This newest release from BR KLASSIK explores the genre of the 19th and 20th century Rhapsody, featuring works from masterful composers Emmanuel Chabrier, George Gershwin, George Enesecu, Maurice Ravel, and Franz Liszt. The concert-like atmosphere of this recording makes this a truly unique release, as these works were recorded live in Munich as recently as October 2015. The five rhapsodies featured here come from different regions and the composers unique styles can be heard in each of their works. Chabriers Espana is centered around Iberian and folk music which was very popular at the time. Liszts Hungarian Rhapsody contrasts this work with its use of Hungarian folk melodies. The ever-popular Rhapsody in Blue from George Gershwin throws Americana into the mix with its blues roots. Mariss Jansons and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks never fails to please with their brilliant interpretations and performance quality. World-renowned Russian pianist Denis Matusev is brilliant as the Rhapsody in Blue soloist.
The six Sonatas for solo violin of Eugène Ysaÿe are essential works in his catalog, inspired by the sonatas and partitas of J.S. Bach, and composed as a tribute to the violinists Joseph Szigeti, Jacques Thibaud, George Enescu, Fritz Kreisler, Mathieu Crickboom, and Manuel Quiroga. These pieces suggest a Janus-like combination of retrospection and the avant-garde, hearkening to the past through allusive figurations and direct quotations (e.g., references in the Sonata No. 2 to Bach's Partita No. 3 and the Dies Irae), but looking to the future in the use of extended violin techniques and novel sonorities. Alina Ibragimova's 2015 release on Hyperion is an absorbing performance, concentrated in tone and accomplished in technique, yet wonderfully ambiguous in expression, in keeping with Ysaÿe's quirky mix of playfulness and high-minded seriousness. Recorded in the concert hall of Wyastone Estate, Monmouth, in May 2014, Ibragimova has great clarity and presence, and the acoustics provide enough resonance to soften the violin's sometimes overly rosinous sound.