rossini and Wagner, ghostly landscapes and profound emotion.

John Corigliano was present and active in the recording of all of his works with the Buffalo Philharmonic, and has forged a very warm friendship with the orchestra. The Buffalo Philharmonic continues a long tradition of strong commitment to American music—a commitment that was forged under Lukas Foss in the 1960s and continues with new energy and passion with music director JoAnn Falletta, who remarks: “We had a very intense and wonderful week recording in Buffalo with John. I think that the CD will be incredible. Michael's playing was absolutely astonishing and John seemed extremely happy.”

John Corigliano addressing audience

Michael Ludwig performing Red Violin Concerto

Michael Ludwig, John Corigliano, JoAnn Falletta
Photo courtesy Enid Bloch


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