Eduard Ivanovich Bagdasarian was a key figure in the modern development of Armenian music, and his piano works have a unique importance in an oeuvre which covered almost every genre. The tremendously varied 24 Preludes encompass all of the major and minor keys with the added colour of Armenian modes. This mastery of miniature forms contrasts with the impassioned and ambitious Rhapsody, while the archetypally Romantic Nocturne draws on the tradition of the great Russian Adagio.
These sparkling performances of Saint-Saëns' violin concertos are a fitting start to Hyperion's new series of Romantic Violin Concertos; a follow on from the highly successful Romantic Piano Concerto series.
Manuscript XIV 726 of the Minoritenkonvent in Vienna is one of the most important sources of Austrian baroque music. From the over hundred sonatas contained in it, Gunar Letzbor has compiled the series "ex Vienna" consisting of three programmes which shed light on various aspects of Austrian violin music. In the first part of the series, 'Anonymus', Gunar Letzbor has recorded violin works from this Viennese manuscript, in which the names of the composers are not specified. The selected pieces reveal a broad expressive spectrum, also containing echoes of baroque dance music. What all the works share is their high technical standard: high registers, unusual bowing, polyphonic passages, onomatopoeia and runs to be played at breakneck speed bearing witness to a high standard of violin playing north of the Alps: whoever wrote these works must have been an outstanding violinist. Gunar Letzbor is the established specialist in performing Austrian baroque music; in particular, he has intensively grappled with works of Biber, Muffat and Schmelzer, to name but three examples. In so doing, he is constantly searching for an especially Austrian baroque string sound. On this recording, Letzbor is accompanied by Erich Traxler (harpsichord, organ positive), Jan Krigovsky (violone) and Hubert Hoffmann (lute) of Ars Antiqua Austria.
George Enescu (1881–1955) is one of the great composers, although the world has yet to realise the extent of his achievements. Enescu’s small published œuvre of 33 opus numbers belies the amount of music he produced: he composed prolifically but, as he was both a perfectionist and a busy performer, much of his music is still unknown. This CD reveals solo, chamber and concertante pieces featuring the violin, played by his fellow Romanian Sherban Lupu, who understands Enescu’s idiom like few other musicians.
One of the most important German composers to emerge during the post-World War II era, Bernd Alois Zimmermann was born in the outskirts of Cologne in 1918. Zimmermann's music frequently borders on unplayability, and it is only through the exceptional gifts of a handful of players and conductors that his powerful musical creations escaped oblivion. On these CD's his violin concerto is presented together with works by Pfitzner and Hartmann.