A countryman of Bela Bartók and a sometime teacher to both György Ligeti and György Kurtág, Sándor Veress emigrated to Switzerland from what was then part of Hungary in 1949. Settling in Bern, he collected various prizes and teaching posts while working in relative obscurity on who knows how many pieces–most of which have been unavailable. This collection is made up of a pithy trio of compositions dated 1938 (Six Csárdás), 1951 (Hommage à Paul Klee), and 1952 (Concerto for Piano, Strings, and Percussion), and they show what a deftly melodic force Veress was. He's thrilled by blustery string wafts, especially in the concerto, where the percussion adds drama and immediacy. But he also favors sweetly chipper string formations, which surprise the ear during the homage to Klee, especially given the dissonances fostered early on by the twin pianos. The closing piano miniatures of Six Csárdás are counterpoint-rich gems, played with sharp precision by András Schiff.
The Armenian monk Soghomon Soghomonian, better known by his priest’s name of Komitas, collected hundreds of folksongs around 1900 during the course of his travels through the Armenian highlands between Van Lake, the Black Sea and the southern Caucasus. These songs, handed down orally over the centuries, express all the archaism of this ancient people’s unmistakeable culture – a culture than was nearly extinguished in the genocide of the Armenians during the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1917…
It comes as no surprise that, a year after Rampal's death, James Galway should dedicate a disc to him. After all, Galway has always cited the Frenchman as his true mentor - and it was with Rampal that Galway first spied a golden flute. The recording actually happened over a year before Rampal died but appropriately enough contains concertos by the French Classical composer François Devienne, of whose music Rampal was a noted interpreter.
There is a recurrent theme running through the program presented by the Dena Piano Duo in this production; all four composers and works have a particular relationship to Edvard Grieg. Both Johannes Brahms and Camille Saint-Saëns were friends of Grieg, and in several of his works the inspiration Grieg gained from his colleagues in Vienna and Paris is easy to hear. In between the works of Brahms and Saint-Saëns the Dena Piano Duo play two Norwegian works they have commissioned from the composers Wolfgang Plagge and Terje Bjørklund with this recording in mind.
The first volume of Orient Occident - released in 2006 - turned out to be a landmark in Jordi Savall's discography. For the first time, the maestro explored an extra-European repertoire, demonstrating the same musicological expertise he had shown with composers like Marin Marais. The album soon became a best seller. The second volume in this exploration focuses on Syria, alternating instrumental and vocal pieces. Musicians from Syria, Lebanon and Israel play alongside Hesperion XXI and illustrate the artistic and humanist process we have come to expect from Jordi Savall.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. Comes with a descripton in Japanese. A tribute to the great European guitarist Rene Thomas – and one that features Thomas himself fronting a sweet small combo with Fender Rhodes from Rob Franken – with a sound that's unlike any other album that Rene ever recorded! Thomas first rose to fame on the bop scene in Paris in the postwar years – but here, he's got a much more longform approach to guitar – really stretching out on these very long tracks that build beautifully with his own richly chromatic lines, and some great solo moments from Franken. The group also features Koos Serierse on bass and Louis Debij on drums – and titles include "My Wife Maria", "Jesus Think Of Me", "Star Eyes", and "Round Midnight".
When in the first decade of the twentieth century, pioneering Russian creative artists turned to the sun for inspiration, they saw this theme as a symbol of liberation from turn-of-the-century decadence. In The Canticle of the Sun the power of the sun celebrates two liberating forces: specifically, the dedicatee, Mstislav Rostropovich, who shed light in the darkness of the later Soviet years (Gubaidulina has even spoken of the work embodying his ‘sunny personality’) and more generally, the spiritual sources which the composer has explored through her own musical journey within and beyond Soviet Russia. The Canticle of the Sun is a response to a text by St Francis of Assisi, in which he humbly glorifies the creator. Gubaidulina, aware that the music should not be ostentatious or complicated, suggests the mysteries of creation and humanity through solo cello and percussion, and places St Francis’s text in the restrained mouths of the choir as a kind of wondering response. The second work on this disc is a setting of five poems by Marina Tsvetayeva for unaccompanied choir.