Archive for the Concerto Category

Bartók: Complete Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2 & 3 | Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) | BBC Philharmonic, Gianandrea Noseda (cond.)

Posted in Concerto, Orchestral with tags , , , , on February 6, 2013 by orinococds

Bartók: Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2 & 3 | Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) | BBC Philharmonic, Gianandrea Noseda

This is the first concerto recording by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet for Chandos. Following the tremendous success of his complete Debussy piano music edition (‘This could well be the finest and most challenging of all Debussy piano cycles’ – Bryce Morrison, Gramophone) – which scooped awards from both Gramophone and BBC Music – and the launch of his ambitious Haydn Piano Sonatas series, the pianist now turns his attention to some of the mightiest concertos of the twentieth century. The three Bartók Piano Concertos on a single CD represents superb value for money.

Bartók wrote his First Concerto, one of his most challenging works, in 1926. The percussive piano writing ads much bite to the textures. The first movement is striking in its rhythmic vigour and dramatic character. The central Andante is essentially a dialogue between the soloist and four percussion players and features much atmospheric ‘Night Music’. In the finale, following without a break, the brilliant motoric rhythms of the first movement return, as does the dramatic use of percussion in a thrilling mêlée of sound.

The Second Concerto was first performed in 1933. The music is more melodically appealing and in the first movement, which is notably contrapuntal, the strings are silent throughout. The hushed slow movement on strings is interrupted half way through by a brilliant and startling scherzo, with a striking sequence of tremolos and note-clusters, before the haunting quiet mood of the opening returns. The finale, again with brilliant use of percussion (as well as brass), ends the work in virtuoso fashion.

The Third Concerto was written at the end of the composer’s life, in 1945, and is much more restrained than the previous piano concertos. The work is lighter, airy, and almost neo-classical compared to much of his earlier music. Unlike much of Bartók’s output, the piece was not composed on commission, but was rather created as a surprise birthday gift for Bartók’s second wife, Ditta Pásztory, who was, like Bartók, a skilled concert pianist. The two lively outer movements, full of the composer’s distinctive rhythmic drive, are separated by a slow movement of great beauty and serenity, with, again, a striking, contrasting middle section. The final seventeen bars were orchestrated by the composer’s pupil, Tibor Serly, after the composer’s death, based on Bartók’s notes.

“Both Bavouzet and the BBC Philharmonic with Gianandrea Noseda are outstanding in the First Concerto, capturing its epic scale and mixture of formality and barbarism…[These performances] generally have all the sweep, intensity and precision that these works demand.” The Guardian, 26th August 2010 ****

“In league with the finely honed BBC Philharmonic, these are performances vibrant in colour, vital in rhythm and detail and viscerally exciting in impact.” The Telegraph, 2nd September 2010 *****

“Bavouzet relishes the high-octane energy of the outer movements of the first two concertos but through his imaginatively varied use of colour manages to avoid the trap of making Bartók’s percussive writing seem too relentless.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2010 *****

“Bavouzet’s own energy and lightness make the most of the jubilant, rhythmic writing.. It’s a beautifully nuanced performance, brimming over with variety of touch and dynamic…The orchestra match him in their deft lightness, brightness and virtuosity.” Charlotte Gardner,, 16/09/2010

“Bavouzet’s interpretations are masculine, intelligent and direct. In most of the nine movements, he opts for unusually brisk tempos, though quick as they are, the music never sounds rushed or precipitous. Clarity invariably prevails and Noseda and the orchestra are equal partners at every turn…the overall effect is viscerally exhilarating.” International Record Review, October 2010

“If you’re after a disc of Bartok’s piano concertos that maximises on the music’s drive, elegance and sparring potential, then you could hardly to better than his ear-catching new production…Bavouzet doesn’t play down the music’s earth-derived grandeur…or its drama.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010

“From the paranoid wranglings of the First Concerto to the helter-skelter glamour of the Second and the burlesque of the Third, the playing is first rate. Pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet delivers coruscating cadenza and locates an almost Beethovenian limpidity for the Adagio Religioso.” The Independent on Sunday, 17th October 2010


¡España! | Orquestra Ciudad De Granada | Montserrat Pi, Josep Pons, conductors

Posted in Ballet score, Choral, Concerto, Orchestral with tags , , , , , on February 3, 2013 by orinococds

espana | Various artists | 5 cds 165 min | HMC 2908530.34

On the Harmonia Mundi label, a collection of best-loved masterpieces with Spanish inflences, on state of the art recordings, in a 5 cd set.
From the late 19th century onwards, following in the wake of Goya, Spain experienced a creative explosion that was to manifest itself in all the arts, including music. This set is an invitation to discover these composers who transcribed the innermost depths of their country’s soul in works that were nonetheless closely related to developments elsewhere in Europe hence the presence here of Ravel, the most Spanish of French musicians, alongside de Falla, Albéniz, Rodrigo, and Mompou.
Various soloists, including:-
Susan Chilcott, soprano | Francesc Garrigosa, tenor | Javier Perianes, piano | Marco Socías, guitar | Régis Pasquier, violin | Brigitte Engerer, piano | Ginesa Ortega, “cantaora” | Joan Martin, soprano | Iñaki  Fresán, baritone | Joan Cabero, tenor

CD1: ALBENIZ Pepita Jiménez [HMC901537]

CD2: FALLA El amor brujo [HMC905213]

CD3: RAVEL Oeuvres pour violon et piano [HMC901364]

CD4: MOMPOU Música callada [HMI987070]

CD5: RODRIGO Concierto de Aranjuez [HMC901764]

Elgar: Cello concerto | BBC Philharmonic | Paul Watkins (cello), Sir Andrew Davis, cond.

Posted in Concerto, Orchestral with tags , , , , on December 30, 2012 by orinococds
Elgar: Cello concerto | Chandos |

Elgar: Cello concerto | Chandos | BBC Philharmonic |Paul Watkins, Sir Andrew Davis, cond. | NZ$ 33

BBC Review Graham Rogers 2012-07-25

A sumptuously recorded new Elgar collection which is impressive throughout.

Chandos offers a generous 75-minute helping of Elgar’s best-loved orchestral works in this new album. Elgar specialist Sir Andrew Davis has recorded most of these pieces at least once before – but this collection benefits from his by-now vastly experienced wisdom in the field, and the sumptuously recorded (in studio) BBC Philharmonic on top form.

The meatiest work here is the brooding Cello Concerto from 1919 – the last major piece Elgar completed. Paul Watkins is a sensitive soloist, and he and Davis clearly have a special rapport, presumably dating back to the years they worked together at the BBC Symphony Orchestra as, respectively, Principal Cellist and Chief Conductor. The melancholic opening bars are imbued with a plaintiveness that permeates the whole performance.

Following the magically hushed orchestral entrance, the fateful tread of the tutti main theme is powerfully portentous. Watkins is brilliantly nimble-fingered in the scampering scherzo, displaying delightfully Mendelssohnian charm; his achingly sweet, song-like tone in the soulful Adagio is utterly mesmeric. This is not a heart-on-sleeve account of the concerto, in the manner of the famous Jacqueline du Pré recording with Barbirolli (EMI, 1965); but what it lacks in extrovert drama it makes up for with intensity and considered fidelity to the score.

The BBC Philharmonic strings are richly full-blooded and rhythmically taught in the Introduction and Allegro. There is a wonderful ebb and flow to the lighter passages, which radiate warmth and geniality, but it is let down slightly by the emotional coolness of the big-boned moments. By contrast, the miniature Elegy, also for strings, is entrancingly tender.

Davis has conducted the first Pomp and Circumstance March many a time at the Last Night of the Proms. This latest studio version may be missing the unbridled exuberance of those occasions, but it compensates with remarkable nuance and clarity – every detail of Elgar’s orchestration can be heard in all its glory. And Davis gets the famous “Land of Hope and Glory” theme just right: noble and majestic, but with a fluidity that avoids overblown pomposity. With the four other Marches equally impressive, all in all this is an excellent collection.

Felix Mendelssohn: Hebrides overture; Violin Concertos | Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment | Alina Ibragimova, violin

Posted in Concerto, Orchestral, Violin with tags , , , , , on December 30, 2012 by orinococds
Mendelssohn Violin concertos |

Mendelssohn Violin concertos; Hebrides | Hyperion | NZ$33

BBC Review Graham Rogers 2012-10-29

Ibragimova’s svelte, unforced violin tone is just right.

Felix Mendelssohn was, famously, one of the most extraordinarily precocious composing talents the world has ever seen. Presented in this new Hyperion release, alongside his well-loved mature Violin Concerto in E minor, is the earlier D minor concerto, written when he was just 13.

The soloist is young Russian star Alina Ibragimova, 2007 graduate of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists scheme, partnered by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (on period-instruments) under Vladimir Jurowski.

Ibragimova adopts a historically-informed style on her 1775 Anselmo Bellosio violin, the sound lighter than we are used to hearing in Mendelssohn’s mid-19th century E minor masterpiece. But her svelte, unforced tone is just right in this context – and, with sparing use of vibrato, she conjures some beguilingly sweet tones. In the brooding opening movement she is marvellously fleet-footed, never underpowered.

Clear orchestral textures and crisp articulation heighten the intensity of the romantic sweep. The first movement brims with fervent passion – Jurowski driving forward excitingly, but also allowing space for reflection. Refreshingly, Ibragimova takes the sumptuous Andante at a genuine, gently flowing, “walking pace”, her violin singing eloquently and tenderly, followed by a daringly fast finale that she’s never in any danger of not pulling off.

Her absolute unanimity with the woodwind, which joins her in the scampering main theme, is breathtaking, and her occasional discrete use of portamento feels completely apt. This is a delightful, compelling performance from beginning to end, the equal of any in the catalogue.

The early D minor concerto, scored for string orchestra, is less distinctively Mendelssohnian, displaying, unsurprisingly, the juvenile composer’s classical heritage. But it is also forward-looking – there are shades of Weber in the cloak-and-dagger stalking motif that opens the first movement.

An attractive work in its own right, Ibragimova approaches the concerto with no less commitment than the E minor, and the result is a rewarding experience. With rhythmically taught OAE strings, the folk-like dancing finale is an exhilarating ride.

Sandwiched between the two concertos is an atmospheric account of the famous Hebrides overture, Jurowski tangibly evoking romantic Highland mists and an adventurous spirit with pungent woodwind, churning cellos and majestic brass.

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 | Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances, Op 45 | Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse | Geneviève Laurenceau (violin)

Posted in Concerto, Orchestral, Violin with tags , , , on December 23, 2012 by orinococds

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 | Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances, Op 45 | Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Tugan Sokhiev cond.Geneviève Laurenceau (violin) | Naive V5256 | $NZ33

Following two highly praised recordings of Russian orchestral music (V5068 and V5073), this is the third recording by the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and Tugan Sokhiev for Naïve. The CD includes two more great Russian masterpieces, Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances and Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto. The latter features the orchestra’s new leader, the talented soloist Geneviève Laurenceau.

Tugan Sokhiev became music director of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse in 2008, following three years as principal guest conductor and artistic adviser. During this collaboration he has conducted many critically acclaimed concerts across Europe and Asia, and their first two discs for Naïve received remarkable reviews. Tugan Sokhiev has just been named music director designate of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and will take up his role as music director from the 2012-13 season.

Born in Strasbourg in 1977, Geneviève Laurenceau was awarded the Grand Prix of the Académie Maurice Ravel at Saint-Jean-de-Luz in September 2001, and later won the fifth ‘Violon de l’Adami’ award, She has performed as a soloist with the leading French and international orchestras under the direction of such conductors as Michel Plasson, Kees Bakels, Walter Weller and Tugan Sokhiev.

Both Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff left Russia following the Revolution of 1917, and both made careers abroad as composer-pianists. However, while Rachmaninoff resolved never to return to Russia so long as it was under Soviet rule, Prokofiev took a more pragmatic approach and, though cautious in his dealings with Soviet authorities, remained on good terms with the Soviet authorities.

“Laurenceau is a seductive envoy of Prokofiev’s opening gambit, drawing the listener in with a poetic and rich-sounding introduction; furthermore she is as technically athletic and tonally acerbic as is required later on…She not only plays marvellously and fantastically but has a distinct and compelling view of the concerto, relishing its contrasts of mood and also its beauty” International Record Review, March 2011

“[Laurenceau] has the measure of the amalgam that goes to make up Prokofiev’s mid-1930s style…Crucial to the overall effectiveness of the performance is Tugan Sokhiev’s sharp-eared conducting of the Toulouse Capitole Orchestra, in which colour is deftly and discerningly applied, impetus strong and the shifts in the music’s temperament seamlessly executed.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2011

“Laurenceau is commanding, ardent, colourful and intonation perfect. She makes some of the passages…sound like they’ve never done before; and the final begins with splendid swagger…The Toulouse Capitole Orchestra has its virtues, not least those bright, caressing woodwind who launch the central reverie of Rachmaninov’s first symphonic dance.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2011 ***

Vivaldi: Concerti per violino V | Dmitry Sinkovsky | Il Pomo d’Oro

Posted in Concerto, Violin with tags , , , , on December 18, 2012 by orinococds
Vivaldi: violin concertos Vol V  'Per Pisendal' |

Vivaldi: violin concertos Vol V ‘Per Pisendal’ | Dmitry Sinkovsky | Il Pomo d’Oro | OP30538 | $NZ 33 | 1 cd, 77min

This will be the 49th title in the Vivaldi Edition and the 5th volume, out of approximately 12, of the series dedicated to the violin concertos whose manuscripts are held in the National Library of Turin
All the concertos selected here are linked to German violinist Johann Georg Pisendel, member of the Dresden orchestra, that spent a long time in Venice in 1716-1717, beside the Electoral Prince of Saxony Friedrich August. Vivaldi and Pisendel became very close friends and the Prete Rosso composed several works for Pisendel. Moreover, Pisendel copied and performed afterwards in Germany several concertos of Vivaldi
This series of 7 concertos is an overview of the complete art of Vivaldi as a composer and violinist: large scale of music, invention, expression, energy, power of evocation, considerable virtuosity
Dmitry Sinkowsky is a fast rising baroque violinist and conductor. He is currently the conductor of the Italian leading baroque orchestra Il Complesso Barocco in Joyce di Donato’s worldwide ‘Drama Queen’ tour. In every concert of this tour, he performs Vivaldi’s violin concerto RV 242, featuring in this new recording.

The violinist Dmitry Sinkovsky gyrated like a rock guitarist during his gorgeous rendition of Vivaldi’s Concerto in D minor for Violin, Strings and Continuo (RV 242), his virtuosity seeming as effortless as Ms. DiDonato’s, and his soulful, aching rendition of the Adagio holding the audience spellbound.” — The New York Times – November 2012

“Of the four instrumental “fillers” they performed between DiDonato’s arias, Vivaldi’s Concerto for violin and strings RV 242 “per Pisendel” enabled Sinkovsky, who already dominated the ensemble with his dancing, bending, swooping style, to establish himself as DiDonato’s equal in virtuoso technique.” — San Francisco Classical Voice – November 2012

“After an equally virtuosic display by members of Il Complesso Barocco in Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Minor (RV 242), led with flamboyant style and dizzying technical facility by Dmitry Sinkovsky.” — Opera Obsession – November 2012

| naïve, Vivaldi Edition | OP30538 | 32-page booklet (FR, EN, GE, IT) |

Delius: Orchestral Works | Royal Scottish National Orchestra | Sir Andrew Davis

Posted in Concerto, Orchestral with tags , , , , on December 4, 2012 by orinococds

Delius: Orchestral Works | Royal Scottish National Orchestra | Sir Andrew Davis | Chandos – CHAN10742 | NZ $33

Of the works performed here by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the prominent Delius interpreter Sir Andrew Davis, the first three (Paris, the Piano Concerto, and Idylle de printemps) offer a fascinating insight into the early years of the development of Delius as a composer, when he was slowly and painstakingly honing his craft, and assuming the characteristic personal voice that is evident in more mature works such as Brigg Fair.

Paris, sub-titled ‘The Song of a Great City’, is strongly inspired by the composer’s many years of living and working in Paris. With large-scale orchestral forces, Delius paints opulent pictures of a city that he obviously loved. The slow opening portrays the still darkness falling over Paris; then the music changes pace and takes us through the teeming and intoxicating nightlife of the city, with impressions of exuberant dance music coming from the many cafés and music-halls. The opening material returns, culminating in the sounds of the awakening streets.

Until recently Delius’s Piano Concerto has been know exclusively in its final, one-movement form, which was first performed in London in 1907. The version recorded here, however, represents the composer’s earlier thoughts, from 1897. Performed by Howard Shelley, the work is brimming with full-bodied romanticism while showing the influences of Grieg and Liszt throughout.

The airy mood of Idylle de printemps points to later depictions of nature in Delius’s music, as in Brigg Fair, which Delius categorised as ‘An English Rhapsody’. Cecil Gray, the Scottish music critic and composer, described the opening of Brigg Fair as ‘evoking the atmosphere of an early summer morning in the English countryside’. The work is based on a folk-tune which came to light in a competition instigated by Percy Grainger in 1905 to find ‘the best unpublished old Lincolnshire folk song or plough song’. Grainger was immediately taken with the folk-tune, and having arranged it himself for solo tenor and chorus, he approached Delius to write orchestral variations on it – urging him on as the only composer worthy of the task. Delius was soon persuaded, and Brigg Fair became one of his best-loved works.

Review in Dominion Post 4 Dec 2012:-

“…this latest edition in a series of Delius works will have a special appeal for many. … Brigg Fair is a favourite in the English ‘rhapsody’ style. And an even earlier Paris – Song of a Great City is a deeply affectionate, sumptuously scored homage … like everything else on the disk it is superbly played and recorded.”  (abridged) John Button.

5 stars

Works:- Brigg Fair; Piano Concerto in C minor; Idylle de Printemps; Paris, song of a great city