This SACD from PentaTone was recorded originally in 1970, not long after he’d made his official debut as an organist. (His organ recitals are notable for being played from memory.) The performances were taken down in the then-new quadraphonic system & released on Philips LPs. But of course quadraphonic LPs were a less than ideal carrier for the 4ch sound on the tapes. Fortunately PentaTone, a company founded by ex-Philips personnel, has been reissuing quad recordings on SACDs remastered from those tapes & they sound spectacularly lifelike. They are, of course, in 4ch sound, not the 6ch that the modern SACD system is capable of.
"…The disc’s exceptional, state-of-the-art recording draws you in right close, with Allan’s very special and intimate delivery cocooned by the immaculately judged and empathic contributions of a handful of other musicians (guitar, dobro, accordion, banjo, bowed psaltery, fretless bass). I feel sure that Leaving At Dawn will come to be judged as one of Allan’s finest ever collections." ~folk roots
At 1st sight, they appear to have nothing in common – but disregarding the stylistic elements & a difference of 2 centuries, you soon recognize that both are in a sense, musical architects, who as piano virtuosos were equally interested in miniature forms & inspired by folk music. On the 1 hand you have Scarlatti, who, after moving to Spain in 1729 composed almost exclusively for harpsichord & integrated elements of Spanish folklore into his compositions in an experimental way; on the other hand Bartk, who boosted the recognition of the rich native Hungarian peasant songs to an independent folk art, & was also influenced by Arabic folk music.
The early Beethoven, the late Haydn… Where is the borderline between these 2 – what is the connection, what differentiates them? Although their ways of life & characters were clearly different, both masters lived in a time during which it was as important to obey the prescribed musical rules as it was to connect the artists intellect with his creativity, personality, & emotional world.
The word liaison can be translated in many ways: affair, affinity, connection, link, relationship, union. The CDs in the Liaisons series each feature 2 particular composers, enabling us to explore their musical worlds, sources of inspiration & degree of influence. At the same time, the recordings reveal their most conspicuous differences & their common denominators.
Li plays with a rare combination of virtuoso skill & poetic interpretations, each note he plays a reminder of why, in 2000, his music inspired the jury of the 14th International Chopin Piano Competition to give out the 1st top prize in 15 years to the then 18-year-old boy . . . “His maturity is obvious from the arrangements of the rhythmic transitions to the superb control of strength variations, which is known as the most difficult part of Chopin’s compositions”, (notes director Zhang Guoyong, who conducted the concert.) “It won’t be long before he is a maestro,” Zhang predicts.
By late summer of 1837, the 27-year-old Schumann was secretly engaged to his beloved Clara Wieck. The powerful emotions connected with this event were a stimulus to Schumann’s creative impulses, for he was a Romantic through & through. It was at this time that he composed the deeply personal Davidsbundlertanze -18 dances inspired by the imaginary league of David. This fellowship, invented by Schumann, consisted of Schumann’s own alter egos, plus a number of well-respected musicians & friends including Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. The group was established as a way of fighting against the Philistines; it was Schumann’s response to contemporary musical trends which he saw as cheap, excessively virtuosic, & superficial.
Valery Gergiev’s 1st recording of French music on the LSO Live label, Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé, Boléro, Pavane – Gergiev was characterised by an unexpected affinity for this music & a warmth of expression not usually associated with this conductor. This follow-up issue confirms Gergiev’s credentials as a Francophile conductor (as do his recent meticulous performances of the music of Henri Dutilleux at the Barbican.
Bach showed that the cello can dance, but composers from Rossini to Shostakovich have favored it as an instrument of pensive reflection and brooding melancholy. The playful cover photo notwithstanding, SOLO features Yo-Yo Ma in five 20th century cello works of a serious nature, all with folk influence and all echoing at least a bit of the troubles of the times in which they were written.