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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Richard Strauss: Don Quixote – Pablo Ferrández, Francisco Regozo, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Dennis Russell Davies (HD 1080p)

The award-winning Spanish cellist Pablo Ferrández plays Richard Strauss's Don Quixote with Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia under the baton of internationally acclaimed American conductor Dennis Russell Davies. The viola is played by Francisco Regozo. The work was performed at the Palacio de la Ópera de A Coruña, on November 7, 2014.

Ο βραβευμένος σε πολλούς σημαντικούς μουσικούς διαγωνισμούς, 25χρονος Ισπανός βιολοντσελίστας Pablo Ferrández ερμηνεύει το έργο του Ρίχαρντ Στράους, «Δον Κιχώτης». Τον συνοδεύει ο βιολίστας Francisco Regozo. Τη Συμφωνική Ορχήστρα της Γαλικίας διευθύνει ο διεθνούς φήμης Αμερικανός μαέστρος Dennis Russell Davies. Η συναυλία δόθηκε στο Palacio de la Ópera, στην πόλη Α Κορούνια της Ισπανίας, στις 7 Νοεμβρίου 2014.

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

♪ Don Quixote, Romance in F major for cello and orchestra, Op.35, TrV 184 (1897)

i. Introduktion. Mäßiges Zeitmaß / Don Quixote Sinks into Madness
ii. Thema. Mäßig / The Knight of the Doleful Countenance
iii. Maggiore / Sancho Pansa
iv. Variation 1. Gemächlich / The Adventure of the Windmills
v. Variation 2. Kriegerisch / The Battle with the Sheep
vi. Variation 3. Mäßiges Zeitmaß / Dialogue of Knight and Squire
vii. Variation 4. Etwas breiter / The Adventure with the Procession of Penitents
viii. Variation 5. Sehr langsam / Don Quixote's Vigil
ix. Variation 6. Schnell / Dulcinea's Enchantment
x. Variation 7. Ein wenig ruhiger als vorher / The Ride through the Air
xi. Variation 8. Gemächlich / The Adventure of the Enchanted Boat
xii. Variation 9. Schnell und Stürmisch / The Contest with the Magicians
xiii. Variation 10. Viel breiter / Joust with the Knight of the White Moon; The Defeated Don Quixote's Journey Home
xiv. Finale. Sehr ruhig / The Death of Don Quixote

Pablo Ferrández, cello
Francisco Regozo, viola

Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia
Conductor: Dennis Russell Davies

Palacio de la Ópera, A Coruña, November 7, 2014

(HD 1080p)

The German composer and conductor Richard Strauss represents a remarkable extension of the work of Liszt and Wagner in the symphonic poems of his early career. Born in Munich, the son of a distinguished horn-player and his second wife, a member of a rich brewing family, he had a sound general education at there, while studying music under teachers of obvious distinction. Before he left school in 1882 he had already enjoyed some success as a composer, continued during his brief period at Munich University with the composition of concertos for violin and for French horn and a sonata for cello and piano. By the age of twenty-one he had been appointed assistant conductor to the well-known orchestra at Meiningen under Hans von Bülow, whom he succeeded in the following year.

In 1886 Strauss resigned from Meiningen and began the series of tone-poems that seemed to extend to the utmost limit the extra-musical content of the form. The first of these works, Aus Italien (From Italy), was followed by Macbeth, Dan Juan, Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration) and, after a gap of a few years, Till Eulenspiegel, Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra), Don Quixote and Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life). Meanwhile Strauss was establishing his reputation as a conductor, directing the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for a season and taking appointments in Munich and then at the opera in Berlin, where he later became Court Composer.

The new century brought a renewed attention to opera, after earlier relative failure. Salome in Dresden in 1905 was followed in 1909 by Elektra, the start of a continuing collaboration with Hugo von Hoffmanns­thal. Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose), a romantic opera set in the Vienna of Mozart, was staged at the Court Opera in Dresden in 1911, followed by ten further operas, ending only with Capriccio, mounted at the Staatsoper in Munich in 1942. His final years were clouded by largely unfounded accusations of collaboration with the musical policies of the Third Reich and after 1945 he withdrew for a time to Switzerland, returning to his own house at Garmisch only four months before his death in 1949.

Don Quixote, Fantastic Variations on a Theme of Knightly Character, was written in 1897 and first performed on 8th March the following year in Cologne at the Gürzenich under Franz Wüllner. The work is the whimsical counterpart of Ein Heldenleben, first performed a year later. Don Quixote was not originally conceived as a concerto and the solo cello part was at first intended for the leader of the cello section. Eventually, however, Strauss conceded the part to a soloist, in view of the technical demands it made and the prominence of the instrument through much of the work.

The picaresque novel by Miguel Cervantes, El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Moncha, was published in two parts, in 1605 and 1615. A simple country gentleman has his head turned by reading too many romantic tales of chivalry and misguidedly sets out as a knight errant, dedicated to the righting of wrongs. The book itself has been seen most as a criticism of contemporary romances of chivalry and, indeed, of the pastoral romance, offering at the same time a contrast between the real and the ideal, the reality of Don Quixote's actual world and that of his imagination. There is humour and pathos in Don Quixote himself, his delusions and his nobility of Intention. On his second expedition he is accompanied by Sancho Panza as his squire, a villager who combines a degree of common sense and sententiousness with care for his master.

The Introduction at first offers three themes associated with the protagonist. The first, marked ritterlich und galant (knightly and gallant) is introduced by the woodwind. Second violins and violas follow with Don Quixote the courteous gentleman and a descending clarinet figure introduces a glimpse of his way of thinking. The violas continue with his reading of romances of chivalry, leading to an oboe theme suggesting courtly love for a noble mistress and muted trumpets reflect a challenge to rescue her from dangers suggested by the monsters of the lower register brass and strings. Their idealised love dissolves, as delusion follows delusion in a contrapuntal complexity of motifs and themes. The theme of Don Quixote, the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance, is now stated by the solo cello, with the help of the solo violin, a sorrowful transformation of the opening material. This is followed by Sancho Panza, with a rustic bass clarinet and tenor tuba, a chatterbox solo viola and a sententious conclusion, three aspects of his character.

The first variation depicts the adventure of the windmills. Don Quixote sees on the plain below some thirty or forty windmills which he takes for giants and resolves to attack, in spite of Sancho Panza's assurance that these are windmills and that what Don Quixote thinks are arms are their sails, turning in the wind. The knight falls at the first encounter with a sail that shatters his lance, leading him to believe that the giants had been transformed by a wicked magician. The second variation represents the adventure of the sheep in which Don Quixote, represented now by three cellos, sees clouds of dust approaching from each side, clearly the opposing armies of the Emperor Alifanfaron and of Pentapolin of the Bare Arm. Even Sancho is persuaded that these are not the flocks of sheep they seem, bleating in the woodwind, with the dust cloud of the violas and the pipes of the shepherds. The disastrous conclusion of the episode is omitted. The third variation brings a conversation between Sancho and his master, the earthy common sense of one contrasted with the quixotic love of knight errantry of which the squire is almost persuaded. The fourth variation finds Don Quixote set on rescuing a supposed lady in distress, in fact a statue of the Madonna carried by a procession of penitents. Provoked, one of the bearers aims a blow at the knight, who falls to the ground, apparently dead, mourned by Sancho as the flower of chivalry, as the procession moves on. The meditative fifth variation finds Don Quixote, at the start of his adventures, keeping vigil over his sword and armour, and thinking of his imagined lady, the peasant girl to whom he would give the title of Dulcinea del Toboso. In the sixth variation Don Quixote attempts to pay his respects to his supposed Dulcinea, a country girl, apparently bewitched and transformed. Sancho, however, assures his master that this is his lady. They are entertained in the seventh variation by the Duke and Duchess, who convince both squire and master, blindfold, that they are traveling on a flying horse to save from enchantment the Afflicted Waiting-Woman, to the amusement of the whole court. The eighth variation is the adventure of the enchanted boat, in which they find a boat moored by the river-bank and allow it to take them downstream, to some great exploit, but in fact to a weir, from which millers, earlier supposed to be devils, rescue them, an outcome for which Sancho gives thanks in a final prayer. From earlier in the book comes the adventure in which Don Quixote attacks two Benedictine monks, whom he takes for magicians, providing the excitement of the ninth variation. The final variation brings Don Quixote almost to his senses, when Sampson Carrasco disguises himself as the Knight of the White Moon, engaging Don Quixote in combat and defeating him, persuading him to spend a year of relative repose as a shepherd rather than a knight errant. The tale ends with the final illness and death of the hero, as earlier events are recalled in relative tranquility.

Strauss wrote his Romance for cello and orchestra in the summer of 1883, dedicating it to his uncle, Anton, Ritter von Knözinger, Chief Public Prosecutor in Munich. The work was also arranged for cello and piano and in one form or another received some contemporary exposure in performances by the cellist Hans Wihan, to whom Strauss dedicated his Cello Sonata of the same year. It is scored for woodwind, strings and solo cello, and opens with a singing cello melody, framing a more dramatic central section.

Source: Keith Anderson (

Ως «φανταστικές παραλλαγές πάνω σε ένα θέμα ιπποτικού χαρακτήρα» είχε περιγράψει ο Ρίχαρντ Στράους το έκτο κατά σειρά συμφωνικό του ποίημα, «Δον Κιχώτης», έργο 35, το οποίο βέβαια εμπνεύστηκε από το ομώνυμο μυθιστόρημα του Θερβάντες. Το συνέθεσε το 1897, ενώ εργαζόταν ως πρώτος αρχιμουσικός στην Όπερα του Μονάχου. Η πρεμιέρα του έργου δόθηκε τον Μάρτιο του 1898 στην Κολωνία, από την Ορχήστρα Gürzenich, υπό τη μουσική διεύθυνση του Φραντς Βύλνερ.

Σκοπός του Στράους είναι η «σπουδή» πάνω στους κεντρικούς ήρωες του αριστουργήματος του Θερβάντες: τον Δον Κιχώτη (ο οποίος εκπροσωπείται από το σόλο βιολοντσέλο), τον ακόλουθό του, τον αφελή Σάντσο Πάνθα (που εκπροσωπείται από τη σόλο βιόλα με τη συνδρομή του μπάσου κλαρινέτου και της τούμπας), και την αγαπημένη του ονειροπόλου ιππότη, Δουλτσινέα (σόλο όμποε). Το έργο αποτελείται από τρεις ενότητες: Εισαγωγή, Θέμα με παραλλαγές, και Φινάλε.

Recently awarded the coveted ICMA 2016 "Young Artist of the Year", and prizewinner at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition and at the V Paulo International Cello Competition, Pablo Ferrández announces himself as a musician of stature. His emotional intensity and personality on stage have wowed audiences around the globe.

Praised by his authenticity and hailed by the critics as "one of the top cellists" (Rémy Louis, Diapason Magazine), the 25-year-old Pablo Ferrández continues building a brilliant career through collaborations with international renowned artists and world leading orchestras.

He has appeared as a soloist with the Mariinsky Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Kremerata Baltica, Helsinki Philharmonic, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra, Mexico National Symphony Orchestra, Spanish National Orchestra, RTVE Orchestra, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and collaborated with such artists as Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Yuri Temirkanov, Adam Fischer, Heinrich Schiff, Dennis Russell Davies, John Storgårds, Gidon Kremer, Ivry Gitlis and Anne-Sophie Mutter.

An avid chamber musician, Pablo is frequently invited to international festivals such as Verbier, Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad, Intonations Festival, La Folle Journée, Casals, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Spivakov, Piatigorsky, Kronberg, Santander, and the Rheingau Music Festival, where Pablo Ferrández was awarded with the Music Festival Award 2015. Ferrández has recently appeared in recital at the Louvre Museum in Paris, at the Palau de la Música de Barcelona, and at the Auditorio Nacional de Música de Madrid, obtaining rave reviews.

A captivating performer with a compelling technique, he is described as "an inspirational and expressive soloist who always places his skills at the service of the composer. Personal vanity is alien to Ferrández" (Rheingau Festival Award Jury).

Pablo Ferrández recorded his first CD, featuring Dvorak and Schumann cello concertos, with the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Radoslaw Szulc, which was received with great acclaim: "Pablo Ferrández is a fine performer, with a warm tone and an impulsive, if refined, lyricism that makes him a natural interpreter for Schumann's Concerto, with its melancholic elegance and flashes of mercurial wit" (Tim Ashley, The Guardian), "It is in Dvorak that Ferrández announces himself as a cellist of stature" and "(he) manages to play with huge emotion while still keeping his interpretation light and free from overindulgence" (Janet Banks, The Strad).

Ferrández is proud of his long-standing artistic friendship with Gidon Kremer, one of his major supporters. Pablo's second recording featured Italian works by Rossini and Menotti with the Kremerata Baltica, conducted by Heinrich Schiff.

Highlights of the 2016/2017 season include his debut at the Berliner Philharmonie with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the appereance with BBC Philharmonic under Juanjo Mena, collaborations with Christoph Eschenbach playing Schumann's Cello Concerto with the HR-Sinfonieorchester and the Spanish National Symphony, the return to Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under Zubin Mehta, recitals at Schloss Elmau and the Mariinsky Theater, a European tour with Kremerata Baltica and Gidon Kremer, appearances at the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival and the Rostropovich Festival, debuts with Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale RAI, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, Castilla y Leon Symphony, Gran Canaria Philharmonic, Munich Symphony, Estonian National Symphony, Orchestra Sinfonica Brasileira, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and the performance of Brahms' Double Concerto with Anne-Sophie Mutter and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Born in Madrid in 1991, in a family of musicians, Pablo Ferrández joined the prestigious Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía when he was 13 to study with Natalia Shakhovskaya. After that he completed his studies at the Kronberg Academy with Frans Helmerson.

Pablo Ferrández plays the Stradivarius "Lord Aylesford" (1696) thanks to the Nippon Music Foundation.


More photos

See also

The winners of the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, 2015

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