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Antonio Vivaldi

Monday, July 24, 2017


My Classical Notes

June 27

Volodos Plays in Vienna

My Classical NotesIn April of this year, I shared with you my reactions when I heard Russian pianist Arcadi Volodos play the music of Johannes Brahms on a Sony recording. He played some of my great favorites, including the three Intermezzos Opus 117, which I had used as introduction music for my radio show. One of my readers commented last night about his own great enjoyment of Mr. Volodos’ fine playing. So, today I bring you more music as performed by Arcadi Volodos, from his concert in Vienna several years ago: Mr. Volodos performs the following music: Sicilienne (after Vivaldi) (Encore) Bach Lullaby in a Storm (Encore) Tchaikovsky / Volodos Liszt: Après une lecture du Dante, fantasia quasi sonata (Années de pèlerinage II, S. 161 No. 7) Ravel: Valses nobles et sentimentales Schumann: Waldszenen, Op. 82 Scriabin: Prelude, Op. 37 No. 1 in B flat minor Prelude, Op. 11 No. 16 in B flat minor Danse languide, Op. 51 No. 4 Guirlandes, Op. 73 No. 1 Piano Sonata No. 7, Op. 64 ‘White Mass’ Feuillet d’album, Op. 45 No. 1 (Encore) All performed by Arcadi Volodos (piano) Since his debut recording released in 1997, Arcadi Volodos continues to be celebrated as a keyboard genius, and is without a doubt one of today’s most outstanding and internationally interesting pianists. His unlimited virtuosity along with his unique sense of timing, colour and poetry made him a romantic narrator of intensive stories. Several years ago, Volodos played at the Musikverein in Vienna, and subsequently toured the Vienna concert program in several German cities. The BBC Music magazine wrote: “The performance is an awesome display of keyboard command…The recorded sound does gorgeous justice both to the playing itself, and to the surrounding Vienna Musikvereinsaal acoustic.” Here is the video of the concert from Vienna!

Tribuna musical

June 28

The Mozarteum gives memorable concerts from Munich and Venice

The Mozarteum Argentino is now a venerable institution and no one doubts that its trajectory is matchless in our country. The first two items of this year´s season proved again the acumen of its Artistic Director Gisela Timmermann and the fine leadership of President Luis Alberto Erize, for they presented in their two subscription series at the Colón admirable interpretations of Mozart and Vivaldi respectively by the Munich Chamber Orchestra with violinist Veronika Eberle and by the Venice Baroque Orchestra with mezzo Romina Basso. The Munich outfit has visited us several times; founded by Christoph Stepp in 1950, its local debut was in 1955 led by its founder Christoph Stepp; they came back in 1960 at the Museo de Arte Decorativo in the eighth season of the Mozarteum and with Hans Stadlmair, who was their leader for almost four decades. They visited us for the Mozarteum two more times before the present one, who had the characteristic of coming without their current conductor, Alexander Liebreich. In this tour the concertino was the Oriental Soyeun Kang (in early announcements it was going to be Giglberger) and she ran the show from her post, with almost imperceptible gestural indications. But the other twelve violins plus four violas, three cellos, two basses, one flute, two oboes, two bassoons and two horns (not always the whole was used), a total of 29 counting the concertino, were unflinchingly together, as the true and stylish professionals that they are. There were two programmes where only Mozart´s Symphony Nº33 was played in both, with talented violinist Veronika Eberle making her local debut. In fact Symphony Nº 33 replaced the originally announced Nº 29, for this one collided with the Kammerakademie Potsdam´s programme scheduled for June 14; a pity that an early Mozart Cassazione (a type of Divertimento) mentioned to begin the first of two concerts wasn´t included. Symphony Nº 33 in B flat, K.319, is rarely played and less interesting than other symphonies before the big six (35, 36, 38 to 41) such as Nos. 25, 29, 31 and 34, but it is a work of charm and consumate ability in its four compact movements. It was beautifully played and served as an apéritif to one of the two great moments of the first concert: the immaculate reading of Mozart´s Violin Concerto Nº4, K.218 by Eberle and the orchestra. He wrote five in the brief time of nine months in 1775, when he was 19. Eberle, now 27, a disciple of the great Ana Chumachenco, showed grace, refinement and transparent articulation, as well as impeccable taste in the small cadenzas added at appropriate points where the orchestral music arrives to a pause. The encore was Kreisler´s "Liebesleid" ("Love´s sorrows"). After the interval I didn´t enjoy the première of "Hirta rounds" by the Irish composer David Fennessy (born 1976), for me it is boring minimalism. After the brief "Lyric Andante" for strings, an agreeable piece by Reger far from his usual dense writing, we came to the other high spot of the evening: a wonderful performance of that very special Symphony Nº45 ("Farewell") by Franz Joseph Haydn. It´s one of the "Sturm und drang" ("Storm and impulse") symphonies (44 to 49), a precocious harbinger of Romanticism during Classicism paralleled in literature by Schiller and Goethe. Written in 1772, indeed it starts with a stormy first movement in F sharp minor, a complex tonality rarely used at the time. Followed by a melancholy Adagio and a formal Menuet, the last delicate movement makes us understand the "Farewell" sobriquet, as players gradually leave their seats until the last phrase is played only by the concertino: it was the composer´s subtle way to suggest to his patron, Prince Esterházy, that it was time to leave their Summer Palace and go back to Eisenstadt, their winter home; and the Prince complied... The playing was exquisite and stylish throughout, and led to the encore, the last movement of, yes, Mozart´s Symphony Nº 29! The second concert started with Mozart´s Symphony Nº 33, followed by his Concerto Nº5 for violin, called "Turkish" because of an episode in the last movement that parodies that music. It innovates by interrupting the first movement´s Allegro by an elegiac violin Adagio before the return of the Allegro. Eberle was marginally less convincing, not so exact in her playing and with added cadenzas sometimes too exotic for comfort in Mozart, but still quite good, as was the orchestra (whose only flaw in both concerts came from small smudges from the horns). We had Eberle also after the interval, for she played three Kreisler pieces: "Schön Rosmarin" ("Beautiful rosemarie"), "Liebesleid" and "Liebesfreud" ("Love´s joys"), orchestrated simply, for the violin soloist always leads (orchestrations unidentified). These are charming tidbits justly famous, and Eberle played them with the care and distinction they merit. The lovely Symphony Nº5 by Schubert, written at 19 in 1816, is a homage to Mozart but with the harmonic and melodic sensitivity that distinguished the great Pre-Romantic of tragically short life. The performance was delightful though without personal touches . A pity that their encore was a repeat of the Menuet. The Venice Baroque Orchestra sports its English name though it should properly be called the Orchestra Barocca di Venezia. It was founded in 1997 by investigator and harpsichordist Andrea Marcon. Since their inception they have made pioneer work rediscovering and in certain cases recording operas by Cavalli, Vivaldi, B.Marcello and Boccherini. In this debut tour they didn´t come with Marcon but concertino Gianpiero Zanocco proved a splendid leader. And with them came a talented mezzo, Romina Basso (also debut) who has recorded five Vivaldi operas (!) and been a soloist with a redoubtable covey of specialist ensembles. Together thay gave a memorable all-Vivaldi programme presenting two Sinfonias, four Concerti and six opera arias. A veritable feast disproving the still existing prejudice about Vivaldi´s sameness, for the evening was a constant discovery of contrasting marvels. The group is basically a string ensemble (13) plus harpsichord, but one of the violinists, Anna Fusek, is also a virtuoso player of the sopranino recorder and she wowed the audience with the Concerto RV 443 (RV: Ryom Verzeichnis=Ryom catalogue). The other Concerti were for two violins, RV 516 (Zanocco, Giorgio Baldan) and the only one for two cellos, RV 531 (Massino Raccanelli Zaborra, Federico Toffano). Excellent playing save for some acidity in high long notes from the violins, probably because they use no vibrato at all (they are very historicist in style, with strong dramatic colors, though their strings are metallic, not guts). The two Sinfonias were brief, in G major (RV 146) and minor (RV 157); the sinfonias of that time were as the concertos but without soloists, nothing to do with classicist symphonies. The treat of the evening was the very different operatic arias: they were turbulent in "Bajazet", dramatic and slow in "Farnace", florid in "Orlando furioso", mild in "Atenaide", expressive in "Giustino" and fast, intense in "Argippo". Musso has a remarkable technique and range, as well as theatrical temperament. She proved adaptable to dissimilar mooods and capped the evening with that wonderful slow Händel aria, "Lascia ch´io pianga", from "Rinaldo". For Buenos Aires Herald




My Classical Notes

June 6

Mozart and Vivaldi, as performed by Elina Garanca

On this recording, Elīna Garanča performs music by Mozart and Vivaldi. Mozart: Deh, se piacermi vuoi (from La clemenza di Tito) Camerata Salzburg, Louis Langrée Temerari!…Come scoglio! (from Così fan tutte) Camerata Salzburg, Louis Langrée Se l’augellin sen fugge (from La finta giardiniera) Camerata Salzburg, Louis Langrée Và pure ad altri in braccio (from La finta giardiniera) Camerata Salzburg, Louis Langrée Ah, scostati!…Smanie implacabili, che m’agitate (from Così fan tutte) Camerata Salzburg, Louis Langrée Ch’io mi scordi di te?… Non temer, amato bene, K505 Camerata Salzburg, Louis Langrée Vivaldi: Quel ciglio vezzosetto (from Bajazet) Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi E bella Irene (from Bajazet) Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi Non ho nel sen costanza (from Bajazet) Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi Ah disperato Andronico! (from Bajazet) Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi La sorte mia spietata (from Bajazet) Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi Lascerò di regnare (from Bajazet) Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi Spesso tra vaghe rose (from Bajazet) Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi Coronata di giglie e rose (from Bajazet) Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi Performed by Elīna Garanča (mezzo-soprano) Elīna Garanča’s velvety, versatile voice makes her one of the outstanding singers of the present day, of that there can be no doubt. She followed up her international breakthrough at the Salzburg Festival with two celebrated CD releases in 2005 that laid the foundation of her rich discography: a Mozart recital and the world premiere of Vivaldi’s opera Bajazet. The present album combines the loveliest moments from these recordings. Listen now as Ms. Garanca Sings two arias from Mozaer’s nozzle di Figaro:



My Classical Notes

May 28

The Tango Music of Piazzolla

My Classical Notes brings you today a review of “The Sound of Piazzolla” The individual tracks are as follows: Piazzólla: Libertango, with Alison Balsom (trumpet) Escualo Alison Balsom (trumpet) Oblivion Martha Argerich (piano) Histoire du Tango: Bordel 1900, withEmmanuel Pahud (flute) Fuga y Misterio, with The 12 Cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker Adiós Nonino The 12 Cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker Primavera Porteña, with Daniel Barenboim (piano) Verano Porteño with Daniel Barenboim (piano) Otoño Porteña with David Aaron Carpenter (viola) Invite no Porteño tenTHing Five Tango Sensations: Asleep, with the Alban Berg Quartett Le Grand Tango with Mstislav Rostropovich (cello) La Muerte del Angel Manuel Barrueco Los Pajaros Perdidos Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor) Concierto del angel Tango Ballet Maria de Buenos Aires Suite, with Gidon Kremer All performed by the Kremer Baltica, Kremer Musica, Coral Lirico Buenos Aires Some of the greatest names on today’s classical music scene pay Homage to Astor Piazzolla. Presented in two distinct programs, the first part highlights the most varied of influences: this is not just about the tango; there are influences from jazz and the classical traditions of Bach and Vivaldi, all brought together here. The second part combines original classical compositions – the ‘tango operita’ María de Buenos Aires, the Tango Ballet and Concierto del Angel. The recordings by Gidon Kremer and his KremerATA Baltica are a true piece of Piazzolla pioneer work. In the 1950’s when Astor Piazzolla went to Paris to study classical composition, the tango of his native Argentina was not considered fit for the concert stages of Europe; these were the sultry sounds of the street; the music of the demimonde. Luckily, the formidable composition teacher Nadia Boulanger encouraged her Argentinian pupil to draw precisely on those roots. Piazzolla at last found his true voice as a composer and bandoneon virtuoso. Today, he is considered the father of tango as we know it today, blending rhythmic vitality with orchestral textures. Twenty-five years after Piazzolla’s death, The Sound of Piazzolla confirms that the founder of Tango Nuevo left as his legacy a unique style of music that sounds just as fresh and vibrant today. Here is the music!

Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

April 28

So, here’s how I get to play in the Berlin Philharmonic…

From our string-quartet diarist, Anthea Kreston: I am exhausted. Totally and utterly exhausted. My eyes feel like they need to be moisturized, and I could go for a full-body detox, or a week in Michael Jackson’s Hyperbaric Chamber (recently rediscovered in a storage unit). I am wrapping up the end of the season with quartet, and on Monday we head in to a modified six-month sabbatical, one which was planned three years ago, before the events which eventually lead to uprooting my family from our sleepy little town in the Pacific Northwest, and on three weeks notice beginning our lives anew in a new culture, a new way of life. After I joined, we decided to open the sabbatical on any mutually free days, and so we do meet occasionally, for a concert here or there – in Krakow, Brussels, or the Netherlands. When I learned of the sabbatical I thought to myself – goodness – what will we do in Berlin for six months? We have no connections, we know no musicians or presenters. But, as the year progressed, we did begin to make connections – and to strengthen old ones in the United States. And now I find myself in a veritable tornado of concerts. A musician’s dream – a buffet of musical opportunities a person wouldn’t even dare to add to a bucket list. On Monday I begin putting together all 10 Beethoven Violin Sonatas for a concert series in Berlin. Amongst those rehearsals is the Mendelssohn Octet with an incredible cast of musicians, as well as the odd chamber music reading session with new friends. Then – I get to play as a substitute with the Berlin Philharmonic. Bucket list extraordinaire. I got a call also to be assistant concertmaster for an incredible Opera Orchestra, but I was already scheduled for Berlin. What??? Crazy, absolutely crazy. Then, I head to Italy for a tour with Performance Today – American Public Media’s legendary and utterly charming and insightful host Fred Child leads four busses of classical music enthusiasts through Italy, by deluxe boat and bus, and has asked me to be the guest soloist for the tour. Vivaldi Four Seasons in Venice, three recitals, daily interviews, and I think I even get to be one of those people who hold the microphone in front of a bus and talk. Maybe I can have that super chair by the bus driver that folds up and down. I will also be leading a book discussion group – I love to do this. And of course answering questions about this Diary. A smattering of quartet concerts happen before our family heads to Northern Italy for two weeks with Amelia Piano Trio (yeah Amy Yang! I miss you) – several concerts – and teaching old students from Oregon as well as new students we bring from Berlin, all in a small magical town in the Dolomites. Next – I will be teaching and performing at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. And we return from the States just 2 days before school restarts. So there went the Sabbatical. It has disappeared before we even had a minute to catch our breaths. My late evening practice sessions with my hotel mute have taken a completely different bent – the Chaconne, Janacek violin sonata, Kreisler and Biber replace what was once the second violin parts of the major quartet literature. Am I a different violinist now? Absolutely – my nuances are more varied, my commitment to emotional detail refined. Will I still get a little crazy and go too far sometimes? I can’t imagine life and music without that!

Antonio Vivaldi
(1678 – 1741)

Antonio Vivaldi (March 4, 1678 - July 28, 1741), was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe. Vivaldi is known mainly for composing instrumental concertos, especially for the violin, as well as sacred choral works and over 40 operas. His best known work is a series of violin concertos known as The Four Seasons. Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi worked between 1703 and 1740. Vivaldi also had some success with stagings of his operas in Venice, Mantua and Vienna. After meeting the Emperor Charles VI, Vivaldi moved to Vienna hoping for preferment. The Emperor died soon after Vivaldi's arrival, and the composer died a pauper, without a steady source of income. Though Vivaldi's music was well received during his lifetime, it later declined in popularity until its vigorous revival in the first half of the 20th century. Today, Vivaldi ranks among the most popular and widely recorded Baroque composers.



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