…Ensemble Villa Musica was founded in 1990 when a group of principal players from several of Germany's major orchestras assembled for master classes in Mainz under the state-sponsored Villa Musica foundation. The players decided to form the group with no limitations in repertory, but with a focus on neglected masterworks of the past. Most of the members retained their posts in orchestras and/or on the faculties of universities or music schools. The ensemble's leader since its founding has been clarinetist Ulf Rodenhäuser…
This new recording by the Doric String Quartet pays homage to the Czech chamber music of the 1920s, featuring string quartets by Janáček and Martinů. Exclusive on Chandos, The Doric String Quartet is now established as one of the finest young ensembles in the world.
After the death of Janáček in 1924, Martinů assumed the mantle of the leading Czech composer of the twentieth century. The chamber music on this disc abounds with the mosaic-like patterns, translucent lyricism and infectious rhythmic vitality which give his works their kaleidoscopic quality. From the highly original Sextet of 1929, with its jazzy Parisian character, to the Flute Sonata of 1945, in which the much-travelled composer imitates the song of the whippoorwill, an indigenous bird of New England, this disc surveys a quarter-century of Martinů’s prolific and always inventive output.
Paul Watkins is one of the world’s finest cellists. He is much in demand throughout the world and although he has made several recordings for Chandos in the past, this is his first as an exclusive artist. He is accompanied by his brother Huw Watkins, with whom he has developed an extremely rewarding musical partnership. The three cello sonatas of the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu span the period 1939 – 52 and are full of rewarding musical invention. The experience of his long exile was often expressed in his music, particularly here in the Third Sonata and in the Variations on a Slovak Theme. If in the First, competed in 1939, the unease occasioned by World War II may be detected in the first two movements, the energetic finale, driven by Martinu’s motoric rhythms, prompted the composer to remark of its first performance: ‘It came as a last greeting, a beam of light from a better world (which is the opinion of others, not my own). For several minutes we realised what music could give us and we forgot about reality.’
The Serbian sisters Lidija and Sanja Bizjak have achieved worldwide praise for their performances alike (‘brilliant sound, precise fingerwork and excellent listening skills’ – The Independent). For their debut recording on Onyx, they have created a superb programme consisting of two concertos for two pianos and orchestra by Poulenc & Martinu° to frame two works for two pianos alone – Stravinsky’s Sonata and Shostakovich’s rarely heard Concertino.
The eminent Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet (BPWQ) has recorded a number of discs for BIS, with their latest CD here featuring three composers born in what is now the Czech Republic. The disc opens with a wind quintet by Anton Reicha, who in the early 19th century ‘invented’ the entire genre, and closing with one of the absolute pinnacles in 20th-century chamber music for winds, namely Janáček’s Mládí (‘Youth’) from 1924.
"…All three works are superbly played here by the brilliantly nimble Stefan Schilli, and Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian orchestra give him vivid support. I cannot think of a more enticing triptych of modern oboe concertos from any other source." ~Grammophone