This is the second release on ONYX from the amazing Moscow Soloists and their charismatic director, the great Yuri Bashmet. Their first ONYX release was of Chamber Symphonies by Shostakovich, Sviridov and Vainberg (ONYX4007) which gained excellent reviews, including a Grammy 2007 nomination. This disc combines two great Stravinsky works for strings: the marvellous neo-classical ballet Apollon musagète (in the revised 1947 version entitled simply Apollo) and the post-war Concerto in D for strings, with a genuine novelty: in 1962 Rudolf Barshai arranged for his own Moscow Chamber Orchestra 15 of the 20 Visions fugitives that Prokofiev wrote for solo piano between 1915-17. Now Roman Balashov, manager and violist in the Moscow Soloists has completed the set for this world première recording. These are exciting miniatures which truly benefit from the added colours a string orchestra can bring.
This Soviet production filmed live at the Kirov conveys the full beauty of Tchaikovsky's vision. It is a poetically tender work which was confirmed by Tchaikovsky himself in 1878 when he said I played the whole of Eugene Onegin, the author was the sole listener, the listener was moved to tears. Eugene Onegin is Tchaikovsky's most lyrical operatic work. While composing it, he wrote he was filled with indescribable pleasure and enthusiasm. The opera is based on Pushkin's novel in verse and was first produced in Moscow on March 29, 1879. Featuring Sergei Leyferkus as Onegin, Yuri Marusin, Tatiana Novikova, Larissa Dyadkova.
This new release from the Latvian Radio Choir, conducted by Sigvards Kłava, features timeless choral works by three composers from Russia and Latvia: Yuri Falik, Artūrs Maskats and Georgy Sviridov. These 20th and 21st century choral works present the profound and sacred, which is to be found and enjoyed in many areas of our lives, from nature and the seasons to personal relationships and love. The Latvian Choir’s previous release on Ondine – Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil – was chosen as ‘Record of the Month’ for Gramophone Magazine and also received a nomination for ‘best choral disc’ in the 2013 Gramophone Awards. The Latvian Radio Choir is considered one of the best chamber choirs in Europe.
Kent Nagano and the Hallé continue to commit to CD less celebrated portions of the Britten canon. Last year there was the four-act Billy Budd; before that the premiere recording of a concert version of the radio drama The Rescue. Now come two more firsts, recordings of the Double Concerto - prepared from Britten's almost complete sketches by Colin Matthews and presented by Nagano at Aldeburgh in 1997 - and the Two Portraits from 1930. The second of these is a portrait of Britten himself, a surprisingly plaintive and reflective meditation for viola and strings in E minor. The image is belied by the rest of the music on the disc, which is buoyant, energetic, young man's music all written before Britten was 26. Big guns Kremer and Bashmet are brought in for the Double Concerto and give of their impassioned best. Nagano and the Hallé are appropriately spirited and vigorous throughout the disc. It's not mature Britten, but clearly points the way forward and is worth getting to know.