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Mariss Jansons

Sunday, December 11, 2016


My Classical Notes

December 6

Yo Yo Ma Performs Strauss

My Classical NotesThis is an interesting collection of music, all conducted by Mariss Jansons. Have a look at the contents: Dvorak: Carnival Overture, Op. 92 Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88 Elizondo: Danza Latinamericanas Massenet: Don Quichotte: Interlude No. 2 Strauss, R: Don Quixote, Op. 35 Performed by Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Wen Xiao Zheng (viola) and Anton Barakhovsky (violin), with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Mariss Jansons conducting. As an artist in residence with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, American cellist Yo-Yo Ma had the opportunity to do what is perhaps the second thing he loves the most after playing: sharing his love of music with others. During his residency, he transformed himself from sensitive teacher to inimitable Bach interpreter to first cello of a major symphony orchestra. Yo-Yo Ma doesn’t fade away into the music, nor does he take a worshipful attitude towards the pieces he performs. From the moment he walks onto the stage, he exudes charisma that immediately confirms his exceptional status as the ‘best cellist in the world’. With its ten variations on a theme of knightly character for full orchestra, Richard Strauss’ tone poem ‘Don Quixote’ not only depicts the colorful adventures of Cervantes’ hero, but also functions as a virtuoso display of glorious solo melodies embedded in stunning orchestral passages. It is, in a way, a second Strauss cello concerto. Joining ‘the Don’ later in this program is a viola solo that personifies the faithful Sancho Panza and is played by Wen Xiao Zheng. Here is Yo Yo Ma, performing the second movement from Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote:

My Classical Notes

October 12

Petrenko Leads Romeo & Juliet

I want to tell you about Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64, as performed by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vasily Petrenko: This amazing recording presents Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet, recorded here in its entirety – which is a first for the orchestra as well as its conductor. The Oslo Philharmonic recorded Suites Nos. 1 and 2 under Mariss Jansons in 1989, but never the complete ballet up until this point. Prokofiev’s imaginative orchestration has made the ballet Romeo and Juliet world-famous, primarily through the orchestral suites as opposed to the ballet as a whole. Unmistakably a child of the Rimsky-Korsakov school of orchestration, Prokofiev’s orchestra arsenal for the ballet includes tenor saxophone, four mandolins, cornet, celesta, organ, piano and a number of percussion instruments. The Sunday Times wrote: “Petrenko’s Norwegian band yield nothing in virtuosity — the strings are staggering in the fight — to Russian peers. The dramatic episodes sizzle, but there is poignancy in the balcony scene and Juliet’s death. One listens with refreshed ears.” Here is a section of Petrenko’s performance:




My Classical Notes

August 27

Final Compositions By Shostakovich

The music of Dmitry Shostakovich is very much a reflection of the times during which he lived in the Soviet Union. Now we have a new recording that allows us to listen to his last three works. Shostakovich: Symphony No. 15 in A major, Op. 141, performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Eduard Serov conducting. Suite on verses by Michelangelo Buonarroti, for bass & orchestra, Op. 145a, performed by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Frantisek Vajnar conducting.k Novorosiisk Chimes, Op. 111b, performed by the Radio-TV USSR Symphony, Arvid Jansons conducting. Ever the humorist, Shostakovich delighted in placing references to his works and of other composers in his final, Fifteenth Symphony: in addition to the cryptic references to his own music, it includes an outburst of Rossini’s ‘William Tell’ Overture in the first movement; allusions to Mikhail Glinka and Gustav Mahler; and the use of Richard Wagner’s ‘Fate’ leitmotif from the Ring Cycle. There is little humour however in the orchestral version of the ‘Michelangelo Suite’: a cycle profoundly personal and deeply felt. ‘Novorossiisk Chimes’ (also known as The Flame of Eternal Glory or The Fire of Eternal Glory), Op. 111b, was written in 1960 for the war memorial in the city of Novorossiisk. The piece consists, mainly, of material Shostakovich had originally written in 1943 as an entry in a contest to compose a new national anthem for the USSR. Here is a recording of the symphony number 15 by Shostakovich:



Classical music and opera by Classissima



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