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Nimrod Borenstein: Violin Concerto

Nimrod Borenstein: Violin Concerto


Borenstein:

Violin Concerto

Irmina Trynkos (violin)

If you will it, it is no dream

The Big Bang and Creation of the Universe


Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy

To celebrate his 80th birthday the legendary conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, with the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra and the promising young violinist Irmina Trynkos, presents for the first time on record works by Nimrod Borenstein, a composer whom Ashkenazy has admired and supported for many years.

The past few years have seen his compositions premiered and performed at prestigious venues including the Royal Opera House and the Royal Festival Hall in London, the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Salle Gaveau in Paris, and Carnegie Hall in New York. Written especially for the occasion, If you will it, it is no dream was premiered by Ashkenazy to great acclaim in 2013 at the Royal Festival Hall.

While Borenstein is a supremely melodic composer, he draws attention in his work to his special use of counterpoint, which he says could be described as ‘multimelodic’, suggesting the eternal but ever-changing flow of time, in which events constantly overlap with one another. This technique is characteristic of both If you will it, it is no dream and The Big Bang and Creation of the Universe.

“These are no compromise premiere recordings of joyous and seductively perfumed works which never lose touch with the need for movement rather than stasis.” MusicWeb International, September 2017

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Flux: Original Works for Saxophone Quartet

Flux: Original Works for Saxophone Quartet


Bozza:

Andante et Scherzo pour quatour saxophones

Gregory, W:

Hoe Down

Lago:

Ciudades

The Wordsworth Poems

Pierné, G:

Introduction et variations sur une ronde populaire, for saxophone quartet

Reinhart:

Quartet in F minor

Singelée:

Grand Quatuor concertant, Op. 79


Ferio Saxophone Quartet

Having already won many prizes and awards (The Philharmonia/Martin Musical Ensemble, Royal Over-Seas League’s Ensemble Competition, Tunnell Trust Award) and appointed St John's Smith Square Young Artist of the year for 2016 – 17, the Ferio Saxophone Quartet is Europe's most exciting up-and-coming ensemble of its kind. This, its debut commercial CD, features original works written for saxophone quartet. Composers range from Gabriel Pierné and Jean-Baptiste Singelée to Eugène Bozza and Guillermo Lago (who wrote The Wordsworth Poems specially for the Quartet this year). Through this choice of repertoire, the Ferio Quartet is inviting listeners to experience a number of musical styles and moods, playing works from the time of the saxophone’s invention right up to the present day.

“If anything, these brief comparisons confirm just how gifted the Ferios really are; they also underline the sheer presence and tonal sophistication of this new recording…in short, Flux is the perfect calling card, and it should win the group lots of new friends and followers.” MusicWeb International, 30th June 2017

“Playing and music alike sport an irresistible exuberance.” Financial Times, 4th August 2017 ****

“Ferios certainly have skill on their side, and every emotional hue you could want-smoky, honeyed, shrieking or sad.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2017 ***

“Playing is of the highest level throughout, as is the stunning recorded sound.” Classical Music, September 2017 *****

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Aspects

Aspects


Ginastera:

Danzas Argentinas (3), Op. 2

Henshall:

Welsh Dance No. 2

Houghton:

Opals

Marin, C M:

Flippen (The Flip)

Pritchard, David:

Stairs

Rivera, C:

Cumba-Quin

Rossini:

L'Italiana in Algeri Overture

York, A:

Quiccan


Aquarelle Guitar Quartet

With this new album, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet draws a portrait of different aspects of the music they love and perform.

From the baroque to the contemporary, from bluegrass to jazz, from romantic to Latin, the album includes original works for four guitars, arrangements that have been made by members of the group, and even a new work written especially for this project. Aspects is both retrospective and prospective, including favourites which the Quartet has been performing for many years and also pieces which it has learnt specifically for this recording and which will form the basis of new concert programmes in the future.

“All is performed with that same customary blend of high octane virtuosity, relaxed lyricism, tonal richness and perfection of ensemble which has made the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet not merely one of the world’s leading guitar ensembles but, for sheer imagination and musicality, equal to the finest string quartet going.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2017

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A Violin for All Seasons

A Violin for All Seasons


Panufnik, R:

Four World Seasons

premiere recording

Vivaldi:

The Four Seasons


Encapsulating the voluptuous sound of the BBC SO’s strings, Tasmin Little is both the soloist and conductor in this unique coupling: Vivaldi’s ever-popular ‘Four Seasons’ meets Roxanna Panufnik’s Four World Seasons, the premiere recording of a set of highly inspirational pieces.

As a complete cycle, ‘The Four Seasons’ offers a set of vivid tableaux, imaginative, enticing, and wonderfully contrasted, with ample chance for the violin soloist to display technique, sensitivity, and colour. These are qualities that the British composer Roxanna Panufnik also sought for her own Seasons tribute, Four World Seasons, written for the violinist. Three of the pieces are dedicated to her, while the fourth, ‘Autumn in Albania’, is dedicated to the memory of Panufnik’s father, the Polish composer Sir Andrzej Panufnik, who, his daughter says, was born, loved, and died in autumn.

“The addition of Roxanna Panufnik’s ‘World Seasons’ adds to the attraction of this modern-instrument recording of Vivaldi.” MusicWeb International, 1st November 2016

“Although Tamsin Little isn’t a Baroque specialist there is some influence from historically informed performance: rubato is used discreetly, and vibrato, although more present than might be expected from an ‘authentic’ performance, is subtly varied…these are engaging performances, captured in warm but detailed sound” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 ****

“These are modern-instrument performances of Vivaldi with a big symphonic string section. And if you haven’t already run screaming for your Fabio Biondi or La Serenissima sets, you’re going to enjoy this disc a lot...No Kennedy-like deconstruction here: Little simply responds to the music with an open-eyed freshness and fantasy…she is lively and conversational, and conveys a vivid sense of character to her colleagues” Gramophone Magazine, December 2016

“The two Seasons form a most attractive contrast and reflect well on all concerned.” MusicWeb International, 16th January 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2016

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Brett Dean: Chamber Works

Brett Dean: Chamber Works


Dean, B:

Epitaphs for String Quintet

Brett Dean (viola)

Eclipse (String Quartet No. 1)

String Quartet No. 2 ‘And once I played Ophelia’

Allison Bell (soprano)


Australian composer and violist Brett Dean has won many prizes for his orchestral and chamber compositions, including the most renowned of them in 2009, the Grawemeyer Award. Today his works are performed all over the world and highly praised for their aplomb and power of expression as well as their ready accessibility to listeners.

The three works featured here were composed between 2003 and 2013 and are all Premiere Recordings. They highlight the empathetic side of Dean: if Eclipse is an evocation of the refugees saved during the "Tampa Crisis", the five movements of Epitaphs are individual obituaries for lost friends of Dean'ss. A viola player with the Berlin Philharmonic for fourteen years, Dean joins the Doric String Quartet in the latter, a string quintet with two violas.

In the Second String Quartet, Dean presents Shakespeare's Ophelia not as a passively suffering victim but as a 'feistier personality, full of passion and agility. This is echoed by the great variety of vocal facets required of the soprano here. Young yet already internationally famous and much awarded, Allison Bell will perform next year at Shakespeare's 400th Anniversary Gala, directed by Simon Callow at the Royal Festival Hall in London

“Allison Bell's genuinely affecting performance is backed by the Doric Quartet's expressionist scampering and sustained harmonies, the strings occasionally coming to the fore in the manner of a Schumann-style song postlude.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2015

“These recent works by the Australian composer are infused with haunting, anguished themes.” Financial Times, 4th September 2015

“All three works get powerfully immediate readings from the Doric Quartet, continuing its varied schedule for Chandos, with Allison Bell fearless in the Second Quartet's histrionic writing. Excellent sound, decent annotations and a valuable addition to the Dean discography.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2015

“Powerful, original music.” Sunday Times, 13th September 2015

“It is impossible to talk about the chamber music of the Australian composer Brett Dean without mentioning that he was principal viola of the Berlin Philharmonic. Inevitably he understands string textures from the inside, with compelling results. The excellent Doric Quartet rise to the challenges of these elegiac works.” The Observer, 30th August 2015 ****

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Messages: Chamber Music for Strings

Messages: Chamber Music for Strings


Panufnik, A:

String Quartet No. 1

String Quartet No. 2, ‘Messages’

String Quartet No. 3, ‘Wycinanki’

Song to the Virgin Mary

for string sextet

with Robert Smissen (viola) & Richard May (cello)

Panufnik, R:

Memories of my Father

premiere recording

Modlitwa (sextet)

premiere recording in this version

with Robert Smissen (viola) & Richard May (cello)


2014 marks the centenary of Polish-British composer Andrzej Panufnik. Here the Brodsky Quartet joins in this year of reminiscence and celebration with Messages, a recording of works both by Andrzej and his daughter Roxanna Panufnik.

String sextets begin and end the disc. In the first, Modlitwa, both father and daughter have composed sections, Roxana Panufnik having contributed to what was originally a vocal work and subsequently made this sextet arrangement.

Andrzej Panufnik’s Song to the Virgin Mary also began life in a vocal setting, for a cappella chorus, and was dedicated to his wife, Camilla. Andrzej Panufnik’s three string quartets showcase his innovative and expressive musical language. The first contrasts dynamic conversations between individual instruments with beautiful unified quartet textures. String Quartet No. 2 - Messages is inspired by childhood memories of listening to the eerie sounds of a wooden telegraph pole in the wind. String Quartet No. 3 - Wycinanki takes its title from a traditional Polish folk art formed of intricately cut paper. Its movements, five miniature studies, each represent a uniquely shaped and coloured paper-cut from a different corner of Poland.

Separating these quartets are the two movements of Memories of My Father. Commissioned by the Brodsky Quartet especially for the centenary, it represents a highly personal reflection from Roxana Panufnik on the life and music of her father.

“The meat of the programme is the set of three string quartets written by the elder Panufnik, superbly performed here by the Brodsky. I think that the second movement of Quartet No. 1, 'Transformations', is one of the finest things the composer ever wrote, and the performance here does it full justice, balancing to perfection its combination of fragility and extreme tension.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2015

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Chandos - CHAN10839

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The Symphonic Euphonium

The Symphonic Euphonium


Hoddinott:

Sunne Rising – The King Will Ride

Horovitz:

Concerto for Euphonium & Chamber Orchestra

Jenkins, K:

Euphonium Concerto

Wilby:

Euphonium Concerto


For many years since its invention in 1843, the euphonium was only to be heard in ensembles, but recent decades have seen a dramatic increase in the popularity of the euphonium as a solo instrument. Today, David Childs leads the way as the world’s foremost euphonium soloist, making the case for this once neglected instrument to growing audiences worldwide with his stunning virtuosity and extrovert musicality.

Here he performs four important concertos by British composers with Bramwell Tovey and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Joseph Horovitz’s Concerto for Euphonium, commissioned by the National Brass Band Festival in 1972, was among the first euphonium concertos ever written and set the benchmark for future generations of soloists and composers.

Philip Wilby’s Concerto was composed in 1995 and has remained immensely popular ever since, especially for its fast and furious second movement, entitled ‘Zeibekiko’ after the plate-smashing Greek dance.

The other two works on the disc were commissioned by David Childs and represent a small part of his enormous contribution to the euphonium repertoire. Alun Hoddinott’s The Sunne Rising – The King Will Rise is full of the Welsh composer’s characteristic orchestral colour, while the solo part is dazzling in its virtuosity.

Perhaps the most popular of Childs’ commissions has been Karl Jenkins’s Euphonium Concerto from 2009. It encapsulates the essence of the euphonium in its four character movements.

“It's easy to enjoy David Childs's warm honeyed tones as his euphonium dances through this enjoyable selection of British concertos, though the recording balance places the orchestra too much in its shade.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2015 ***

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Chandos - CHAN10830

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Gregson: Orchestral Works

Gregson: Orchestral Works


Gregson, E:

Dream Song

Aztec Dances

Wissam Boustany (flute)

Concerto for Orchestra

Horn Concerto

Richard Watkins (horn)


Edward Gregson is one of Britain’s most versatile and prolific composers, his approachable and engaging music having gained recognition worldwide. With the BBC

Philharmonic, Bramwell Tovey conducts works that take inspiration from an array of musical and extra-musical sources, revealing the breadth of Gregson’s musical imagination.

The Horn Concerto, originally written in 1971 for soloist with brass band, is here heard in a recent orchestral arrangement, played by Richard Watkins, a leading horn player of his generation. Each of the Concerto’s three movements displays a different facet of the French horn’s character: serious, lyrical, and playful. Aztec Dances began as a substantial piece for recorder and piano; it was reworked for flute and piano at the request of Wissam Boustany, who here performs the final version, for flute and ensemble. Its vivid colours and ritualistic character were inspired by a British Museum exhibition exploring Aztec culture. Like Aztec Dances, the Concerto for Orchestra was revised twice. Its interim title, ‘Contrasts’, conveys the essence of the work, varieties of character and orchestral colour being key to it. Dream Song was commissioned to be share a concert programme with Mahler’s Symphony No. 6. The essence of Mahler pervades the whole of this work which aims to create a parallel musical world to the Symphony.

“Wissam Boustany and Richard Watkins play with superlative technique and verve in the two concertos...There really is something for everyone in this disc - glorious Arnoldesque tunes, stimulatingly serious expression, brilliant orchestration: a very Gregsonian cocktail. Enjoy!” Gramophone Magazine, September 2014

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Chandos - CHAN10822

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Grundman, J: A Mortuis Resurgere (The Resurrection of Christ)

Grundman, J: A Mortuis Resurgere (The Resurrection of Christ)


Susana Cordón (soprano)

Brodsky Quartet

Jorge Grundman uses his unique compositional voice to create music which, above all, communicates with remarkable directness. The simplicity and strength of his artistic vision, intended to reach the widest audience possible, is clear in A Mortuis Resurgere, a work here receiving its premiere recording. Scored for soprano and string quartet, A Mortuis Resurgere sets passages from chapters XIX and XX of St John’s Gospel telling the story of the resurrection of Christ.

Throughout its extended single movement the soprano soloist is required to use a wide range of expressive vocal techniques to communicate the meaning of the Latin text. Supporting the soprano voice is the string quartet, its slowly changing harmonies animated by a surface of rapid rhythmic figurations, all of which combine to produce shifting textures. The contemplative modal-based harmonies are typical of Grundman’s style and form a part of his artistic vision to bridge the gap between pop and classical music.

Joining the Brodsky Quartet is the Spanish soprano Susana Cordón, for whom the challenging vocal part was written. Renowned for its diverse and pioneering collaborations, the Brodsky Quartet has been vital in the development of Grundman’s style, having worked closely with the composer on a number of his earlier works.

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Cuatro: Aquarelle Guitar Quartet

Cuatro: Aquarelle Guitar Quartet


Albéniz:

La Vega from the suite Alhambra

arr. David Roe

Krouse:

Folías

Rimsky Korsakov:

Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34

arr. William Kanengiser

Sor:

Introduction & Allegro (Grand Solo) Op. 14

arr. Sergio Assad


Aquarelle Guitar Quartet

The Aquarelle Guitar Quartet is a dynamic and innovative ensemble known for its expansive repertoire and groundbreaking work in developing the guitar quartet medium. Of this disc, focussing on the music of Spain, the Quartet writes: ‘Spain is the spiritual home of the classical guitar, and its music makes an irreplaceable contribution to the instrument’s repertoire... Our own homage to this country’s musical tradition is made up of four works that span 182 years in composition and are inspired by centuries of music.’ The Grand Solo by the virtuoso guitarist and composer Fernando Sor has here been skilfully arranged by Sergio Assad. Based on Spanish folk tunes, Capriccio espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov is a colourful and flamboyant work that suggests a strong Mediterranean character. The piano works of Isaac Albéniz are particularly suited to arrangement for guitar, and the late impressionistic work La Vega, recorded here, is no exception. Folías by Ian Krouse represents one of the oldest musical themes on record, ‘La folia’, which means mad or empty-headed, possibly due to its connection to a fast and noisy dance in which participants seemed out of their minds.

“As with the AGQ's previous three albums, not only are the playing and overall ensemble razor-sharp but every tone colour available to a guitarist is exploited to the full. The drama inherent in Sor's Grand Solo is rendered with a lightness redolent of the salon...Serious fun.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2014

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Chandos - CHAN10786

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