Vladimir Ashkenazy

Conductor

Vladimir Ashkenazy

Vladimir Ashkenazy is renowned for his performances of Romantic and Russian composers. He has recorded the complete 24 Preludes and Fugues of Shostakovich, Scriabin's sonatas, Chopin and Schumann's entire works for piano, Beethoven's piano sonatas, as well as the piano concertos of Mozart, Beethoven, Bartók, Prokofiev, and Rachmaninoff. He has also performed and recorded chamber music. He continues to record and perform internationally.

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Tchaikovsky: Esther Yoo

Tchaikovsky: Esther Yoo


Tchaikovsky:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35

Swan Lake: Pas de deux

Swan Lake: Danse Russe

Sérénade Mélancolique for Violin & Orchestra in B minor, Op. 26

Valse-scherzo in C major for violin & orchestra (or violin & piano), Op. 34

Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op. 42: Mélodie in E flat major


Following the success of her debut, Sibelius∙Glazunov Violin Concertos achieving Gold in South Korea, Esther Yoo reveals her second album Tchaikovsky which has one of the most famous classic repertoire, Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and short works of Tchaikovsky such as Pas de Deux, Danse Russe from Swan lake, Sérénade mélancolique, Valse-Scherzo and Souvenir d’un lieu cher.

Born in New Jersey, the U.S., she came to international attention as she won the First Prize in the Junior Section of the International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in 2006. She became the third prizewinner of the 10th International Sibelius Violin Competition in 2010 and the fourth in the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2012. She has performed with renowned conductors such as Lorin Maazel and Vladimir Ashkenazy since she was a teenager.

“Yoo is best at the more introspective side of the work, namely a thoughtful first-movement cadenza and muted songfulness in the Canzonetta…Best here are Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia, natural grace personified.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 ***/****

“Yoo, the youngest-ever winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2012, is clearly already an accomplished artist. Her dark, aristocratic tone is treasurable, yet one senses she isn’t forcing unnecessarily for vulgar effect. She plays with compact vibrato and can pare her sound down to a fine pianissimo without her 1704 ‘Prince Obolensky’ Stradivarius ever sounding undernourished…a most attractive disc” Gramophone Magazine, August 2017

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DG - 4815032

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Artyomov: Symphony

Artyomov: Symphony

In memoriam Mstislav Rostropovich


Artyomov:

Symphony - On the Threshold of a Bright World

Ave Atque Vale

Ave, Crux Alba


Vyacheslav Artyomov is considered by many to be Russia’s greatest living composer. After the fall of the Soviet regime his music has travelled the world to great acclaim. It is deep, ultimately spiritual and brilliantly crafted, with influences from the Russian symphonic tradition colored by Mahler, Honegger and Messiaen to name a few – but melded into a unique voice. This is one of a pair of related albums and contains a Symphony which is the second of his gigantic symphonic tetralogy “Symphony of the Way”, commissioned by Mstislav Rostropovich to whose memory the disc is dedicated.

The symphony is accompanied by another major work, Ave Atque Vale for percussion and orchestra, and the much more traditional Ave, Crux Alba – a setting of the Hymn of the Knights of Malta. The conductor, Ashkenazy, needs no introduction, being one of the most lauded and accomplished figures in music today. Overall, this is a disc of high importance in the symphonic repertoire (world premiere recordings).

“Characterful performances, vividly recorded.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2017

“Not an easy listen but plenty to intrigue and enthral if you have a moderately tough resolve and an inclination to explore.” MusicWeb International, 19th December 2016

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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92


Vladimir Ashkenazy recorded three of the Beethoven symphonies for Decca and this coupling of two of the most popular date from the early 1980s. They are grand and expressive readings, at once thrilling and visionary.

“the slow movement […] has that feeling of spontaneous live performance which has marked most of Ashkenazy’s conducting on record … The recording […] is wide-ranging in the spread of stereo and warmly atmospheric” Gramophone Magazine (Symphony No. 5)

“a warmly spontaneous, generally direct reading taken at sensible unexaggerated speeds […] there are few modern Beethoven recordings so satisfying or more alive than this with sound – recorded in Kingsway Hall – which sets new standards against any rival version, full and spacious yet warmly co-ordinated” Gramophone Magazine, November 1984 (Symphony No. 7)

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Sibelius & Glazunov: Violin Concertos

Sibelius & Glazunov: Violin Concertos


Glazunov:

Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82

Grand Adagio

Sibelius:

Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47

Suite for Violin & Strings Op. 117


Vladimir Ashkenazy collaborates with Esther Yoo in a new recording of Sibelius and Glazunov Violin Concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Yoo first came to international attention in 2010 when, aged 16, she became the youngest prize-winner of the 10th International Sibelius Violin Competition. She made her London debut in 2014, performing Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 under the late Lorin Maazel at Royal Festival Hall. That same year, she was a soloist on the Philharmonia’s South America tour under Ashkenazy.

“While it’s the strength and passion of her playing [in the Sibelius] that shines through rather than an especially individual take on the work, hers is a rounded, vibrant performance...[The Glazunov] should be heard more often; Yoo is a convincing advocate, lavishing thick, dark tone on its long melodies, though occasionally making the ends of phrases sound blunt.” The Guardian, 18th February 2016 ***

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Borodin: Symphonies 1 & 2 & Polovtsian Dances

Borodin: Symphonies 1 & 2 & Polovtsian Dances


Borodin:

Symphony No. 1 in E flat major

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Valéry Gergiev

Symphony No. 2 in B minor

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Valéry Gergiev

Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances

London Opera Chorus & Philharmonia Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy


Borodin’s First Symphony was one of his earliest large-scale works and shows a great increase of technical skill over anything he had done before. Of course, it was a brave decision on Borodin’s part to undertake a symphony when he had little experience of large-scale form and none of orchestration. The influence of Schumann is rather apparent, although the example of Berlioz is more heeded in the imaginative and many­hued orchestration.

The Second Symphony is one of Borodin’s masterpieces, finding the composer at the height of his capabilities. Given its strong musical ties with Prince Igor, outlined in Max Harrison’s booklet note, the filler on this CD – the ‘Polovtsian Dances’ from Prince Igor is particularly apt. What’s more, it’s the first international release of the Ashkenazy recording made in 1983 and coupled on the original LP with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

“The Rotterdam orchestra is afforded a richness and sonority, plus an overall bloom on strings, winds and brass alike, which is most appealing” Gramophone Magazine, August 1991 (Gergiev)

“excellently recorded … Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances are vividly done” Gramophone Magazine, November 1983 (Ashkenazy)

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Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 & Overtures

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 & Overtures


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 'Pastoral'

Egmont Overture, Op. 84

Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72b


With the latter Beethoven broke new ground in exploring the potential of the symphony, both in terms of its subject matter and its qualities as descriptive music. The title of each movement outlines what is being portrayed, and in the case of the bird-calls at the end of the second movement, Beethoven made a point of instructing his copyist to include the names of the birds (nightingale, quail, cuckoo) in the score!Many, many recordings have been made of Beethoven’s popular ‘Pastoral’ symphony but one sometimes overlooked is Ashkenazy’s ideally-paced, picturesque and oh-so-lyrical account of this great work. It is coupled with two of the composer’s most popular overtures – Egmont and Leonore No.3.

“These early digital recordings are actually quite fine, with a slightly glassy upper sheen to the sound but still sounding nicely detailed and transparent...there is a sense of pleasant nostalgia about this early 1980s programme, and Ashkenazy’s performances deserve to maintain their place in the catalogue.” MusicWeb International, 16th September 2013

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Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto

Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto


Tchaikovsky:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35

Valse-scherzo in C major for violin & orchestra (or violin & piano), Op. 34

Sérénade Mélancolique for Violin & Orchestra in B minor, Op. 26

Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op. 42

Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano)


After his acclaimed recording of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, for Onyx Classics, and current Gramophone CD of the Month [on Chandos], James Ehnes once again collaborates with Vladimir Ashkenazy for a Tchaikovsky programme, recorded live in Sydney. This CD contains Tchaikovsky’s complete works for violin and orchestra, plus a delightful bonus of the 'Souvenir d’un lieu cher' accompanied by Ashkenazy on piano.

“Ehnes is not a violinist to use bravura as an end in itself...His dexterity is a marvel of lightness and precision in the finale, but it is consistently aimed towards a musical goal, the range of tone beautifully judged and, as in the first movement, the structure and direction kept in clear view. This is a consummate performance...All in all, the disc makes a fine start to 2012.” The Telegraph, 5th January 2012

“Ehnes’s virtuosity impresses on account of its virtue. He makes a ravishing sound and meets every technical challenge thrown at him with utterly reliable intonation, tonal consistency and beautifully controlled articulation. What distinguishes him, however, is an almost self-effacing intelligence.” Sunday Times, 8th January 2012

“The sound of Ehnes's violin is especially full and expressive; it's not the kind of tone Tchaikovsky would have recognised but it sound gorgeous and allows him to rise to the concerto's lyrical high spots with considerable intensity. Even his muted tone in the Canzonetta is exceptionally warm and resonant. He clearly enjoys demonstrating his ability as a virtuoso, making this one of the most exciting accounts of the finale I can remember.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2012

“Ehnes and Ashkenazy deliver a particularly beautiful account of the slow movement...Ehnes demonstrates his characteristically phenomenal technical assurance while bringing out all the fire in the music too...their disc can be recommended warmly not only for the excellent if occasionally strait-laced Concerto but - above all - for the other pieces, which have seldom been recorded with such poise and poetry.” International Record Review, February 2012

“I found this disc a marvellous experience, both technically and musically, and it has already qualified as one of my discs of the year...The key word that characterises his playing is grace. Right from the off, his playing glows with such beauty that the violin seems to have a singing quality that suits this music right to the core...This is the finest reading of the concerto that I have come across in a very long time, and I urge lovers of the work to hear it.” Musical Opinion, 12th June 2012

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Vladimir Ashkenazy conducts Mahler & Schoenberg

Vladimir Ashkenazy conducts Mahler & Schoenberg


Mahler:

Symphony No. 3

Iris Vermillion (mezzo-soprano)

Staats-und Domchor Berlin, Knabenchor an der Hochscule der Künste Berlin & Frauen des Rundfunkchors Berlin

Schoenberg:

Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5


Recording locations: Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin, Germany, January 1996 (Schoenberg); Konzerthaus Schauspielhaus, Berlin, Germany, June/August 1995 (Mahler)

Two gargantuan late-Romantic Austrian works are coupled on this very rare recording by Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin. The recording had limited release in Germany and this is its first international release.

Mahler’s Third Symphony is the longest symphony by any composer to be part of the basic repertoire and, at first, had subtitles attached to each of the movements. But the composer had a distrust for programmatic music and by the time the symphony was published and premiered, these verbal explications had been removed.

Mahler and Schoenberg met in 1904 at a rehearsal of Schoenberg’s string sextet Verklärte Nacht. The older composer became a defender of Schoenberg’s work, conducting it when he could. Schoenberg, whose outlook on Mahler’s work was at first unfavourable, was bowled over by the Third Symphony and regarded it as a work of genius. His own Pelleas und Melisande based on Maurice Maeterlinck's play, is a gargantuan symphonic poem and was his first completed orchestral work. The orchestral forces (as with the Mahler Symphony) are huge, and although Schoenberg includes no vocal parts, the orchestra is handled with considerable bravura and includes 64 strings (plus two harps), 17 woodwinds, 18 brass and 8 percussion.

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James Ehnes plays Mendelssohn

James Ehnes plays Mendelssohn


Mendelssohn:

Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64

Philharmonia Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy

Octet in E flat major, Op. 20

Seattle Chamber Music Octet


James Ehnes (violin)

Mendelssohn’s E minor violin concerto is one of the composer’s greatest works, and one of the most popular violin concertos in the repertoire.

Making his first recording of the work, James Ehnes is partnered by Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia, recorded live.

The astonishingly precocious Octet, written when Mendelssohn was just 16, is given a sparking and vivacious performance by James and his friends from the Seattle Chamber Music Society.

His previous ONYX release of the Paganini 24 Caprices was universally praised by reviewers worldwide.

“Ehnes’s gorgeous, supple tone is combined with that instinct for a composer’s distinctive character that makes his interpretations so compelling. Ashkenazy conducts with delicacy and strength...Ehnes’s innate sensibility draws him into the music’s milieu for a performance that is outstanding and unreservedly recommended.” The Telegraph, 19th November 2010 *****

“Brisk tempi mark out James Ehnes's reading of Mendelssohn's perennial concerto; there is nothing cloying or sentimental, even in the luscious slow movement where lesser violinists are tempted to wallow. Instead, he gives a beautifully sincere, unaffected performance” The Observer, 21st November 2010

“The first thing that hits you about Ehnes's reading is the rhythmic propulsion of the concerto's outer movements, which lifts the music, revealing its glorious bone-structure...the sense is of a joyous, exhilarating ride rather than anything overly driven...Another aspect which is particularly winning is the creaminess of Ehnes's lower register...this is absolutely up there with the best of them.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2011

“His tone...is sweet in all registers and the intonation true” International Record Review, January 2011

“The Octet has rarely sounded more symphonic as Ehnes and his Seattle friends demonstrate all the energy and wit of chamber playing at its most dazzling. Ehnes gives an elegant, refined account of the Violin Concerto that highlights its unconventional structure, but it's not without emotion. Including the exhilarating Octet makes it unmissable.” Classic FM Magazine, March 2011 *****

“Ehnes nevertheless manages to rejuvenate the work and illuminate it in new ways; but to be honest, I've chosen this disc at least as much for the Octet as for the Concerto. The Seattle Chamber Music Octet produce a gloriously rich sound that gripped me from the opening bars!” David Smith, Presto Classical, December 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2011

Onyx - ONYX4060

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Elgar: Symphony No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 55

Elgar: Symphony No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 55


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Exton - EXCL00027

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