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Szymanowski & Karlowicz: Violin Concertos

Szymanowski & Karlowicz: Violin Concertos


Karlowicz:

Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 8

Szymanowski:

Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35

Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61


This SACD recording brings together some of Chandos’ greatest artists in a spellbinding programme.

It follows performances that The Guardian described as ‘a thrilling show of ferocity and feistiness’, given by the same forces in January at the Barbican. After widely acclaimed recordings of Walton’s and Lutosławski’s violin concertos, Tasmin Little again joins the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner, in intensely expressive interpretations of the concertos by the Polish composers Karłowicz and Szymanowski.

All were written within the space of a generation (1902, 1916, and 1933), and yet they belong to quite different worlds. One was composed at a time of national occupation, another in the throes of wartime, and yet another at a time of national renewal. The first inhabits the lyrical tradition developed by Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky, the second escapes towards Debussy and the exoticism of Mediterranean influences, while the third is imbued with the folk culture of the Tatra Mountains.

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Elgar: Symphony No. 1 & Introduction and Allegro

Elgar: Symphony No. 1 & Introduction and Allegro


Elgar:

Introduction & Allegro for strings, Op. 47

Doric String Quartet

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


This new Elgar surround-sound recording brings together some of Chandos’ finest exclusive British artists for the first time.

The Doric String Quartet – highly praised for its series of Haydn and Schubert quartets – joins the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner in the Introduction and Allegro, one of Elgar’s masterpieces. Gardner here captures the subtle contrast between the solo quartet and the string ensemble, while also reconciling a wide variety of musical ideas and tempo fluctuations, not least the ever-popular ‘Welsh’ solo viola melody. The full Orchestra then appears in a passionate account of the majestic Symphony No. 1, a much-loved work ever since its premiere in 1906. As well as highly praised Walton and Britten recordings, the enduring relationship between Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra has seen successful series of works by non-British composers such as Szymanowski and Lutosławski. Edward Gardner is also involved in recording projects with many other orchestras, including the Bergen Philharmonic, the CBSO, and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, his latest new collaboration.

“Complex, multi-faceted, subtly changeable Elgar…Gardner is a master of transitions: the gradual transformation of scherzo to slow movement is only the most striking, but there are plenty of others. And what’s most marvellous is the way Gardner, having opened out so many different vistas, draws them all together into a single coherent statement…I’ve rarely heard a performance of this Symphony in which the human triumphs over the monumental so convincingly” BBC Music Magazine, July 2017 *****

“Edward Gardner presides over a dashingly articulate, enviably integrated and deeply-felt account of Elgar's mighty A flat major symphony featuring the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the very top of its game” Classical Ear, 5th April 2017 *****

“a finely nuanced recording of the Introduction and Allegro. In the symphony, Gardner’s feeling for pace and for colour really are top drawer, more measured than some performances but never losing sight of the overall shape of the work, never letting tension slip” Classical Music, July 2017 *****

“Edward Gardner leads a lyrical and bracing account [of the Introduction and Allegro], vying nostalgic reverie with intense drive, Is dotted and Ts crossed yet with plenty of bittersweet ardour and impulsive vitality. The First Symphony is just as impressive. Gardner directs a flowing if flexible account that is very listenable and is particularly revealing of detail, dynamics and sonority.” classicalsource.com, May 2017 *****

“Edward Gardiner has been a dedicated Elgarian since the beginning of his career, and this reading, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, is strikingly mature…traditional in the best sense: brisk, with no exaggerated tempi or dynamics, and especially good at not becoming becalmed in the long first movement, and in the finale” Daily Mail, 23rd April 2017 ****

“The BBCSO under Edward Gardner keeps a grip on the composer’s lavish detail.” Financial Times, 28th April 2017

“[these readings] can and should be applauded for their lucidity and clarity and insightful honesty. There is a major talent at work here – of that there can be no doubt” Gramophone Magazine, May 2017

“The British conductor is a seasoned Elgarian, and he coaxes playing of special splendour here from the brass and strings, which reveal richer sonorities in the saturated textures and brilliant contrapuntal writing.” Sunday Times, 14th May 2017

“Edward Gardner definitely puts refinement before moment-by-moment impact in his first venture into Elgar on disc. His treatment of the Introduction and Allegro…is notable more for its clarity and carefully graded textures than for its bracing athleticism, though it does finally deliver a real punch in the peroration. Gardner adopts a similar slow-burn approach to the First Symphony” The Guardian, 13th April 2017 ****

“Here the BBC Symphony Orchestra is joined by the Doric Quartet, and the result is certainly excellent…Edward Gardner shapes the work [Introduction and Allegro] beautifully.” The Strad, July 2017

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - July 2017

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Edward Gardner conducts Holst & Richard Strauss

Edward Gardner conducts Holst & Richard Strauss


Holst:

The Planets, Op. 32

Strauss, R:

Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30


For its very first album on Chandos, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain devotes its characteristic energy and musical mastery to an explosive programme that transcends daily life and earthly experience. It is helped by the enthusiastic, encouraging, and experienced baton of Edward Gardner as well as by the sumptuous yet detailed acoustic of Symphony Hall, Birmingham, all fully revealed in this surround-sound recording.

Their performance of Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra and Holst’s The Planets is already a point of reference in the UK after the immensely successful Prom concert that preceded the recording. The concert’s five-star review in The Daily Telegraph praised in particular the orchestra’s ‘great attack and complete absence of anything routine’, while The Guardian emphasised the great performance of the orchestra in this ‘graceful and evocative programme’, especially the ‘depth and richness of sound that belied their youth’.

This unique album is a first milestone in what promises to be a superb discography for the NYO.

Special notice: this album will also be released on Vinyl.

“Here these showpieces are played with all the zest and freshness one may hope for from these highly skilled young musicians...It perhaps does not require a conductor of Edward Gardner's calibre to inspire such lively performances...But credit is surely due to him for the sensitivity shown in even such restrained movements as 'Venus'.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2017 ****

“from the long passage in section 2 [Strauss]…his thoughtful, perspicacious interpretation of ‘this series of ideological utterances’ (Norman del Mar) portrays them as a wondrously crafted edifice. Equally so is The Planets, to which Gardner is no less attentive; as indeed are the young musicians, always on a level of ear-flapping artistry cum virtuosity, here reproduced with a grandeur and realism ear-flapping in itself.” Classical Ear, 30th March 2017 *****

“Gardner’s conducting of Strauss’s Nietzsche-inspired symphonic poem is impressively flowing and direct while still being flexible and also alive to small details; in return the members of the National Youth Orchestra play with confidence, poise and bravura, and a lack of indulgence on Gardner’s part is refreshing to the music as a whole...However, it’s The Planets that takes the bouquets.” classicalsource.com

“occasionally one misses the refinement of a professional outfit, but rarely: more often one is struck by the warmth and intensity of the string sound and the quality of the wind solos. Edward Gardner’s driven, finely balanced conducting ensures this is one for collectors as well as supporters.” The Guardian, 10th February 2017 ****

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Sibelius: In the Stream of Life

Sibelius: In the Stream of Life

Songs by Sibelius


Sibelius:

Pohjola's Daughter, Op. 49

In the Stream of Life

Seven Songs orch. E. Rautavaara. Premiere recording

Koskenlaskijan morsiamet (The Rapids-Rider’s Brides), Op. 33

Romance in C major for strings, Op. 42

Hymn to Thaïs (Text: Arthur H. Borgström)

Demanten på marssnön, Op. 36 No. 6 (Wecksell)

Hertig Magnus, Op. 57 No. 6

The Oceanides, Op. 73

På verandan på vid havet, Op. 38 No. 2 (Viktor Runeberg)

I natten, Op. 38 No. 3

Kom nu hit, Död, Op. 60 No. 1 (Bertel Gripenberg after Shakespeare)


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

The exceptional collaboration and friendship between the late Einojuhani Rautavaara and the internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Gerald Finley culminates in this unique album of orchestral songs by Sibelius, on which the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Edward Gardner.

The album offers orchestrations, by Sibelius and others, of songs which Sibelius originally wrote for voice and piano, and includes the premiere recording of In the Stream of Life, seven songs orchestrated by Rautavaara for his friend. Throughout, the poetry perfectly reflects the instinctively felt relation between Finnish nature and Sibelius’s music.

As Finley reveals: ‘the recording of [In the Stream of Life] became a very personal project when the sessions took place only a few weeks after [Rautavaara’s] death, in the same week as his funeral... and I am so thankful that a final addition was made possible when in the last months of his life [Rautavaara] agreed to orchestrate “Hjärtats morgon” and include it in the group.’

“Rautavaara's orchestrations are so convincingly Sibelian that on first hearing I completely forgot I wasn't listening to the The Real Thing...Finley is in magnificent voice throughout: though it's relatively uncommon to find non-Finnish singers tackling this repertoire, he seems completely at home with both the sound-world and the texts.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 30th December 2016

“Finley sings them all with his usual finesse and careful shading, reserving his full power for the few genuinely climactic moments...The subtle, respectful orchestrations wrap around his voice like a glove...Gardner and his orchestra include very fine performances of three orchestral works.” The Guardian, 4th January 2017 ****

“The measured beauty of Gerald Finley’s singing in subdued songs conjures impressive wintry vistas” Financial Times, January 2017

“An impressive if idiosyncratic programme” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

“these new versions perfectly capture and amplify the spirit of Sibelius’s songs. Gerald Finley, a close friend of Rautavaara, makes an ideal case for the new settings, and his approach to the Swedish language of the texts is flowing and lyrical.” Classical Ear, 16th February 2017

“This haunting disc is as much a tribute to the Canadian singer’s close friendship with the late Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara as it is a declaration of love for Sibelius’s songs...Dark and brooding, they are a fitting memorial.” Sunday Times, 19th February 2017

“A disc of songs and orchestral works for all devotees of Sibelius.” MusicWeb International, 3rd March 2017

“a highly memorable disc.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2017 ****

Presto Disc of the Week

30th December 2016

GGramophone Awards 2017

Shortlisted - Solo Vocal

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Schoenberg: Gurrelieder

Schoenberg: Gurrelieder


Alwyn Mellor (soprano), Anna Larsson (mezzo-soprano), Stuart Skelton (tenor), Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (tenor), James Creswell (bass) & Sir Thomas Allen (speaker)

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Choir, Choir of Collegiûm Mûsicûm, Edvard Grieg Kor, Orphei Drängar, Students from the Royal Northern College of Music, Edward Gardner

Recorded live on SACD in the sumptuous acoustic of Grieghallen in Bergen, this mind-blowing interpretation of Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder involves 350 performers: large choral forces, six exceptional soloists, and the legendary Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra – extended for the occasion – all conducted by Edward Gardner.

Marking the pinnacle of the Orchestra’s 250th anniversary celebrations, the same forces offered two evening concerts that met with unanimous acclaim in the press, including a five-star review from The Daily Telegraph praising the ‘sweep of Gardner's conducting, by turns luminous and incisive’. It added, ‘He unleashed the piece’s volcanic passions while never becoming mired in its high-calorific density, and somehow avoided drowning the singers’, and also congratulated the ‘heroic’ Stuart Skelton, ‘warm’ Alwyn Mellor, ‘ethereal’ Anna Larsson, and ‘powerful’ Thomas Allen.

“Gardner’s grasp of scale and momentum is as strong as Stenz’s, and his cast is more balanced...Gardner has the thrillingly heroic Stuart Skelton in the work’s most prominent solo part, pouring out his love for Tove in ringing tones...The playing and singing of Gardner’s Bergen forces are as intoxicating as any I know on disc.” Sunday Times, 23rd October 2016

“The playing of the Bergen Philharmonic is rich, seductive and sensuous...Gardner’s operatic experience means he’s alive to the lyricism and drama of the piece in equal measure: there’s ardent longing aplenty and a real willingness to explore the sheer gorgeousness of the score.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2016

“although this account was recorded over four days, it rolls onwards with the dynamism of a single live performance...for luminous atmosphere and edge-of-the-seat excitement, Gardner’s Bergen forces offer something special.” The Times, 30th September 2016 ****

“The hero is Edward Gardner, under whose wonderfully flexible beat this hyper-Romantic music positively breathes in long lyrical phrases and paragraphs. Nor are the excitements lacking: the coda to the Klaus episodes fizzes with crazy virtuosity and the final sunrise is as grandly summatory as any” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 *****

“There is an amplitude of tonal richness, against which Alwyn Mellor and Stuart Skelton sing on a heroic scale” Financial Times, 2nd December 2016

“A top class performance and magnificent recording of this vast piece.” MusicWeb International, 20th January 2017

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Janacek: Orchestral Works Vol. 3

Janacek: Orchestral Works Vol. 3


Janacek:

Glagolitic Mass

Sara Jakubiak (soprano), Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano), Stuart Skelton (tenor), Gábor Bretz (bass) & Thomas Trotter (organ)

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Choir & Choir of Collegiûm Mûsicûm

Adagio for Orchestra

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Zdravas Maria

Sara Jakubiak (soprano), David Stewart (violin), Karstein Askeland (organ)

Edvard Grieg Kor & Bergen Cathedral Choir

Otcenáš (Our Father) for four-part choir, tenor soloist, organ and harp

Stuart Skelton (tenor), Johannes Wik (harp), Karstein Askeland (organ)

Edvard Grieg Kor & Bergen Cathedral Choir


Not only does this collection of orchestral works by Janáček follow two highly praised volumes with such great soloists as Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and James Ehnes, but it also features one of the composer’s most monumental works – with the vividly admired organist Thomas Trotter – along with three contrasting shorter pieces.

The Glagolitic Mass is considered his finest non-operatic work. It was premiered a year after the Sinfonietta – recorded in Volume 1 [CHSA5142] – to critical acclaim. This impressive piece makes full use of the orchestra and chorus, with virtuosic solo parts for tenor and soprano, as well as organ. It is set within a frame of purely orchestral movements in which the Bergen Orchestra and its new Chief Conductor, Edward Gardner, demonstrate with authority their deep empathy with the repertoire.

The album is completed by three highly diverse characteristic works: the mournful Adagio, the Slavonic Otče náš and the deeply personal Zdrávas Maria.

“Gardner steers the clash of brass, strings, chorus and soloists with confidence, the instrumental outer movements ablaze with excitement, the whole well balanced but still dangerous and invigorating.” The Guardian, 6th March 2016 ****

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Janáček: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2

Janáček: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2


Janacek:

Jealousy (original prelude to Jenufa)

The Fiddler's Child

Melina Mandozzi (violin)

Taras Bulba

The Ballad of Blaník

The Danube, symphonic poem

Susanna Andersson (soprano)

Violin Concerto 'Pilgrimage of the Soul'

James Ehnes (violin)


This is the second volume in our series devoted to the orchestral works of Janáček, with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Edward Gardner.

The repertoire on this disc includes some of the greatest programmatic pieces by the composer. Unsurprisingly, the first piece featured here is Jealousy – his first declared piece of programme music, originally written to preface the opera Jenůfa but never included in any production of it during his lifetime. Both The Ballad of Blaník and The Fiddler’s Child (also known as a ‘ballad for orchestra’) are characterised by the use of musicals symbols, reflecting the Czech poems on which the pieces are based and also some of the composer’s personal reflections and responses.

The one-movement Violin Concerto The Wandering of a Little Soul is a more mysterious piece, with uncertainties surrounding the title, the date of creation, and the goals of its composition. Like the unfinished Danube symphony, the version recorded here has been reconstructed by Miloš Štědroň and Leoš Faltus from Janáček’s sketches.

An interpretation of the famous tale by Gogol, Taras Bulba was completed in 1915 and was Janáček’s most substantial orchestral work to date. It is inflected with folk dances, battle and horse-riding music, suffering and love, and brought to a grandiloquent apotheosis, in orchestration of almost cinematic vividness.

“Gardner’s survey with the Bergen Phil taps into his boundless, brazen invention; that uniquely Janáčekian blend of rustic and caustic...Ehnes is a steely, forthright soloist in the Violin Concerto, and the Bergen players offer clean, mercurial momentum.” The Guardian, 23rd April 2015 ****

“James Ehnes is the plush-toned soloist, but it is the intense and gritty playing of the Bergeners, and Gardner’s evident empathy with Janacek, that make this music so compelling and dramatic.” Sunday Times, 10th May 2015

“Leader Milina Mandozzi does well to show the way through this mysterious, powerful work [The Fiddler's Child]...These must be difficult works to prepare and indeed to record; both playing and recording are vividly managed.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2015

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Walton: Symphony No. 2 & Cello Concerto

Walton: Symphony No. 2 & Cello Concerto


Walton:

Symphony No. 2

Cello Concerto

Paul Watkins (cello)

Improvisations on an Impromptu of Benjamin Britten


Edward Gardner conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in late music by Walton. It follows the success of his recording of Walton’s Symphony No. 1 and Violin Concerto – one of Chandos’ best-selling recordings for 2014. With an air of relaxation that differs from the tension of his previously recorded early works, the music on this album is likely to cause as much excitement.

Walton’s Second (and last) Symphony was commissioned for the 750th anniversary, in 1957 – 58, of the founding of the city of Liverpool, but, delayed by the composition of the Cello Concerto, it was only premiered in 1960. Scored for a large and colourful orchestra, it is based on the same model as the Third Symphony of Albert Roussel, with a similarly compact duration and the use of the key of G minor, and a concentration on angular melodies, sharply dissonant harmonies, and motoric rhythms.

The Cello Concerto was premiered in London in 1957 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra itself. The cello soloist is Paul Watkins, exclusive on Chandos, highly praised as a member of the Emerson String Quartet, but also the Artistic Director, since last year, of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival of Detroit. In this piece, the traditional structure of Walton’s earlier concertos – a moderately paced opening movement followed by a central scherzo – ends in a rich finale consisting of a theme and four ‘improvisations’. The concept of ‘improvisation’ occurs again in the last work on the disc, based on the ‘Impromptu’ of Benjamin Britten’s Piano Concerto.

“Lavishly reproduced in surround sound, these accounts of three of Walton’s later, comparatively neglected works are as superbly thought out as they are atmospherically recorded...The heartwarming Cello Concerto finds a masterly exponent in Watkins.” Sunday Times, 8th March 2015

“The Symphony No. 2 gets a performance of élan from Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.” Financial Times, 14th March 2015

“If a new Walton release can finally put paid to the notion that his music somehow 'went off' after his move to the Italian island of Ischia in 1956, then this must be it. And the performances of these late-ish works are on a level that have you wishing that the composer had lived to hear them.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2015 *****

“[These issues] are on balance the greatest recorded performances of these three demonstrable masterpieces it has been my pleasure to hear…there is nothing egotistical in these splendid interpretations, and the result is a set of consistently satisfying performances of the highest musical grasp and understanding. I cannot imagine anything finer than these.” International Record Review, March 2015

“Edward Gardner directs a superbly perceptive account of Walton's Second Symphony, exhilarating in its purposeful thrust…make no mistake: with cracking playing from the BBC SO, Gardner's is a conspicuously insightful reading of this underrated score…a gem of a disc.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2015

“from [Watkins's] very first entry it’s clear that his is going to be a thoughtful interpretation, full of beautiful tone in the introspective first movement, but also impressively virtuosic in the second...in Gardner’s hands [The Second] comes across as a completely convincing symphonic statement. The playing is unfailingly committed and colourful, with a sensationally scintillating account of the slow movement being a particular highlight for me.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 18th December 2015

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Editor's Choice - May 2015

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Mendelssohn in Birmingham, Vol. 3

Mendelssohn in Birmingham, Vol. 3


Mendelssohn:

Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, Op. 27

Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 52 'Lobgesang'

sung in English; Mary Bevan (soprano I), Sophie Bevan (soprano II) & Benjamin Hulett (tenor)

CBSO Chorus


This is the third recording in our Mendelssohn in Birmingham series, with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and its Principal Guest Conductor, Edward Gardner. The album features Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage (Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt) and Symphony No. 2, completing our survey of Mendelssohn’s mature symphonies.

Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage is the second in a trilogy of concert overtures by Mendelssohn, the two others being A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Hebrides, the latter recorded on Vol. 1 in this Chandos series. Based on two poems by Goethe these sonorous images describe a ship helplessly becalmed in the open sea, then carried by rising winds towards land. The densely textured, immensely slow opening evocation of oceanic calm and the following quickening full orchestral crescendo strikingly depict Goethe’s verses. Symphony No. 2 was valued as one of Mendelssohn’s greatest and most influential achievement for much of the nineteenth century – not least in Britain – but it has since come to be viewed equivocally. A fusion of neo-baroque procedures with romantic sentiment provides the backdrop of this hybrid Symphony-Cantata, made up of three orchestral movements and a choral finale, in which smooth contrapuntal arias contrast with exuberant, dramatic choral sections. The soloists are all emerging young artists in Britain, the wonderfully talented soprano sisters Mary and Sophie Bevan and the tenor Benjamin Hulett.

“The playing of the CBSO is of the highest quality, and the perfectly balanced and blended sound of the wind sections is something very special...Edward Gardner is an ideal interpreter of this music, and one can sense how much he and his musicians love it...the whole disc is a rare pleasure.” MusicWeb International, February 2015

“Calm Sea is one of Mendelssohn's most evocative pieces...and Edward Gardner conducts a most sensitive performance...[in the Symphony] Gardner stresses what over the years we have come to consider the more purely Mendelssohnian attributes, Apollonian qualities such as lightness, line and overall beauty of form.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2015

“Gardner favours bright, transparent, woodwind-highlight textures in these amiable accounts, with exquisite solo singing from the sopranos Sophie and Mary Bevan and the tenor Benjamin Hulett in the finale to Mendelssohn’s homage to Beethoven’s Choral Symphony.” Sunday Times, 5th April 2015

“This is in every sense an absorbing account [of Calm Sea], exceptionally well played and directed with admirable facility and understanding by Gardner…[the reading of the Second Symphony] is a thoroughly committed and scholarly one, and Gardner manages to invest several of the big choruses with near theatrical conviction…this fine account should certainly impress.” International Record Review, March 2015

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Janáček: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1

Janáček: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1


Janacek:

Sinfonietta

Capriccio for piano (left hand) & chamber ensemble, JW VII/12 'Vzdor'

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano)

The Cunning Little Vixen - Suite


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Edward Gardner conducts the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in the opening volume in their series devoted to orchestral works by Leoš Janáček. It features three pieces that originate in Janáček’s late period, when his passionate feelings for Kamila Stösslová, thirty-seven years his junior, inspired an extraordinary flowering of his creative genius.

The Sinfonietta is one of Janáček’s most successful and popular works, famed for its opening movement, a brazen fanfare scored for a phalanx of brass with timpani. The remaining four movements, full of character, celebrate Janáček’s adopted town of Brno, blending occasional reflection with high-voltage exuberance.

Scored unusually for left-hand piano and an ensemble of brass and flute, the Capriccio is remarkable even among Janáček’s distinctive late works. Its overall effect is mercurial and capricious, in the composer’s words: ‘whimsical, all wilfulness and witticisms’. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet employs his formidable technique and interpretative flair in the solo part.

The Cunning Little Vixen, Janáček’s opera from 1923, was not universally well received at first. A number of its orchestral interludes, however, were immediately popular and after Janáček’s death in 1928 Václav Talich, a leading Czech conductor, extracted an orchestral suite, re-orchestrated by two young colleagues. Recently Sir Charles Mackerras restored Janáček’s striking original orchestration, the version recorded here.

“the wonderfully quirky instrumentation of piano left hand, flute/piccolo, trumpets, trombones and tenor tuba against the Capriccio...makes these splendidly vivid performances most welcome. The Vixen suite, in Mackerras’s restoration, completes an exhilarating disc.” Sunday Times, 5th October 2014

“While both the Sinfonietta and the suite...receive fine performances – and in the case of the Sinfonietta’s later movements, particularly feisty, urgent ones – it’s the account of the wonderfully quirky Capriccio between them with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet as soloist that hogs the limelight.” The Guardian, 16th October 2014 ****

“Bavouzet enters delightfully into its schizophrenic mindset, half-jaunty, half-ruminative. Edward Gardner, the conductor, is brilliantly animated in the coruscating Sinfonietta and the loveable suite from The Cunning Little Vixen” Financial Times, 1st November 2014 ***

“Gardner’s way with Janáček’s music is not the only way – but it’s pretty persuasive. The Bergen Philharmonic offer excellent playing throughout this programme and Chandos have recorded the orchestra in warm but well-detailed and well–focused sound...This, I suspect, is going to be a rewarding series to follow and this first disc is an auspicious start.” MusicWeb International, 17th November 2014

“we have a fine interpreter of Janáček and a distinguished orchestra...Orchestral ensemble is good though not always the intonation. still, the remaining movements are more compelling, with vivid orchestral playing, including luxurious strings in the third movement.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 ****

“the players are brilliant and the sound is glorious, very skilfully recorded...the Bavouzet performs dazzling feats of virtuosity with a truly exacting solo part; and the extraordinary, fascinating textures are displayed by both artists and recording engineers.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2014

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29th September 2014

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Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos Janacek: Orchestral Works - CHSA5142

(SACD)

Normally: $15.00

Special: $12.75

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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