This is the second release on ONYX from the amazing Moscow Soloists and their charismatic director, the great Yuri Bashmet. Their first ONYX release was of Chamber Symphonies by Shostakovich, Sviridov and Vainberg (ONYX4007) which gained excellent reviews, including a Grammy 2007 nomination. This disc combines two great Stravinsky works for strings: the marvellous neo-classical ballet Apollon musagète (in the revised 1947 version entitled simply Apollo) and the post-war Concerto in D for strings, with a genuine novelty: in 1962 Rudolf Barshai arranged for his own Moscow Chamber Orchestra 15 of the 20 Visions fugitives that Prokofiev wrote for solo piano between 1915-17. Now Roman Balashov, manager and violist in the Moscow Soloists has completed the set for this world première recording. These are exciting miniatures which truly benefit from the added colours a string orchestra can bring.
This Soviet production filmed live at the Kirov conveys the full beauty of Tchaikovsky's vision. It is a poetically tender work which was confirmed by Tchaikovsky himself in 1878 when he said I played the whole of Eugene Onegin, the author was the sole listener, the listener was moved to tears. Eugene Onegin is Tchaikovsky's most lyrical operatic work. While composing it, he wrote he was filled with indescribable pleasure and enthusiasm. The opera is based on Pushkin's novel in verse and was first produced in Moscow on March 29, 1879. Featuring Sergei Leyferkus as Onegin, Yuri Marusin, Tatiana Novikova, Larissa Dyadkova.
This new release from the Latvian Radio Choir, conducted by Sigvards Kłava, features timeless choral works by three composers from Russia and Latvia: Yuri Falik, Artūrs Maskats and Georgy Sviridov. These 20th and 21st century choral works present the profound and sacred, which is to be found and enjoyed in many areas of our lives, from nature and the seasons to personal relationships and love. The Latvian Choir’s previous release on Ondine – Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil – was chosen as ‘Record of the Month’ for Gramophone Magazine and also received a nomination for ‘best choral disc’ in the 2013 Gramophone Awards. The Latvian Radio Choir is considered one of the best chamber choirs in Europe.
Kent Nagano and the Hallé continue to commit to CD less celebrated portions of the Britten canon. Last year there was the four-act Billy Budd; before that the premiere recording of a concert version of the radio drama The Rescue. Now come two more firsts, recordings of the Double Concerto - prepared from Britten's almost complete sketches by Colin Matthews and presented by Nagano at Aldeburgh in 1997 - and the Two Portraits from 1930. The second of these is a portrait of Britten himself, a surprisingly plaintive and reflective meditation for viola and strings in E minor. The image is belied by the rest of the music on the disc, which is buoyant, energetic, young man's music all written before Britten was 26. Big guns Kremer and Bashmet are brought in for the Double Concerto and give of their impassioned best. Nagano and the Hallé are appropriately spirited and vigorous throughout the disc. It's not mature Britten, but clearly points the way forward and is worth getting to know.
The Annecy Classic Festival has become a major player in the national and international cultural landscape. In residence at the 2013 Annecy Classic Festival, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic closes the festival and joins forces with its iconic conductor Yuri Temirkanov. Together with multi-gifted musician Denis Matsuev, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra invites us on a journey, whose secret lies in Rachmaninov’s famous Piano Concerto No.2 and the Symphonic Dances. Denis Matsuev, the «Siberian Bear» as they call him, interprets the Piano Concerto No.2 virtuously and passionately. Yuri Temirkanov takes us on a journey through One Thousand and One Nights with a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s lush Sheherazade, with its intoxicating scents and the glowing, oriental colours.
The Bolshoi Ballet troupe in Yuri Grigorovich’s version of the romantic masterpiece 'Giselle', at last available in HD. First performed in 1841, 'Giselle' was an immediate hit. With music by Adolphe Adam and a libretto by Théophile Gautier and Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges, the ballet touches on the great romantic themes: local colour, a pastoral love affair doomed to end in tragedy, a plunge into fantasy and redemption through the power of love. Learning that Albrecht, her beloved, is in fact a nobleman engaged to be married to a princess, the naive peasant girl Giselle dies. The Queen of the Wilis – the spirits of deceased young virgins– decides that Albrecht should follow Giselle to the grave, and condemns him to dance until he dies of exhaustion. But Giselle’s spirit dances with him and saves him.
Tan Dun's Concerto for String Orchestra and Pipa (1999) is a reworking of one of his most popular works, Ghost Opera, written for and recorded by the Kronos Quartet. In this version, the composer's characteristic polystylism – which here includes Chinese folk song, Copland-esque Big Sky music, quotations from Bach, and vocalizations by the orchestra – comes across as a jumble, without much of a strong vision holding the disparate elements together. Pipa virtuoso Wu Man, who appeared on the Kronos recording, plays the concerto with energy and delicacy. She's ably accompanied by the Moscow Soloists, led by Yuri Bashmet. The concerto is followed by Takemitsu's Nostalghia (1987) for violin and string orchestra. Its compositional assurance, clarity, subtly nuanced orchestration, and emotional directness make it all the more striking in contrast to the Tan Dun. Here Bashmet is the impassioned soloist, with Roman Balashov conducting with great sensitivity. The three brief excerpts from Takemitsu's film scores are a pleasant stylistic diversion – light, strongly differentiated character pieces.
The world's greatest male dancer, Carlos Acosta, dances the greatest male ballet lead Spartacus, in Grigorovich's famous Soviet ballet, created for the Bolshoi to Khachaturian's famous score. Following sensational performances in Moscow and London in 2007, the Bolshoi's production was re-staged and filmed in January 2008 in the Paris Opera's Palais Garnier, especially for Carlos.