The world premieres of Iolanta and The Nutcracker took place on 18 December 1892 at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre. “The execution of both,” wrote the composer to his brother Anatoly the next day, “was magnificent, and that of the ballet perhaps too magnificent – its brilliance made one’s eyes tired.” Gustav Mahler conducted the first performance of the one-act opera outside Russia on 3 January 1893 in Hamburg and also directed the Viennese premiere of Iolanta on 22 March 1900.
In 2014 we celebrate Jean-Philippe Rameau s 250th anniversary. To highlight his wonderful compositions, this disc also presents works by 20th-century musical pioneer Ligeti. Rameau and Ligeti have a similar approach to generating music, and their short pieces are of similar drama and effect. Krier steers her own path between sentimental and spiky, with a bright, forthright tone. “Does it make sense to combine the music of a French Baroque master with avant-garde works written in the 1950‘s? Can one place these two composers – Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) and György Ligeti (1923-2006) – side by side? Do they have anything in common, and, if so, how can such traits be viewed from the vantage points of two entirely different centuries?