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This world premiere of Leos Janacek´s opera, Sarka, in CD format is the last title making complete the series of Janacek opera recordings. The young Janacek began to write his first opera in 1887; in the following year he discontinued work on it and laid the unfinished opus aside. By the time he returned to Sarka, in 1918, he was a mature and respected composer. He then made a number of changes in the vocal parts, and involved his pupil Osvald Chlubna in work on the instrumentation of Act Three. Sarka was premiered by the Brno National Theatre, in November 1925. In its final version, the opera offers a combined projection of the youthful Janacek enchanted by the 1880s Romantic music, and the sophisticatedly original Janacek widely knownf for his masterpieces, Jenufa and Kata Kabanova. This project brought together a brilliant team of artists: the internationally renowned Janackian conductor and scholar Sir Charles Mackerras; star singers Eva Urbanova and Peter Straka as Sarka and Ctirad; and the excellent Czech Philharmonic Orchestra backed by the Czech Philharmonic Choir. For this particular occasion Universal Edition Wien produced new, critically revised performing material and score. This complete CD set of Janacek´s Sarka ranks at the top of Supraphon´s list of exclusive titles.
“This landmark performance should convert many.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2008
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Music for violin and piano written or transcribed by Fritz Kreisler
“Leonidas Kavakos's Kreisler is authentic in the best meaning of that term, namely a keen approximation both of the music's spirit and of the composer's inimitable playing style. Few Kreisler recitals have recalled, in so much minute detail, the warmth, elegance and gentlemanly musical manners of the master himself. It was an inspired idea to open the programme with that nostalgic evocation of Old Vienna, the eight-minute VienneseRhapsodic Fantasietta, a Korngold sound-alike that can't waltz without smiling wistfully or even shedding the odd tear. Kavakos has mastered that lilting 3/4 to a T. His tone is uncannily familiar – cooler and less vibrant perhaps than Kreisler's own during the earlier part of his recording career but with a similarly consistent (though never overbearing) vibrato. But don't imagine that these performances are mere imitations: an individual personality does come through, it's just that a Kreislerian accent has become part of the mix – at least for the purposes of this recital. The programme has been very well chosen, ending with what are surely Kreisler's three most famous miniatures – Liebesleid, Liebesfreud and Caprice viennois. The Slavonic Fantasie after Dvorák is among the most interesting, incorporating as it does the first of the four RomanticPieces. Cyril Scott's Lotus Land is haunting and exotic, while Kreisler's own Zigeuner-capriccio provides a fine example of Kavakos's slightly melancholy puckishness. Péter Nagy's stylish accompaniments add yet more flavour to the menu.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
(also available to download from $10.50)
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Oboe Concerto in D minor, RV454
Concerto in D minor, RV566
Concerto for 2 horns, strings & continuo RV539
Cello Concerto in G major, RV413
Chamber Concerto in G minor for flute, oboe, bassoon, violin & continuo, RV107
Flute Concerto, Op. 10 No. 2 in G minor, RV 439 'La notte'
Concerto for Viola d'Amore and Lute in D minor, RV 540
Concerto in F major for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, violin, cello & harpsichord
“It's a nice idea for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment to record a disc of such varied Vivaldian fare. The young women of the orchestra which Vivaldi directed at the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice were as renowned for the range of instruments they could wield as for their virtuosity; so it seems neatly apposite that the OAE, so full of capable soloists itself, should use this music to celebrate its members' own star qualities. And the mixture is a wide one:three solo concertos; a rare Concerto for two horns; the deservedly popular Concerto for lute and viola d'amore, two concertos for typically extravagant Vivaldian multiple lineups; and one of those chamber concertos in which all the players are soloists. The OAE play with great expertise and good taste throughout. Judging by the list in the booklet, they use a relatively large body of strings, but, although this is noticeable, there's no feeling of heaviness, and indeed the use of two double basses gives the sound a substantial foundation which is at the same time deliciously light on its feet. There's a total of 16 soloists listed: among the highlights are David Watkin's habitually assured and intensely musical playing of the Cello Concerto; Lisa Beznosiuk, sensitive as ever in La notte (though struggling a bit against the string sound); Andrew Clark and Roger Montgomery, treading securely and confidently through the Concerto for two horns; Anthony Robson, a little under the note sometimes but showing good breath control and phrasing in the Oboe Concerto; and a fairylight performance of the Concerto for lute and viola d'amore from Elizabeth Kenny and Catherine Mackintosh.
The performances are all directorless, and there was the odd place where a guiding hand might have pepped things up (or stopped the theorbo from twiddling so much in the slow movement of the Cello Concerto), but in general this is a relaxed and convivial Vivaldi programme that one can simply sit back and enjoy.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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