1985

1985 (2018) – A film by Yen Tan – Cory Michael Smith, Virginia Madsen, Michael Chiklis, Jamie Chung

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Nikolai Lugansky plays Claude Debussy: Suite bergamasque, Deux Arabesques, and οther works for solo piano (Audio video)























The distinguished Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky plays works for solo piano by Claude Debussy. The cd recorded in 2018, at Médiapôle Saint-Césaire, Impasse de Mourgues, Arles, France.



Harmonia Mundi's centenary edition of the works of Claude Debussy necessarily includes several different interpretations of his keyboard music, and Nikolai Lugansky's single-disc contribution offers only a selection of well-known pieces, featuring the Suite bergamasque and including L'Isle joyeuse, the Deux Arabesques, La plus que lente, Jardins sous la pluie, three pieces from Images II, and the Hommage à Haydn. For the most part, this is an album of reflective pieces that don't require a big sound, and the program shows mostly Lugansky's quiet side, emphasizing his polished technique and ability to glide nearly effortlessly over the keys with a delicate touch and warm tone. These qualities were noted in Debussy's own playing, and the restraint and control displayed here gives us an idea of how the composer's contemporaries likely heard his playing. Listeners new to Debussy may try the famous Clair de lune or the Passepied from the Suite Bergamasque, which are among the composer's greatest hits, though the whole album deserves sampling, if only to get an idea of Lugansky's technical flexibility and refined expressions. Highly recommended.

Source: Blair Sanderson (allmusic.com)



Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

Works for solo piano

1. L'Isle joyeuse. Quasi una cadenza (1904)


2. Deux Arabesques (1888-1891)

i. Andantino con moto
ii. Allegretto scherzando


3. Suite bergamasque (1890, rev. 1905)

i. Prélude. Moderato (tempo rubato)
ii. Menuet. Andantino
iii. Clair de lune. Andante très expressif
iv. Passepied. Allegretto ma non troppo


4. La plus que lente. Valse (1910)

Lent (Molto rubato con morbidezza)


5. Estampes (1903)

iii. Jardins sous la pluie. Net et vif


6. Images, 2e Série (1907)

i. Cloches à travers les feuilles. Lent
ii. Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut. Lent
iii. Poissons d’or. Animé


7. Hommage à Haydn. Mouvement de Valse lente (1909)


Nikolai Lugansky, piano

Recorded in 2018, at Médiapôle Saint-Césaire, Impasse de Mourgues, Arles, France

harmonia mundi 2018

(HD 1080p – Audio video)


When Achille-Claude Debussy entered Antoine Marmontel's class at the Paris Conservatoire in 1872, at the age of ten, he was intended for a brilliant career as a virtuoso pianist. But his family's hopes were quickly disappointed and his studies led to a series of failures in the examinations: a second prize with the first movement of Schumann's Second Sonata in 1877, then no prize at all in 1878 and 1879. His vocation as a pianist was abruptly cut short, which encouraged him to turn towards accompaniment, harmony and composition. His classmates noted in their reminiscences that despite some awkward corners and clumsiness, he had a skilled left hand with an extraordinary capacity for extension, and sometimes obtained amazingly soft, mellow effects. This special touch would remain one of the characteristics of Debussy's playing. When financial constraints obliged him to perform in public as a pianist from 1909 to 1914, playing only his own works (preferably as accompanist rather than soloist), he impressed contemporaries with the beauty of his sound, as his publisher Jacques Durand emphasises in his writings: "At the piano, whether playing his music or other people's, Debussy was a charmer, with a delicate touch. A former student of Marmontel, he had not kept up his finger exercises. But what a finish there was, all the same, in his style of interpretation! When he tackled Chopin, it was a marvel... Debussy used to repeat to pianists who came to him for advice about performing his works: ‘Above all, make me forget, as I listen to you, that the piano has hammers’. A useful lesson to meditate on".

In the 1890s, shortly after completing his cycle for voice and piano Cinq Poèmes de Charles Baudelaire, Debussy, probably pressed by lack of money, sold several publishers the rights to piano pieces, including the Arabesques and the Suite bergamasque. The two Arabesques were published by Durand in October 1891. The choice of title is no coincidence and denotes both a tribute to Schumann's Arabeske and an evocation of the interlacing created by the melodic curve. Even if, according to one of his few pupils, Madame Worms de Romilly, Debussy thought these two pieces "too poor", he nonetheless liked to use the term "arabesque" in connection with his Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune or his first hearing of a mass by Palestrina, à propos of which he described the emotion produced by "melodic arabesques... intersecting to produce... melodic harmonies". When Debussy achieved fame in 1902, the first Arabesque was to become one of his most popular pieces, as may be seen from the number of copies it sold.

The Suite bergamasque, which is contemporary with the Arabesques, has an odd history. Though sold to the firm of Choudens in February 1891, the work was finally not published. It was not to appear until 1905, issued by Fromont, following a negotiation with Debussy in order to settle a complex accounting situation. Although the autograph manuscript has unfortunately not been located, there is a surviving set of proofs showing the revisions Debussy made to it, as he wrote to Madame Fromont on 21 April 1905: "You will have the Suite bergamasque next Tuesday; to give it to you as it stands would be mad and pointless". Thus we can see that he removed superfluous passages in the Prélude, but more especially in the Menuet, and modified certain accidentals, notably in the Passepied. This set followed directly in the wake of the Petite Suite for piano four hands of 1889 and prolongs its Verlainian atmosphere. Initially, the celebrated Clair de lune, a hommage to the first poem in Verlaine's Fêtes galantes, which Debussy had twice set to music for voice and piano (in 1882 and 1891), was called "Promenade sentimentale", a title reminiscent of another poem from the same collection (À la promenade). The eighteenth-century spirit of the Fêtes galantes, with its "maskers and bergamaskers", testifies to Debussy's taste for the musical forms of the French harpsichord composers of that period, especially the minuet and the passepied, a heritage whose value he would constantly proclaim after this: "Where are our old clavecinistes, in whom there is so much real music? They possessed the secret of that profound grace, that emotion without epilepsy, which we renounce like ungrateful children..."

After having abandoned the piano for a decade or so, Debussy returned to it in 1900 to compose a series of triptychs, the first of which was entitled Pour le piano. The second is none other than the Estampes. In the meantime he had become a renowned composer with his opera Pelléas et Mélisande, which enjoyed considerablesuccess in May and June 1902. In the summer of 1903, while working on other projects such as the Rapsodiefor saxophone and orchestra, La Mer and Le Diable dans le beffroi (based on a text by Poe), he corrected the proofs of the Estampes, a title that evokes his taste for the eponymous Japanese engravings. In order to conjure up these contrasting worlds in sound, Debussy used various musical devices: pentatonism in Pagodes (Pagodas); a habanera rhythm in La Soirée dans Grenade (Evening in Granada); and in Jardins sous la pluie (Gardens in the rain) a folksong, "Nous n'irons plus au bois" (We'll to the woods no more), which he had already used in the third of the Images of 1894. The painter Jacques-Émile Blanche, to whom Estampes is dedicated and to whom we owe two portraits of Debussy, records in his memoirs that Jardins sous la pluie was inspired by a stormy afternoon: "While passing through Auteuil, I sketched a study of his head outdoors. It was raining, and the trees gave a green tinge to his dark skin, which the rain seemed to varnish". When the set was issued in October 1903, Debussy thanked Durand for the splendid edition. The published score does indeed reflect the composer's sense of refinement: the title in Japanese-style characters and a monogram in gold, the composer’s name and the titles of the pieces in blue, all printed on Ingres paper. The work was premiered by Ricardo Viñes on 9 January 1904 at a concert organised by the Société Nationale de Musique.

Following La Mer, the "three symphonic sketches" completed in July 1905, Debussy again turned to the piano and conceived two sets of Images. The initial project, as he submitted it to Durand, was vast: twelve pieces, six of which are none other than the two sets of Images for piano, with three more, originally intended for two pianos, which were to become the three Images for orchestra, and a final three that were not named explicitly. The first set of Images for piano appeared in October 1905. Two years later came a second collection. The source of inspiration for Cloches à travers les feuilles (Bells heard through the leaves), which Debussy dedicated to his friend the sculptor Alexandre Charpentier, a great music lover, apparently derives from a custom in the Jura region as described by Louis Laloy, a close friend of the composer: "the touching tradition of the knell that rings from Vespers of All Saints' Day to the Mass of the Dead, traversing the yellowing forests, from village to village, in the silence of the evening". Whatever the truth of this, the title represents a marvellous illustration of the correspondences, in the Symbolist sense of the term, between sounds and nature. It was also Laloy, an eminent orientalist, who suggested the title of the second of the Images: Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut (And the moon descends on the temple that is no more). This brilliant scion of the École Normale Supérieure, to whom the piece is dedicated, described it as "a dreamland where [they] gladly went together". Here again, Debussy performed a miracle of sonority by evoking Asia, a continent he did not know, without ever lapsing into a caricature of oriental music. The third of the Images, Poissons d'or (Goldfish), is said to have been inspired by a nineteenth-century Japanese black lacquered wood panel with incrustations in gold and mother-of-pearl, or by a Japanese cigarette case in black lacquer embellished with mother-of-pearl and gold; both objects belonged to Debussy and testify to his taste for asiatic art. The aquatic fluidity of the writing gives way to passages that are sometimes "capricious and flexible" (Debussy's marking, capricieux et souple), sometimes tender. The first performance of this second set of Images took place on 21 February 1908 at the Cercle Musical, with Ricardo Viñes as soloist.

The Hommage à Haydn and La plus que lente date from late 1909 and early 1910 respectively. At the request of the International Music Society, which was commemorating the centenary of the death of the great Viennese composer, six composers, including Debussy, wrote short pieces for piano on a brief theme derived from the letters of Haydn's name (H = B, A = A, Y = D, D = D, N = G). The first, second and fourth notes are French equivalents of German musical notation, while the other two are the application of the alphabetical series of letters to the musical scale. Of the six pieces in homage to Haydn, only those by Debussy and Ravel have survived in the repertory. La plus que lente (The more than slow), it is supposed to have been inspired by Leoni, the solo violin of the orchestra of the Hôtel Carlton in Paris, and testifies to Parisian society's craze for the slow waltz, as illustrated by Erik Satie's famous song Je te veux. Debussy recorded a very fine interpretation of his piece on the Welte-Mignon reproducing piano.

Source: Denis Herlin (CD Booklet)


"Fleet passage-work, drama and pianistic weight are harnessed when appropriate, but the consistently absorbing feature of his performances is the way they dig so deeply into the substance beneath the surface." — The Daily Telegraph

Nikolai Lugansky was born on 26 April 1972 in Moscow, Russia, to research scientist parents. At the age of five, before he had learned to read music, he played a Beethoven piano sonata learned completely by ear. He studied piano at the Moscow Central Music School and the Moscow Conservatory. His teachers included Tatiana Kestner, Tatiana Nikolayeva and Sergei Dorensky.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Lugansky won prizes at numerous piano competitions, most notably the Silver Medal at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in 1994 (no first prize was awarded). At the same time he began to make recordings on the Melodiya (USSR) and Vanguard Classics (Netherlands) labels. His performance at the Winners' Gala Concert of the 10th International Tchaikovsky Competition was recorded and released on the Pioneer Classics label, on both CD and video laser disc formats. This was followed by more recordings for Japanese labels. He went on to make recordings for Warner Classics, Erato Records,  Pentatone, Onyx Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, and Naïve Records. In 2018, Lugansky signed an exclusive recording contract with Harmonia Mundi.

Lugansky has performed together with Vadim Repin, Alexander Kniazev, Anna Netrebko, Joshua Bell, Yuri Bashmet, Vadim Rudenko, Mischa Maisky and Leonidas Kavakos, among others.

In addition, Lugansky has collaborated with conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Valery Gergiev, Neeme Järvi, Kurt Masur, Mikhail Pletnev, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Yuri Simonov, Leonard Slatkin, Tugan Sokhiev, Vladimir Spivakov, Yevgeny Svetlanov, Yuri Temirkanov and Edo de Waart.

In addition to performing and recording, Lugansky teaches at the Moscow Conservatory.

Source: en.wikipedia.org


Nikolai Lugansky (Photo by Jean-Baptiste Millot)

















More photos


See also

100th anniversary of the death of Claude Debussy – All the posts

Monday, October 29, 2018

100 Years After Debussy's Death, He Remains the First ‘Modern’ Composer – An essay on Claude Debussy by Stephen Hough in the New York Times

Illustration by Cat O'Neil
Celebrating Debussy’s slinking, sparkling piano works

By Stephen Hough

March 2, 2018

When I strike a chord on the piano, more is heard than those notes alone. The other strings vibrate with sympathetic overtones, forming a halo over every note. Claude Debussy, who died a hundred years ago, was perhaps the first composer to write with this quality specifically in mind, to consciously harness it as part of his creative process.

Although it was Debussy's orchestral work "Prélude à L'Après-midi d'un Faune" that Pierre Boulez described as "the beginning of modern music", it was always at the piano where his revolutionary new approach to form and timbre developed.

With "Pagodes", the first piece of his triptych "Estampes" (1903), we hear something totally fresh. Yes, Debussy had heard Javanese gamelan music at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in the summer of 1889 and had written with great admiration about its complexity and sophistication. But his use of its tonal color (loosely, the pentatonic scale – the black notes on a piano) is not so much a translation of a foreign text as it is a poem written in a newly learned, fully absorbed language.

Composers, especially in France, had regularly utilized exoticism in their works (Saint-Saëns and Bizet spring to mind) but it remained a decorative detail, a picture postcard, a costume. With Debussy the absorption has gone to the marrow. It is a transfusion of blood, flowing in the very fingers which conjure up these new sounds at this old instrument.

Igor Stravinsky commented that he "was struck by the way in which the extraordinary qualities of this pianism had directed the thought of Debussy the composer". Debussy's discovery of new sounds at the piano is directly related to the physiology of hands on keyboard. It is impossible to conceive of most of Debussy's piano music being written at a desk, or outdoors, despite his frequent use of "en plein air" titles.

No, this is music made as molded by playing, as dough is folded with yeast to create bread. As the fingers reach the keys, sound and touch seem to fuse into one. The keyboard has ceased to be a mere function for hammers to strike strings, and has become a precious horizontal artifact to caress. This is music of the piano as much as for the piano. The poet Léon-Paul Fargue, having watched Debussy play, wrote that he "would start by brushing the keys, prodding the odd one here and there, making a pass over them and then he would sink into velvet".

"He gave the impression of delivering the piano of its song", Fargue added, "like a mother of her child".

Debussy's piano music is perfectly conceived for the instrument. But it isn't just that it fits beautifully under the hand or sounds wonderful as the vibrations leave the soundboard and enter the ear. To play the opening of "Reflets dans l'Eau" (from "Images", Book One) feels as if the composer has transplanted his fingerprints onto the pads of your digits. The way the chords are placed on the keys (flat-fingered on the black notes) is not so much a vision of reflections, whether trees, clouds or water lilies. It is as if each three-padded triad is an actual laying of a flower onto the water's surface.

Later in the piece, as the waters become more agitated, the cascading arpeggios are like liquid running through the fingers, all shimmer and sparkle. In "Poissons d'Or" (from "Images", Book Two), the opening motive, a darting duplet of double thirds, is like trying to catch a fish's flip as it slips out of the finger's grasp. And in the central section, the slinky tune slithers with grace notes as the hand has to slide off the key as if off the scales of a freshly caught trout. In the first piece of this set, "Cloches à Travers les Feuilles", the fingers are required to tap the keys (pedal held down, fingers pulled up) as if mallets against a bell.

No other composer feels to me more improvised, more free-flowing. But then the player is conscious of a contradiction as the score is studied more closely: Music that sounds created in the moment is loaded with instructions on how to achieve this. The first measure of "Cloches à Travers les Feuilles" is marked pianissimo and contains just eight notes, each of which carries a staccato dot. But the first is also coupled with a strong-accented whole note; the fifth has an additional dash; all the notes are covered with a slur; and, if that were not enough, Debussy instructs the pianist to play "doucement sonore" ("sweetly resonant").

His suite "Children's Corner" may be like so many toys in his daughter's nursery, but the workmanship behind every join and seam is of the highest fastidiousness. All of his pieces sound spontaneous, but every stitch (every dot, dash, hairpin or slur) is specific. This is not mood music, pretty sounds assembled at a dilettante's whim. Behind the bells and the water and all the poetic imagery is an abstract musical mind of the utmost intellectual rigor – an architect of genius, despite the small scale of the buildings.

If most of his piano music has a feel of improvisation about it, the two books of "Préludes" celebrate this in a special way. Until well into the 20th century, a pianist would rarely begin to play a piece cold. A few chords, an arpeggio or two, served as a warm-up as well as allowing the audience to settle down. This was known as "preluding", and Liszt spoke of it as a technique to be learned by any aspiring pianist. Debussy's "Préludes" are perfectly crafted jewels, conveying more in their few minutes' duration than many an opera, yet they can also seem as intangible as mist – with titles, tacked on with ellipses at the end of each piece, like mere trails of perfume in the air.

Debussy began piano lessons at the age of 7 in Cannes as an evacuee from Paris at the start of the Franco-Prussian War, and he died during the final year of World War I, unable to have a public funeral because of the aerial bombing of the French capital. The circumstances of his life, framed by his country's enmity with Germany, seem an apt symbol for his music's rejection of a kind of German aesthetic.

His instinct to steer clear of classical structures; his elevation and celebration of small, ephemeral forms; and his delight in the atmosphere of beautiful chords for their own sake, with no desire to find a specific function for them, was an audacious challenge to some more self-consciously serious German intellectual fashions of the time. Indeed, the "Golliwog's Cakewalk" (from "Children's Corner") is a direct hit, with its cheerful celebration of popular culture and the cheeky quote from Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde", followed by the minstrel's scoffing sniggers.

When assessing a composer's place in history, there's always the question as to whether he or she leans backward or forward. But despite the opinion of Elliott Carter that Debussy "settled the technical direction of contemporary music", and despite the impossibility of the existence of the piano music of modernists such as Messiaen or Ligeti without him, I think the secret to playing Debussy's music lies in its Chopinist roots – he edited the Polish composer's works for Durand – and in his ties to his older, old-fashioned compatriots Massenet, Delibes and others.

Claude Debussy (Hulton Archive)
He may have stretched harmony and form into new shapes, but it seems to me that it is in a Parisian cafe, a Gauloise in hand and coffee at his side, that we glimpse something essential about the spirit of Debussy. For all his sophistication, he could never resist the lilt and leer of a corny cabaret song – not just overtly, like in "La Plus que Lente" (1910), but tucked away inside more experimental pieces such as "Les Collines d'Anacapri", "Reflets dans l'Eau", and "Poissons d'Or". He never left behind completely the romantic sentimentality of early piano pieces like "Clair de Lune" and the "Deux Arabesques".

Although his taste for popular styles found expression in ragtime takeoffs such as "Minstrels" and the "Golliwog's Cakewalk", it was his more serious music that later had an immense influence on jazz composers like Gershwin, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Fred Hersch. And not just because of a shared sense of improvisation: The repeated patterns, the piling up of sonorities and the way Debussy would crack open a chord, finding creativity in the very color of its vibrations, found its way into their very DNA.

And if the ghost of this Parisian ended up haunting every American jazz bar, it also found its way east, too. Debussy may have discovered his own pianistic voice after hearing the gamelan, but by the end of the 20th century the inspiration had reversed direction and his impact on Asian piano music is incalculable. Toro Takemitsu, American Minimalists and New Age Muzak – they all owe Debussy virtual royalties. The first "modern" composer, a hundred years after his death, vibrates afresh in every corner of the globe.

Source: The New York Times, March 4, 2018



See also

100th anniversary of the death of Claude Debussy – All the posts

Gil Shaham – All the posts














Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time; his flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit has solidified his renown as an American master. The Grammy Award-winner, also named Musical America's "Instrumentalist of the Year", is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearances with leading orchestras and conductors, and regularly gives recitals and appears with ensembles on the world's great concert stages and at the most prestigious festivals.

Highlights of recent years include the acclaimed recording and performances of J.S. Bachs complete sonatas and partitas for solo violin. In the coming seasons in addition to championing these solo works he will join his long time duo partner pianist, Akira Eguchi in recitals throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.


Appearances with orchestra regularly include the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, and San Francisco Symphony as well as multi-year residencies with the Orchestras of Montreal, Stuttgart and Singapore. With orchestra, Mr. Shaham continues his exploration of "Violin Concertos of the 1930s", including the works of Barber, Bartok, Berg, Korngold, Prokofiev, among many others.


Mr. Shaham has more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs to his name, earning multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d'Or, and Gramophone Editor's Choice. Many of these recordings appear on Canary Classics, the label he founded in 2004. His CDs include 1930s Violin Concertos, Virtuoso Violin Works, Elgar's Violin Concerto, Hebrew Melodies, The Butterfly Lovers and many more. His most recent recording in the series 1930s Violin Concertos Vol. 2, including Prokofiev's Violin Concerto and Bartok's Violin Concerto No.2, was nominated for a Grammy Award.


Mr. Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1971. He moved with his parents to Israel, where he began violin studies with Samuel Bernstein of the Rubin Academy of Music at the age of 7, receiving annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. In 1981, he made debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic, and the following year, took the first prize in Israel's Claremont Competition. He then became a scholarship student at Juilliard, and also studied at Columbia University.


Gil Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in 2008 he received the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. In 2012, he was named "Instrumentalist of the Year" by Musical America. He plays the 1699 "Countess Polignac" Stradivarius, and lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children.


Source: gilshaham.com



















More photos


Gil Shaham – All the posts


Ludwig van Beethoven: Triple Concerto in C major – Nicholas Angelich, Gil Shaham, Anne Gastinel, hr-Sinfonieorchester, Paavo Järvi


Johannes Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in B minor – Gil Shaham, Michael Dinnebier, Gunter Teuffel, Marin Smesnoi, Dirk Altmann (HD 1080p) 


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E flat major – Gil Shaham, Gunnar Persicke, Gunter Teuffel, Raphael Sachs, Frank-Michael Guthmann, Rahel Krämer (HD 1080p)


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Concerto No.5 in A major "Turkish" – Gil Shaham, SWR Symphonieorchester, Nicholas McGegan (HD 1080p)


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Ludwig van Beethoven: Triple Concerto in C major – Nicholas Angelich, Gil Shaham, Anne Gastinel, hr-Sinfonieorchester, Paavo Järvi














Accompanied by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the Estonian-American conductor Paavo Järvi, the American pianist Nicholas Angelich, the American violinist of Israeli Jewish descent Gil Shaham and the French cellist Anne Gastinel perform Ludwig van Beethoven's Triple Concerto in C major, Op.56. The concert was recorded at Alte Oper Frankfurt, on March 6, 2015.



"Did he who wrote the Ninth write thee?" The glib paraphrase of Blake by one writer from the first half of the last century is not at all untypical of the way in which Beethoven's affable Triple Concerto has been dispraised over the years. Yet despite its relative unpopularity with musicologists suspicious of its apparent lack of typically Beethovenian punch, the work has retained a place in the repertoire, and along with Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola, and Brahms's Double Concerto for violin and cello, is one of very few post-Baroque concertos for more than one soloist still to receive anything like regular performance.

It enjoyed a fair number of outings in Beethoven's day too, despite the appearance of having been carefully tailored to suit the particular talents of its original interpreters. Composed in 1803-1804, it was intended for Beethoven's patron and piano pupil Archduke Rudolph, a good musician but a player of relatively modest ability, and thus it is that the piano-writing, for all its elegance and good taste, lacks the kind of difficulty found in the solo concertos. The violin and cello parts, on the other hand, were written for top professional virtuosi – the violinist Carl August Siedler and the cellist and composer Anton Kraft, the man for whom Haydn had composed his D major Concerto – and this is reflected in the more technically demanding role these instruments are given. This was the line-up for the work's private premiere in 1804, and further performances followed with various combinations of soloists until the work was finally heard at a public concert for the first time in May 1808. Unfortunately it made a poor impression on that occasion, falling early victim (judging from the report of Beethoven's friend Schindler) to performers who "undertook it too lightly".

To more modern-day dismissals of the Triple Concerto as "weak" Beethoven, the Twentieth-century writer Hans Keller once offered the answer that "we have perhaps come to realise that Beethoven's imperfections are not lack of perfections, but absence of completeness – in view of things to come". What was to come in this case, and soon, was the Fourth Piano Concerto and the Violin Concerto, both of them works whose laid-back spaciousness, and a few other details besides, owe something to the expansive nature of the Triple Concerto.

More importantly, however, the Triple Concerto has glories of its own. The very opening is quietly original, its first theme being announced mysteriously by cellos and basses on their own before becoming the basis of a drawn-out orchestral crescendo. It is with this theme that the soloists eventually enter one-by-one, but the movement has a wealth of melodic material as well as a few surprises, not the least being the triumphantly loud return to the main theme after the central development section.

The Largo (in A flat major) is lyrical and uncomplicated, its mood of tranquillity set by a sublime opening cello solo, while the way in which it leads directly to the finale places it in the same category as its counterparts in the Violin Concerto and the Fourth Piano Concerto. The finale itself is a boisterous Rondo in the style of a polonaise, a familiar enough style to us now thanks to Chopin, but in Beethoven's day a dance whose place in art-music was relatively new. The Polish flavour reaches its height in an ebullient episode about midway through, but the whole movement has a freshness and a vigour which make it a fitting conclusion to this relaxed yet expertly crafted work.

Source: Lindsay Kemp, 2005 (hyperion-records.co.uk)



Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

♪ 
Triple Concerto in C major, Op.56 (1803-1804)

i. Allegro
ii. Largo
iii. Rondo alla Polacca

Nicholas Angelich, piano
Gil Shaham, violin
Anne Gastinel, cello

hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra)
Conductor: Paavo Järvi

Alte Oper Frankfurt, March 6, 2015

(HD 720p)















Born in the United States in 1970, Nicholas Angelich began studying the piano at five with his mother. At the age of seven, he gave his first concert with Mozart's Concerto K.467. He entered at 13 the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris where he studied with Aldo Ciccolini, Yvonne Loriod, Michel Beroff and Marie Françoise Bucquet. He won the First Prize for piano and chamber music.

Nicholas Angelich followed master-classes with Leon Fleisher, Dmitri Bashkirov, and Maria Joao Pires. In 1989 he won the Second Prize of the International Piano Competition R. Casadesus in Cleveland and in 1994 the First Prize of the International Piano Competition Gina Bachauer. In 1996 he was invited as a resident of the International Piano Foundation of Cadennabia (Italy). In 2002 he received the "International Klavierfestival Ruhr - Young Talent Award" (Germany) from Leon Fleischer where he performed in June 2003.


He made his debuts in May 2003 with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur at the Lincoln Center in New York. Valdimir Jurowski invited him to open with him the 2007-2008 season of the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow.


He also performed with the Orchestre National de France under Marc Minkowski and Joseph Pons, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Paavo Järvi, Orchestre National de Lyon and David Robertson, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo under Jesus Lopez-Cobos and Kenneth Montgomery, Saint-Petersbourg Symphony under Alexandre Dimitriev, Strasbourg and Montpellier orchestras under Jerzy Semkow, Toulouse Orchestra under Jaap van Zweden in Amsterdam and Yannick Nezet-Sequin in San Sebastian, the Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne and Christian Zacharias, the SWR Baden-Baden orchestra and Michael Gielen, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hugh Wolff and Paavo Jarvi, the Swiss-Italian Radio Orchestra and Charles Dutoit, the Tonkünstler Orchester and Kristjan Järvi, the Seoul Philharmonic under Myung-Whun Chung, the London Philharmonic under Kazuchi Ono and Vladimir Jurowsky, as well as recitals in London, Munich, Geneva, Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg, Rome, Lisbon, Brescia, Tokyo, Paris. He is a regular guest of the Verbier Festival and Martha Argerich's festival in Lugano.


Recent engagements include concerts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony (Emmanuel Krivine), Seoul Philharmonic (Myung-Whun Chung), Stuttgart Radio Orchestra and Roger Norrington, a tour with the London Philharmonic under Vladimir Jurowski, and chamber music in North America with Renaud and Gautier Capuçon (New York, San Francisco, Québec, Montreal, Ottawa...). He will make his debuts at the BBC Proms in July 2009 with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.


Great interpreter of classic and romantic repertoire, Nicholas Angelich played all Beethoven Sonatas and Liszt's Années de pélerinage in different countries. He is also very interested in 20th century music such as Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Bartók, Ravel, as well as Messiaen, Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, Eric Tanguy and Pierre Henry, who dedicated to him the Concerto for piano without orchestra.


Always enthusiastic about playing chamber music, his partners are Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Maxim Vengerov, Akiko Suwanai, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Joshua Bell, Julian Rachlin, Gérard Caussé, Alexander Kniazev, Jian Wang, Paul Meyer, the Ysaÿe, Pražák and Ébène Quartets.


Source: medici.tv















Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time; his flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit has solidified his renown as an American master. The Grammy Award-winner, also named Musical America's "Instrumentalist of the Year", is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearances with leading orchestras and conductors, and regularly gives recitals and appears with ensembles on the world's great concert stages and at the most prestigious festivals.

Highlights of recent years include the acclaimed recording and performances of J.S. Bachs complete sonatas and partitas for solo violin. In the coming seasons in addition to championing these solo works he will join his long time duo partner pianist, Akira Eguchi in recitals throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.


Appearances with orchestra regularly include the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, and San Francisco Symphony as well as multi-year residencies with the Orchestras of Montreal, Stuttgart and Singapore. With orchestra, Mr. Shaham continues his exploration of "Violin Concertos of the 1930s", including the works of Barber, Bartok, Berg, Korngold, Prokofiev, among many others.


Mr. Shaham has more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs to his name, earning multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d'Or, and Gramophone Editor's Choice. Many of these recordings appear on Canary Classics, the label he founded in 2004. His CDs include 1930s Violin Concertos, Virtuoso Violin Works, Elgar's Violin Concerto, Hebrew Melodies, The Butterfly Lovers and many more. His most recent recording in the series 1930s Violin Concertos Vol. 2, including Prokofiev's Violin Concerto and Bartok's Violin Concerto No.2, was nominated for a Grammy Award.


Mr. Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1971. He moved with his parents to Israel, where he began violin studies with Samuel Bernstein of the Rubin Academy of Music at the age of 7, receiving annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. In 1981, he made debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic, and the following year, took the first prize in Israel's Claremont Competition. He then became a scholarship student at Juilliard, and also studied at Columbia University.


Gil Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in 2008 he received the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. In 2012, he was named "Instrumentalist of the Year" by Musical America. He plays the 1699 "Countess Polignac" Stradivarius, and lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children.


Source: gilshaham.com
















A child prodigy in her youth and a competition-winning virtuoso by her late teens, cellist Anne Gastinel has gone on to handsomely fulfill all the promise augured by such auspicious beginnings. She has appeared on French television, received countless awards, made over a dozen recordings, and given concerts at the major venues throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, often with the leading conductors and orchestras. In addition, despite her busy concert and recording schedules, Gastinel has served on the faculty of the Lyon Conservatory as professor of cello. Her repertory is broad, spanning Baroque and modern music, taking in solo, chamber, and concertante works by J.S. Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Dvořák, Elgar, Bloch, Rachmaninov, and contemporary French composer Éric Tanguy. Gastinel has recorded exclusively for Naïve Records.

Anne Gastinel was born in Tassin-la-Demi-Lune (near Lyon), France on October 14, 1971. She was extremely precocious, beginning studies on cello, piano, and oboe at four years of age! At 10 she appeared on French television as a cello soloist with an orchestra. The following year she enrolled for music studies at the Lyon Conservatory, where she would win first prize in cello performance in 1986.


Gastinel had further studies at the Paris Conservatory, where her teachers included cello icons Yo-Yo Ma, Paul Tortelier, and János Starker. In 1988 Gastinel won first prize in the prestigious Scheveningen International Competition, and the following year she graduated from the Paris Conservatory, having by then given concerts in more than 50 European cities.


By the early '90s both Gastinel's concert appearances and recordings were drawing notice: in 1994 the French classical organization Victoires de la Musique gave her Record of the Year and Soloist of the Year awards; she was given a Prix Fnac in both 1995 and 2000, and was recipient of a Prix de l'Académie du disque, among other awards. In 1997 Gastinel was chosen by Marta Casals Istomin to play for one year the famous Matteo Gofriller cello owned by Pablo Casals.


Ibérica In 2003-2005 Gastinel made a series of highly acclaimed recordings for Naïve of the five Beethoven and two Brahms sonatas for cello and piano, with French pianist François-Frédéric Guy. In 2008 Gastinel was awarded a Chevalier of the National Order of Merit by the French government. Among Gastinel's later recordings is her 2009 album of Spanish music, Ibérica, a collection of works by de Falla, Granados, and Cassadó featuring guitarist Pablo Márquez.


Source: Robert Cummings (allmusic.com)








































More photos


See also


Johannes Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in B minor – Gil Shaham, Michael Dinnebier, Gunter Teuffel, Marin Smesnoi, Dirk Altmann (HD 1080p)


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E flat major – Gil Shaham, Gunnar Persicke, Gunter Teuffel, Raphael Sachs, Frank-Michael Guthmann, Rahel Krämer (HD 1080p)


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Concerto No.5 in A major "Turkish" – Gil Shaham, SWR Symphonieorchester, Nicholas McGegan (HD 1080p)


Friday, October 26, 2018

Jean Sibelius: Symphony No.5 in E flat major, & Lemminkäinen's Return | Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor – Víkingur Ólafsson, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali – Saturday, October 27, 08:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) – Livestream

Vikingur Ólafsson (Photo by Enno Kapitza)
















Icelandic keyboard master Víkingur Ólafsson "proved as a time-bending soloist in Grieg's Piano Concerto. Ólafsson plays as if every tone matters", says Norway's Daily News. Also, rising Finnish conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali (a Gustavo Dudamel protégé) leads music from his homeland – Sibelius' Lemminkäinen's Return and the bracing Fifth Symphony.


Saturday, October 27
Los Angeles: 05:00 PM
Lima: 07:00 PM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 08:00 PM
Brasília: 09:00 PM

Sunday, October 28
London: 01:00 AM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw, Stockholm, Oslo, Cape Town: 02:00 AM
Athens, Kiev, Jerusalem, Beirut, Moscow, Ankara: 03:00 AM
Abu Dhabi: 04:00 AM
New Delhi: 05:30 AM
Beijing, Manila, Hong Kong: 08:00 AM
Tokyo, Seoul: 09:00 AM

Live on Livestream



Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

♪ Lemminkäinen's Return, tone poem for orchestra, Op.22 No.4 (1895, rev.1897, 1900)


Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

♪ Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.16 (1868) *

i. Allegro molto moderato
ii. Adagio
iii. Allegro moderato molto e marcato


Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

♪ Symphony No.5 in E flat major, Op.82 (1914-1915, rev. 1919)

i. Tempo molto moderato – Allegro moderato – Presto – Più presto
ii. Andante mosso, quasi allegretto – Tranquillo – Poco a poco stretto – Tempo primo
iii. Allegro molto – Misterioso – Largamente assai – Un pochettino stretto


Víkingur Ólafsson, piano *

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Santtu-Matias Rouvali

(HD 720p)


Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit


Saturday, October 27, 08:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) / Sunday, October 28, 03:00 AM EEST (GMT+3)

Live on Livestream



Photo by Enno Kapitza
Possessing a rare combination of passionate musicality, explosive virtuosity and intellectual curiosity, pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has been heralded "Iceland's Glenn Gould" by the New York Times (Anthony Tommasini, August 2017). Before lighting up the international scene in 2016, Ólafsson won all the major prizes in his native country, including four Musician of the Year prizes at the Icelandic Music Awards, and the Icelandic Optimism Prize.

In September 2018 Víkingur Ólafsson released his new album on Deutsche Grammophon, Johann Sebastian Bach, featuring an eclectic selection of the composer's keyboard works. In an ingeniously woven tapestry of diverse original compositions as well as transcriptions from different eras, Ólafsson's "inspired playing makes Bach more human than we've heard in a long time" (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2018). The Bach album follows on from the global success ("Breathtakingly brilliant pianist" (Gramophone) of the Philip Glass Etudes, Ólafsson's debut recording for the label after signing as an exclusive recording artist in 2016.


Ólafsson's 2018-2019 season commenced with a return to the LA Philharmonic for Beethoven's Second Concerto with Thomas Adès at the Hollywood Bowl, and the opening of the new season of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra with Santtu Matias-Rouvali in a double bill of Stravinsky and Mozart. The season includes performances with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (Alan Gilbert), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Gustavo Gimeno), Minnesota Orchestra (Osmo Vänskä), and Orchestre National de Lille (Jean-Claude Casadesus). Víkingur rejoins Santtu Matias-Rouvali for performances with Detroit Symphony Orchestra, plays Bach's F minor concerto with London's Philharmonia Orchestra in Cartagena, Colombia, and reunites with composer Philip Glass for performances of his works at the Philharmonie de Paris in May 2019. Furthermore, Ólafsson will give recitals across Japan, the USA and in Europe in halls including the Berlin Philharmonie, London's Royal Albert Hall, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Philharmonie de Paris, Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Palau de la Música in Barcelona, Flagey in Brussels.


Víkingur Ólafsson has premiered six piano concertos to date, most recently Haukur Tómasson's new piano concerto with NDR Elbphilhamonie Orchester and Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen in 2017. Ólafsson is lauded for his ability to approach music from a fresh and original angle, whether through interpretation – ("Like Gould, Ólafsson possesses that rare gift of illuminating a familiar work in unexpected ways, revealing hidden depths and drawing out its best qualities", Gramophone); or original programming ("Few musicians match Ólafsson for creative flair", BBC Music Magazine). Ólafsson is also Artistic Director of Vinterfest in Sweden and the award-winning Reykjavík Midsummer Music, of which he is also the founder.


Source: vikingurolafsson.com



Photo by Jan Ahlstedt
Hailed by The Guardian as ​"the latest sit-up-and-listen talent to emerge from the great Finnish conducting tradition", the 2018-2019 season will see Santtu-Matias Rouvali (b. 1985) continuing his positions as Chief Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, alongside his longstanding Chief Conductor-ship with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra close to his home in Finland.

Rouvali has regular relationships with several orchestras across Europe, including the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. As well as making his debut with the Münchner Philharmoniker this season, he also returns to North America for concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra.


Following a very successful Nordic tour with Hélène Grimaud last season, the Gothenburg Symphony is back on the road in February 2019 for a tour hitting major centres in Germany and Austria with pianist Alice Sara Ott, and percussionist Martin Grubinger who premieres a new percussion concert by Daníel Bjarnason. Rouvali looks forward to other ambitious touring projects with his orchestras in the future, including appearances in North America and Japan.


In addition to the extensive tour, Rouvali's season in Gothenburg opens with Strauss' Alpine Symphony accompanied by Víkingur Ólafsson Mozart Piano Concerto No.24, and he looks forward to collaborations with Janine Jansen, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Baiba Skride throughout the rest of the season.


As another cornerstone to his tenure in Gothenburg, he is adding his mark to the Orchestra's impressive recording legacy. In partnership with Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and violinist Baiba Skride, a recording featuring concertos from Bernstein, Korngold and Rozsa is released in autumn 2018. This continues his great collaboration with Baiba Skride following their hugely successful recording of Nielsen and Sibelius' violin concertos with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra in summer 2015.


Rouvali has been Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra since 2013. Highlights of the tenure so far include a Sibelius symphony cycle in autumn 2015, and the Orchestra's first tour to Japan in spring 2017 where they were accompanied by an exhibition of original Moomin drawings by Tove Jansson to mark the opening of the new museum at the Tampere Hall. He opens the 2018-2019 season with a Beethoven programme with pianist Javier Perianes.


Alongside an extremely busy symphonic conducting career, as Chief Conductor in Tampere he has conducted Verdi's La Forza del Destino and most recently world premiere of Olli Kortekangas's My Brother's Keeper (Veljeni vartija) with Tampere Opera in spring 2018.


Source: harrisonparrott.com



















Jean Sibelius: Lemminkäinen's Return, tone poem for orchestra

The Kalevala became very popular in nineteenth century Finland and eventually inspired Sibelius to compose the symphonic poem Kullervo, Op.7, as well as the Lemminkäinen Suite. Elias Lönnrot (1802-1884) compiled the Kalevala, a collection of Finnish and Karelian folk poetry originally consisting of 32 cantos, later expanded to 50. Lemminkäinen's Return is the fourth and final of the Four Legends of the Kalevala that make up Sibelius' Lemminkäinen Suite. Although it is the shortest of the four, typically lasting about six or seven minutes, it is undoubtedly the most buoyant and colorful.

It opens with a bold chord, after which the orchestra begins to seethe with energy and a sense of expectation, building toward eruption, but glorious eruption. Soon the main theme for this movement, heretofore heard in fragments, begins to take shape, imparting an energetic and joyful spirit in varied instrumentation: winds, strings mainly in their lower ranges, and brass all spray the sonic landscape with vivid, rich colors to depict the triumphant return of Lemminkäinen, a sort of Superman / Don Juan character who had abandoned his wife for adventure and womanizing. Throughout the work the music is lively and effervescent, imbued with a folkish sense and the kind of energy one encounters in the Scherzo of Sibelius' Symphony No.2 (1900-1902). But Lemminkäinen's music here is happier and more fantasy-like, and ends triumphantly.

Source: Robert Cummings (allmusic.com)



Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor

Grieg was born on Norway's fjord-coast in the same year that Leipzig's storied Konservatorium opened under the direction of Felix Mendelssohn. By the time Ole Bull, the Norse Paganini, persuaded Grieg's parents to send their gifted 15-year old there for instruction, Mendelssohn was already dead 11 years. His successors were solid, German-schooled academicians whom Edvard hated, and against whom he rebelled. Ever after, he made five years in Leipzig sound like a prison sentence. That he learned so much from allegedly hidebound and uncaring teachers validates the soundness of their instruction. Most notably, Grieg absorbed the salient stylistic traits of Mendelssohn and Schumann (who taught there briefly before moving to Dresden). Indeed, his Piano Concerto could be called Schumannesque (likewise in A minor) without invalidating its Scandinavian character or Lisztian flourishes. Despite posthumous scorn for Grieg's large solo oeuvre during much of the twentieth century, his natural habitat was the keyboard. Grieg composed this music in 1868 for himself to play; however, Edmund Neupert played the first public performance in Copenhagen on April 3, 1869.

A government grant enabled Grieg to visit Italy in 1869, where he showed the work to Liszt at his residence near Rome. The kindly Abbé played it at sight with unconcealed pleasure (brilliantly, too, although for Grieg "rather too quickly" during the opening part). Liszt encouraged him to "go on, and don't let anything scare you", but tastelessly suggested that the second subject of the first movement be played by a trumpet instead of cellos. Grieg didn't restore it to the strings until his revision of 1905-1906.

The concerto opens with a drum-roll and solo flourish, after which the winds play a simple, unsophisticated main theme that the piano preempts, and embroiders at length, Allegro, molto moderato. The cello subject (più lento – a little slower) is contrastingly "soulful". Trumpets usher in the development, and later on the reprise. A solo cadenza comes just before the end. In the second movement, the key shifts from A minor to D flat major. This structurally uncomplicated Adagio in 3/8 time begins introspectively with muted strings. The piano rhapsodizes until a dramatically angular version of the main theme shatters the mood.

Eventually, calm is restored, and a quiet ending leads without pause to the third movement another quick-but-not-too-quick movement in A minor, additionally marked marcato, whose structure combines sonata and rondo. The piano introduces a main theme based on the 2/4 rhythm of a Norwegian folk dance, the halling. The second subject is quirkier and more elaborate but no less folk-like. The solo flute initiates a tranquil episode, after which the main theme returns for extended development. A short solo cadenza precedes Grieg's long-delayed transition from minor to major for yet another dance, this one in 3/4 time at an accelerated tempo. During a final cadenza, Lisztian bravura blows away any lingering traces of Schumann.

Source: Roger Dettmer (allmusic.com)



Jean Sibelius: Symphony No.5 in E flat major

Sibelius composed three versions of this work between 1915 and 1919, and led the premiere of the last one on October 21, 1921, in Helsinki. It is abstemiously scored: double winds, brass without tuba, tympani, strings. In time for his 50th birthday, which was celebrated as a national holiday in Finland, Sibelius completed and conducted a first version of his Fifth Symphony, in four movements – startlingly longer than the final version and comparatively inchoate. Only string bass parts have survived a revision begun immediately after the premiere. Still not satisfied, Sibelius rethought and reworked it over two years. What eventuated has become the most popular of his seven symphonies: a triumph of structural ingenuity, and a validation of non-programmatic music when Lisztians of every stripe – most notably Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler – were deconstructing "absolute" art.

What finally evolved in the first movement is a structure that begins with the double exposition of two theme-groups, the second of them in G (where the strings enter). Sibelius didn't just restate his basic materials; his range of mood extended to a passage marked lugubre for bassoons. Through a variety of keys he reaches a long development section, which builds toward recapitulation whereupon 12/8 time, after a slow acceleration, suddenly switches to 3/4, E flat changes to B major, and Allegro moderato becomes the new basic tempo. What follows was salvaged from a separate Scherzo movement in the 1915 version – complete with Trio – but one that segues into the tonic recap of theme-groups one and two, followed by a coda that quickens to Presto.

The Andante mosso, quasi allegretto is as simple, structurally, as the first movement is complex, but hardly simplistic: in effect, there are several variations on a rhythm – two groups of five quarter notes separated by a quarter note rest. This "theme" is played first by violas and cellos after a motif for clarinets, bassoons, and horns that returns as a countermelody. Sibelius creates "six tunes" (Michael Steinberg's diction), more or less tranquil on the surface but underneath mysterious, even briefly turbulent, with a translucent passage (violins divided into eight parts) that bespeaks pure genius. Also beneath the surface is a first statement (by low strings) of the proclamative theme that will dominate the finale.

Strings play the first theme in what some Sibelians have called a rondo, but others insist is sonata-structure, a whirring, buzzing business that culminates in the heroic second theme for pairs of horns, playing whole notes, in thirds. Momentum is sustained while the two subjects pursue a complex course through various keys and mass dissonances that only the horn theme, reassigned to trumpets, can finally cut through, like a machete through jungle growth. Trombones and horns join in, until Sibelius decrees silence, followed by six chords that bring his odyssey into a safe and happy harbor.

Source: Roger Dettmer (allmusic.com)


Photo by Enno Kapitza

















More photos


See also


Igor Stravinsky: Movements for Piano and Orchestra | Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No.24 in C minor – Víkingur Ólafsson, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali (HD 1080p)

Santtu-Matias Rouvali – All the posts

Live on Livestream: All Past Events


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Igor Stravinsky: Movements for Piano and Orchestra | Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No.24 in C minor – Víkingur Ólafsson, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali (HD 1080p)














This year's seasonal opening is in many ways a complete with Stravinsky's sparse and exquisite music for piano and orchestra and Mozart's dark rococo feelings.

The soloist is incredible Icelander Víkingur Ólafsson, who has already debuted with a record on Deutsche Grammophon, which garnered much attention. His first performance at the Gothenburg Concert Hall, with Philip Glass in 2014, had audiences and critics gasping for breath. And the Symphony's chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali is definitely his equal when it comes to rapture and musicality.

Recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall, on September 13, 2018.



Also, watch the interview by Måns Pär Fogelberg with conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali and the pianist Víkingur Ólafsson on the programme for the Season Opening 13 September 2018. Recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall, on September 10, 2018.



Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

♪ Movements for Piano and Orchestra (1959)


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

♪ Piano Concerto No.24 in C minor, K.491 (1786)

i. Allegro
ii. Larghetto
iii. Allegretto


Víkingur Ólafsson, piano

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Santtu-Matias Rouvali

Gothenburg Concert Hall, September 13, 2018

(HD 1080p)




Interview by Måns Pär Fogelberg with conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali and the pianist Víkingur Ólafsson on the programme for the Season Opening September 13, 2018.

Recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall, on September 10, 2018.

(HD 1080p)















Igor Stravinsky: Movements for Piano and Orchestra

During the 1950s, Igor Stravinsky produced a string of works in which he began to explore the possibilities of the Second Viennese School's serial developments. At first, as in the Septet of 1953, these investigations consisted of using specific intervallic units as the basis for most or all of the thematic and accompanimental material of a given piece, while still retaining much of the so-called Neo-Classical rhythmic and tonal layout that the composer was just beginning to abandon in the early 1950s. By the time of Threni of 1957-1958, however, and even more so the Movements for piano and orchestra of 1958-1959, Stravinsky had made the move (permanently, as it would turn out) into the realm of pure, complete twelve-tone serialism.

This move was made entirely on Stravinsky's own terms: he had spent quite some time studying serial music, and then proceeded to apply the techniques to his own musical language at a steady, cautious pace. The work that audiences were first introduced to at the premiere of Movements is as much a testament to Stravinsky's remarkable ability to absorb what seems to be unsympathetic musical principles into the body of his musical thought as it is to his acceptance of the merits of serialism.

Movements is a relatively brief work in five movements, between which are placed four interludes for orchestra alone. If serialism in Threni is used to define (or, perhaps, is defined by) an almost completely melodic texture, in Movements it is rhythm, fragmentation, and breathtaking contrapuntal density that breathe life into the twelve-tone architecture. All pertinent thematic and accompanimental material is drawn from a single tone row, given by the solo piano in a very nonlinear gesture at the very opening of the work: E flat-F flat-B flat-A flat-A-D-C-B-C sharp-F sharp-G-F. This row, however, is really only presented in its complete form a couple of times; it is far more often broken up into smaller groups (often tetrachords, or four note groups), and recast into slightly varied orderings.

On a rhythmic level, we find that the (local) regularity that characterizes most of the composer's music from his so-called Neo-Classical days on – still palpable in Threni – has been abandoned in favor of an approach that at first glance seems to owe something to Anton Webern, but which the composer felt actually drew on a much older musical tradition; he specifically mentioned his indebtedness to the polyrhythms of Renaissance composer Josquin de Pres' music.

Stravinsky himself described the harmonic structure of Movements as "antitonal" (a term he first coined many years earlier in his Poetics of Music), and, indeed, triadic references are far less prevalent in Movements than in many of his other serial works. When they do crop up they are quickly discarded without real elaboration.

Following his normal post-1920s instrumental procedure, Stravinsky avoids using the entire ensemble all at once, instead allowing the piano to act as a kind of mediator between the various different chamber organizations that appear; the actual piano writing, while very demanding, is by no means in the virtuoso tradition. Movements is dedicated to pianist Margrit Weber, who, with the composer on the podium, gave its premiere in January of 1960.

Source: Blair Johnston (allmusic.com)



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No.24 in C minor, K.491

During the early part of 1786 Mozart was busily engaged in the process of completing his opera Le nozze di Figaro, which received its premiere at the National Court Theater in Vienna on May 1. Lack of documentation for the winter and spring months of that year means that we do not know if he repeated the series of Lenten subscription concerts he had mounted the two previous years, but they did witness the completion of two new piano concertos, a genre that from 1784 to 1786 can normally be related to such concert series. One of these, No.23 in A, K.488, is a work now known to have been started two years earlier, but the magnificent concerto under consideration was an entirely new work. It was entered into his thematic catalog on March 24, and is believed to have been premiered at Mozart's benefit concert at the Burgtheater on April 7, the last concert he would give there.

The popularity Mozart had enjoyed with the Viennese public as a performer would henceforth start to decline, the C minor Concerto the penultimate of the great series of piano concertos composed for his concerts between 1784 and 1786. One of only two concertos composed by Mozart in a minor key, it is a work that reflects the increasing density and complexity of Mozart's music, the development of a style that already perplexed many of his contemporaries. What, for example, must they have made of the stormy, Beethovenian drama of the opening Allegro, or the chromatic intensity that pervades the concerto?

The autograph score, housed in the British Library, also shows thoroughly uncharacteristic signs of struggle, particularly in the final movement where Mozart attempted several versions of the third variation without ever attaining a resolution. The very full orchestration, the largest forces Mozart ever wrote for in a concerto, is commensurate with the size and power of the work – flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, and strings.

Source: Brian Robins (allmusic.com)















Possessing a rare combination of passionate musicality, explosive virtuosity and intellectual curiosity, pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has been heralded "Iceland's Glenn Gould" by the New York Times (Anthony Tommasini, August 2017). Before lighting up the international scene in 2016, Ólafsson won all the major prizes in his native country, including four Musician of the Year prizes at the Icelandic Music Awards, and the Icelandic Optimism Prize.

In September 2018 Víkingur Ólafsson released his new album on Deutsche Grammophon, Johann Sebastian Bach, featuring an eclectic selection of the composer's keyboard works. In an ingeniously woven tapestry of diverse original compositions as well as transcriptions from different eras, Ólafsson's "inspired playing makes Bach more human than we've heard in a long time" (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2018). The Bach album follows on from the global success ("Breathtakingly brilliant pianist" (Gramophone) of the Philip Glass Etudes, Ólafsson's debut recording for the label after signing as an exclusive recording artist in 2016.

Ólafsson's 2018-2019 season commenced with a return to the LA Philharmonic for Beethoven's Second Concerto with Thomas Adès at the Hollywood Bowl, and the opening of the new season of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra with Santtu Matias-Rouvali in a double bill of Stravinsky and Mozart. The season includes performances with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (Alan Gilbert), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Gustavo Gimeno), Minnesota Orchestra (Osmo Vänskä), and Orchestre National de Lille (Jean-Claude Casadesus). Víkingur rejoins Santtu Matias-Rouvali for performances with Detroit Symphony Orchestra, plays Bach's F minor concerto with London's Philharmonia Orchestra in Cartagena, Colombia, and reunites with composer Philip Glass for performances of his works at the Philharmonie de Paris in May 2019. Furthermore, Ólafsson will give recitals across Japan, the USA and in Europe in halls including the Berlin Philharmonie, London's Royal Albert Hall, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Philharmonie de Paris, Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Palau de la Música in Barcelona, Flagey in Brussels.

Víkingur Ólafsson has premiered six piano concertos to date, most recently Haukur Tómasson's new piano concerto with NDR Elbphilhamonie Orchester and Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen in 2017. Ólafsson is lauded for his ability to approach music from a fresh and original angle, whether through interpretation – ("Like Gould, Ólafsson possesses that rare gift of illuminating a familiar work in unexpected ways, revealing hidden depths and drawing out its best qualities", Gramophone); or original programming ("Few musicians match Ólafsson for creative flair", BBC Music Magazine). Ólafsson is also Artistic Director of Vinterfest in Sweden and the award-winning Reykjavík Midsummer Music, of which he is also the founder.

Source: vikingurolafsson.com















Hailed by The Guardian as ​"the latest sit-up-and-listen talent to emerge from the great Finnish conducting tradition", the 2018-2019 season will see Santtu-Matias Rouvali (b. 1985) continuing his positions as Chief Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, alongside his longstanding Chief Conductor-ship with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra close to his home in Finland.

Rouvali has regular relationships with several orchestras across Europe, including the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. As well as making his debut with the Münchner Philharmoniker this season, he also returns to North America for concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Following a very successful Nordic tour with Hélène Grimaud last season, the Gothenburg Symphony is back on the road in February 2019 for a tour hitting major centres in Germany and Austria with pianist Alice Sara Ott, and percussionist Martin Grubinger who premieres a new percussion concert by Daníel Bjarnason. Rouvali looks forward to other ambitious touring projects with his orchestras in the future, including appearances in North America and Japan.

In addition to the extensive tour, Rouvali's season in Gothenburg opens with Strauss' Alpine Symphony accompanied by Víkingur Ólafsson Mozart Piano Concerto No.24, and he looks forward to collaborations with Janine Jansen, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Baiba Skride throughout the rest of the season.

As another cornerstone to his tenure in Gothenburg, he is adding his mark to the Orchestra's impressive recording legacy. In partnership with Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and violinist Baiba Skride, a recording featuring concertos from Bernstein, Korngold and Rozsa is released in autumn 2018. This continues his great collaboration with Baiba Skride following their hugely successful recording of Nielsen and Sibelius' violin concertos with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra in summer 2015.

Rouvali has been Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra since 2013. Highlights of the tenure so far include a Sibelius symphony cycle in autumn 2015, and the Orchestra's first tour to Japan in spring 2017 where they were accompanied by an exhibition of original Moomin drawings by Tove Jansson to mark the opening of the new museum at the Tampere Hall. He opens the 2018-2019 season with a Beethoven programme with pianist Javier Perianes.

Alongside an extremely busy symphonic conducting career, as Chief Conductor in Tampere he has conducted Verdi's La Forza del Destino and most recently world premiere of Olli Kortekangas's My Brother's Keeper (Veljeni vartija) with Tampere Opera in spring 2018.

Source: harrisonparrott.com



















































More photos


See also

Santtu-Matias Rouvali – All the posts

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – All the posts