Following his critically-acclaimed Elgar Cello Concerto recording with Alisa Weilerstein, Barenboim turns to the symphonies. The Second Symphony is released first, in a 2013 recording with the Staatskapelle Berlin. The First Symphony will follow in 2015.
As the present principal conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Sakari Oramo has chosen works by Edward Elgar, a composer whose music he has been a fervent advocate of since his tenure at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Oramo’s commitment to Elgar has been rewarded with a medal of honour from the British Elgar Society.
In the decades since its founding, the Scottish National Orchestra has earned a reputation as a distinguished ensemble with an extensive concert schedule, wide-ranging repertoire, and a significant representation on recordings. The SNO is the direct descendant of the Scottish Orchestra, founded in Glasgow in 1890; with the establishment of the Scottish National Orchestra Society in 1950 with monies from Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Dundee, the SNO became a permanent ensemble. Throughout its first 40 years, the Scottish Orchestra had no permanent principal conductor, instead relying on a series of eminent guest conductors.
Gustav Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection’ with Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Rundfunkchor Berlin and star soloists Kate Royal and Magdalena Kožená was recorded in concert at Berlin’s Philharmonie in late October 2010. The Symphony, scored for orchestra, soloists and chorus, tackles the great mysteries of life and death and was already among the most successful and popular of Mahler’s symphonies during his lifetime. Not only was the work premiered by the Berliner Philharmoniker (in 1895) but it is an important work in Simon Rattle’s musical trajectory. The partnership of Sir Simon and the BPO in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 portends a ground-breaking new recording.
Following the long & rocky road to the 1st Symphony, on which, due to his teaching duties at the Moscow Conservatory, Tchaikovsky had been forced to work at night, the 2nd Symphony was composed mainly in the summer of 1872, hot on the heels of his 2nd opera, The Oprichnik. At this time, Tchaikovsky was once again taking a holiday on the country estate of his sister Aleksandra, located near the Ukrainian town of Kamianka, in the Kiev Governerate. Numerous anecdotes report Tchaikovsky’s touching assertion that he was not the true creator of the work, but rather, that it actually had been composed by a Pyotr Gerasimovich, 1 of the older servants in the household of his sister & her husband, Lev Davydov, for it was Pyotr Gerasimovich who had sung the folksong, The Crane, to him, which provided the basis for the work’s finale.