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Albums, Videos & Books

ODE 1239-2

Excellent, but necessary? Christian Tetzlaff plays Shostakovich’s Violin Concertos

The Finnish record label Ondine seems to be quite interested in Shostakovich right now. Since late 2013, Ondine has released four Shostakovich discs: two featuring vocal-orchestral works, and two featuring the string concertos, including the present release. While the former two discs feature relatively unknown works, the violin and cello concertos are firmly established in the repertoire and have been extensively recorded before. Given the multitude of available options, one ...
BIS CD-2110

Lindberg sets a new reference for Pettersson’s Symphonies No.4 and 16

Every release of Pettersson music under Christian Lindberg's guidance has set the new reference for each work in question. The Swedish composer Allan Pettersson wrote possibly the most physically, emotionally, and intellectually demanding symphonic music in the entire orchestral canon. While largely considered Sweden's most important symphonic composer, his music continues to struggle for wider recognition. In the early 1990s, the Finnish conductor/composer Leif Segerstam began a very promising symphony cycle ...

The Pasta mystery

This new hefty tome by Kenneth Stern, like Opera In America, A Cultural History, by John Dizkes, reviewed here a few weeks ago, belongs to what one might call the biographical field (school? coterie?) of Anglo-Saxon literary criticism. This Giuditta Pasta, A Life On The Lyric Stage, is therefore, as it should be, and according to the rules of the genre, dense, serious, meticulous--even academic--filled with those thousand skillfully listed details ...
Aho Symphony 15

Kalevi Aho continues his world-music explorations

After Osmo Vänskä became music director of the Minnesota Orchestra in 2003, it was not unexpected that he would commission a work from Aho. The composer writes that he was asked to provide a piece of approximately 15-20 minutes in length, would be suitable as an opener for tour programs, and should feature every member of the orchestra. Minea is the result of this commission and is part of the composer's ...

Opera in America, a cultural history

Opera in America, a cultural history, by John Dizikes, can be read simultaneously as a pictorial work (simply because its numerous illustrations play a fundamental role in the text, are integral to it, and thereby make details stand out); as a work of fiction (because very often, the narrative and its photos take over the discussion); as an economic, social, and cultural study of America over the course of its ...
Dacapo 8.226076

Accessible Magnus Lindberg, the New York edition

Magnus Lindberg raised some eyebrows when he was appointed composer-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic for the seasons 2009-11 (extended to 2012). This move was interpreted by many that the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert would now take new music seriously, which was arguably neglected under the relatively conservative tenures of Kurt Masur and Lorin Maazel.  The three works featured on this disc are a document of the Lindberg-NY ...

ICMA 2014 : The winners

The Jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) announced the Awards for 2014. Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit, 78, is honored with our Lifetime Achievement Award. One of the most eminent fortepianists of our time, Andreas Staier, is ‘Artist of the Year’. the young French viola player Adrien Boisseau is ICMA’s ‘Young Artist of the Year ». In total seven Special Awards are listed, among them the one for the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden ...

Splendid Stigmatized by James Conlon

These “Stigmatized” (Die Gezeichneten) by Franz Schreker, Jew-lovers and degenerates (entartete musik) for Hitler’s Reich, disappear quickly from the repertoire in 1930. The opera debuted in Frankfurt on April 25, 1918, (a triumph, with Else Gentner-Fischer, Karl Ziegler, Robert vom Scheidt, and Walter Schneider, under the baton of Ludwig Rottenberg), six years after the enormous success of Schreker’s FERNE KLANG, with a libretto by the composer. After Zemlinsky had been approached, ...
BIS-2038 Lindberg Pettersson 9

Allan Pettersson’s 9th by Lindberg : enlightening

When accused of composing out of self-pity, the Swedish composer Allan Pettersson (1911-80) angrily responded by saying that his music conveyed not self-pity but “pure information.” The circumstances of Pettersson’s life has allowed, perhaps too readily, interpretations of his music informed by the composer’s difficult childhood and constant battle against illness as an adult. Christian Lindberg has taken a different approach to Pettersson, conveying the music’s “pure information.” On the ...

Clefs d’Or ResMusica « Gold Keys » : The Winners 2013

Each month ResMusica awards five Clefs ResMusica to recognize outstanding publications of albums, videos and books. Since 2009, selected recipients of these Clefs ResMusica  have been awarded the Clefs d’Or ResMusica (Gold Key, Master Key Awards), acknowledging outstanding releases of the year. The Winners 2013 : Master Key Penderecki by Penderecki : the symphonies Krzysztof Penderecki’s symphonies had already been issued separately: now they have all been gathered together in a box set called The ...
ICMA Nomination 2014

The ICMA 2014 nomination list is available

The ICMA 2014 nomination list is available. The winners will be announced early in 2014. “This list comprises all the initial choices submitted by at least two Jury members and clearly reflects the international character of our Awards. The list comprises 264 CD and DVD releases of a total of 94 labels, up from 86 competing in 2013″, said ICMA President Rémy Franck. With 18 nominations, the French label Harmonia Mundi is ...

Penderecki by Penderecki : the symphonies

Krzysztof Penderecki’s symphonies had already been issued separately: now they have been all gathered together in a box set called The Complete Symphonies. In fact, the set includes only seven of the eight: the sixth, which is supposed to be an hommage to nature, a kind of Polish “Pastorale,” is not yet finished. These monumental works have been composed across thirty years of a life dedicated to composing, and their ...

‘Label of the Year’ Audite celebrates its 40th Anniversary

ICMA’s ‘Label of the Year 2013′ Audite celebrated it’s 40th anniversary yesterday in Berlin. With music performed by Audite artists ‘Mandelring Quartett’ and ‘Klavierduo Bard’ the official celebration consisted essentially in the presentation of several upcoming birthday editions confirming the label’s outstanding artistic achievement. Audite was founded in 1973 by Friedrich Mauermann. The creation took place at a period when the music market was dominated by the so called major labels ...
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ICMA Trophy for Pierre Boulez

In his IRCAM office in Paris, French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez received the ICMA trophy for the CD set ‘Ballets Russes’ on Melodiya. In this recording Boulez is conducting the Moscow Conservatory Orchestra in Stravinsky’s ‘Petrouchka’. The set is the 2013 winner in the category ‘Historical Recordings’. Since Pierre Boulez was not able to attend the ICMA Ceremony in Milan, on 18 March, Melodiya arranged a delayed award presentation for ...

La Passion de Simone by Kaija Saariaho

In 2006, Kaija Saariaho takes a French topic with a universal appeal on again, on a booklet by Amin Maalouf. La Passion de Simone, an oratorio for solo soprano, choir, orchestra and electronics, which caption is : « A musical path in fifteen stations», received its premiere in Vienna, on the 26th of November 2006 with a staging by Peter Sellars, and Susanna Malkki was the conductor. That day Simone ...

American masterworks by Bo Holten, the best introduction to Delius

Frank Delius’s enthusiasts often come up against the same questions: how to help his music to get played, which pieces to put forward so we can hear it again in concert halls? His work sings of love, sensuality, nature, and deals with serious, timeless, deeply touching themes such as racism (in Koanga) and the loss of the beloved (in Sea Drift). One of the reasons Delius is not very well-known today ...

Andris Nelsons conducts Antonín Dvořák

The Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons is less a media stunt than his colleague Gustavo Dudamel. However, he is “the other" young conductor of the beginning of our century.  At 35, he is one of the busiest conductors in the classical music world. For now, he is the principal conductor of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He has just been elected as the new music director of the prestigious Boston Symphony Orchestra.  ...
lesiecles debussy roth

François-Xavier Roth conducts Debussy

The French conductor François-Xavier Roth is the first to record the Suite n°1 by Claude Debussy. The musicologists Jean-Christophe Branger and Denis Herlin rediscovered the score in a library in New-York. They found both versions of the score: for piano and for orchestra.  The orchestration of the third movement has not been completed so a new orchestration has been commissioned to the French contemporary composer Philippe Manoury. Debussy composed the ...
rca matsuev

Denis Matsuev in New York

Denis Matsuev, an extraordinary pianist, offers, as part of the 140th anniversary of the birth of Sergei Rachmaninoff an album that confronts the Concerto No. 2 with the Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin. A confrontation at first somewhat unexpected between the romanticism of the Russian and the American jazz rhythm. Yet these two composers are closely related to New York City where this album was recorded in collaboration with the ...

17th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw

As usual, around Easter, the Warsaw Beethoven Festival makes the polish music life more lively. At this edition, which was the 17th, the program was still very extensive, mixing genres from chamber music to symphonic music. The Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra is Poland's youth orchestra. It was founded in order to ease the youngsters' way into the world of professional orchestras. It performed at the festival in a concert starring two young ...

Quartet, an enchanting comedy with music

The Beecham House - named in honor of the British conductor Thomas Beecham - is in effervescence. Residents, retired former musicians and singers, prepare the annual gala, perhaps the last, which profit will help keep the house open. Among them, Reggie, Wilf and Cissy, opera singers who formed a quartet in their youth with Jean another famous singer legendary... And here she arrives, one day. She is constantly inhabited by ...

ICMA 2013 : a trophy for Vladimir Fedoseyev

In the category Historical Recordings, Russian label Melodyia won an Award for the box 'Les Ballets Russes' (catalogue No. 1001990) with Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring, played by Moscow Philharmonic, Moscow State Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra under conductors Dmitrij Kitajenko, Pierre Boulez and Vladimir Fedoseyev. While at the Award Ceremony in Milan (18 March 2013), Dimitrij Kitajenko was given a trophy, ...
chailly icma 2013

Riccardo Chailly at the ICMA ceremony in Milan

Maestro Riccardo Chailly, Conductor Laureate of laVerdi awarded the ICMA for the CD « Discovery » by Verdi (DECCA) with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi. Watch the video.
John Axelrod

John Axelrod speaks about the ICMA 2013 Awards ceremony

Maestro Axelrod speaks about the edition 2013 of the ICMA and of the prizes which will be awarded during a concert event at the Auditorium in Milan on 18th March 2013. Watch the video: [youtube][/youtube]

Iolanta and Perséphone, a successful pairing

The originality and success of this DVD results from first an unusual pairing of two works, or rather two rarities, belonging to very different eras and idioms. Indeed, aside from their very obviously Russian origins—even though Persephone, which premiered at the Paris Opera in 1934, could almost be taken for a French work—everything about these two works would seem to be entirely different. The late post-romanticism of Tchaikovsky's last opera (Iolanta ...

Staggering Médée by Krzysztof Warlikowski

This DVD featuring Médée provides the  music lover with the opportunity to watch Christophe Rousset and director Krzysztof Warlikowski’s memorable production of Cherubini’s masterpiece. First given at La Monnaie in Brussels in 2008, this opera returned in September 2011 before being presented in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in December 2012. First, we must applaud the appropriate choice of using the French version of the opera, including the spoken ...

Christian Lindberg : Pettersson is gigantic !

On November 25, on a famous social network, Christian Lindberg wrote: «Having lived now for 6 months with Pettersson´s 9th symphony I am SO MUCH looking forwards to start the work with the orchestra tomorrow! Pettersson gets under your skin, and You actually feel his pain working with his music. So why do we love him so much?? HE SPOKE OUT MUSICALLY ABOUT HUMAN DISPAIR! And in some strange way, ...

Gens and Axelrod rediscover Berlioz and Ravel

Those scores have a mesmerizing beauty but demand a very high technical and musical level. Hence, their discography is quantitatively massive but qualitatively very (very) poor. The tone of the solists cannot always seduce the listener into forgetting clumsy diction, misreading of the text or ignorance of the stylistic rules of prosody. In this context, the legendary version of Crespin and Ansermet (Decca) of Les Nuits d’été and Shéhérazade is ...