Concluding audite’s Schumann edition, this CD combines the first symphony with the late overtures, whose compactness displays the composer’s symphonic mastery.
The overtures, all written after 1847, represent an essential complement to the symphonies: seen in relation to the symphonies, they take a similar position as do the Konzertstücke relative to the concertos. Schumann conceived them partly as preludes to operas, oratorios or incidental works, partly as independent pieces. On the one hand, they were intended to provide “an image of the whole”; on the other, their purpose was to introduce, leading into the drama. Beside larger- and smaller-scale vocal works, and alongside the poetic renewal of the symphony, they bear testimony to the great significance of literature in Schumann’s musical thought and style.
The overtures are supplemented with Schumann’s first symphony, the so-called “Zwickau”. It was the composer’s first attempt in the symphonic form to be performed publicly, even though the work remained incomplete.
Featuring the Cello Concerto and the second version of the D minor Symphony, this CD presents two major works that Schumann composed and revised during his time as music director in Düsseldorf. In both works, the movements of the classical model merge into one another without interruption. By transforming themes and musical codes he creates a stream of thought and coherence akin to the course of a narration or abstract theatre. His original version of the D minor Symphony of 1841 was pioneering in its literarisation of musical form. When he began revising it in 1851, the first Symphonic Poems of Franz Liszt had been performed: they aspired to a greater fusion of music and literature. In his revision of the D minor Symphony, Schumann discreetly reinforced the traditional symphonic elements of the work. The obvious references to Mendelssohn in his Cello Concerto suggest that he regarded multi-part forms as “narrations without words”, or as “bigger siblings” of the “songs without words”. According to Schumann, neither genre required explanation via a literary programme.
The original version of the D minor Symphony is included in the first volume of this series. Both versions, whose relationship remains an object of divisive discussion to the present day, can therefore be compared to one another.
Holliger’s interpretations draw on a life-long study of Schumann’s oeuvre, thought, personality and fate. Holliger’s approach imparts lightness and lucidity to these opulent scores thanks to a hierarchical balance of parts, delicately graded dynamics and invigorating tempi. The widespread image of this romantic composer as a weak orchestrator is thus refreshingly rectified.
With this CD, audite is presenting the second volume of the complete recording of Robert Schumann’s orchestral works. The series includes all the symphonies (with both versions of the Fourth) as well as all the overtures and concertos.
The Second and Third Symphonies, according to the usual numbering, passed through contrasting histories of reception. Whereas the ‘Rhenish’ remained relatively popular, the C major Symphony was received by contemporaries as trend-setting, but receded into the background from the late nineteenth century onwards. At this time, criticism was primarily levelled at its instrumentation, which had still been praised after its premiere. Heinz Holliger and the WDR Symphony Orchestra have recorded the works with an orchestra of the same size that was available to Schumann. In so doing, they not only uncover the sonic ideal of the composer, but also its consistent and convincing realisation.
Holliger’s performances draw on a lifetime study of Schumann’s music, thought, personality and fate. His approach imparts lightness and lucidity to these opulent scores through a hierarchical balance of parts, delicately gradated dynamics and invigorating tempos. The widespread image of this romantic composer as a weak orchestrator receives a refreshing and well-grounded correction.
This CD launches a complete series of recordings of Robert Schumann’s orchestral works, performed by the WDR Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Heinz Holliger. The series will contain all the symphonies (including both versions of the Fourth) as well as all the overtures and concertos. Holliger’s performances draw on a lifetime study of Schumann’s music, thought, personality and fate. His approach imparts lightness and lucidity to these opulent scores through a hierarchical balance of parts, delicately gradated dynamics and invigorating tempos. The widespread image of this romantic composer as a weak orchestrator receives a refreshing and well-grounded correction.
Volume 1 of the series presents the First Symphony in B-flat major (Op. 38), Overture, Scherzo and Finale (Op. 52) and the original 1841 version of the Fourth Symphony in D minor (Op. 120).
The Cardinall’s Musick and their inspirational director Andrew Carwood present a further volume of their Gramophone-Award-winning series of Tallis’s sacred music.
This new album contains some of the most sublime music of the entire period, performed with The Cardinall’s Musick’s familiar committed, full-blooded and beautiful singing. In including both Tallis’s English and Latin settings, it demonstrates the composer’s mastery of the changing edicts imposed on him from above in this turbulent time.
Informative and scholarly booklet notes by Andrew Carwood place the music in its historical and liturgical context.
Terje Rypdal‘s Odyssey: In Studio & In Concert is a very special release. It includes not only the complete Odyssey album (recorded 1975) in high-resolution audio (Studio Master) for the first time (restoring the long track Rolling Stone to its rightful place), but also a full disc of previously unreleased material on which Terje Rypdal s Odyssey band is augmented by the Swedish Radio Jazz Group in a 1976 live performance of Rypdal s suite Unfinished Highballs.
In the liner notes, Rypdal tells John Kelman, Odyssey was my first major band, and the music was different too because, more and more, I was writing music in two layers one thing going on with the bass and drums, and rubato playing layered over the top. It was the first time I d to connect with a band, more about writing together with improvisation. It was a challenge; I was trying to bring together the composer and the player. Rypdal s ideas of form and freedom are beautifully sculpted and registered in Manfred Eicher s widescreen production.
It has to be the most popular violin concerto of all — by turns captivating, moving and flamboyant. Almost every virtuoso has recorded it at least once. And it was with this work that an eighteen-year-old violinist by the name of Itzhak Perlman would make the very first recording of his career, with the London Symphony Orchestra and Alfred Wallenstein (1964), returning to the studio in the years to come to set down three further versions of the same concerto. We are, of course, talking about Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op.35. Between the recording he made with the Boston Symphony conducted by Erich Leinsdorf (RCA, 1967), and his live version with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta in Leningrad (EMI, 1990; see volume 45), Perlman added this third interpretation to his recorded catalogue. This concerto more than any other has accompanied him throughout his career. Indeed, he’s often claimed that he could play it virtually in his sleep. It could even be seen as emblematic of his style, given both the prodigiously virtuosic demands it makes on the performer and its charismatic warmth.
Traditionally, since the middle of the 18th century, Russian opera had been influenced by the Italians, just as the music world as a whole had been strongly oriented towards that country during the empire of the czars. For Russian composers, this meant that they have to battle incessantly for the recognition of their musical identity, which was not surprising in a country where many prominent families felt more at home speaking French than Russian. In his operas A Life for the Czar (1836), and Ruslan and Lyudmila (1841), Michael Glinka laid a foundation for the national opera culture, and Alexander Dargomishky followed his example. However, their music was still strongly influenced by foreign works; the torch was then taken over by Alexander Borodin and a few others, who grouped together under the name Moguchaya Kuchka (the ‘mighty handful’). Their main objective was to develop an authentic idiom, based on Russian folklore music. In addition, they strove to create a high degree of realism in the music drama. They were successful at this, even though at times hindered in the realization of their intentions by a lack of professional training of various members.
This is a set with the Modern Jazz Quartet. The choice of material and its order of appearance approximates a set you might hear if you were listening to the group at one of America’s leading jazz rooms. All the pieces display different use of contrapuntal technique. The record features works, “Ralph’s New Blues” which starts off the set, “All of You” from Cole Porter’s musical Silk Stockings, and Sigmund Romberg’s “Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise” from New Moon. Originally recorded in 1955, the six song set has been remastered by Concord’s original engineer Rudy Van Gelder.