Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks


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Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Live-Recording: Munich, Philharmonie im Gasteig, 20./21.10.2016

Gustav Mahler's Ninth Symphony is primarily regarded as the composer’s reaction in the summer of 1908 to the diagnosis of a heart ailment, which he received just before writing the first sketches for the work. Mahler was deeply distraught and cannot have known how few years he still had left to live. His processing and exploration of his life experiences, and of valedictions, the meaning of life, death, salvation, life after death and love, always took place in and through his music. The Ninth Symphony was composed between 1909 and 1910 in Toblach, in a kind of creative frenzy, and was first performed in Vienna on June 26, 1912 by the Vienna Philharmonic, under the baton of Bruno Walter. Mahler had already died on May 18, 1911, and was no longer able to experience the premiere of his last completed work. Willem Mengelberg, the first ardent conductor of the composer’s works, wrote in his score: "Mahler's soul sings its farewell!" Mahler's Ninth Symphony represents the culmination of a development process. The progressive chromaticism and maximum utilization of the tonal are here taken to their limits - and, for the first time, beyond them. Indeed, the two movements that frame the work, in particular, depart from the tonal entirely, pointing clearly to the dawn of a new musical epoch. Alban Berg even called this symphony "the first work of New Music". The Munich concert event of October 2016 is now being released on CD by BR-KLASSIK – it is an outstanding interpretation of one of the most important compositions of the international symphonic repertoire of the early 20th century.

“Mariss Jansons’s Munich Mahler scores highest for warmth, intelligence and emotional centredness.” Classical Ear, 23rd March 2017 ***

“As ever, Mariss Jansons produces an exquisitely moulded performance, with every transition beautifully managed, and every dynamic scrupulously observed. The orchestra plays with refinement.” Daily Telegraph, 25th March 2017 ***

“Mahler’s Ninth is wonderfully rich in nuance in this recording. The playing of the BR-Orchester under Mariss Jansons is filled with emotion, and yet never threatens to let sentimentality gain the upper hand. This has a great deal to do with the thoroughly musical care taken by Jansons, who is never swept away by the symphony’s programme.” FonoForum, April 2017 *****

“Mariss Jansons here directs a memorable live account of Mahler 9, drawing stunning playing of considerable intensity from his Bavarian orchestra. Immaculately prepared, as usual, I admire Jansons’ masterly control of tempo, dynamic and scale. Beautifully recorded too at the Philharmonie, Munich” MusicWeb International, March 2017

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BR Klassik - 900151


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Mahler: Symphony No. 3

Mahler: Symphony No. 3

Live-Recording: Munich, Philharmonie im Gasteig, 15. – 17.06.2016

Gerhild Romberger (contralto)

Augsburger Domsingknaben, Frauenchor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bernard Haitink

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

Gustav Mahler's Third Symphony still ranks today as one of the greatest and most powerful creations of the Late Romantic period. The huge symphony, longer and more monumental than the others and containing texts from the collection of poems by Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim entitled “Des Knaben Wunderhorn”, was composed over a period of four years from 1892 to 1896, and especially during the summers of 1895 and 1896, which Mahler spent at the Attersee in Austria. Following performances of several individual movements of the symphony, the complete work was premiered on June 9, 1902, at the 38th “Tonkünstler Festival” in Krefeld. Mahler conducted the Städtische Kapelle Krefeld and Cologne’s Gürzenich Orchestra at this exciting event. It was one of his greatest successes, and his contemporaries were deeply impressed. Between 1902 and 1907, the composer conducted his Third Symphony a further 15 times.

Of the six powerful movements, the slow fourth one requires not only a large orchestra but also a mezzo-soprano solo for a setting of the “Midnight Song” (“O Man! Take heed!”) from Friedrich Nietzsche's poetical-philosophical "Thus Spoke Zarathustra," while in the cheerful fifth movement the mezzo-soprano soloist is joined by a children’s choir and a female chorus for the song Es sungen drei Engel from "Des Knaben Wunderhorn". The symphony is a huge challenge for all its performers, and this concert recording of June 2016 has a prestigious line-up: guest conductor Bernard Haitink with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Augsburger Domsingknaben and the Frauenchor des Bayerischen Rundfunks; the solo parts are sung by Gerhild Romberger.

“Haitink has long been regarded as one of our least egocentric and interventionist conductors, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt that more keenly than on this recording...throughout the long first movement in particular, there’s a sense that the music is simply being allowed to unfold itself organically rather than being driven too hard.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 6th January 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

6th January 2017

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - May 2017

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BR Klassik - 900149

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Mariss Jansons conducts Richard Strauss

Mariss Jansons conducts Richard Strauss

The 100th release of BR-KLASSIK Label!

Strauss, R:

Eine Alpensinfonie, Op. 64

Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24

At the age of just fifteen, the budding composer Richard Strauss (1864-1949) lost his way during a summer hike on the Heimgarten in the Bavarian Alps, and ended up in a thunderstorm. The next day, he fantasized about the experience on the piano. - Twenty years later, that memory had matured into a concept describing a one-day hike in the form of a symphonic poem, and in 1915 – a further fifteen years later – Strauss finally completed his masterpiece. The hike begins in the darkness before dawn, and after sunrise the ascent goes through a forest, past a stream and a waterfall, through meadows and pastures, and up to a glacier. The hiker then loses his way, and after several risky moments arrives at the summit, where he also experiences a vision. The weather then suddenly worsens, and the descent is accompanied by heavy rain and fierce thunderstorms. The eventful day - summarized in just sixty minutes of music - ends with a sunset, and darkness returns.

"An Alpine Symphony" is probably Strauss' most famous symphonic poem. Its content is easily understandable, and the work became especially well-known for its gigantic orchestra. The music is far from heavy-handed, however, with many of the passages orchestrated like chamber music. Like a kind of greeting from the Bavarian Alps, as it were, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and its chief conductor Mariss Jansons have placed this masterpiece, and the music of Richard Strauss in general, on the programme of their forthcoming tour of Asia in late 2016. The live recording of “Alpine Symphony” concerts planned for October 2016 in Munich’s Philharmonie im Gasteig is enhanced on this latest CD from BR-KLASSIK by the addition of Strauss’ symphonic poem "Death and Transfiguration", first performed in 1890; the recording here is of concerts performed in Munich in February 2014. – We thus have two very recent interpretations of two of this great German composer’s most important tone poems on one CD.

Live-Recording Munich, Philharmonie im Gasteig 10.2016 (Alpine Symphony); 02.2014 (Death and Tr.)

“A highly desirable album performed by an orchestra who knows this music so well.” MusicWeb International, 18th January 2017

“The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra bring a burnished, polished sound to every strand of Strauss's kaleidoscopic score, and BR-Klassik's engineering is a marvel of presence, clarity and detail.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2017

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BR Klassik - 900148



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Richard Strauss: Don Quixote & Dvorak: Symphony No. 8

Richard Strauss: Don Quixote & Dvorak: Symphony No. 8


Carnival Overture, Op. 92

Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88


Danza Latinamericanas


Don Quichotte: Interlude No. 2

Strauss, R:

Don Quixote, Op. 35

Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Wen Xiao Zheng (viola) & Anton Barakhovsky (violin)

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Mariss Jansons

Recorded at the Philharmonie am Gasteig, Munich, 2016

As an artist in residence with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the American cellist Yo-Yo Ma had the opportunity to do what is perhaps the second thing he loves the most after playing: sharing his love of music with others.

During his residency, he transformed himself from sensitive teacher to inimitable Bach interpreter to first cello of a major symphony orchestra.

Yo-Yo Ma doesn’t fade away into the music, nor does he take a worshipful attitude towards the pieces he performs. From the moment he walks onto the stage, he exudes charisma that immediately confirms his exceptional status as the 'best cellist in the world'.

With its ten variations on a theme of knightly character for full orchestra, Richard Strauss’ tone poem 'Don Quixote' not only depicts the colorful adventures of Cervantes' chivalrous hero, but also functions as a virtuoso display of glorious solo melodies embedded in stunning orchestral passages. It is, in a way, a second Strauss cello concerto. Joining 'the Don' later is a viola solo that personifies the faithful Sancho Panza and is played by Wen Xiao Zheng.

To those in the know, Jansons’ partnership with the great Munich-based BRSO is one of the most transcendent conductor-orchestra pairings.

Approx. 111 minutes

HD, 5.1 surround sound

DVD Amaray, NTSC Picture format 16 :9

Region Code: 0 worldwide

“It’s the Dvorak that’s the real draw here. The symphony’s rapturous reception – the genuine rapture of an audience bowled over and ablaze with joy – says it all.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

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belvedere - BVD08023

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BR-KLASSIK Greatest Moments

BR-KLASSIK Greatest Moments

CD Sampler plus Catalogue 2016

BR Klassik - 900003



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Shostakovich: Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Shostakovich: Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2


Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107

Cello Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 126

It was in Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto that ‘cellist Alisa Weilerstein prompted the Los Angeles Times to marvel: “Weilerstein’s cello is her id... She and the cello seem simply to be one and the same.”

Alisa returns with Shostakovich’s cello masterworks – Concertos 1 & 2

Composed for the virtuosic cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, the coupling and contrasting of these two arresting works is irresistible: the anti-heroic, relentless, emotionally suppressed First Concerto set alongside the sarcasm and isolation of the Second.

Weilerstein’s interpretation is underpinned by her meeting Rostropovich –a close friend of the composer – when she was 22, playing Shostakovich for him and absorbing his advice and wisdom.

Her outstanding rapport with conductor Pablo Heras-Casado and the Symphonieorchester Bayerischen Rundfunks is evident in this new recording.

“Weilerstein follows outstanding Decca recordings of the Elgar and Dvorak concertos with this pairing, which illustrates her depth and range...Heras-Casado and the Bavarians match the sardonic bite of her playing: this is one of the best accounts ever recorded of a work we don’t hear often enough in concert.” Sunday Times, 18th September 2016

“The playing is extremely accomplished…I do like the nagging insistence of the opening, and the Bavarian hornist is tonally one of the fullest and steadiest I have heard…brave to the Bavarian horns for their Janaceky whoopings around the nine-minute mark, and to Decca’s engineering for capturing such moments, and many others, in such ravishing detail” Gramophone Magazine, October 2016

“Weilerstein responds with playing that puts a premium on subtlety and inner intensity. What we have here is not a typically spontaneous Rostropovich bearhug, more a deeply considered embrace.” Financial Times, 23rd September 2016 ****

“Shostakovich’s two cello concertos present such different challenges, it’s a rare cellist who shines as brightly in both. Alisa Weilerstein is well-matched to the First Concerto: fierce, tight and articulate, this account fairly crackles…Pablo Heras-Casado and his forces create chamber-like episodes of luminous intimacy” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 ****

Presto Discs of 2016


Decca - 4830835



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Alice Sara Ott: Wonderland

Alice Sara Ott: Wonderland


Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Esa-Pekka Salonen

Lyric Pieces Op. 71: No. 1 - Once upon a Time

Lyric Pieces Op. 43: No. 1 - Butterfly

Lyric Pieces Op. 12: No. 7 - Album leaf

Peer Gynt: Solveig's Song

arranged for piano

Lyric Pieces Op. 12: No. 4 - Dance of the Fairies

Lyric Pieces Op. 43: No. 6 - To Spring

Lyric Pieces Op. 54: No. 3 - March of the Trolls

Notturno from Lyric Suite, Op. 54

Lyric Pieces Op. 62: No. 4 - Brooklet

In the Hall of the Mountain King (from Peer Gynt)

arranged for piano

Lyric Pieces Op. 65: No. 5 - Ballad

Lyric Pieces Op. 65: No. 6 - Wedding Day at Troldhaugen

“Alice Sara Ott gives a strong-centred account with plenty of power and flair; and she is much blessed to have as her companions the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, sounding fabulous under Esa-Pekka Salonen with radiant tone and the textures shimmering with detail…[but] despite many fine qualities, a little more wit and sparkle wouldn’t hurt.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 ****

“The concerto may sound small-scale to anyone who thinks of this as a big romantic warhorse; it is elegantly phrased by Ott and conductor Esa-Pekka the miniatures there’s a very present quality to both Ott’s playing and the recorded sound...Wedding Day at Troldhaugen comes with a witty scramble to get to the church on time.” The Guardian, 13th October 2016

DG - 4794631



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Chaya Czernowin: The Quiet

Chaya Czernowin: The Quiet

Works for Orchestra


The quiet

Zohar iver (Blind radiance)


White wind waiting

At the fringe of our gaze

In The Quiet (2010) and Zohar Iver (2011) Chaya Czernowin reached a turning point: a new orientation which continued in works such as Esh (2012), At the fringe of our gaze (2012/2013), and White Wind Waiting (2013). “As I was writing ‘The Quiet’, I was conscious that I had already been wishing for this change for ten years. In retrospect, I see all these orchestral works as a kind of corridor through which I arrived at a new path.” This “new path” marked Chaya Czernowin’s shift toward a musical language in which space and gesture became the focus of compositional interest, as did the discovery of processes for musical movement and an accompanying change in perspective.

The Quiet, Zohar Iver, and Esh [the Hebrew word for “fire”] form a group of works which Chaya Czernowin calls The Crescendo Trilogy, because in all three pieces different kinds of crescendos play a central role: in The Quiet, an exponential increase in volume ends the piece, while in Zohar Iver, the crescendo is interrupted with the entrance of the pedal point before the end.

At the fringe of our gaze, for orchestra and a concertino group, was written in response to a commission from Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. It is music consisting of highly differentiated layers of sound, which rise from the depths and ascend to the highest heights. The work – with which Chaya Czernowin wanted to introduce her music to the orchestra’s young musicians – is intended to focus on border areas of perception.

As diverse as Chaya Czernowin’s individual creative phases are, there has always been in her musical language a distinctive way of working with the characteristics of individual sounds, developed with the most refined rhythmic, coloristic, and sound nuances; there is also a deliberate search for emotional extremes, which always give the pieces a physical and existential power.

“Less is more, as the saying goes. It’s a paradox that Chaya Czernowin pushes to the hilt here, crafting orchestral soundscapes that manage – somehow – to be monumentally minuscule, enormously small…impressive, and the instrumental filigree is precisely rendered by the five different orchestras” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

Wergo - WER73192



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Live-Recording, Munich, Herkulessaal, October 2015




Romanian Rhapsody in A major, Op. 11 No. 1


Rhapsody in Blue

Denis Matsuev (piano)


Hungarian Rhapsody, S244 No. 2 in C sharp minor


Rapsodie Espagnole

This latest CD from BR KLASSIK contains five great rhapsodies, devised and elaborated by very different composers from different regions, with a lot of imagination and local flavour. With his rhapsody "España" the Frenchman Emmanuel Chabrier focused on the Iberian music and folk music so popular at the time, as did his more famous compatriot Maurice Ravel with his "Rhapsodie espagnole", the four-movement structure of which still harks back to long-outdated symphonic forms. From the Hungarian-born Franz Liszt we have the famous "Hungarian Rhapsody" No. 2, and from the Romanian composer George Enescu the scarcely less famous and popular "Romanian Rhapsody". The American George Gershwin created what was probably the most famous example of the genre in the 20th century with his "Rhapsody in Blue" for piano and orchestra… The Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under their chief conductor Mariss Jansons are a guarantee of outstanding interpretative quality for these large-scale rhapsodic musical works. The Russian pianist Denis Matusev – internationally famous ever since he won the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1998 – proves to be a sovereign and stylistically confident interpreter of George Gershwin’s concertante masterpiece, with its numerous jazz elements. The live recording of this concert was made in October 2015 in the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz.

“Ravel’s achingly sensuous Rapsodie espagnole receives the finest performance here, infused with infectious warmth that is sensually beguiling.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2016 ****

“[the Ravel] is played with a satisfying balance of exactitude and flair…[the Gershwin is] full of fire and fun, despite the occasional overindulgence” Gramophone Magazine, October 2016

“This disc is a bit of a guilty pleasure.” MusicWeb International, 21st October 2016

BR Klassik - 900146



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Beethoven: Symphonies 1/2/3

Beethoven: Symphonies 1/2/3

Live from Suntory Hall, Tokyo, 2012


Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21

Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36

Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 'Eroica'

Individual release from the previously released complete edition (107537).

Ludwig van Beethoven was the first hero of bourgeois musical life. Although Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had already made the transition from the older feudal and ecclesiastical traditions to the new culture of public concerts, periodicals and amateur music-making, Beethoven was the first composer to see himself as an artist who represented this bourgeois music culture as an individual, rather than simply supplying music for it, as composers had previously done for the church or the aristocracy.

Beethoven‘s first three symphonies can be seen as experiments in the heroic style. What is intimated in the First Symphony (1800) in a new firmness of musical tone and the replacement of dancelike, elegantly fl owing intonations by scherzo and march, takes on more concrete form in the Second Symphony (1803). This is a monumental symphony – a fact that escapes today’s listeners for the simple reason that it was followed by the Third, which is even more expansive in its design. This Third Symphony (1805), called “Eroica”, is approximately twice as long as any symphony by Haydn and one of most popular orchestral works by Beethoven.

Special Feature: Mariss Jansons rehearses Beethoven (Bonus film, 44 mins)

Sound Formats: PCM Stereo, DD 5.0

Picture Format: 16:9

Subtitles Bonus: GB


Running Time: 116 mins + 44 mins (Bonus)

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