It is a sad fact that the reputation and fame of many composers, built up over a lifetime, evaporates on their death bed. Si mes vers avaient des ailes, a short song written when the composer was just thirteen, is the work on which Hahn’s posthumous fame had, until relatively recently, relied, and is included here in the composer’s own transcription for cello and piano. Recording catalogues now reveal an ever-growing list of works—concertos, symphonic offerings, songs, piano pieces and chamber music—by this most urbane and charming composer.
Chamber music by Taneyev, Arensky, Shostakovich and Catoire. Chances are the you have heard of the first two composers. But have you ever heard any of their chamber music? And Catoire? Well, this self-taught composer has been a well-hidden treasure whose small out-put is rarely performed.
Russian born violinist Boris Tsoukkerman introduced Catoire's interesting chamber music to some of his Dutch colleagues. As a result several recordings were made to share their enthusiasm about this repertoire with a wider audience. At the time none other that Tchaikovsky admonished Catoire to continue composing. And later on both Arensky and Taneyev advised him on his work. And Rachmaninorr too liked Catoire's music
This programme features concert music by composers who also wrote film scores for Hollywood. While this was just one string to the considerable bows of Gershwin and Copland, Bernard Herrmann and Franz Waxman are best known for their music for Hitchcock films (Vertigo, North by Northwest, Marnie and Psycho for Herrmann; and Rebecca and The Paradine Case for Waxman). Centre stage is Gershwin’s Song-book, arranged by the composer for solo piano in order to present the songs ‘as George Gershwin plays them himself’.
Chamber music has always formed the heart of Maria João Pires’s musicianship. Indeed, she has often commented that she is happier working with others than performing on her own. “Not sharing a stage is very difficult for me,” she once remarked (in an interview for ArtsJournal in 2012) “You are apart from the group, apart from community, apart from everything. You become different and special. And, if you become different and special, you’re alone.”
Johann Melchior Molter was a German baroque composer and violinist. (…) Molter's surviving works include an oratorio; several cantatas; over 140 symphonies, overtures, and other works for orchestra; many concertos, including some of the first clarinet concertos ever written; and many pieces of chamber music.
Alkan was counted in Busoni's pantheon of five romantics alongside Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and Brahms. Brahms and Schumann are the references in the euphoric Grand Duo Concertant - nothing short of a 20 or so minute Sonata in three turbulent movements. This is a work of diving romance and if Alkan had stopped in the style of the first movement then we would have been able to 'place' Alkan. Instead we get a second movement that clamours in bass heavy capering for all the world like a picture of a Black Sabbath. As if to make ‘amends’ the finale is back to the helter-skelter tumble of vivacity we find in the first movement. This euphoria carries over into the Cello Sonata which is in four classically well-tailored movements. Alkan's originality or eccentricity (take your pick) returns for the Adagio which is part sentimental and part affecting. This perhaps offers a parallel with Joseph Holbrooke's chamber works in which sublime ideas and treatment suddenly find themselves up against kitsch music hall ditties. A wild saltarello with grand manner Hungarian gestures from the piano round out the picture.
…Ensemble Villa Musica was founded in 1990 when a group of principal players from several of Germany's major orchestras assembled for master classes in Mainz under the state-sponsored Villa Musica foundation. The players decided to form the group with no limitations in repertory, but with a focus on neglected masterworks of the past. Most of the members retained their posts in orchestras and/or on the faculties of universities or music schools. The ensemble's leader since its founding has been clarinetist Ulf Rodenhäuser…
»This recording is a true marvel!« ~Fanfare