Friday, October 21, 2016
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:
Having grown swiftly disillusioned with young Lionel Bringuier , the Tonhalle orchestra is scouting for talent. NZZ’s Christian Berzins has some thoughts on the subject, and a shortlist: Young blood: Lorenzo Viotti (born 1990), or Krzysztof Urbański (1982); Old masters: Mariss Jansons (1943), or Charles Dutoit (1936); Midlifers: Franz Welser-Möst (1960), or Philippe Jordan (1974). Do not be surprised if Christoph Eschenbach drops in. Full article here.
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:
In my view, conductor Mariss Jansons has excellent skills in leading an orchestra. I sense that he is always prepared, knows the music cold, and has excellent eye contact with his players. Now you get to judge for yourself, via the new recording of his CD titled “Rhapsody” This is a Live-Recording, done in Munich, at the Herkulessaal, featuring the following music: Chabrier: España Enescu: Romanian Rhapsody in A major, Op. 11 No. 1 Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue, with Denis Matsuev (piano) Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody, S244 No. 2 in C sharp minor Ravel: Rhapsodie Espagnole All performed by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons conducting. With his rhapsody “España” the Frenchman Emmanuel Chabrier focused on the Iberian music and folk music so popular at the time, as did his more famous compatriot Maurice Ravel with his “Rhapsodie espagnole”, the four-movement structure of which still harks back to long-outdated symphonic forms. From the Hungarian-born Franz Liszt we have the famous “Hungarian Rhapsody” No. 2, and from the Romanian composer George Enescu the scarcely less famous and popular “Romanian Rhapsody”. The American George Gershwin created what was probably the most famous example of the genre in the 20th century with his “Rhapsody in Blue” scored for piano and orchestra. Here is Mr Jansons, leading the orchestra in the Rumanian Rhapsody by Enescu:
The Southwest German Philharmonie has named Ari Rasilainen, 57, as its new chief conductor. He is presently with the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz in Ludwigshafen. Like most Finnish batons, Ari is a former student of Jorma Panula, with top-ups from the late Arvid Jansons.
“After early successes in the 1990s with expressionistic orchestral works performed under the likes of Mariss Jansons, … at 45, Hersch shows every sign of heading farther down a lonely road marked ‘art for art’s sake.’ He writes important” – and often long, and always challenging for audience ears – “works without a commission, and would premiere them at his own expense [if necessary].”