Of the American violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, the American Record Guide is quoted as saying, Through her peerless mastery and vivid imagination there seems to be no limit to the colors she can draw from her instrument. Sony Classicals 6-CD reissue of some of her finest recordings include the Mendelssohn Concerto, which Gramophone praised for its sweetness and poetry, also lauding her rapt playing in Vaughan Williamss The Lark Ascending and her performance of Bruchs Scottish Fantasy, altogether a great success.
Here are three 20th-century violin concertos written within a 30-year period in three totally different styles, played by a soloist equally at home in all of them. Bernstein's Serenade, the earliest and most accessible work, takes its inspiration from Plato's Symposium; its five movements, musical portraits of the banquet's guests, represent different aspects of love as well as running the gamut of Bernstein's contrasting compositional styles. Rorem's concerto sounds wonderful. Its six movements have titles corresponding to their forms or moods; their character ranges from fast, brilliant, explosive to slow, passionate, melodious. Philip Glass's concerto, despite its conventional three movements and tonal, consonant harmonies, is the most elusive. Written in the "minimalist" style, which for most ordinary listeners is an acquired taste, it is based on repetition of small running figures both for orchestra and soloist, occasionally interrupted by long, high, singing lines in the violin against or above the orchestra's pulsation.
California violinist and former child prodigy Anne Akiko Meyers has stretched the violin recital in interesting ways, venturing into crossover territory (and even appearing at nightclubs) without losing the basic shape of the traditional program. Here's a decent sampling of her talents for those who follow the ways the classical violin is developing in the U.S., or just for those whose tastes run somewhere between Sarah Chang and Vanessa-Mae. The Seasons…Dreams concept of the album is not original, but the material with which Meyers fills it indeed is so. At the center of the program is the Beethoven Violin Sonata No. 3, Op. 24, "Spring," given a restrained performance inflected toward the evanescent, fantasy-like tone of the rest of the album. The other pieces push the seasons-and-dreams theme into unusual territory. Clair de lune is certainly a common enough item on such programs, but Wagner's Träume is less so, as is the shift from harp to piano accompaniment that follows with the Beethoven (the harp returns later).
Barber provided these program notes for the premiere performance of his violin concerto: The first movement — allegro molto moderato — begins with a lyrical first subject announced at once by the solo violin, without any orchestral introduction. This movement as a whole has perhaps more the character of a sonata than concerto form. The second movement — andante sostenuto — is introduced by an extended oboe solo. The violin enters with a contrasting and rhapsodic theme, after which it repeats the oboe melody of the beginning. The last movement, a perpetuum mobile, exploits the more brilliant and virtuosic character of the violin.
An all-too-rare new recording from Polyphony and Stephen Layton presents highlights from the choral repertoire by four twentieth-century American giants: Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Randall Thompson. Framed by Thompson’s understated favourites Alleluia and Fare Well, the programme includes Bernstein’s Missa brevis, Copland’s early set of four motets, and—of course—Barber’s inimitable Agnus Dei.
The definitive look at the outstanding life and career of Leonard Bernstein, world-renowned composer, conductor, pianist and educator. This film and moving celebration conveys a fully rounded portrait of Bernstein's complex life–from his debut conducting performance for the New York Philharmonic in 1943 to his historic and electrifying performance at the fall of the Berlin Wall; from his Broadway experiences to his finale at Tanglewood. Filled with archival footage including concert films, home movies and clips from Broadway hits West Side Story and On the Town, the film showcases the many talents of Bernstein.
A study of Yosano Akiko (1878-1942), famous post-classical woman poet of Japan. It follows Yosano from childhood to her twenties, as she freed herself from the alienation and frustration that shadowed her early years and, to use her own words, "danced out into the light" of poetry and self-liberation. …
Leonard Bernstein recorded nearly all of Brahms's orchestral works on film with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to honour the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth in 1983. Today, the cycle is considered a landmark in the interpretation of Brahms's music. Here are four masterpieces: the two concert overtures, the brilliant "Haydn" Variations, and the delightfully Haydnesque A major Serenade.