Alexander Malofeev

Alexander Malofeev
Alexander Malofeev, pianist (b. 2001, Moscow). Photo by Liudmila Malofeeva

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The best new classical albums: February 2019






















Recording of the Month

Franz Liszt: Mazeppa (Symphonic Poem No.6, S.100) & Sardanapalo (unfinished opera, S.687)

Joyce El-Khoury, soprano
Airam Hernández, tenor
Oleksandr Pushniak, baritone

Opera Chorus Nationaltheater Weimar
Staatskapelle Weimar
Conductor: Kirill Karabits

Recorded August 17-20, 2018, Congress Centrum Neue Weimarhalle
Released on February 8, 2019 by Audite

An immensely important issue, this is the first recording of the performing edition by British musicologist David Trippett of Sardanapalo, the only projected opera by the mature Liszt of which substantial material survives. Its genesis remains to some extent shrouded in mystery. Byron's 1821 play Sardanapalus, about the sensualist Assyrian king who immolated himself and his mistress after failing to quell an insurrection, was among the subjects that Liszt was contemplating, as early as 1842, to mark his return to opera, his only previous work in the genre being the juvenile Don Sanche of 1825. Why he chose Sardanapalo over, among others, Byron's Corsair and an opera about Spartacus, is seemingly unknown. We also have scant information about Sardanapalo's librettist, an unnamed Italian poet suggested by the Princess Cristina Belgiojoso after attempts failed to procure a text from the French playwright Félicien Mallefille. Nor has the full libretto survived: the only extant portions are those to be found in the manuscript.

Liszt seemingly began composition early in 1850 and was still working on the score in the winter of 1851-1852. At some point shortly afterwards, however, he abandoned the opera, probably because his librettist was either unable or unwilling to undertake revisions to the second and third acts. The manuscript itself, meanwhile, though familiar to Liszt scholars, was long deemed too fragmentary for reconstruction. Trippett's painstaking research, however, revealed that in essence what we possess is a draft piano-vocal score of the complete first act, albeit with some key signatures omitted and a handful of gaps in the accompaniment; there are also a number of cues for orchestration, which Liszt apparently intended to entrust to his assistant Joachim Raff. Trippett consequently decided there was "just sufficient" to undertake a performing version, and his edition caused something of a stir when it was first heard in Weimar last August, conducted by Kirill Karabits, with the cast we have here.

It is indeed extraordinary and in some respects unique. Commentators familiar with the manuscript have often dubbed it "Meyerbeerian". The opera might better, however, be described as through-composed bel canto, at times echoing Bellini, at others pre-empting 1860s Verdi (Forza in particular comes to mind), though the melodic contours and chromatic harmony are unmistakably Liszt's own. Dramatically straightforward and uncluttered, it falls into four distinct sections: an introductory chorus for Sardanapalo's many concubines; a colossal scena for Mirra, the king's slave-girl mistress; a love duet for the central couple; and a final trio in which Mirra and the Chaldean soothsayer Beleso attempt to persuade the unwilling king to go into battle after news of the insurrection breaks. Though the opening chorus repeats its material once too often, the rest of the act is beautifully shaped, while Liszt's fluid treatment of bel canto structures – blurring boundaries between recitative, aria and arioso in a quest for psychological veracity – reveals an assured musical dramatist at work.

He makes no concessions to his singers, though, and his vocal writing is taxing in the extreme. Joyce El Khoury is pushed almost to her limits in Mirra's scena, with its big declamatory recitatives, interrupted cavatina (it fragments as mounting desire for her captor obliterates memories of a life once lived in freedom) and vast closing cabaletta. Her dramatic commitment is never in doubt, though, and there's a ravishing passage later on when she pleads with the king to put aside his aversion to military conflict, her voice soaring sensually and ecstatically over rippling harp arpeggios. Airam Hernández sounds noble and ardent in the title-role, wooing El Khoury with fierce insistence and responding to Oleksandr Pushniak's stentorian Beleso with assertive dignity. The choral singing is consistently strong, the playing terrific, and Karabits conducts with extraordinary passion. Trippett has carefully modelled his orchestration on Liszt's works of the early 1850s, and it sounds unquestionably authentic when placed beside the exhilarating performance of Mazeppa that forms its companion piece. Throughout there's a real sense of excitement at the discovery and restoration of a fine work by one of the most inventive of composers. You end up wishing that Liszt had somehow incorporated operatic composition into his extraordinary career, and wondering what the course of musical history might have been if he had.

Source: Tim Ashley (Gramophone)


Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.3 in D minor

Sara Mingardo, contralto

Women's choir of Schola Heidelberg
Young singers of the Kölner Dom
Gürzenich-Orchester Köln
Conductor: François-Xavier Roth

Recorded October 2018, Kölner Philharmonie

Released on February 8, 2019 by Harmonia mundi

From the powerful opening statement salvo by 8 French horns, to the incisive declamations by the solo principal trombonist, to the seismic tremors induced by the ranks of percussion instruments in the first movement, to the graceful interplay between woodwinds and strings in the second, to the beautifully alluring and deceptive (turns out to be a hunting horn) solo horn passages in the third, to the appropriately grim and heartfelt singing by contralto Sara Mingardo in the fourth, to the joyous bimm bamms by the children's choir in the fifth, to the highly emotional, quasi-hymnic extended crescendo that builds to celestial proportions that is the final movement, all aspects of the "Mahler" sound are laid bare in this intense account, and presented with demonstration quality engineering. Add to all this the number of finer expressive details benefitting from conductor François-Xavier Roth's focus along the way and I could go on and on...

Source: Jean-Yves Duperron (classicalmusicsentinel.com)


Roth and the Cologne orchestra have a knack of making the most familiar Mahler sound new, with vivid extremes of colour and dynamics. Hearing the prodigious Third makes me marvel afresh at it, and at the stupidity of critics who were deaf to its greatness. — Sunday Times


Ottorino Respighi: Roman Trilogy (Roman Festivals – Fountains of Rome – Pines of Rome)

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: JoAnn Falletta

Recorded 30 May and 4 June 2018, at Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, New York, USA
Released on February 8, 2019 by Naxos

Along with The Planets by Gustav Holst, the Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss or the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé, amongst others, the Roman Trilogy by Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) certainly ranks as one of the top orchestral showpieces of the 20th century.

Conductor JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra may not quite convey the drunken revelry, vulgar frenzy, muscle and sonic savagery required during the final La Befana ("Epiphany") from the Roman Festivals, but they along with the Naxos sound engineers well capture and project many other facets of this work. The epic grandeur and barbaric brutality of the Circenses ("Circus Maximus"), the dark, sombre and stoic solitude of the Pini presso una catacomba ("Pines near a Catacomb") from the Pines of Rome. The delicate sparkle of the La fontana di Villa Medici al tramonto ("The Villa Medici Fountain at Sunset") from the Fountains of Rome, the paradisiacal portrayal of nature in the I pini del Gianicolo ("The Pines of the Janiculum") in which near the end, nightingale song and all, you can almost smell the fragrance of the evening. And last but not least, the relentless martial steps of the ancient Roman legion advancing in triumph in the I pini della via Appia ("The Pines of the Appian Way") where, starting at the 2:00 minute mark, you can't quite hear but you can feel the bottomless pipe organ pedal note driving them on to glory. Adrenaline rush achieved!

Source: Jean-Yves Duperron (classicalmusicsentinel.com)


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.4 in F minor, Op.36 | Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (orch Maurice Ravel 1922)

London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda

Recorded live in DSD 128fs, 29 October & 1 November 2017 (Symphony No.4), and in DSD 256fs, 3 June 2018 (Pictures at an Exhibition) at the Barbican, London
Released on February 8, 2019 by London Symphony Orchestra Ltd

Widely recognized as one of the leading conductors of his generation, LSO Principal Guest Conductor Gianandrea Noseda presents the first release in a new series exploring Tchaikovsky's final three symphonies. Urgent, supercharged and violent in places, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.4 is said to reflect the turmoil he found himself in while composing: a disastrous marriage, struggles with his sexuality and severe depression. Yet, despite the gloomy outlook, the symphony proves undoubtedly that Tchaikovsky knew how to fill his works with memorable melodies. Known for his mastery of Russian repertoire, for this album Noseda pairs Tchaikovsky with a masterpiece by his fellow countryman, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, performed here in Ravel's iconic orchestration.

Source: amazon.com


Vers l'ailleurs – Franz Schubert, Franz Liszt, Rodolphe Bruneau-Boulmier

Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Recorded November 2018 in Limoges
Released on February 1, 2019 by Collection 1001 Notes

Le pianiste Gaspard Dehaene confirme une sensibilité à part ; riche de filiations intimes. C'est un geste explorateur, qui ose des passerelles enivrantes entre Schubert, Liszt et la pièce contemporaine de Rodolphe Bruneau-Boulmier. Ce 2è cd est une belle réussite. Après son premier (Fantaisie – également édité par 1001 Notes), le pianiste français récidive dans la poésie et l'originalité. Il aime prendre son temps ; un temps intérieur pour concevoir chaque programme ; pour mesurer aussi dans quelle mesure chaque pièce choisie signifie autant que les autres, dans une continuité qui fait sens. La cohérence poétique de ce second cd éblouit immédiatement par sa justesse, sa sobre profondeur et dans l'éloquence du clavier maîtrisé, sa souple élégance. Les filiations inspirent son jeu allusif : la première relie ainsi Schubert célébré par Liszt. La seconde engage le pianiste lui-même dans le sillon qui le mène à son grand père, Henri Queffélec, écrivain de la mer, et figure inspirant ce cheminement entre terre et mer, « vers l'Ailleurs ». En somme, c'est le songe mobile de Schubert, – le wanderer / voyageur, dont l'errance est comme régénérée et superbement réinvestis, sous des doigts complices et fraternels...

Source: classiquenews.com


Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonatas Op.110 & Op.111, Bagatelles Op.126

Yevgeny Sudbin, piano

Recorded November 2014 at St George's, Bristol, England (Bagatelles) and July 2016 at Hallé St Peter's, Manchester, England (Sonatas)
Released on February 8, 2019 by BIS

BIS ecopak Yevgeny Sudbin has previously recorded Beethoven's piano concertos – releases which have received international acclaim, for instance on the website ClassicsToday.com: "A Beethoven experience you will not want to miss". For his first disc featuring solo works by Beethoven, Sudbin has chosen the two final sonatas and the Six Bagatelles, Op.126 – late works written between 1821 and 1824, just a couple of years before the composer's death. There are numerous anecdotes that testify to the fact that Beethoven was highly temperamental. But in his liner notes to this disc, Sudbin writes of another, contrasting side to the composer: "warmth, generosity and wisdom – with unexpected outbursts of cheeky humour – are also unmistakably among Beethoven's qualities and particularly evident in the works on this recording". If Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas form one of the most important collections of works in the history of music, then the final ones belong to his crowning achievements. Various musicians and musicologists have commented on them, hearing a hard-won triumph of the spirit in the great fugue of the final movement of Op.110, and interpreting Op.111 – and especially its second movement, the famous Arietta – as a last farewell. The set of Bagatelles was composed only months after Beethoven had completed his monumental Ninth Symphony. It became the last work for piano to be published in his lifetime, and together the six brief pieces form a distillate of a lifetime of writing for and playing the piano.

Source: naxosdirect.com


Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantatas BWV 33, 17, 99

Julia Sophie Wagner, soprano

Stefan Kahle, alto
Wolframm Lattke, tenor
Tobias Berndt, bass

Sächsisches Barockorchester

Thomanerchor Leipzig
Thomaskantor: Gotthold Schwarz

Recorded 2018 at St Thomas Church, Leipzig

Released on January 1, 2019 by Accentus Music

"Dealing with the Bach cantatas is a lifelong and wonderful task and challenge. Despite decades of experience with the works, new aspects are being discovered every day", says Gotthold Schwarz, 17th Thomaskantor after Johann Sebastian Bach. The cantatas on this first recording of the Thomanerchor Leipzig under the musical direction of Schwarz, speak about the human certainty of being secure in/with God (BWV 17: "How a father has mercy on his young children") and the confidence that God will deliver man from all trouble (BWV 33: "I call on thee in whom I trust"). There is no better credo that the Thomanerchor Leipzig and their Thomaskantor could base their joint path on.


Source: accentus.com



Ascent – York Bowen, Clarice Assad, Robert Schumann, Garth Knox, Dmitri Shostakovich, Franz Waxman

Matthew Lipman, viola
Henry Kramer, piano

Recorded American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY, October 1-3, 2017, and April 25-26, 2018 (Assad); July 7, 2018 at Oktaven Audio, Mount Vernon, NY (Shostakovich)
Released on February 8, 2019 by Cedille Records

Dmitri Shostakovich's long-lost Impromptu for Viola and Piano, Op.33, recently unearthed in the Moscow State Archives, receives its world-premiere recording on Matthew Lipman's Ascent, the acclaimed young American violist's solo debut album, featuring, in the artist's words, "music enraptured by flights of fantasy".

Recipient of a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Lipman has created an album of uplifting and spiritually transcendent works for viola and piano, dedicated to his late mother.

Hailed by The New York Times for his "rich tone and elegant phrasing", Lipman is heard in the world-premiere recording of Clarice Assad's fantasy piece, Metamorfose, which the violist commissioned. It's a poignant commentary on grief and acceptance. Robert Schumann's Fairy Tale Pictures is dreamlike and fanciful. York Bowen's richly expressive Phantasy draws on the Russian Romantic tradition. Garth Knox's free-flying Fuga libre transfigures Bach-like fugal fragments through modern, coloristic performance techniques. The album's finale is the first-ever recording on viola of Hollywood composer Franz Waxman's popular violin showpiece, Carmen Fantasie.

England's The Telegraph praised Lipman as "gifted with poise and a warmth of timbre" for his recording of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante with violinist Rachel Barton Pine, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and Sir Neville Marriner (Avie), which topped the Billboard classical chart.

Lipman's collaborator on Ascent is pianist Henry Kramer, winner of the Second Prize at the 2016 Queen Elisabeth competition and top prizes at the 2015 Honens International Piano Competition and 2011 Montreal International Music Competition. His first commercial recording, dedicated to Liszt oratorio transcriptions, was recently released on Naxos.

Source: cedillerecords.org


Franz Schubert: Impromptus (Op.142 D.935 & Op.90 D.899)

Kemal Cem Yilmaz, piano


Recorded 2018

Released on January 11, 2019 by Audite

Turkish-German pianist Kemal Cem Yilmaz instinctively throws into relief the vocal nature of these piano pieces (after all, Schubert was first and foremost a composer of lieder) and like a singer, knows when and where to slow down and breathe. Here and there, during the more passionate passages, you can even hear him hum along, à la Glenn Gould, when emotion takes over. But don't worry, it's so faint that at first I thought I was hearing things. He clearly "gets" the aforementioned shifts in mood and mode, and responds accordingly with warmth, tenderness or passion. And even though these are not technically challenging pieces, there are still quite a few passages that require clear and articulate phrasing, as well as proper dynamic balance between the left and right hand, all things that Kemal Cem Yilmaz does with natural ease. You most likely already have one or more recordings of the Schubert Impromptus in your music collection but should seriously consider this one as an alternative. And if not, don't hesitate.


In conclusion, we all know how many talented musicians or people with high degrees of education fail to make it and end up being taxi drivers. It turns out it's the other way around for Kemal Cem Yilmaz. He worked twelve years of his life as a taxi driver in Hannover, in order to support his musical studies and freelance recitals. This seems to be only his sophomore recording, the first being a release, on the same label, of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Let's hope there are many more.


Source: Jean-Yves Duperron (classicalmusicsentinel.com)



Franz Schubert: Symphonies, Vol. 1  Nos. 3, 5 & 8

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Edward Gardner

Recorded 9 and 10 July 2018 at Town Hall, Birmingham
Released on February 1, 2019 by Chandos

Following the highly successful series "Mendelssohn in Birmingham", the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and its former Principal Guest Conductor Edward Gardner here present the first volume in a new surround-sound series devoted to Schubert's symphonies.

This first volume comprises three works spanning Schubert's short but exceedingly productive composing life. Symphony No.3, of 1815, notable for its extensive and evolving slow introduction modelled on late Haydn, is followed by a work that represents a distillation of Schubertian classicism: the "little" Symphony No.5, composed in 1816. Scored for chamber orchestra, it shows a greater influence of Mozart, for whom Schubert seems to have felt a special affinity around this time. Completing the album is Schubert's much more intense Symphony No.8 "Unfinished" of 1822. Only the first two movements – a turbulent opening movement and serene second – and a skeleton sketch of a third, Scherzo, movement were completed.

Source: chandos.net


Songs of the Cello – Homage to Pablo Casals

Taeguk Mun, cello

Chi Ho Han, piano

Recorded 2018

Released on February 1, 2019 by Parlophone Records Limited

This debut album opens with cellist Taeguk Mun – winner of the 2014 Pablo Casals International Cello Competition and the 2016 János Starker Foundation Award – playing Bach's Suite for Solo Cello No.1. He is then joined by the pianist Chi Ho Han, another multi-award-winning musician from South Korea, for Beethoven's Sonata for Cello and Piano in A major and short pieces by Schumann, Schubert, Rubinstein and Pablo Casals.


Source: warnerclassics.com



The albums were chosen by the owner and blog editor of "Faces of Classical Music", Alexandros Arvanitakis.










More photos


See also


The best new classical albums: January 2019

The Faces of Classical Music Choose the 20 Best Albums of 2018


Friday, February 15, 2019

Camille Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor – Alexandеr Malofeev, New Russia State Symphony Orchestra, Yuri Tkachenko














Accompanied by the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Yury Tkachenko, one of the new generation of Russian conductors, the young Russian pianist Alexandеr Malofeev performs Camille Saint-Saëns' Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op.22. Recorded at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, on July 3, 2014. (Gala concert of the 8th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. Alexandеr Malofeev won the First Prize.)



Saint-Saëns composed and first played this work in 1868. It is scored for pairs of winds, horns and trumpets, plus timpani and strings. During his long and prodigiously creative life – first as a child prodigy, then as a "Futurist", then as a conservative, and finally as a vituperating fossil – Saint-Saëns composed five piano concertos between the ages of 20 and 61. The Second (and enduringly most popular) was created hurriedly in the spring of 1868 after the Russian pianist/composer/conductor Anton Rubinstein asked him to arrange a Paris concert. Because the Salle Pleyel was solidly booked and therefore not available for three more weeks, Saint-Saëns proposed that he himself write a new piece for the occasion. On May 6, with Rubinstein conducting, he introduced the Second Concerto, although not with much success. There had not been time to practice it sufficiently, and a portion of the audience was put off by the work's stylistic swings ("from Bach to Offenbach" was pianist Sigismond Stojowski's bon mot of the month).

Gabriel Fauré, a pupil of Saint-Saëns at the time, remembered years later that he had shown his teacher a Tantum ergo setting. Saint-Saëns glanced at it hurriedly, then said, "Give this to me. I can make something of it!" What emerged was the main theme of the first movement (Andante sostenuto) of the new G minor Piano Concerto, following a solo improvisation in the manner of Bach to get things started. A gentler sub-theme (the composer's own) has a Chopinesque flavor, especially in its keyboard embroidery in thirds.

Like Saint-Saëns' opening movement and finale, an Allegro scherzando in between is written in sonata form. The spirit is nonetheless elfin, in the Mendelssohn manner – much as the Frenchman's long-finished but not-yet-published Second Symphony had been – although the second theme in the second movement of the concerto anticipates the Carnival des animaux, still two decades down the road.

The finale is a Presto tarantella in 2/2 time, whose G minor tonality reminds us that Mendelssohn ended his "Italian" Symphony 35 years earlier with a minor-key tarantella. If Saint-Saëns' premiere audience was not immediately cordial – Parisians had become as exasperatingly superficial as the Viennese – Franz Liszt praised the Second Concerto without stint, saying that it pleased him "singularly". Not for the first time, nor for the last, was his praise prescient. Later on, of course, Parisian audiences let everyone believe they'd loved it from the start.

Source: Roger Dettmer (allmusic.com)



Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)

♪ Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op.22 (1868)

i. Andante sostenuto
ii. Allegro scherzando
iii. Presto

Alexandеr Malofeev, piano

New Russia State Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Yuri Tkachenko

Gala concert of the 8th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. Alexandеr Malofeev won the First Prize.

Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, July 3, 2014

(HD 720p)















Alexander Malofeev is a young Russian pianist, who gained international recognition through his outstanding appearance at the 8th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians (2014), where he won the 1st Prize. Alexander was born in Moscow in October 2001. Currently the young pianist studies at the Gnessin Moscow Special School of Music with Elena Berezkina.

At his young age, Alexander Malofeev already performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Mariinsky Theatre, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Kurhaus Wiesbaden, Herkulessaal in Munich, Philharmonie de Paris, Theater of the Champs-Elysees, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, National Centre for the Performing Arts (China), Kaufman Music Center, and UNESCO House among others. He gave recitals in Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Finland, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Israel, China, Japan, Australia and the United States.


Alexander has appeared with numerous orchestras including the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, "New Russia" State Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, Baltic Sea Philharmonic, Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Spivakov, Alexander Sladkovsky, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Alondra de la Parra, Dmitry Liss, Eduard Topchjan, Myung-Whun Chung, Kazuki Yamada, Kristjan Järvi, Gábor Takács-Nagy and Alexander Soloviev to name only a few.


Alexander Malofeev performed at many renowned international festivals, such as La Roque d'Anthéron, Annecy Classic Festival, Chopin Festival (France), Rheingau Music Festival (Germany), Crescendo Festival (Denis Matsuev's festival), Mikkeli Music Festival (Valery Gergiev's festival), Mariinsky International Piano Festival, Denis Matsuev and friends Festival, International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival (Moscow, Baku, Orenburg), Stars of the White Nights International Music Festival, International Winter Festival Arts Square (directed by Yuri Temirkanov), Stars on Baikal International Music Festival, Vladimir Spivakov's International Moscow Meets Friends Festival, Festival of Larisa Gergieva (Vladikavkaz), International Piano Festival of Brescia and Bergamo, Merano Music Festival (Italy), Eilat Chamber Music Festival, Peregrinos Musica Festival (Spain) among others.


In 2016 Alexander Malofeev won the Grand Prix of the International Competition for Young Pianists «Grand Piano Competition».


In June, 2016 the company Master Performers released Alexander Malofeev's debut DVD. The record was made in Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium, Australia.


In February 2017 Malofeev received a warm response in the Italian media describing the debut concert at La Scala: He was described as the "Russian genius" (Corriere della Sera) who performed the first Tchaikovsky piano concerto with Maestro Valery Gergiev.


In March 2017 Alexander Malofeev opened the 30th anniversary concert season of the established Meesterpianisten Series in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and received a great critical acclaim: "In contrast to what could be expected of a young artist at age 15, he demonstrated not only high technical accuracy but also an incredible maturity. Crystal clear sound, perfectly balanced revealed the exceptional skill in his playing..." (Amadeus)


In April 2017 in Italy, at the opening of the festival "International Piano Festival of Brescia and Bergamo" Alexander Malofeev was awarded the "Premio Giovane Talento Musicale dell'anno 2017" – "Best Young Musician of 2017".


In December 2017 Alexander became the first "Young Yamaha Artist".


Alexander Malofeev is supported by New Names Charity Foundation, Vladimir Spivakov International Charity Foundation and Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation.


Source: alexander-malofeev.com








































More photos


See also

Frédéric Chopin: Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor – Alexandеr Malofeev (HD 1080p)

Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor – Alexandеr Malofeev

Sergei Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini – Alexandеr Malofeev, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI di Torino, Myung-Whun Chung

Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor – Alexandеr Malofeev, Russian National Youth Symphony Orchestra, Dimitris Botinis (HD 1080p)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy-Overture – Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Dima Slobodeniouk (HD 1080p)

For Valentine's Day














The Russian conductor Dima Slobodeniouk conducts the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy-Overture. Recorded at TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht, on November 16, 2018.

🖤

"Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy-Overture" by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, continues to be much loved as a concert piece. Further, its central love theme is frequently quoted today in romantic scenes for film and television. The work was premiered in Moscow on March 4 (March 16, New Style), 1870, and twice revised, reaching its final form in 1880 (third version first performed 1886).

The idea for a piece using the story of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was suggested by Tchaikovsky's older, more-experienced colleague, the composer Mily Balakirev, who proposed the subject matter, possible themes, and a general outline for the work. Balakirev was somewhat critical of the results – as Tchaikovsky had in places followed his own instincts rather than Balakirev's suggestions – yet he expressed cautious approval of the piece as a whole.


Rather than portraying the play's events in the order in which they occur, Tchaikovsky presents a variety of characters and moods whose melodies offer effective musical contrast. The work opens with a serene clarinet-and-bassoon melody that represents the lovers' ally, the sombre and reflective Friar Laurence. The music then shifts to suggest violence, with a chaotic theme for the feuding Montague and Capulet families. Soon Tchaikovsky introduces a new melody: the soaring love theme of Romeo and Juliet themselves. As the piece progresses, love and violence share the stage with a sense of growing urgency until the love theme is reprised in a minor key, suggesting their tragic deaths. The work concludes with a hint of Friar Laurences melancholy theme (in the play he arrives on the scene too late to prevent the two suicides).


Source: Betsy Schwarm, 2016 (britannica.com)




Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

♪ Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy-Overture (1880)


Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Dima Slobodeniouk

TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, November 16, 2018

(HD 1080p)















Lauded for his deeply informed and intelligent artistic leadership, Dima Slobodeniouk (b. 1975) has held the position of Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia since 2013, which he combines with his more recent positions as Principal Conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Sibelius Festival following his appointment in 2016. Linking his native Russian roots with the cultural influence of his later homeland Finland, he draws on the powerful musical heritage of these two countries. He works with orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, London Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony, Chicago, Houston and Baltimore as well as Sydney Symphony Orchestras.

Summer 2018 sees Slobodeniouk give his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Joshua Bell at the Tanglewood Music Festival. Further highlights are his debuts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Rotterdam Philharmonic, ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien at the Musikverein, Bayerisches Staatsorchester Munich, Minnesota, Seattle and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras, NHK Symphony Orchestra and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra as well as West Australian Symphony Orchestra. He returns to WDR Sinfonieorchester Cologne with Yefim Bronfman, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Dresdner Philharmonie, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras. In Lahti, Slobodeniouk opens the 2018-2019 season with Joseph Canteloupe's Chants Auvergene and Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, before he takes the orchestra on tour to China including Shanghai Arts Festival. In Galicia he launches the new season with Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Shostakovich Symphony No.11. Other soloists he works with include Nicolas Altstaedt, Leif Ove Andsnes, Khatia Buniatishvili, Vilde Frang, Vadim Gluzman, Johannes Moser, Baiba Skride, Simon Trpčeski, Yuja Wang and Frank Peter Zimmermann.

Slobodeniouk's discography was recently extended by recordings of works by Stravinsky with Ilya Gringolts and Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia (BIS) and works by Aho with Lahti Symphony Orchestra (BIS), the latter received the BBC Music Magazine award 2018. He has previously recorded works by Lotta Wennäkoski with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Ondine) and works by Sebastian Fagerlund with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (BIS).

Moscow-born Dima Slobodeniouk studied violin at Moscow Central Music School under Zinaida Gilels and J. Chugajev, the Middle Finland Conservatory as well as the Sibelius Academy under Olga Parhomenko. He continued his Sibelius Academy studies with Atso Almila also under the guidance of Leif Segerstam and Jorma Panula, and has also studied under Ilya Musin and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Striving to inspire young musicians of the future, Slobodeniouk has worked with students at the Verbier Festival Academy over recent years and furthermore began a conducting initiative with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, providing an opportunity for students to work on the podium with a professional orchestra.

Source: dima-slobodeniouk.com







































More photos


See also


Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.13 in B flat minor "Babi Yar" – Sergei Aleksashkin, Groot Omroepmannenkoor, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Dima Slobodeniouk


Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.6 in A minor "Tragic" – Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Dima Slobodeniouk (HD 1080p)



& for Valentine's Day

Katia & Marielle Labèque: Love Stories – David Chalmin, Leonard Bernstein (Audio video)


Antoine Busnoys: For the love of Jaqueline (Medieval love songs) – Sylvia Rhyne, Eric Redlinger (Audio video)


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Maurice Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé Suite No.2 – Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Lahav Shani (HD 1080p)














Under the baton of the Israeli conductor Lahav Shani, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performs Maurice Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé Suite No.2. Recorded at Charles Bronfman Audiotorium in Tel Aviv, on December 31, 2016.



Daphnis and Chloé was the largest work Ravel was ever to compose, occupying him from early 1909 until April 5, 1912. It is also widely regarded as his most impressive achievement, and among the greatest ballet scores of the twentieth century. The work calls for an enormous orchestra, with approximately fifteen distinct percussion instruments and a wordless chorus, heard both offstage and onstage. Given its sheer size, the ballet score is much better known by excerpts, and when heard in concert, is usually represented by one of two suites that Ravel extracted from it. The first suite, of 1911, draws material from the "Nocturne," "Interlude" and "Danse guerriere", while Ravel designated the final three numbers: "Lever du jour", "Pantomime", and "Danse générale" as Suite No.2, following the score's completion in 1912.

Based on the pastoral drama by the Greek poet Longus, the ballet's scenario was devised by Mikhail Fokine, a classically trained dancer and choreographer for Sergie Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. In his autobiographical sketch, the composer described its conception: "In writing it I sought to compose a broad musical fresco, less concerned with archaic fidelity than with loyalty to the Greece of my dreams, which in many ways resembled that imagined and depicted by French artists at the latter part of the eighteenth century. The work is constructed symphonically on a very strict tonal plan, by means of a few themes, the development of which assures the work's homogeneity".

The first two scenes, which comprise Suite No.1, portray the courtship of Daphnis and Chloé, and the latter's abduction by, and miraculous escape from, a band of pirates. The third scene, comprising the three numbers of Suite No.2, takes place in a grove sacred to the god Pan and begins with daybreak following the pirate's night of terror.

Eventually the muted sounds of dawn give way to a stronger, more dynamic melodic thread in the strings, rising to an impassioned lyrical theme. Throughout this extended passage, Daphnis awakes, anxiously looks for Chloé, and sees her among a group of shepherdesses. The two lovers embrace as the melody reaches an impassioned climax.

In gratitude to Pan, whose intervention saved Chloé from the pirates, Daphnis and Chloé mime the adventures of the god and his beloved nymph, Syrinx, to a sultry flute accompaniment. Marked "expressive and supple", the solo is actually shared by the four members of the flute section – piccolo, two flutes, and alto flute – but played as if written for a single instrument. Chloé dances to this flute music, which becomes increasingly energetic, and she in turn, more animated. The motion suddenly breaks at a woodwind descent, and with a last whirl, she falls languorously into the arms of Daphnis. In a brief but passionate epilogue, a group of young women enter, dressed as bacchantes and shaking tambourines, followed by a group of young men. Against a dizzying 5/4 meter, Ravel deploys the full resources of the orchestra to create an exhilarating Dionysian celebration of physical love.

Source: Brian Wise (allmusic.com)



Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

♪ Daphnis et Chloé Suite No.2, M.57b (1913)

i. Lever du jour
ii. Pantomime
iii. Danse générale

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Lahav Shani

IPO 80th Birthday Celebrations

Charles Bronfman Audiotorium, Tel Aviv-Yafo, December 31, 2016

(HD 1080p)















Lahav Shani has established himself as one of the most talked about young conducting talents making a huge impression with his astonishing maturity and natural, instinctive musicality. In September 2018 he takes over as Chief Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, succeeding Yannick Nézet-Séguin and becoming the youngest Chief Conductor in the orchestra's history. In the 2020-2021 season, Shani will succeed Zubin Mehta as Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and will be the orchestra's Music Director Designate from 2019-2020.

In the 2017-2018 season, Shani became Principal Guest Conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, following a number of appearances with the orchestra since his debut in May 2015, including a major European tour in January 2016. Shani also works regularly with the Berlin Staatskapelle, both at the Berlin Staatsoper and also for symphonic concerts. In spring 2019 he will return to conduct "Don Giovanni" at the Berlin Staatsoper.


Recent and upcoming highlights as a guest conductor include engagements with the Vienna Philharmonic, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Bamberger Symphoniker and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.


Shani's close relationship with the Israel Philharmonic started in 2007 when he performed Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto under the baton of Zubin Mehta and continued in the following years as both a pianist and also as a double-bass player. Shani was born in Tel Aviv in 1989 and started his piano studies aged six with Hannah Shalgi, continuing with Prof. Arie Vardi at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv. He went on to complete his studies in conducting with Prof. Christian Ehwald and piano with Prof. Fabio Bidini, both at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler Berlin. Whilst a student he was mentored by Daniel Barenboim. In 2013 he won First Prize in the Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition in Bamberg.


As a pianist Shani made his solo recital debut at the Boulez Saal in Berlin in July 2018. He has play-directed piano concertos with many orchestras including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Recent concerto engagements include appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Renaud and Gautier Capuçon with the Israel Philharmonic. Shani also has considerable experience performing chamber music appearing recently at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, the Cologne Philharmonie and the Verbier Festival.


Source: intermusica.co.uk







































Sunday, February 10, 2019

Frédéric Chopin: Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor – Alexandеr Malofeev (HD 1080p)














The young Russian pianist Alexandеr Malofeev performs Frédéric Chopin's Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.35. Recorded at the Kurhaus in Wiesbaden, Germany, on March 14, 2018.



Chopin wrote the Funeral March that became the third of the four movements here in 1837 and composed the other three movements two years later. Almost since it was first heard, this work was looked on not as a sonata in form, but as a collection of four rather diverse pieces the composer assembled under one musical roof, Robert Schumann being the first to make the charge of a lack of cohesion between the various movements. However, several musicologists in the late twentieth century pointed out a number of previously overlooked – or at least ignored – qualities in this composition that bind the movements as inseparable musical siblings.

The sonata can be viewed as something of a life cycle. The first movement serves as the life force, struggling, loving, and suffering. The ensuing Scherzo enacts demonic forces in the main section and good forces in the lyrical alternate melody of the trio section. When this movement ends with a partial recalling of the second theme, it is not clear which set of forces has emerged victorious. The third movement Funeral March represents death or mourning for the hero of the first two movements. The ghostly finale, with its swirls of dark winds, has evoked many ominous images in the minds of listeners, and serves the life cycle here as a kind of final picture of the deceased, who lies in his quiet grave, with the rustles of the wind the only disturbance above.


There are many thematic and harmonic relationships between the movements, too. The harmonies in the Funeral March can be noticed in all three of the other panels. Also, there is a thematic kinship between the alternate melody in the first movement and the lovely theme in the trio to the Scherzo. Other ties between the first two movements exist: both are stormy and hard-driven at the outset, and each features a lyrical second theme. The structural likeness between the main themes in both these movements is also worth noting: each is built on repeating motifs, the first part of which is presented twice before moving upward on the keyboard to complete the thematic idea.


In the end, this sonata, while unorthodox in some respects, is a painstakingly worked out composition of great subtlety, hardly comprised of a loosely strung-together set of piano pieces. But for all its grand and profound design, it has always been Chopin's themes and keyboard writing that have made this work popular. The third movement Funeral March theme is as famous as any ever written, and the compelling nature of the fast themes in the first movements, and their alternate melodies as well, have made this sonata popular the world over. A typical performance of the work lasts from 22 to 26 minutes.


Source: Robert Cummings (allmusic.com)




Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)

♪ Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.35 (1837-1839)


i. Grave – Doppio movimento

ii. Scherzo
iii. Marche funèbre: Lento
iv. Finale: Presto

Alexandеr Malofeev, piano


Kurhaus Wiesbaden, Germany, March 14, 2018


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Alexander Malofeev is a young Russian pianist, who gained international recognition through his outstanding appearance at the 8th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians (2014), where he won the 1st Prize. Alexander was born in Moscow in October 2001. Currently the young pianist studies at the Gnessin Moscow Special School of Music with Elena Berezkina.

At his young age, Alexander Malofeev already performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Mariinsky Theatre, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Kurhaus Wiesbaden, Herkulessaal in Munich, Philharmonie de Paris, Theater of the Champs-Elysees, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, National Centre for the Performing Arts (China), Kaufman Music Center, and UNESCO House among others. He gave recitals in Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Finland, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Israel, China, Japan, Australia and the United States.


Alexander has appeared with numerous orchestras including the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, "New Russia" State Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, Baltic Sea Philharmonic, Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Spivakov, Alexander Sladkovsky, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Alondra de la Parra, Dmitry Liss, Eduard Topchjan, Myung-Whun Chung, Kazuki Yamada, Kristjan Järvi, Gábor Takács-Nagy and Alexander Soloviev to name only a few.


Alexander Malofeev performed at many renowned international festivals, such as La Roque d'Anthéron, Annecy Classic Festival, Chopin Festival (France), Rheingau Music Festival (Germany), Crescendo Festival (Denis Matsuev's festival), Mikkeli Music Festival (Valery Gergiev's festival), Mariinsky International Piano Festival, Denis Matsuev and friends Festival, International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival (Moscow, Baku, Orenburg), Stars of the White Nights International Music Festival, International Winter Festival Arts Square (directed by Yuri Temirkanov), Stars on Baikal International Music Festival, Vladimir Spivakov's International Moscow Meets Friends Festival, Festival of Larisa Gergieva (Vladikavkaz), International Piano Festival of Brescia and Bergamo, Merano Music Festival (Italy), Eilat Chamber Music Festival, Peregrinos Musica Festival (Spain) among others.


In 2016 Alexander Malofeev won the Grand Prix of the International Competition for Young Pianists «Grand Piano Competition».


In June, 2016 the company Master Performers released Alexander Malofeev's debut DVD. The record was made in Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium, Australia.


In February 2017 Malofeev received a warm response in the Italian media describing the debut concert at La Scala: He was described as the "Russian genius" (Corriere della Sera) who performed the first Tchaikovsky piano concerto with Maestro Valery Gergiev.


In March 2017 Alexander Malofeev opened the 30th anniversary concert season of the established Meesterpianisten Series in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and received a great critical acclaim: "In contrast to what could be expected of a young artist at age 15, he demonstrated not only high technical accuracy but also an incredible maturity. Crystal clear sound, perfectly balanced revealed the exceptional skill in his playing..." (Amadeus)


In April 2017 in Italy, at the opening of the festival "International Piano Festival of Brescia and Bergamo" Alexander Malofeev was awarded the "Premio Giovane Talento Musicale dell'anno 2017" – "Best Young Musician of 2017".


In December 2017 Alexander became the first "Young Yamaha Artist".


Alexander Malofeev is supported by New Names Charity Foundation, Vladimir Spivakov International Charity Foundation and Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation.


Source: alexander-malofeev.com




















































More photos


See also


Camille Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor – Alexandеr Malofeev, New Russia State Symphony Orchestra, Yuri Tkachenko

Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor – Alexandеr Malofeev


Sergei Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini – Alexandеr Malofeev, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI di Torino, Myung-Whun Chung


Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor – Alexandеr Malofeev, Russian National Youth Symphony Orchestra, Dimitris Botinis (HD 1080p)