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Antonio Pappano conducts Rachmaninov & Liadov
Conductor Antonio Pappano leads Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia on this recording of one of the 20th century’s most thrilling and emotive symphonies, Sergej Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. This is coupled with Anatoly Liadov’s beautiful tone poem The Enchanted Lake.
“This is a superb performance, faithful to the score, intelligently balanced, organically conceived and infused with passion.” The Telegraph, 11th March 2011 *****
“Pappano, master conductor of opera, revels in the long lyrical lines of Rachmaninov’s second symphony, in which the tender orchestral songs never end, even when the “Dies Irae” plainchant breaks in...he gets velvet delicacy from Rome’s Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. They also excel in the pianissimo textures of Liadov’s The Enchanted Lake.” The Times, 19th March 2011 ****
“I'm not sure when I last enjoyed a reading of the Rachmaninov Second Symphony so much...they play here as if possessed; the brass are on especially magnificent form...by heaven, Antonio Pappano invests the piece with a passionate sense of belief...Principal clarinetist Alessandro Carbonare is exemplary on the long and haunting solo in the slow movement.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2011 ****
“Pappano is revelatory. It is rare indeed to hear the Second Symphony executed with such clarity and with such a faithful, balanced spectrum of instrumental colour but the performance goes much further than that. Pappano has passion, too, and he knows when to unleash it and when to keep it quietly in reserve.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2011
“Pappano and his Rome-based orchestra cultivate a feeling of deliberate understatement throughout this live performance which gives Rachmaninov's Second Symphony a light, almost ethereal feeling...Although lacking in full-on power, this performance is no less intense with elegant, sophisticated playing from the orchestra, and there's still plenty of drama when required.” Classic FM Magazine, May 2011 ****
“Pappano has a wonderfully acute ear for orchestral detail. He draws playing of remarkable alertness, polish and warmth from his Italian orchestra...when I say that his new recording is very nearly a match for Previn's classic account, I can pay it no higher compliment. Pappano is also a little more rhythmically sharp...The Enchanted Lake, played with great detail, drawing out all the delicate colours of [the] exquisitely orchestrated miniature tone-poem.” International Record Review, April 2011
“I like the sound of Pappano’s Rome orchestra; there’s a satisfying richness to the lower string sonority which gives the glowering introduction a brooding intensity. The tiny touches of rubato, of ebb and flow, are unobtrusively applied; the first movement’s lyrical second theme emerges haltingly, hesitantly...This is a really good performance.” Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk, 28th May 2011
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Magical Places: Evocative Symphonic Poems for Piano Duet
Goldstone & Clemmow (piano)
Of the six orchestral works on this recording three are in the composers’ own piano duet versions; two others were transcribed by people in whom the composers had great faith (Rimsky-Korsakov here being considered the composer of Night on Bald Mountain, as Mussorgsky had died), and it must be presumed that Lyadov approved the choice of Kalafati who “was held in great esteem by his colleagues and pupils” (Baker’s “Biographical Dictionary of Musicians”). Three of the six pieces of music involve the supernatural, while the remaining three present “magical” soundscapes in their different ways. The first two items depict very different midsummer festivities.
As a further note, four of the pieces featured on this CD are World Première Recordings. The CD booklet contains highly informative notes by Anthony Goldstone.
With CDs around forty in number and a busy concert schedule stretching back more than a quarter of a century, the British piano duo Goldstone and Clemmow is firmly established as a leading force.
Described by Gramophone as ‘a dazzling husband and wife team’, by International Record Review as ‘a British institution in the best sense of the word’, and by The Herald, Glasgow, as ‘the UK’s pre-eminent two-piano team’, internationally known artists Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow formed their duo in 1984 and married in 1989. Their extremely diverse activities in two-piano and piano-duet recitals and double concertos, taking in major festivals, have sent them all over the British Isles as well as to Europe, the Middle East and several times to the U.S.A., where they have received standing ovations and such press accolades as ‘revelations such as this are rare in the concert hall these days’ (Charleston Post and Courier). In their refreshingly presented concerts they mix famous masterpieces and fascinating rarities, which they frequently unearth themselves, into absorbing and hugely entertaining programmes; their numerous BBC broadcasts have often included first hearings of unjustly neglected works, and their equally enterprising and acclaimed commercial recordings include many world premières.
(also available to download from $10.50)
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Lyadov: Symphonic Works
Lyadov was born in 1855 and taught in the St. Petersburg Conservatory, as well as being a conductor and composer. He was very interested in folklore and most of his works are on a small scale for instruments, orchestra and choir. He had a great understanding of fairy tales and poetry and some works resemble those of Glinka and Rimsky-Korsakov. These interpretations are in the expert hands of Svetlanov.
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Russian Overtures and Orchestral works
A stunning 2CD of Russian music from Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra that includes a mix of the familiar and the not so familiar. Liadov’s exquisite miniature tone poems and Glinka’s effervescent overture to Ruslan and Ludmila rub shoulders with a rare Tchaikovsky overture and two preludes by Tcherepnin. All the composers here had a deep knowledge and respect for the traditional music of Mother Russia, and every work on these discs has the unmistakable sound of Russia irrespective of whether it was composed under the Tsarist or Soviet regime.
Recordings made in 1993/94
“Pletnev is at his most successful with the more reflective introduction to Semyon Kotko, and with the beautiful evocation of dawn over the Moscow River that opens Khovanshchina. Tchaikovsky's almost
unknown early overture is a curiosity. It is not hard to observe some of the features that were to distinguish Tchaikovsky's style, with hindsight, but who could have had the foresight to see the genius that would charge
them?” Gramophone Magazine, December 1994
“Russian lollipops familiar (Glinka Ruslan, Borodin Prince Igor) and deeply unfamiliar (Tchaikovsky's very early Overture in F, for instance, or Nikolai Tcherepnin's Enchanted Kingdom).” BBC Music Magazine, April 2011 ****
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Liadov: Complete Orchestral Works
Polonaise, Op. 49
Ballade, Op. 21b
Scherzo in D major, Op. 16
Nenie, Op. 67
A Musical Snuffbox, Op. 32
Dance of the Amazon, Op. 65
From the Apocalypse, Op. 66
Polonaise for the Unveiling of the Statue of Rubinstein, Op. 55
Russian Folksongs (8), Op. 58
Kikimora, Op. 63
The Enchanted Lake, Op. 62
Baba-Yaga, Op. 56
Krasnoyarsk Symphony Orchestra, Ivan Shpiller
Anatoly Liadov (1855-1914) was, like his Norwegian contemporary Grieg, a miniaturist. At a time when his fellow Russian composers were composing operas, symphonies and concertos, he concentrated on producing a remarkable collection of wonderfully scored and evocative orchestral miniatures. He did sometimes venture into larger musical forms, and this is illustrated by 'Fragment from the Apocalypse', a large unfinished work that shares the same visionary sound world as Scriabin. One of his most famous works 'the Enchanted Lake' is suffused with a Debussian soundscape. This work, like 'Kikimora' (about a tiny thimble sized human hating witch who listens to stories told by her cat) were intended to be incorporated into operas that were either never started or finished.
Liadov was the first composer Diaghilev asked for a ballet on the Russian folktale 'The Firebird'. Liadov's legendary laziness saw to it that he never completed the commission - another pupil of Rimsky Korsakov, the young Igor Stravinsky was asked instead and made it his first major ballet success.
Liadov's research into folk music - another thing he had in common with Grieg, laid the foundations for other composers including Bartok, Kodaly, and Vaughan Williams to preserve and exploit the rich musical heritage of folk music in Europe.
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Stravinsky - Petrushka
Petrushka follows the last year’s release of Stravinsky’s Firebird on Signum and is the second in a three-part series of works from Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Thierry Fischer. These recordings encapsulate the vivacity and passion of Stravinsky’s tale of three life-sized puppets, seemingly brought to life.
The disc also features three works by fellow Russian and Ballet Russes composer Anatoly Liadov: dark and dramatic tone-poems on Slavic witches and demons in Baba-yaga and Kikimora, and a tranquil and fairytalelike portrait of the Russian countryside in The Enchanted Lake.
“Both composers benefit from Fischer's trademark refinement. His Petrushka, notably beautiful, is graciously touching rather than violent or eruptive, and the clean-textured, superbly detailed playing from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales reminds us just how startlingly original Stravinsky's sonorities are.” The Guardian, 8th July 2010 ****
“Recorded Petrushkas abound — and Fischer’s is more than decently played...but the three Liadov pieces, which take up almost a third of this disc’s playing time, are rarities...Liadov’s character portraiture and colouristic orchestrations are admirably served in these BBC recordings.” Sunday Times, 1st August 2010 ***
“Responding to Stravinsky's macabre scenario of a fairground puppet springing to life, Thierry Fischer's re-imagining of the orchestra as a mechanical pianola or orchestrion is a winning strategy.” Classic FM Magazine, November 2010 ****
“Natural balances spotlight Fischer's hard work with textures, and how well he conjures the orchestral harmonica...The flecks of light over Liadov's Enchanted Lake are nicely caught, too” BBC Music Magazine, March 2011 ****
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Prokofiev - Pierre et le Loup
Valérie Lemercier (narrator, in French)
Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Tugan Sokhiev
CD + Book
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Prokofiev: Pierre et le Loup et Autres Pieces Russes