For twenty years the Berliner Philharmoniker has celebrated its 1882 founding with a concert at a major European venue, and the 2011 event takes place at the magnificent Teatro Real in Madrid. The renowned orchestra, under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle, performs Joaquín Rodrigo’s beloved Concierto de Aranjuez, Emmanuel Chabrier’s exuberant España, and Sergey Rachmaninov’s dramatic Second Symphony. It is joined for the Concierto by the famous flamenco guitarist Cañizares, whose virtuosity and sensitivity are given full opportunity to shine in this multi-faceted and subtle work.
The revival of the viola d'amore as an instrument distinct and separate from the viola is a well-established phenomenon, advanced by composers and performers alike at least since the 1920s. That doesn't mean, however, that there are a great many players of the viola d'amore around, nor are there nearly as many viola d'amores in existence to play, at least in a quantity relative to the number of violas that are out there.
Composed for the Carnival season in Verona in 1735, Bajazet is a ‘pasticcio’ opera based on the familiar story of the eponymous Turkish sultan’s imprisonment at the hands of the Tartar tyrant Tamerlane. As such, it openly uses arias by other composers, including Hasse, Broschi and Giacomelli, as well as re-cycled pieces from Vivaldi’s own operas (L’Olimpiade, Giustino, Farnace, Semiramide and Montezuma among them). But this is no mere patchwork of recycled numbers. All the ‘borrowed’ arias are expertly placed within the dramatic fabric of the work and are held together with richly composed recitatives. What we end up with is the best of the best in terms of Neapolitan-style opera – tuneful, virtuosic and passionate. Virtually every number in this recording is a highlight. What really lifts the recording is the quality of the performances. There are no holes or flaws among the experienced cast. David Daniels makes a fine Tamerlane – slippery and cruel – while Marijana Mijanovic’s Asteria packs a powerful dramatic punch. Top marks too for Vivica Genaux in the technically demanding role of Irene. Ildebrando D’Arcangelo makes a commanding Bajazet, although his tough dignity comes at the loss of some sensitivity.
Air guitars at the ready! 67 tracks across 4CDs housed in a fold out card digipack style case. Includes Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Santana, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Stevie Ray Vaughan and many more…