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Salonen Esa-Pekka_photo by Minna Hatinen_Finnish National Opera and Ballet

Finnish premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Cello Concerto

At least on this first hearing, Salonen's new Cello Concerto seemed confident and uncertain at the same time. This evening's concert marked the opening of Esa-Pekka Salonen's second season as Artist-in-Association with the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. It seemed only appropriate that the program literally played to all of Salonen's strengths: Ravel, Stravinsky, and of course, himself. The program began with a Ravel staple, Le Tombeau de Couperin. Immediately apparent from the opening moments was the effortless, ...
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The fascinating Michał Gondko, an accomplished lutenist

Having spent the last 18 years on the activities of the La Morra ensemble, the Polish lutenist Michał Gondko is becoming a sought-after soloist. Particularly seduced by the polyphonic art music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, he is one of the most fascinating performers of this repertoire of his generation. ResMusica met him to talk about his career, his inspirations, his projects, his dreams and even his lutes. "Sometime in ...
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Men and Women : Allan Pettersson’s Symphony No. 6 in ballet form

Men and Women by Antoine Jully, chief choreographer of the Oldenburg ballet, on Allan Pettersson's Symphony n°6 expresses a wide range of emotions between the genders. Jully's reflection of the composer's expressive world is impressive.  On the very surface, there does not seem to be much subtlety in Allan Pettersson or his music. Despite the music's highly expressive and emotional landscape and the composer's own colorful statements about himself and his world, for some listeners ...
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Kreutzer Sonata or Bridgewater Sonata ?

The Bridgewater Sonata by Emmanuel Dongala presents a fictionalized version of the apprenticeship of the Polish virtuoso violinist George Bridgetower, to whom his friend Beethoven initially dedicated his Violin Sonata #9, only to finally dedicate the piece to Rudolph Kreutzer. Paris, page 9 A beautiful morning in 89…that is, 1789… Coming straight from Austria, "Prince of Abyssinia, Famous Negro of the Caribbean", or more precisely, of Barbados, the same person whom Tomassini ...
Kostas Smoriginas, credit Monika Penkutė

Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 at Prague Spring

The Prague Philharmonic and Kühn choirs just might have stolen the show with their power, clear diction, and their ability to conjure up countless shades of color. There are certainly many approaches to putting together a program of orchestral music. Are the works selected based on a common theme or source of inspiration? From a common historical era? Or do the works greatly contrast from each other, giving the audience the ...
Sakari Oramo

Sakari Oramo in Elgar’s Symphony No. 2

Sakari Oramo did not hesitate in bringing Elgar's unabashedly passionate and emotional elements to the fore.  During his tenure as principal conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (RSPO), Sakari Oramo has devoted considerable attention to the music of Anders Hillborg and Edward Elgar. In this evening’s performance, Oramo took the podium in front of his former band to showcase these composers. Hillborg’s Beast Sampler refers to the composer’s description of the ...
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Broadly : Kent Nagano in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8

Nagano's performance of Bruckner's Symphony No. 8, while abundant in individual highlights, was not quite a fully convincing interpretation of this massive work. Anton Bruckner is arguably the perfect example of a composer whose music does not simply "play itself." Bruckner's symphonies are unhurried, majestic, imposing, and, of course, fervently religious. Only an interpreter who has considered these aspects carefully can successfully transform these lengthy works from seemingly protracted to transcendent. Against this backdrop, ...
Osmo Vanska - credit Kaapo Kamu

Exploring the depths : Osmo Vänskä in Sibelius’ Symphony No. 4

Osmo Vänskä is unrivaled in his ability (and willingness) to explore the deepest depths of Sibelius' Symphony No. 4.  Osmo Vänskä earned himself and his former band (the Lahti Symphony Orchestra) international recognition with his series of Sibelius and Kalevi Aho recordings. Authoritative performances of these two composers was expected from this evening's performance, and Vänskä and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra did not disappoint. The program opened with one of the Estonian composer Arvo ...
Chouchane Siranossian, double violoniste

Chouchane Siranossian, double violonist

In 2017, French violinist Chouchane Siranossian is a double Award winner of ICMA (International Classical Music Awards), for her CD L’ange et le diable with Jos van Immerseel and as Concertmaster of Ensemble Esperanza. Remy Franck made the following interview with her. "My roots have an influence on my playing ." ICMA : Chouchane, your family roots go back to Armenia. What does this mean for your music-making ? Chouchane Siranossian : For ...
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Tamsin Waley-Cohen, an adventurous violinist

Tamsin Waley-Cohen was the only British nominee for 2016's European Concert Hall Organisation's (ECHO) Rising Stars recital tour, which coincide with her latest disc : a CD of violin concertos by John Adams and Roy Harris with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Andrew Litton. This is the first time the Harris piece has ever been recorded. "In all the great venues that are part of ECHO, I will begin to build ...
Truls_Moerk_-546 CREDIT Johs Boe

Truls Mørk’s noble Schelomo with the Helsinki Philharmonic

Truls Mørk brought nobility to Schelomo's lamenting qualities. The current, inaugural season of Susanna Mälkki's tenure as music director of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (HKO) is focused considerably on 20th-century French orchestral music, which has allowed both orchestra and conductor to develop and explore the unique sound palette of this repertoire. This evening's concert continued this trend, presenting colorful works from both the 20th and 21st centuries, from France and from elsewhere. Leevi Madetoja was ...
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Damrau & Grigolo in « Les Contes d’Hoffmann » at LA Opera

For her LA debut, Diana Damrau was scheduled (announced with great fanfare) to undertake the roles of Hoffmann’s three loves. Events, however, proved otherwise…  Therefore, a great disappointment ensued, especially when the soprano who finally opted for Antonia, appeared in Act III, exceedingly present and convincing, deeply involved and persuasive. Confronted with this stunning Antonia, who takes stage completely, with that soaring, powerful voice, a voice with perfectly placed high notes, ...
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Herbert Blomstedt in Sibelius and Beethoven

This was undoubtedly one of the great performances of Sibelius' Symphony No. 4. Herbert Blomstedt is approaching his 90th birthday and is showing no signs of slowing down. A quick look at his busy conducting schedule shows a deep commitment to the Austro-Germanic and Scandinavian repertoire, so expectations were naturally high in this evening's program of Sibelius and Beethoven. The program opened with the darkly introverted Symphony No. 4 by Sibelius. Based on this evening's account, ...
01.04.2017, Gewandhaus zu Leipzig, Mendelssohnsaal. ICMA Gala, Gruppenfoto © Gert Mothes

An Outstanding Event – ICMA Award Ceremony and Gala Concert at Leipzig’s Gewandhaus

Ten soloists, one chamber orchestra, one choir and a big symphony orchestra, plus the presence of nearly all the musicians winning the 2017 International Classical Music Awards. In his opening speech, the president of the ICMA jury, Remy Franck enthusiastically said: « Since the first edition of our awards in 2011, we never were able to welcome so many guests at an award ceremony as here in Leipzig! » And ...
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Everything in clear focus: Christian Lindberg in Allan Pettersson’s Symphony No. 14

This new release in the series of Allan Pettersson's symphonies by Christian Lindberg impresses once again by fanatical fidelity to the score and obsessive attention to detail. Slowly but surely, Christian Lindberg and the extraordinarily dedicated Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (SON) are nearing the finish line of one of the great 20th century symphony cycles: the complete symphonies of Allan Pettersson. While the music of Pettersson is unquestionably demanding on performers and listeners alike, ...
Les ICMA annoncent l’événement classique de l’année

ICMA Announce Classic Event of the Year

Leipzig’s Gewandhaus will host on 1 April an outstanding classic event: ICMA's Gala Concert and Award Ceremony. For the first time in Germany, the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA), the only international Music Awards, will present at 8:00 pm an exceptional Gala concert with the Gewandhausorchester and conductor Francesco Angelico, Ensemble Esperanza, MDR Rundfunkchor and soloists Elena Bashkirova, Sharon Bezaly, Julia Fischer, Sophie Pacini, Elsa Dreisig, Chouchane Siranossian, Caroline Widmann, Tabea ...
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Details and the big picture: Christian Lindberg in Pettersson’s Symphony No. 5

In Petterson’s Symphony No. 5, Lindberg shaped and controlled the latent tension so effectively that the music felt deeply oppressive, almost suffocating in its intensity. Patience is definitely a virtue with regards to the Allan Pettersson symphony project on the record label BIS. This project began in the early 1990s with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (SON) under the direction of Leif Segerstam but was left incomplete. Following a long hiatus, the ...
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Robert von Bahr : The Man With The Pram … And 2.300 Recordings

The Swedish label BIS is Label of the Year of the International Classical Music Awards. Known for the quality of sound and music, for a substantial catalogue of more than 2.300 titles and some exciting projects, the label is a strong player on the international market. Remy Franck made the following interview with the label’s CEO Robert von Bahr. Remy Franck : Robert, what was the starting point for your business? Robert ...
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Susanna Mälkki and the Helsinki Philharmonic in Mahler’s Symphony No. 6

Throughout the first movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 6, careful attention was given to accents, articulations, and dynamics, along with a clear focus on orchestrational detail. Susanna Mälkki's recent performances with her new band, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, have generally presented a mix of the old and the new. While Mälkki might have a bit of a reputation as a new music specialist, she is equally at home in the great ...
Lilli Paasikivi High Res 1 - credit Rami Lappalainen and Unelmastudio Oy Ltd

All-British with the Tapiola Sinfonietta and Janne Nisonen

After Sakari Oramo, Janne Nisonen could very well be the next great Finnish interpreter of British music.  Orchestral programs dedicated entirely to British music are rare in the Helsinki region, so this evening's concert of Adès, Britten, and Vaughan Williams likely gave many listeners the chance to explore this music for the first time. The program opened with Thomas Adès Three Studies from Couperin, a set of orchestrations of selected Couperin harpsichord works. ...
ICMA - Official Logo WINNER

The Winners of the International Classical Music Awards – ICMA 2017

The Jury of the International Classical Music Awards – ICMA today announced the winners for 2017. « The ICMA Jury comprises 16 leading media from 14 countries, having the most up to date knowledge of the classical music market. Our Jury is totally independent and international, and therefore provides reliable guidance to the global audience. This year, the jury selected 17 audio and video productions from a total of 321 nominations. The ...
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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Focus on Shakespeare : The Tempest by Osmo Vänskä in Helsinki

The performance  of The Tempest by Osmo Vänskä and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra was a true celebration of some of Sibelius' most forward-looking music. The work of Shakespeare and his influence on the arts has received intense attention this year, the 400th anniversary of his death. On this evening's program, Osmo Vänskä and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra presented two musical perspectives on Shakespeare by Finnish composers of the past and ...
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Death and Transcendencev : Robert Spano and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

Robert Spano led a taut and disciplined performance of Rachmaninoff's Isle of the Dead.  The subjects of death and the beyond have certainly fascinated many artists, both past and present. Among composers, one famous example would of course be Richard Strauss' Tod und Verklärung. In this evening's program, the American conductor Robert Spano led the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in two Russian, romantic-era perspectives on death, concluding with Messiaen's transcendent L'ascension. Rachmaninoff's The ...
ICMA 2017 : les finalistes

ICMA Announces Finalists For 2017

The ICMA Jury is progressing in the voting procedures for the Audio and Video Awards 2017. Today we are able to publish the Finalists, in other words the three productions of which one will be the winner. The Finalists come from a list with 321 nominated releases from 119 labels. Here is the PDF document for all categories: Finalists ICMA 2017 The final result with the winners will be published on 19 January ...
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Commitment and confidence: Lindberg and Pettersson’s Symphony No. 7

Under Lindberg's direction, Pettersson's massive Symphony No. 7 seemed like a single, unbroken arch. This perfomance also featured the world premiere of the unfinished Symphony n°17, 36 years after its composition. In recent years, Christian Lindberg and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (SON) have been tirelessly promoting, recording, and performing the music of Allan Pettersson, arguably Sweden's greatest composer of symphonies. In this evening's program, Lindberg and the SON presented one of Pettersson's most ...
La liste des nominations pour les ICMA 2017 est parue

ICMA Nomination List 2017 Is Available

The ICMA nomination list for 2017 is available. For the 2017 awards the Jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) has nominated 321 audio and video productions (down from 364 in 2016) from 119 labels (up from 115 in 2016). To become a nomination, a production needs to be proposed by at least two jury members. With 17 nominations, the French label Harmonia Mundi, Label of the Year 2016, is once ...
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Sir Mark Elder in Britten and Shostakovich

Elder's performance of Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem could become a reference. There may not be many obvious stylistic similarities between the orchestral works of Benjamin Britten and Dmitri Shostakovich. Nevertheless, both composers sought to communicate immediately and directly with their audiences, while adhering to traditional concepts such as harmony, rhythm, and the symphony as a form. In this evening's program, Sir Mark Elder succinctly described these particular qualities in his opening remarks, before ...
Sofia Gubaidulina

The Estonian National Symphony celebrates Gubaidulina

The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra performed two major works by Sofia Gubaidulina, in honor of the composer's 85th birthday. In the year 2016, Sofia Gubaidulina, one of the world’s greatest living composers, will celebrate her 85th birthday. In recognition of this occasion, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ENSO) performed two of the composer’s recent large-scale works, including the world premiere of her oratorio Über Liebe und Hass (On love and hatred). ...
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Plácido Domingo as Macbeth at LA Opera

Plácido Domingo offers his Macbeth to the opera company he directs. This production of Macbeth will satisfy, even inspire, the most skeptical viewer. Darko Tresnjak (winner of 4 Tony awards and Broadway’s golden boy) is at work here, it’s true, with the help of Colin McGurk, on his own sets, often quite pertinent, often clever, flexible, and accommodating, readily manipulated and maneuvered, gloomy and foreboding, sinister (for the woods and battleground), ...