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Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Mahler: Symphony No. 5


All Mahler scholars have agreed from the very start that Gustav Mahler embarked on an entirely new path with his Fifth Symphony. Even for his immediate contemporaries, such as the conductor Bruno Walter or the music critic Paul Bekker, the Fifth marked the beginning of a new creative phase, and Mahler himself was also keenly aware of this – which is why he was all the more upset by the fact that his work was not understood at its premiere in Cologne in October 1904 and, even later, met with a largely negative reception. In 1905, following an unsuccessful performance in Hamburg, the composer complained: "The Fifth is an accursed work. No-one understands it.” It was only after Mahler’s death in May 1911 that people slowly began to appreciate the piece. The Fifth ranks today as one of Mahler's most popular symphonies. This is due in part to Luchino Visconti's 1971 film adaptation of Thomas Mann's novella ‘Death in Venice’, which used the symphony’s world-famous Adagietto to great effect: the movement enjoyed unanimous approval from the very start, and has now advanced to become Mahler's ‘greatest hit’ and the most famous work in his entire oeuvre. In its structure, the symphony does not follow the classic four-movement form, but presents us with five movements in three sections. Conceptually, Mahler relies on methods he had already tried and tested in the work’s great predecessors, the Second and Third Symphonies. The centerpiece of the work is a lengthy scherzo full of grotesque humour, inspired by Jean Paul, while its resting-point is the Adagietto, which certainly bears many of the hallmarks of Mahler's slow movements. The harsher sound of this symphony ushered in a new creative phase for Mahler – one that he developed further in the Sixth. The maximum use he makes of the tonal means available already clearly anticipates the Ninth, in which he begins to abandon tonality altogether and encompass the transcendental aspect of the music. This Munich concert event of March 2016, now released as a CD by BR KLASSIK, is an outstanding interpretation of one of the most important compositions of the international symphonic repertoire of the early 20th century.

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Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 'Choral'

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 'Choral'

Live recording, Aula Paolo VI, Vatikan in Rome, 27.10.2007


Hollow pathos is not his thing. From an artist like Mariss Jansons, Friedrich Schiller’s ode An die Freude has a far deeper significance, which also fully encompasses the doubt and profound hope embodied in this text. And thus, in Jansons’s recording of the Ninth Symphony, the choral finale does not degenerate to a merely superficial jubilation, but rather becomes a delicately balanced, wisely developed drama. On October 27 2007, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks played Beethoven’s Ninth in the presence of the Pope in the Vatican. The recording of this memorable concert is now being released by BR-KLASSIK.

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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 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

“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 *****

“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 ***

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

“I can’t think of a Ninth with less neurasthenic edge and a more inviting legato character. The playing [is] of predictable finesse…its restrained expressivity and cultured sound provide easeful balm for difficult times” Gramophone Magazine, May 2017

“What is special is the care [Jansons] the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the engineers have taken with the quieter music: those haunting, shadowy transitions in the Andante; those remote, blanched contrapuntal episodes in the finale. And the final fade-out must surely be among the most fine-spun on record” BBC Music Magazine, June 2017 ****

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BR-KLASSIK Greatest Moments

BR-KLASSIK Greatest Moments

CD Sampler plus Catalogue 2016


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Mariss Jansons conducts Dvorak & Suk

Mariss Jansons conducts Dvorak & Suk


Dvorak:

Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88

Live Recording, Munich, Gasteig, Philharmonie 29. – 30.01.2016

Carnival Overture, Op. 92

Live Recording, Munich, Gasteig, Philharmonie 29. – 30.01.2016

Suk:

Serenade for String Orchestra in E flat, Op. 6

Studio Recording, Munich, 25.01.2016


Dvořák's lyrical and cheerful Eighth Symphony, which premiered successfully in Prague on February 2, 1890, is one of the famous Bohemian composer's most often-played works. He succeeded here "in writing a work different from my other symphonies, with individual thoughts elaborated in a new way". Every movement and every melody in this music reflects the fact that it was wholly inspired by the landscape of Bohemia. Dvořák's close familiarity with and love of Slavonic folk music can be clearly heard, as can his deep preoccupation with the symphonies of Tchaikovsky: the rhapsodic Adagio and the waltz-like Scherzo, for example, in their melodic inventiveness as well as their formal structure, are both highly reminiscent of the famous Russian composer. – Alongside Dvořák's much-performed Ninth Symphony, his Eighth is a further masterpiece of late 19th-century instrumental music. Josef Suk's Serenade for Strings of 1892 is far more than a mere time-filler on this CD. The first successful composition by this budding Czech composer – who was Dvořák's pupil and son-in-law – is audibly influenced by the musical and aesthetic ideas of his teacher and mentor, but is also a highly individual work in its own right and an important example of the genre. In the recordings of the two concerts performed in the Philharmonie im Gasteig on January 29 and 30, 2016, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under Mariss Jansons successfully demonstrated that Dvořák's traditional yet visionary symphonic writing continues to retain all its validity today: the interpretation is sensitive, dynamic and majestic. Suk's Serenade for Strings was recorded in a studio only a few days beforehand.

Exciting live atmosphere (Dvořák) combined with a studio production (Suk).

Programme contains important works of late 19th-century Czech instrumental music.

Recording of a concert that took place as recently as January 29 and 30, 2016 together with a studio production on January 25, 2016

The Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under its chief conductor Mariss Jansons, regularly praised for his special sensitivity where Slavonic music is concerned.

“Tempi are relaxed and phrases are lovingly caressed, dabbed with generous applications of rubato…another virtue is the sheer beauty of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra’s playing, not only in terms of tonal refinement but internal balance” Gramophone Magazine, July 2016

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BR Klassik - 900145

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Mariss Jansons conducts Brahms Symphonies

Mariss Jansons conducts Brahms Symphonies


Brahms:

Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)


This three CD Box Set presents the complete cycle of Brahms’ symphonies, as performed by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under the direction of Mariss Jansons. It puts the finishing touch on the complete performance of Johannes Brahms’ symphonic works, compositions oriented around the creativity of his great role model, yet in many ways also forward-looking and innovative.

The beauty of Brahmsian symphonic creativity comes to full fruition in these live recordings from the Musikverein in Vienna and the Herkulessaal in Munich under the direction of Mariss Jansons.

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BR Klassik - 900140

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Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame

Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame

Live-Recording, Munich, Philharmonie, October 2014


Misha Didyk (Herman), Tatiana Serjan (Lisa), Larissa Diadkova (Countess), Alexey Shishlyaev (Tomskij and Plutus), Alexey Markov (Yeletzki)

Kinderchor der Bayerischen Staatsoper & Chor and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons

In its history as a concert orchestra, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks has also devoted itself on numerous occasions to opera, under such eminent conductors as Rafael Kubelik and Leonard Bernstein. Chief conductor Mariss Jansons also maintains the tradition, for example with concert performances of Russian operas such as "Eugene Onegin". BR-KLASSIK now presents the 2014 live recording in Munich's Philharmonie im Gasteig of the semi-staged performance of Tchaikovsky's late masterpiece "The Queen of Spades". With great connoisseurship, Mariss Jansons has brought together a group of singers for this performance in original Russian who are all native speakers of the language, and very familiar with the work. They include Misha Didyk as Hermann, Tatiana Serjan as Lisa, and Alexey Markov as Prince Yeletsky.

Booklet: in German & English

Libretto: in German, Russian & English

“Didyk’s voice is not intrinsically beautiful, but its throaty, bottled-up sound suits this dark, brooding role well...His encounter with Diadkova’s Countess in her boudoir...chills the blood. Tatiana Serjan has a big, vibrant soprano and offers a Lisa in the grand Russian style. The supporting parts, including Alexey Shishlyaev’s bluff Tomsky, are all brilliantly taken, but this is Jansons’s set: his conducting is edge-of-the-seat stuff.” Sunday Times, 13th September 2015

“Hearing as refined and lustrous an orchestra as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra play Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score is a treat in itself...[Didyk's] confrontation with Larissa Diadkova’s terrific Countess (beautifully paced and detailed by Jansons), is impressive and never topples over into hysteria.” The Guardian, 10th September 2015 ****

“Serjan is a vibrant, fearless Lisa...Hers is a voice with plenty of ‘blade’ when required, yet she can shade it beautifully...[Didyk] surprises with his baritonal depths here as Herman, as well as a ringing top...Diadkova’s Countess happily relies more on secure vocal technique than scary histrionics and Oksana Volkova is a rich-voiced Polina.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2015

GGramophone Awards 2016

Finalist - Opera

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2015

BBC Music Magazine

Christmas Choice

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2016

Opera Finalist

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BR Klassik - 900129

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Beethoven: The Symphonies

Beethoven: The Symphonies

and reflections


Beethoven:

Symphonies Nos. 1-9 (complete)

Kancheli:

Dixi

Šerkšnytė:

Fires

Shchedrin:

Beethovens Heiligenstädter Testament

Staud:

Manai

Widmann, J:

Con brio


“This is an exceptional realisation of Beethoven's nine symphonies, one of those rare occasions when one is left with a feeling of having been in the presence of the thing itself. The key to the cycle's success is the quality of the musicianship...the dramatic and expressive elements are derived from within” Gramophone Magazine, December 2013

“Jansons adopts...an approach which takes into consideration the historically informed approach of the last 30 years, but is still aware of what performances were like in the great German tradition...If you want vigorous conducting, immaculate but lean playing, and unfailingly sprightly tempos in the Beethoven, this set is for you.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 ***

“This set would be eminently recommendable if only for the nine Beethoven symphonies, performed with muscularity and flair.” New York Times, December 2013

GGramophone Awards 2014

Shortlisted - Orchestral

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - December 2013

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BR Klassik - 900119

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Gloria: Highlights of sacred choral music

Gloria: Highlights of sacred choral music


Bach, J S:

Mass in B minor, BWV232: Gloria in excelsis Deo

Concerto Köln, Peter Dijkstra

Magnificat in D major, BWV243: Gloria Patri Filio

Concerto Köln, Peter Dijkstra

St Matthew Passion, BWV244: O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden

Concerto Köln, Peter Dijkstra

St John Passion, BWV245: Herr, unser Herrscher

Concerto Köln, Peter Dijkstra

Beethoven:

Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123: Kyrie

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bernard Haitink

Dvorak:

Eja Mater (from Stabat Mater, Op. 58)

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons

Gounod:

St Cecilia Mass: Kyrie

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons

Handel:

Dixit Dominus, HWV 232: Dixit Dominus

Concerto Köln, Peter Dijkstra

Haydn:

Die Schöpfung: Die Himmel erzählen

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bernard Haitink

Schubert:

Mass No. 2 in G major, D167 - Gloria

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons

Verdi:

Dies Irae (from Requiem)

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons


“Chorus”, the name for a community of singers that evolved in Europe from the Middle Ages onwards, derived from the choros of Ancient Greek theatre. The first polyphony soon arose from the initially purely monophonic Latin church music, sung since Late Antiquity and collected and standardised under Pope Gregory I as Gregorian chant. The Renaissance then brought forth complex types of polyphonic a cappella works; these reached new heights during the course of the 16th century in multiple choirs, bringing new experiences in sound through the juxtaposition - whenever space allowed - of several choirs inside churches. The choir became increasingly functional – above all in operas, cantatas and oratorios. By the Late Baroque period, the development stage had been reached that still characterises today’s concept of the choir: a fixed choral ensemble, clearly differentiated from an instrumental one (the orchestra); works of primarily spiritual content; texts in Latin but, increasingly, in national languages as well; and everything gradually becoming more representational in character. The first bourgeois choral societies of the 19th century – the forerunners of today's philharmonic choirs - were ensembles of a size that could compete as well as cooperate with symphonic orchestras. In choral singing, the content - sacred and secular, nationalist and idealist, reactionary and revolutionary – could be expressed with powerful emotion, not only in separate compositions but also in choral numbers extracted from their former, broader contexts. As the 19th century progressed, combinations of popular pieces appeared that were seldom coherent in terms of their content but still sounded highly impressive (in a musical context this is not referred to as an anthology but more usually as a Florilegium), and it is these that still determine today’s concert programmes.

The Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks can be heard here performing highlights of sacred choral music dating from the Baroque period to modern times. Even today, three hundred years later, the large oratorio choirs by Bach and Handel are as vivid, realistic and captivating as ever. Haydn succeeded in preserving this for the sacred music of the Wiener Klassik era, which reached its peak in Beethoven's Missa solemnis. The heartfelt masses composed by Schubert are typical of early German Romanticism, Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass is the French equivalent here, and Dvořák's Stabat mater represents Bohemian Romanticism of the mid- to late 19th century. Verdi's famous Messa da Requiem testifies to the close relationship between Italian opera and Italian church music. The Mass written just before the end of World War II by the Hungarian composer Kodály is still Late Romantic in its musical language, while in his Berlin Mass, written shortly before the start of the 20th century, the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt maintains the Tintinnabuli style that informs and inspires his work.

“From Bach through Haydn and Beethoven to Verdi, the Bavarian Radio Choir, one of the best in Germany, shows great versatility in this selection of recordings marking its 70th birthday.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2017 ****

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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

“Jansons holds the tension throughout as part of a sensitive, deeply-thought reading to leave the listener in a reflective mood…the music provides a moving experience.” classicalsource.com, April 2017 *****

“Beauties, thrills (heroic trumpets) and – appropriately – highs abound in Jansons’s unerringly symphonic approach that journeys and paints pictures and does so compellingly” Classical Ear, 11th April 2017 *****

“Live recordings…with character and excitement. The Alpine Symphony storm is impressively gutsy.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2017 ****

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