Ondine’s third release with the star baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky is devoted to sacred works by Russian composers and Russian folk songs. Hvorostovsky is accompanied by the prestigious Russian Grand Choir “Masters of Choral Singing,” conducted by Lev Kontorovich, a choir that keeps up the best traditions of Russian choral singing.
"I like the organ — but I have a particular flair for string instruments." Anyone who has a slight acquaintance with Iannis Xenakis's music will suspect that his liking for string instruments does not derive from early childhood memories or some other sentimental origin. The technical characteristics and sonorities of string instruments are so much part of his soundworld that we may well wonder if it did not actually develop out of string sound in the first place.
- Michael Struck-Schloen (from the attached booklet)
Virgin Classics assembled an all-star team of chamber musicians to put together this five-disc set of Gabriel Fauré's complete music for strings and piano. Only the String Quartet, Op. 121, by the Quatuor Ebène, was previously released. Fauré's chamber music - with the exception of a couple of short works for cello and piano - isn't as well known outside of France as that of Debussy and Ravel, although the two piano quartets are widely admired.
Walton has been heralded as the most important composer of the 20th century. I knew little of his work and wanted to 'hear' for myself. His musical range is impressive and I feel that he has influenced many contemporary composers.
Vivaldi’s famous Four Seasons sway listeners’ emotions by depicting how country-folk in 18th-century Italy react to the joy of Spring, the heat of Summer, Autumn wine and Winter storms. In north-western Finland, the ancient tradition of folk-fiddle playing in Kaustinen has nurtured a new generation of string players, leading to the formation of two world-class orchestras (modern and baroque) in the region.