Known for his scientific explorations of timbre and his innovative syntheses of acoustic and electronic techniques, Tristan Murail is regarded as a composer of the "spectral school." He accepts untempered sound as the basis for his expansive musical language, far removed from tonality, serialism, and aleatoric procedures. Gondwana was developed from electronic music concepts, and its expanding and contracting bands of complex sounds are analogous to those generated through a synthesizer. Shimmering clusters, washes of color, and massed, low sonorities evoke the slow shifting of continents. The Orchestre National de France, directed by Yves Prin, delivers this work with primordial grandeur and astonishing depth. Because of its smaller forces, Désintégrations is more focused and intense than Gondwana, though no less cosmic in its implications. The Ensemble de l'Itinéraire blends effectively with the electronic tape, so it is difficult to distinguish acoustic from synthetic sounds. Time and Again is a departure from the familiar practice of slowly unfolding processes, for its chopped-up material is jumbled, as if sequential events were reordered in a time machine.
Though written barely 20 years apart, Dvorák's Cello Concerto and Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations draw their inspiration from two entirely different epochs. Dvorák's lush, Romantic concerto has hints of Czech motherland and even adaptations of his own previous works. The accompaniment is densely scored with tutti sections that could easily be right out of one of his symphonies.
András Schiff is one of the most prominent members of a generation of Hungarian pianists born in the years following the Second World War, along with such artists as Zoltán Kocsis, Dezsö Ránki, and Jenö Jandó. Of this remarkable group, Schiff has achieved the greatest international reputation, due not only to his decision to pursue his career outside of Hungary, but also thanks to his finely shaded sense of touch and an impressive memory that allows him to present, in concerts and recordings, large portions of a composer's oeuvre.
Gerd Albrecht was a leading German conductor. He was best known for his interpretations of late Romantic and 20th century German repertory. His father was Hans Albrecht (1902-1961), a well-known musicologist. He was a choral scholar at the age of 15 and began conducting when he was 16. He studied at the Hamburg Musikhochschule (Hamburg Music Academy) from 1955 to 1958.
On one end of the continuum, there is Dvorák's Concerto in B minor for cello and orchestra, a composition that is among the composer's best known and has become a cornerstone of the instrument's repertoire. On the other end, the Piano Concerto in G minor, a work that had difficulty garnering acceptance even during the composer's lifetime and is still looked upon with less favor than other concertos written in the same period.
It says much for the Russian pianist Rustem Hayroudinoff that he gives such a command- ing performance of the Dvorák Piano Concerto, always a tricky work to play thanks to unpianistic piano writing. Sviatoslav Richter, after making his classic recording with Carlos Kleiber, pronounced that it was the most difficult concerto he had ever tackled but somehow he made the original, unrevised piano-writing – which he insisted on using – sound totally convincing.