Presto News - 15th October 2007
Lucerne Festival Orchestra
The Lucerne Festival Orchestra is an ad hoc seasonal orchestra, based at the annual Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. The history of the orchestra dates back to Toscanini and 1938, but being ad hoc it has come and gone several times since then. The latest reincarnation came in 2003 at the instigation of Claudio Abbado.
Lucerne Festival Orchestra
The orchestra is hand-picked each year by Abbado from some of the cream of the Europe’s instrumentalists, including many soloists and chamber musicians. From the principals of the Berlin Philharmonic to the members of the Alban Berg Quartet, each summer they all gather and rehearse for 10 days and then perform at the festival. In 2006 they also began touring afterwards and this year made their proms debut in an outstanding performance of Mahler 3.
That performance (coming just a few days after those brilliant youngsters from Venezuela) attracted huge critical acclaim, described by Guardian critic Andrew Clements as ’perhaps the greatest orchestra I've ever heard’, and by Richard Morrison in the Times as ’one of the ad hoc wonders of the world’.
I think what makes the orchestra so outstanding is the transparency of textures and radiance of the sound. Abbado puts huge emphasis on the musicians listening to each other (as they would if they were in a string quartet) and this combined with such high calibre players results in performances of breathtaking beauty.
In the last few years a handful of live recordings have appeared on DVD and an excellent Mahler 2 on CD. They've also just released a CD of Bruckner 4 on their own label which had an excellent write up in the Guardian a few weeks ago. I've had quite a few enquiries about this and so we've managed to source it directly from the festival as they otherwise don't have any UK distribution. It is a bit more expensive than I would ideally like, but I've been listening to it all this week and I can tell you it is well worth it.
Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 in Eb Major 'Romantic'
Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado
Chris O'Reilly - firstname.lastname@example.org
15th October 2007
Another bumper batch of releases this week including new discs from Biondi, Boulez and Bebbington!
Bach: Dialogue Cantatas
Thomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone) & Dorothea Röschmann (soprano)
Thomas Quasthoff makes a welcome return to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach with a collection of the 'Dialogue' Cantatas BWV 49, 57, and 152. One of today’s greatest baritones with his most celebrated repertoire.
Beethoven: Violin Concerto and ‘Kreutzer' Sonata
Following his recent signing to DG, Vadim Repin releases his first solo recording in four years. Teaming up with the Wiener Philharmoniker, Riccardo Muti and Martha Argerich, it is an all-star cast and looks set to become the first of many recordings for the famous yellow label.
Dvorák, Fibich & Martinu: Piano Trios
A lovely disc of Czech Piano Trios, with the Fibich a real discovery to me. This CD promises to be a worthy successor to their previous album (SU38722) which received a number of awards including the 2007 BBC Music Magazine Chamber Award and the Diapason d’Or.
The Smetanas have this glorious music in their blood.' - Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times
Mahler: Symphony No. 8 in E flat major 'Symphony of the Thousand'
Staatskapelle Berlin, Pierre Boulez
Vivaldi: Concerti per viola d’amore
Fabio Biondi (viola d’amore), Europa Galante
For his new recording Fabio Biondi swaps his violin for the viola d’amore (as did Vivaldi), performing both as soloist and conductor and returns to his champion composer, Vivaldi, for a complete programme of concertos for viola d’amore. With these concertos he explores the unusual instrument, famed for its distinctive, silvery timbre.
Elgar for Solo Piano
A fascinating coupling featuring rising star pianist Mark Bebbington playing Karl-Elert's arrangement of Elgar's first symphony and Alan Bush's Sonata composed in 1921. Recorded at the Symphony Hall Birmingham this is a very exciting issue and follows on from Mark Bebbington’s previously critically acclaimed releases.
Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante
Julia Fischer & Gordon Nikolic
Little introduction needed as the Gramophone Artist of the year completes her series of Mozart’s complete works for violin and orchestra.
Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake, Op. 20
Orchestra of the Mariinsky (Kirov) Theatre, St. Petersburg, Valery Gergiev
Valery Gergiev has never before recorded Tchaikovsky's greatest ballet score (his recordings of The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty have always been best-sellers). This recording with the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, who have Tchaikovsky's music in their blood, has a fair chance then of becoming the definitive CD recording of this essential classic.
BBC Radio 3 CD Review
Saturday 13th October 2007
Building a Library - Albéniz: Iberia
Rafael Orozco (piano)
CD of the Week
Ah! mio cor - Handel arias
Copyright © 2002-17 Presto Classical Limited, all rights reserved.