Anton Bruckner – Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1892)

Recorded June 4th 1979, and filmed on location in the monastery church in St. Florian, Austria with Herbert von Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

1st Movement.
2nd Movement.
3rd Movement.
4th Movement.

Karajan later in an interview related that he was given special access to Bruckner’s underground tomb located beneath the great organ, where he was alone with Bruckner’s sarcophagus for a lengthy amount of time before the performance.

Anton Bruckner ‘s Symphony No. 8 in C minor is the last Symphony the composer completed. It exists in two major versions of 1887 and 1890. It was premiered under conductor Hans Richter in 1892 in Vienna. It is dedicated to the Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. This symphony is sometimes nicknamed The Apocalyptic, but – as with the nicknames The Tragic (for the Fifth Symphony), The Philosophic (for the Sixth), and The Lyric (for the Seventh) – this was not a name Bruckner gave to the work himself. [source]

 

 

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Witold Lutosławski – Partita For Violin And Orchestra (1984 – 1988)

Partita For Violin And Orchestra was composed by Witold Lutosławski from 1984 to 1988 and was dedicated to the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. The premiere was 10 January 1990, Munich: Anne-Sophie Mutter, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Witold Lutosławski.

Witold Lutosławski ( January 25, 1913 – February 7, 1994) was a Polish composer and conductor. He was one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and one of the preeminent Polish musicians during his last three decades.

Through the mid-1980s, Lutosławski composed three pieces called Łańcuch (“Chain”), which refers to the way the music is constructed from contrasting strands which overlap like the links of a chain. Chain 2 was written for Anne- Sophie Mutter (commissioned by Paul Sacher), and for Mutter he also orchestrated his slightly earlier Partita for violin and piano, providing a new linking Interlude, so that when played together the Partita, Interlude and Chain 2 form his longest work. [source]

1. Allegro Giusto (4:14)
1. Ad Libitum (1:12)
3. Largo (6.23)
4. Ad Libitum (0:47)
5. Presto (3.52)

Witold Lutosławski – Conductor
Phillip Moll – Piano
Anne-Sophie Mutter  – Violin
BBC Symphony Orchestra

Witold Lutoslawski

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[List of Witold Lutosławski´s complete works]

 

The Art Of Piano – Great Pianists Of The 20Th Century (2011)

Art of Piano – Great Pianists of the 20th Century movie was released July 26, 2011 by the Kultur Films Inc. studio. From Ignaz Jan Paderewski in 1936 to Claudio Arrau in 1970, The Art of Piano features some of the most fascinating material, historically and musically, from the world’s film and television archives. Art of Piano – Great Pianists of the 20th Century movie Commentaries by Piotr Anderszewski, Daniel Barenboim, Schuyler Chapin, Sir Colin Davis, Gary Graffman, Evgeny Kissin, Zoltan Kocsis, Stephen Kovacevich, Paul Myers, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, György Sandor and Tamás Vásáry.
Using footage that was painstakingly collected over a two year period, THE ART OF PIANO features rare clips of eighteen amazingly talented pianists who reached career heights at the middle of the 20th century Art of Piano – Great Pianists of the 20th Century video. Featuring legends like Rachmaninoff, Hofman, Horowitz, and Glenn Gould performing live and on film, the theme of the video is tied together through interviews and commentary by conductors including Sir Colin Davis and Daniel Barenboim Art of Piano – Great Pianists of the 20th Century film. [source]

A documentary about the art of Piano Playing with works by Beethoven, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Tschaikowsky, Mozart, Chopin u. a. 

Artists: Arrau, Backhaus, Cortot, Cziffra, A. Fischer, Gilels, Hess, Hofmann, Horowitz, Michelangeli, Gould, Paderewski, Rachmaninoff, Richter, Rubinstein .

Donald Sturrock – Director / Pierre-Olivier Bardet – Executive Producer / Stephen Wright – Executive Producer / Clive Sugars – Executive Producer /Christian Labrande – Screenwriter / Donald Sturrock – Screenwriter / Release date Jul 26, 2011 / Runningtime 107 Minutes /

Boulez: Structures Books 1 and 2; Cage: Music for Piano 4-19, 42, 47, 53-68, 53-84

Pierre Boulez met John Cage for the first time in 1949. Though their approaches to composing were utterly different, each admired what the other had achieved and they struck up an unlikely friendship, which left an imprint on Boulez’s music when he introduced elements of controlled chance into his compositions. The works for two pianos on this disc from Pi-Hsien Chen and Ian Pace interweave pieces from Cage’s Music for Piano – his first keyboard work to rely upon chance operations to generate all the musical material, leaving the performers with decisions about what to play and for how long – with the two books of Boulez’s Structures. The first, from 1952, was Boulez’s last score to use serial techniques to determine every aspect of the composition – pitch, duration, dynamics, attacks – while the second book, composed nine years later, revisits the same material, but gives the players a limited choice in what to select and when. In comparison with the rigour and hard edges of its predecessor, the piano writing in Structures Book 2 is thrillingly brilliant, and it makes a wonderful contrast to the cool discontinuities of Cage’s pieces, with their plucked and strummed notes, percussive knockings and muffled chords.

[via The Guardian]

San Franciscans welcome Gustavo Dudamel

Reporting from San Francisco

The houselights stayed dim at the start of Monday night’s concert at Davies Symphony Hall for longer than usual, as if to milk the moment for all it was worth. Only a few extra seconds elapsed before Gustavo Dudamel strode on stage to join the Los Angeles Philharmonic. But the sense of anticipation in the concert hall seemed to make those ticking seconds feel like an eternity.

Just as he has bewitched Los Angeles audiences since becoming music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic last fall, so the charismatic 28-year-old conductor has quickly brought Bay Area audiences under his spell. A pair of sold-out concerts in San Francisco on Monday and Tuesday evenings marked the launch of Dudamel’s inaugural tour as music director of the Philharmonic — the orchestra’s first national tour in almost a decade. If audience reactions to Monday’s performance are anything to go by, the Philharmonic will be returning home later this month after completing its all-but-sold-out 10-concert journey with eight cities full of Dudamel devotees in its wake.

Read the full review in The Los Angeles Times here.

More Gustavo in The Los Angeles Times here, here, here and here.

Gustavo Dudamel leading the LA Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall

Avery Fisher Hall was sold out for the concert by Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Thursday night, the first chance for concertgoers in New York to see him in action since he became the orchestra’s music director last fall. He has since galvanized Los Angeles with his exuberant music making and inspiring capacity for outreach.

But part of the job description for a music director at a major American orchestra involves fostering the technical skills of the players and giving assured, fresh performances of works in the central repertory. In this regard, Thursday’s concert was a disappointment. It began with an arresting account of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 (“The Age of Anxiety”) with the pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet dazzling in the formidable solo part.

After intermission, however, Mr. Dudamel turned to Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony, and the performance, though rhapsodic and intensely expressive, was rough and unfocused. Mr. Dudamel conducted from memory and exuded involvement. Clearly, he knows the score and knows what he wants. But he may have wanted more than the music could bear.

Read the full review in The New York Times here.

The Met Orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez

The list of significant conductors who have never appeared at the Metropolitan Opera grew shorter during the past two seasons with the acclaimed house debuts of Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Muti and Esa-Pekka Salonen. One notable maestro, Pierre Boulez, remains on that list, and at 85 he is not likely to commit to a Met production, which would involve several weeks of residency.

But Mr. Boulez was at least enticed to conduct the Met Orchestra, and that long-awaited concert took place on Sunday afternoon at Carnegie Hall. The program — Bartok’s mysterious ballet score “The Wooden Prince” and Schoenberg’s operatic monodrama “Erwartung” — was tailored to Mr. Boulez’s expertise and interests. The concert was a triumph. I lost track of the number of times Mr. Boulez and Deborah Polaski, the compelling soprano soloist in the Schoenberg, were brought back to the stage during the long final ovation.

With his acute ear for color and texture, Mr. Boulez can usually elicit a certain sound from whatever orchestra he conducts, especially with musicians as skilled and responsive as these. In Bartok’s “Wooden Prince,” written in 1917, the orchestra played with warmth and radiance yet uncanny clarity, a Boulez hallmark.

Read the full review in The New York Times here.

Icelandic composer is liberated by the power of positive thinking

Ólafur Arnalds has found inspiration for his latest collection in the slow-motion celluloid poetry of Werckmeister Harmonies, the elegiac fantasy of Hungarian director Béla Tarr. In particular, the Icelandic composer has drawn on that film’s opening sequence (a line from which provides this album with its title), which sees the chief protagonist delivering an emotive monologue on the processes of a solar eclipse; patently a metaphor for the resurrection of hope from the depths of despair.

This arc from shadow to light is mirrored across the duration of …and They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness, providing Arnalds with a clear contextual framework upon which to found his work, while emancipating him from the default melancholia of his past material. Whereas previous efforts have found him struggling to locate his specific USP, mired in the second tier of contemporary ivory workers (some distance behind the likes of Jóhann Jóhannsson and Max Richter), this set’s effortless poise elevates him to the genre’s upper echelons.

While this success is partly due to the suite’s conceptual foundations and strategy, it also benefits from an expanded instrumental palette. When, on Tunglið, a tumble of drums splinters the plaintive, customary  trade-off between ivory and strings, it’s as if an immeasurable stretch of black nimbus has parted, recoiling in the wake of a sun’s ardent luminescence. Moments such as this seem a world away from the indistinct sketches that characterised so much of 2009’s Dyad 1909.

Arnalds is clearly growing in confidence, comfortable enough to permit his phrases to linger, allowing each note to permeate the vacated spaces between. Perhaps this is the influence of Béla Tarr once more, a man renowned for his use of languidly-paced shots (the 145 minutes of Werckmeister Harmonies contains a mere 39). Regardless, Arnalds is set to take his place among the big boys. Not bad for a guy who once sat behind the traps for a group called Fighting S***.

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Philip Glass' Music in 12 Parts / Philip Glass Ensemble / Brighton Festival

Though not among the bespoke events that guest artistic director Brian Eno has endorsed at this year’s Brighton festival, the appearances by the Philip Glass Ensemble chimed nicely with Eno’s own career and musical preoccupations. Glass and his group gave two performances: his score for Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi, to accompany a screening of the film; and a complete performance of Music in 12 Parts.

Along with Terry Riley’s In C and Steve Reich’s Drumming, Music in 12 Parts is one of the defining statements of what might be called the “pure” minimalism of the 1960s and early 70s. Glass intended it as a compendium of all the musical techniques he had devised for building large-scale rhythmic structures, assembling it movement-by-movement over four years until it acquired epic proportions. Complete performances are rare – the Brighton one, with three intervals, lasted well over four hours.

The problem with the work is that a sense of didacticism runs through it. As one part follows another, it’s difficult to suppress the feeling that the audience is being taken by the hand through some treatise on minimalism, with every point rather too painstakingly explained. The amplified sound – three electric keyboards (one played by Glass), three winds (doubling flutes and saxophones) and a hard-worked female vocalist – is unremitting and congested, so that teasing out individual lines or doublings quickly becomes wearying.

Read the full review in The Guardian here.

The Pro Arte Quartet at Weill Recital Hall

For a musical ensemble with a famous name, legacy is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, a storied name can grab attention. On the other, an illustrious history can be burdensome when it sets up expectations that are difficult to live up to. The Pro Arte Quartet, which performed at Weill Recital Hall on Wednesday evening, is presumably acquainted with both sides of the issue.

A more striking pedigree would be hard to imagine. Founded in Belgium in 1912, the original Pro Arte Quartet played for royalty; introduced new pieces by composers like Schoenberg, Bartok and Barber; and recorded regularly, including sessions with the pianist Artur Schnabel. The group’s 1926 American debut at the Library of Congress was followed by frequent tours of this country.

Stranded here by Hitler’s invasion of Belgium in 1940, the quartet was taken in by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where it established a performing and teaching residency claimed to be the first of its kind at a major American university. According to the group’s Web site, (proartequartet.org), 26 musicians have been part of the quartet at one time or another.

Read the full review in The New York Times here.