It is a plea for the direct experience of a music that had become fed up with the constraints of traditional forms. Debussyâ€™s music especially reveals characteristics that justifiably move it into the proximity of Impressionist painting, as it produces moving paintings, landscapes of sound, soundscapes in the narrowest sense of the word that can draw the listener into the middle of the picture. Maurice Ravelâ€™s String Quartet, completed in 1903, had to be and was compared with Debussyâ€™s quartet. At the same time, it can be seen here how Ravelâ€™s musical diction â€“ based on Debussyâ€™s â€“ prepared the way for French Modernism. Like only few of his colleagues, the Briton Thomas AdĂ¨s, born in 1971, is capable of fusing traditional elements from music history, including obvious references to existing compositions, with modern sound production into an individual style appealing directly to the listener.
The two sonatas for clarinet and piano, composed in 1894, were Brahms's last chamber works. Knowing that he could count on the virtuosity of their dedicatee, the prodigious clarinettist Richard MĂĽhlfeld (1856-1907), Brahms enthusiastically exploited all the expressive possibilities of the instrument. Under the fingers of Lorenzo Coppola, the clarinet prays, sobs, dreams or laughs, bringing astonishing conviction to all these varied emotions.
The work of a young musician of 25, the celebrated Piano Concerto by Grieg combines the great Romantic tradition and Norwegian folk music. The 'Lyric Pieces' are among the works that made Grieg world-famous. As in the case of the Piano Concerto, commentators have held that a certain combination of intervals (the 'Grieg motif') is chiefly responsible for its specific Norwegian quality. For Grieg himself the question of Norwegian culture was a tremendously important one, and he used his international reputation to fight tirelessly for the recognition of Norway as a state. He owed that reputation in considerable part to the 'Lyric Pieces', which he wrote over the space of four decades. They are indebted to the Romantic character piece in free form, which became widespread after 1830 and found outstanding representatives in Schumann and Mendelssohn. Grieg certainly also composed them with a view to their use in teaching the piano, with the result that they swiftly won the hearts of devotees of domestic music-making all over Europe. The present recording offers a representative selection: a set of eight pieces with which the 24year-old composer scored a resounding success immediately upon publication. He had managed to establish a personal voice virtually at a stroke. Further books followed over the decades, and, surprisingly enough, he enjoyed unfailing success with them, even though he hardly changed his 'artistic strategy'.
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Pablo Heras-Casado | Freiburger Barockorchester Isabelle Faust | Jean-Guihen Queyras
A new world
This second volume of the complete recording of the concertos and trios of Schumann shows just how badly we needed an interpretation that respects the subtleties and the transparency of Schumann's writing. Here is a different stylistic approach to one of the finest concertos in the repertory, which will undoubtedly open the way to the rediscovery of music as poetic as it is moving.
Andreas Staier | Harpsichord Freiburger Barockorchester | Early music ensemble
An exhilarating collection
The seven fabulously inventive concertos for solo harpsichord and orchestra mark a key stage in the history of the concertante form. The set was compiled during Bach's Leipzig years, when he directed the city's Collegium Musicum, and requires unfailing virtuosity and imagination of its performers. The contagious pleasure one feels in the interpretations of Andreas Staier and the Freiburger Barockorchester restores the full range of meanings to the word 'play'!
Music of the Baroque era â€“ Bach keyboard concertos and Scarlatti sonatas â€“ already features in the eclectic Erato catalogue of the French pianist Alexandre Tharaud. Now he is giving us his interpretation of one of the monuments of the repertoire for piano (and harpsichord), Bach's Goldberg Variations. "Bach is the father of all composers," Tharaud has said. "He is the one who opened the way. When I am tired, or not playing at my best, I return to Bach. He refocuses me, he gives me new strength. His music has a centre, but it has no end ... To play Bach, you need to feel in harmony with yourself, to feel humble â€“ Bach really is a matter of humility ... You cannot hide anything."
From the 28th January to the 11th February, Mary Carewe toured the UK presenting the much loved hits of Irving Berlin to commemorate the 125th year since his birth. Click here for a review of the opening night at Royal Festival Hall, 28th January.
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