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.

“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

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BR Klassik - 900149

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Fritz Wunderlich – Immortal Beloved

Fritz Wunderlich – Immortal Beloved


Beethoven:

An die ferne Geliebte (To the distant beloved), Op. 98

Heinrich Schmidt (piano)

Haydn:

Ein Wandrer kommt von ferne, Hob.XXXIb:3

Heinrich Schmidt (piano), Walter Weller (violin), Ludwig Beinl (cello)

Fließ leise mein Bächlein, Hob.XXXIa/253 A

Heinrich Schmidt (piano), Walter Weller (violin), Ludwig Beinl (cello)

Ich stehe auf der Heide, Hob.XXXIb:27

Heinrich Schmidt (piano), Walter Weller (violin), Ludwig Beinl (cello)

Es weiden meine Schafe, Hob.XXIa

Heinrich Schmidt (piano), Walter Weller (violin), Ludwig Beinl (cello)

Im Schummern, da kam ich einst zu dir, Hob.XXXIb:36

Heinrich Schmidt (piano), Walter Weller (violin), Ludwig Beinl (cello)

Mein süßes Liebchen, Hob.XXXIa:194

Heinrich Schmidt (piano), Walter Weller (violin), Ludwig Beinl (cello)

Rose weiss Rose rot, Hob.XXXb:10

Heinrich Schmidt (piano), Walter Weller (violin), Ludwig Beinl (cello)

Strauss, R:

Heimliche Aufforderung, Op. 27 No. 3

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Jan Koetsier

Ich trage meine Minne, Op. 32 No. 1

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Jan Koetsier

Ständchen, Op. 17 No. 2

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Jan Koetsier

Morgen, Op. 27 No. 4

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Jan Koetsier

Zueignung, Op. 10 No. 1

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Jan Koetsier


‘It was altogether shocking how absolutely wonderful his voice sounded … so unique, so individual, so clear and authentic – a voice that could be compared to no other.’ Rolando Villazón

‘What he did – there was no one who came close to him. I don’t think he will ever be surpassed.’ Nicolai Gedda

‘The sheer quality of his incredible voice is unique and will always be unique. Fortunately, there is the medium of the gramophone record.’ Peter Schreier

During the eleven years of his career, Wunderlich became a versatile lyric tenor who combined opulence of tone with intellectual weight. After some deliberation he turned to the heavier types of heroic roles before being invited to sing Walther von Stolzing in Wieland Wagner’s production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at Bayreuth. Although his repertoire included Rossini, Donizetti, Strauss, Pfitzner, Stravinsky, Egk, Orff and many oratorio parts, he is chiefly remembered, in the recordings bequeathed to posterity, as a singer of Lieder and an exponent of Mozartian roles (Belmonte, Tamino, Don Ottavio, Ferrando). He breathed fascinating life into these roles with his cultivated tone, refinement, stylistic awareness, intensity and intelligence.

These recordings – partly ‘live’ (Beethoven, Haydn), partly studio (Strauss) – enshrine many of Wunderlich’s quality as a Lieder singer par excellence. Although previously released on Philips CD, for this Eloquence release, the recordings were re-mastered from the original tapes.

“Few performances of An die ferne Geliebte are guilelessly beautiful. Haydn's Scottish and Welsh Folksongs are animated and engaging, with a selection of Strauss Lieder as dessert.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2017 *****

“This [recording] will inform those who come fresh to his singing of his sappy tenor and eager, unaffected, articulate way of using it. These attributes are most apparent in the Beethoven cycle for which he had the almost ideal tone. This is the longing, ardent admirer of the distant beloved to the life. Wunderlich phrases this ever-attractive cycle with a secure legato, a keen feeling for the text and a natural buoyancy that produce the right sense of art concealing art … The charming Haydn settings of Scottish and Welsh folk-songs are just as admirable, especially “Mein süßes Liebchen” where the serenader, out in the frost and snow of winter, begs to be let into his lover's chamber: Wunderlich sings it with just the right brio” Gramophone Magazine, January 1989

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Australian Eloquence - ELQ4826526

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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

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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


Dvorak:

Carnival Overture, Op. 92

Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88

Elizondo:

Danza Latinamericanas

Massenet:

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

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


Dvorak:

Carnival Overture, Op. 92

Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88

Elizondo:

Danza Latinamericanas

Massenet:

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

Blu-ray DTS-HD Master Audio R.1

LPCM Stereo 1080p High Definition

Region Code : worldwide BD 50

“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 - BVD08024

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BR-KLASSIK Greatest Moments

BR-KLASSIK Greatest Moments

CD Sampler plus Catalogue 2016


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BR Klassik - 900003

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Shostakovich: Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Shostakovich: Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2


Shostakovich:

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.

“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 ****

“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 ****

“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 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

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

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Decca - 4830835

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Alice Sara Ott: Wonderland

Alice Sara Ott: Wonderland


Grieg:

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 Salonen...in 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


Czernowin:

The quiet

Zohar iver (Blind radiance)

Esh

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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