In response to a commission from Count Troyer, who wanted a work closely modelled on Beethoven’s famous Septet op.20, Schubert – despite his fervent admiration for the older composer – resolutely struck out on his own by delivering an . . . Octet. While the enlarged forces opened his path towards symphonic writing, examination of the form and expression reveals a much more accomplished and personal composition than has generally been recognised by commentators. Isabelle Faust and her partners, enthralled by what is an exceptional work in every respect, offer us a new interpretation of it on period instruments.
For her first collaboration with the period ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, violinist Isabelle Faust performs the five Violin Concertos of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, along with three shorter concertante works. This is an extraordinary set, for the historically informed performances, the polished sound of the group, the almost palpable presence of the players, which Harmonia Mundi has captured with superior engineering, and for the unrepressed joy in the music. Faust is the center of attention, naturally, and her refined and expressive playing immediately pulls the listener in. These are far from the most demanding concertos in the repertoire, so Faust is less concerned with technical execution than with conveying the pure feeling of the music, which is delightfully buoyant and uplifting. Under the direction of Giovanni Antonini, the group provides warm and sparkling accompaniment that gives Faust all the support she needs, but there's no doubt that she sets the emotional tone for these exquisite recordings. Highly recommended, especially for devotees of Classical style at its finest.
The Blu-ray version of the release 'Tango!' by the Isabelle van Keulen Ensemble features a video of the studio performance of several of the Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla's most popular pieces, including Verano Porteno, Oblivion, and Libertango. Accompanied by a special documentary, 'Music from the Heart', which presents interviews with ensemble members and behind-the-scenes footage of the studio recording process. The Isabelle van Keulen Ensemble was formed in January 2011 by the critically acclaimed Dutch violinist and violist Isabelle van Keulen especially for a series of concerts in Haarlem's Concertgebouw which showcased the music of Ástor Piazzolla.
In 2015 the Berliner Philharmoniker dedicated an evening of their renowned Easter Festival in Baden-Baden to one of the most famous and beloved of German composers, Ludwig van Beethoven. Together with Bernard Haitink, a universally acclaimed authority on the works of that composer, they performed Beethoven’s exquisite expression of nature, his Symphony No. 6, the “Pastoral”. They were joined for Beethoven’s Violin Concerto by Isabelle Faust, whose interpretation of the work has enjoyed widespread acclaim.
Andreas K. W. Meyer’s notes provide a timeline for the life of Allan Petterson (1911–1980), “orchestra violinist, composer, oddball.” In any event, he cast his Second Violin Concerto in one, almost hour-long, movement (the recording has been divided into 10 tracks for those who might want to study specific sections). Its elfin opening, with swirling tonal parts in the upper registers surrounding the stratospheric solo, provides little preparation for the dense textures to come. If these seem to lack transparency, listeners should be aware that van Keulen and Dausgaard play the Concerto in a “revised version,” in which the composer supposedly significantly lightened the original.