Janine Jansen plays Schoenberg and Schubert
As many of you know from my previous posts, I am a great admirer of violinist Janine Jansen. She now presents a new album coupling two of the most heart-felt masterpieces of the Viennese music repertoire, as listed below:
Performed by Janine Jansen (violin), Boris Brovtsyn (violin), Maxim Rysanov (viola), Amihai Grosz (viola), Torleif Thedéen (cello), Jens Peter Maintz (cello)
Performed by Janine Jansen (violin), Boris Brovtsyn (violin), Maxim Rysanov (viola), Torleif Thedéen (cello), Jens Peter Maintz (cello)
Schubert’s last and greatest chamber work, the sublime String Quintet in C major, is contrasted with the young Arnold Schoenberg’s earliest masterpiece, “Verklärte Nacht “(Transfigured Night).
For this recording, Janine Jansen is joined by a group of exceptional young musicians who are all close personal friends as well as fellow members of Spectrum Concerts Berlin, the prestigious German chamber music group with whom Jansen has played since 1998.
Alongside Swedish cellist Torleif Thedéen and Ukrainian viola player Maxim Rysanov, who both joined Jansen for her 2007 Bach album, they include Russian-born violinist Boris Brovtsyn, Israeli violist Amihai Grosz and German cellist Jens Peter Maintz.
I love both of these amazing musical works. The Schoenberg presents a dialog between a man and a woman, when the woman discloses her dark secret. Schubert’s quintet represents some of the most sad, painful, and dark music he ever composed.
Jansen describes these two works as impressive compositions, clearly from different periods, yet matching each other in intensity, intimacy, and emotion.
Here is the track Listing:
1. I Sehr langsam
2. II Etwas bewegter
3. III Schwer betont
4. IV Sehr breit und langsam
5. V Sehr ruhig
6. I Allegro ma non troppo
7. II. Adagio
8. III Scherzo: Presto Trio: Andante sostenuto
9. IV Allegretto
Here is Janine Jansen Playing the Brahms Violin Concerto
And next, here she is in the wonderful Schubert Piano trio D 898;
The performers are:
Janine Jansen, violin
Torleif Thedéen, cello
Itamar Golan, piano
Finally, here she is in Franz Schubert’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, D. 574 “Grand Duo”:
Tags: Janine Jansen, Schoenberg, Schubert, violin
Today’s post is something a bit lighter. We don’t have to have Bach, Mahler, and Mozart for a daily diet!
There’s so much more in music that is wonderful. I personally have favorites in the Jazz area, I also love Tango music, and Bossa Nova music from Brazil always gets my attention.
On this CD, we get to hear the following:
Artists and Performers:
1. Cuban Moods
2. Rumba Love
3. Move Your Body
4. Fire Water Earth
6. Paradise Blue
7. Late Night Party
8. Latin Way
10. Dance Hall Fire
11. Sierra Maestra
12. Cuba libre
13. Eso No (Bossa mix): Eso No
14. Oigame Company
16. Bossa Love
17. Mi Amore
Cuban Horns, The
19. Setting Sun
20. Waters Run Deep
22. Rumba Love
24. The Wheel
25. Sol Sol
27. Light My Fire
28. Latin Knights
29. Cha Cha Cha
30. Obrigado bossa nova
Rio Sound System
Here’s an old video: Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz: “The Girl From Ipanema” 1964 (I told you it was old—)
And next, here is the Full Album/LP! Bossa Nova – New Brazilian Jazz – Lalo Schifrin – 1962:
Tags: Bossa Nova Moods, Brazilian Jazz, Girl from Ipanema
Stephen Goss – Guitar
Performed by Jonathan Leathwood (guitars), Graham Caskie (piano), Leonig Gorokhov (cello), and Richard Hand (guitar)
The Garden of Cosmic Speculation is an architect – designed garden covering 30 acres in the Borders area of Scotland. Each of the 11 movements of the piece focuses on a single garden feature. Stephen Goss is a guitarist as well as composer and writes music that draws freely on a number of styles and genres.
If you love guitar music, I bet you’ll enjoy this recording.
Here is the “Aragonaise” from the “Carmen Fantasy” by Stephen Goss performed by the Tetra Guitar Quartet
And next here is “El Llanto de los Sueños”, which draws on ideas and images from the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca. The music suggests a dream-like nostalgia for the Andalusia of the nineteen-twenties and early thirties.
Finally, here is the “Sonata For Guitar” performed by Stephen Goss; The Sonata for Guitar explores resonance; not only the historical resonance of the various sonatas connected with the piece, but also the characteristic acoustic resonance of the guitar itself.
Tags: Stephen Goss, Guitar, composer, The Garden Of Cosmic Speculation
Listening to Hagen’s magic
There are times when I remember an older DVD, and I pull it off the shelf to enjoy it once again. On Thursday afternoon, April 4th, I listened to an old favorite, the Hagen Quartet, a group of players who have achieved mastery of the quartet genre, in my view.
The first work they performed is the last completed string quartet of Beethoven, the Quartet #16, Op. 135. So here are master performers, playing music by a legendary composer.
The core of this piece is the third movement, which Beethoven titled “Lento assai, cantate e tranquillo”. This is music that is hymn-like, quiet, and soothing. And yes, the players performed it in a singing and tranquil manner, as the title requires.
It is a good sign when I find the music so soothing that I catch up on some badly-needed sleep, as I did during this performance. The slow movement of the Beethoven, and the Larghetto of the Mozart produced these great restful naps.
Here are the pieces on this DVD:
Performed by the Hagen Quartet, with Sabine Meyer (clarinet)
The Hagen Quartet has also recorded Ravel’s String Quartet in F major and Schubert’s String Quartet in D minor, and these are intensely beautiful, as well. See the second photo on the left for that DVD cover photo.
Here are members of the Hagen Quartet performing the Maurice Ravel String Quartet in F – Allegro moderato
And next here they are doing the Schubert String Quartet No 14 D 810 D minor ‘Death and the Maiden’ (Second violin player a long time ago was Annette Bik):
Tags: Hagen Quartet, Beethoven, Mozart, Sabine Meyer, Schubert, Ravel
Another young performer:
Every amateur violinist has at one time or another struggled with the three wonderful sonatas by Brahms. Historically the composer may well have written these for his good friend, violinist Joseph Joachim, with whom he concertized throughout Europe.
I am no exception: I love these three sonatas, too!
On this CD we hear from another young promising violinist, Jennifer Pike; she plays for us the following selections:
Performed by Jennifer Pike (violin) and Tom Poster (piano)
In the Sonata by Johannes Brahms, the violin is always the principal voice, but the piano never a competitor, but rather a subtle accompanist. The Finale of the Brahms sonata has a quotation of ‘Regenlied’, one of Brahms’ great songs.
Robert Schumann’s Violin Sonata No. 1 was written in 1851. The public premiere was given by Ferdinand David and Clara Schumann in March 1852, but it was not until Joseph Joachim’s performance the following year that the work received the recognition it deserved.
In her lifetime, Clara Schumann was best known as a great pianist, but up until her thirties she composed a fair amount of music, including a Piano Concerto, songs, and many piano pieces. “Three Romances” was the only work she wrote for the combination of piano and violin, and while the violin is allowed to sing out throughout, the subtlety and complexity of the piano part testify to its having been composed by a pianist of the first rank.
In 2002, at the age of twelve, Jennifer Pike notably became the youngest-ever winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. She has given performances throughout the UK and abroad and, and is widely regarded as one of the finest violinists in Britain.
Tom Poster is internationally recognized as a pianist of outstanding artistry and versatility, equally in demand as a soloist and as a chamber musician across an unusually extensive repertoire.
Here is Jennifer Pike, talking about herself, and playing the Cesar Frank A-Major sonata:
And next, here is Jennifer Pike in rehearsal playing the famous Largo from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Winter)
Tags: Jennifer Pike, Schumann, Brahms, violinist, Vivaldi
Death of Brahms
Today, April 3rd, is the 116th anniversary of the death of Johannes Brahms in Vienna. He died in 1897.
I am sure that you have learned from my posts that Brahms and Mozart are two of my great favorites. What is also true is that the Brahms Requiem, and the Mozart Requiem have a special place for me. Why?
The Brahms Requiem was composed in memory of Brahms’ mother. He had a lot of outside pressure to revise this work and to include various catholic themes. His answer was that that the work is in tribute to his mother, and Brahms chose some of his favorite texts from the Old Testament for this purpose.
Mozart was in a desperate financial situation at the end of his life, and he took on a commission that he had never completed to compose his Requiem. One of his students selected material to bring the work to listeners in the following generations.
Here’s what we get on this album of two DVD’s:
Performed by the London Classical Players, conducted by Roger Norrington
Here is the Kölner Philharmonie of Germany, in Johannes Brahms: “Ein Deutsches Requiem”, conducted by: Semyon Bychkov (Full length!) Magnifiscent!
And here’s a different group performing the same work:
Johannes Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, with Barbara Bonney, soprano, and Claudio Abbado, conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker; Recorded at the Musikverein, Vienna, 3 April 1997. (The 100th anniversary of Brahms’ death)
Finally, in Honor of the 116th anniversary of Brahms’ death, it is appropriate that we listen to another Requiem: the one by Mozart. Here is the complete Mozart Requiem with Cecilia Bartoli as soloist, conducted by George Solti in 1991, on the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death: (Music starts at 06:20)
Tags: Death of Brahms, April 3 1897, Brahms, Mozart, Requiem
Magic Flute in Germany
What an amazing morning I had on April 1st (no foolin’), when I listened on-line to the Berlin Philharmonic’s production of Mozart’s delightful masterpiece, “The Magic Flute”
This performance was given at the “Festspielhaus” in the city of Baden-Baden in Germany, and I tuned in at 9:30 AM, California time, to hear the live concert at 6:30 PM in Germany.
The singers were in modern dress; the staging was minimal, and very effective. Basically most of the scenes had a forest background.
Some of the principal singers were: (There were 18 amazing soloists)
Dimitry Ivashchenco, Bass, Sarastro
Pavol Breslik, tenor, Tamino
Ana Durlovski, soprano, Queen of the Night
Kate Royal, Soprano, Pamina
Michael Nagy, Baritone, Papageno
Chen Reiss, Soprano, Papagena
Annick Massels, soprano, 1st Lady
Magdalena Kozena, Mezzo-Soprano, 2nd Lady (she’s also Mrs. Rattle)
Nathalie Stutzmann, Contralto, 3rd Lady
The Berlin Radio Chorus, directed by Simon Halsey
The orchestra and singers were conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
Robert Carsen is the Director of the opera
1. The variety of the plot and the music, and the spiritual aspects of this opera are legendary; and they are unique, even for a composer such as Mozart was.
2. This was the very first time that the Berlin Philharmonic performed this opera
3. The Queen of the Night aria with her daughter, Pamina, in the second act was sensational
4. Tamino’s singing was also just excellent. Powerful, and strong.
5. Papageno’s aria with Pamina in the first act was great.
6. Funny how Papagena shows up as a skeleton in Act 2! Her aria with Papageno later in the opera was terrific!
7. Papageno’s aria “Ein Maedchen oder Weibchen” is beautifully done.
This opera will soon be in the archives of the Digital Concert Hall. The performance has by strongest recommendation. You should see it.
I took online screen shots of the singers in action; see two of these on the left.
Here is Simon Rattle, talking about the Baden-Baden Easter Festival:
And finally, here is The Berliner Philharmoniker’s tour blog from the Easter Festival 2013:
Tags: Mozart, Zauberfloete, Magic Flute, Baden-Baden Festival, Berlin Philharmonic, Sir Simon Rattle
On this CD, the Salzburg Festival honors one of its founders, German composer, Richard Strauss.
Renee Fleming, Christian Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra give us a program of Lieder, opera, and a tone poem.
Fleming performs four of Strauss’ songs with orchestra, including the deeply moving “Befreit”, and provides an excerpt of one of her finest operatic role, Strauss’ “Arabella”.
Finally, Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic take the spectacular mountain journey mapped by the composer in his “Alpine Symphony”.
Strauss loved the soprano voice, perhaps because his wife was a singer. And Ms. Fleming’s voice seems ideal to sing this music. Strauss’ song “Befreit” is a great song in the original piano , and his orchestration makes it even more wonderful.
I enjoyed hearing the “Alpine Symphony”, even though it is rarely performed in the concert halls today.
Here is Ms. Fleming in in concert at the Salzburg Festival:
And next, while it is not on this recording, here is Renee Fleming in”Cacilie” by Richard Strauss
Tags: Richard Strauss, Salzburg Festival, Renne Fleming, Thielemann, Arabella, Alpine Symphony
The piano works of Rachmaninov are some of the most appreciated by seemingly most music lovers. For me, other favorites include his symphonies, as well. And the reason is simple: Rachmaninov was a master at creating memorable melodies.
On this CD, you can overdose on these melodies, and – like me – you might find that you never tire of them. We hear the following:
Performed by Valentina Lisitsa (piano), with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Francis
Very much an artist of the twenty-first century, Ukranian-born Lisitsa secured a huge global audience via her concert performances, and through social media. She quickly became one of the most viewed pianists on YouTube with over fifty million visitors to her videos.
Ms. Lisitsa describes this recording as “arguably the most ambitious piano-orchestra project a pianist can undertake in a lifetime. The sheer variety of emotions and styles touched upon is encyclopedic.”
Here is Ms. Lisitsa talking about the Rhapsody:
And next, here is Valentina Lisitsa in Rachmanino’v Piano Concerto Nº 3 in D Minor, Op.30
Finally here is the Rachmaninoff Variation #18 from the Rhapsody on Themes of Paganini, as performed by Valentina Lisitsa
Tags: Rachmaninov, piano concertos, Valentina Lisitsa, Paganini
After winning the 2000 Warsaw Chopin competition, pianist Yundi Li immediately established himself among the leading pianists of his time.
Yundi Li returns to the DG label with his first ever Beethoven recording. This album focuses on the composer’s most beloved piano works, the three ‘name’ sonatas, the Moonlight, Pathétique and Appassionata:
Performed by Yundi Li, (piano)
The Times wrote on the 22nd March 2013:
“The warmth of the coloring … certainly makes this Beethoven recital — Yundi’s first — different from the norm. Even when the music indicates something granitic, our pianist still stands on velvet. Drama and impetuosity abound in the first movement of the Pathétique”
Here are the movement titles:
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 “Pathétique”
I. Grave – Allegro di molto e con brio
II. Adagio cantabile
III. Rondo (Allegro)
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 “Moonlight”
I. Adagio sostenuto
III. Presto agitato
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 “Appassionata”
I. Allegro assai
II. Andante con moto
III. Allegro ma non troppo
Here is the artist in the Beethoven Pathétique sonata, 2nd movement:
And next, Yundi performs the Chopin ‘Fantasie’ Impromptu, Op 66; this is a beautiful performance; amazing technique, and a fine ability to show us his expressiveness!
As an encore for you, here’s Yundi Li in an outstanding performance of Liszt’s “La Campanella”
Tags: Beethoven, Yundi Li, Moonlight, Pathétique, Appassionata, Sonatas
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