Suffice to say Schnittke's Eighth Symphony is truly one of his greatest works and, indeed, one of the great symphonic works of the latter twentieth century. The charge of oppressive asceticism laid against the Sixth and Seventh symphonies can hardly be held up to this expansive and frankly emotional work. It is as if Schnittke relaxed the skeletal sounds of his previous essays in the genre and, while not quite returning to the dazzling orchestral pyrotechnics of the Fifth Symphony (Concerto Grosso no. 4), created a work of great sincerity and beauty. The first movement is an obsessive repetition of a wide-ranging (in pitch, not rhythm) melody, seemingly effortlessly varied to touch on all sections of the orchestra. The climax is reached early in the movement and the remainder is a chilling decrescendo, the harmonies becoming more static and dissonant. The second and fourth movements are bitter, angry and Shostakovichian in their use of dissonant intervals to create a long line. They share thematic material, yet shards of the first and third movements invade to further complicate the texture. The eighteen minute third movement is a remarkable achievement. It seems to pick up the wisps of tonality discernable at the end of Mahler's Ninth and convert them into a long elegy for a lost romanticism. The sparsity of texture (often long stretches of monophonic strings) throws the emotive weight totally on the long, twisting and often stunningly beautiful melodies that emerge. The entrance of the low brass towards the end is just one of the profound moments in this stunning meditation on life, and the afterlife. After the rage of the fourth movement, the fifth movement provides a truly wonderful solution to the problems of the previous ones- a slowly ascending c major scale is caught by various instruments, always ppp and the work ends with this visionary cluster.Amazon.com
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev has established himself as one of the most dynamic and virtuosic performers of his generation, and his program on this RCA album with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic is ideally suited to his extraordinary abilities. The pairing of Sergey Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor and George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is a natural one, particularly because of the works' shared post-romanticism (note Rachmaninov's influence on Gershwin's slow theme in the Rhapsody), as well as for the dazzling writing for the piano in both works. Of course, the challenge for Matsuev is to make his part appear effortless, and he succeeds so well in both performances that listeners may be a bit blasé about his playing, taking it in without really considering what knuckle-busters these pieces really are.
The Annecy Classic Festival has become a major player in the national and international cultural landscape. In residence at the 2013 Annecy Classic Festival, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic closes the festival and joins forces with its iconic conductor Yuri Temirkanov. Together with multi-gifted musician Denis Matsuev, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra invites us on a journey, whose secret lies in Rachmaninov’s famous Piano Concerto No.2 and the Symphonic Dances. Denis Matsuev, the «Siberian Bear» as they call him, interprets the Piano Concerto No.2 virtuously and passionately. Yuri Temirkanov takes us on a journey through One Thousand and One Nights with a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s lush Sheherazade, with its intoxicating scents and the glowing, oriental colours.
I Solisti Veneti is one of the first rank of small Italian chamber orchestras with modern instruments. Founded in Padua in 1959 by Claudio Scimone, it has made a reputation especially with Italian Baroque music, recording many works by Antonio Vivaldi, Tomaso Albinoni, Francesco Geminiani, Benedetto Marcello and Giuseppe Tartini. Giuliano Carmignola and Piero Toso were two of the soloists in the ensemble. The group has made over 300 recordings, many on the Erato record label. A number of these were first-ever recordings of works of Vivaldi, Albinoni and Rossini.
In many ways the Fourth Symphony illustrates Krenek's independence from any one musical style – and ultimately from his teacher(s) and those who influenced him, like Busoni, too. It has a thread of mid-century anguish and uncertainty. But it could never be described as avant-garde or experimental. Yet it's of a pleasing unity, has direction and thrust which make it more than merely stimulating listening. Like all but those of the first and second symphonies, this one on cpo is the only recording. It's full of purpose, clarity and of transparent, open, yet very …….Mark Sealey @ classical.net
The diverse concertos presented here combine the excitement and spontaneity associated with jazz, rock or ethnic music within an engaging neo-baroque idiom. Dorman (b. 1975) writes: ‘I have always loved baroque music…the clear rhythms, the strong reliance on the bass, and the extreme contrasts.’
The music of renowned Chinese composer Xia Guan has been received with acclaim in Moscow, Vienna, Tokyo and New York. The solemn first movement of Earth Requiem, a commemoration of the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake, is heard here in an orchestral version that depicts ‘the suffering people who gaze upwards’. The epic Symphony No. 2 ‘Hope’ is a reflection upon the co-existence of good and evil in mankind, agony and hope, in music of considerable breadth and increasing warmth. Heroic drama animates the vividly scored Symphonic Ballade, which draws on the music of Guan’s opera Sorrowful Dawn, the story of China’s War of Liberation following the end of World War Two.
In 2015 the Berliner Philharmoniker dedicated an evening of their renowned Easter Festival in Baden-Baden to one of the most famous and beloved of German composers, Ludwig van Beethoven. Together with Bernard Haitink, a universally acclaimed authority on the works of that composer, they performed Beethoven’s exquisite expression of nature, his Symphony No. 6, the “Pastoral”. They were joined for Beethoven’s Violin Concerto by Isabelle Faust, whose interpretation of the work has enjoyed widespread acclaim.