A consummate artist whose approach to the cello was directed toward breathing life into the music, Paul Tortelier earned the respect and affection of countless colleagues. An enduring friendship with Pablo Casals found him playing, in the words of a French critic, Apollo to Casals' Jupiter. Like Casals, Tortelier emphasized using but one finger at a time on the string to allow free vibration. Fantasy and emotional freedom marked his performances and attracted numerous young players.
Despite his advanced age and the chaos surrounding him, Richard Strauss remained highly productive well into the 1940s. As the Second World War was coming to an end in 1944-45, the eighty-year-old composer was working on his Oboe Concerto and Sonatina No. 2 for winds, as well as the Metamorphosen for strings. While the latter work was an explicit response to the destruction Strauss was witnessing, in the Concerto and the Sonatina the composer seemed to be turning his mind away from the events surrounding him. There is a pastoral quality to the oboe concerto, with a highly tuneful solo part and more than occasional touches of nostalgia for the 18th century. Similarly, Strauss headed the score of the sonatina with a dedication ‘to the spirit of the immortal Mozart at the end of a life full of thankfulness’.
When soprano Claudia Galli first encountered Strauss, it was love at first sight (or, rather, sound). It soon became clear that Strauss should form the foundation of this recital programme, lovingly compiled by Claudia Galli and her duo partner, pianist Grégory Moulin.
These head notes take some explaining. Leave Me Alone is presented twice: the original song, sung by Angelika Kirchschlager, plus a version for cello and piano played by Jan Vogler. In the op. 55 Gypsy Songs, she sings Nos. 2, 5, and 6, while he plays the other four. Ms Kirchschlager sings both Stephen Foster ballads; Wilt Thou Be Gone, Love? includes a cello solo, as well. Pianist Helmut Deutsch accompanies it all.
In this production from Teatro alla Scala the ballet Don Quixote is shown in the legendary choreography of Rudolf Nureyev. Nureyev´s intention by fusing together the worlds of Commedia dell´Arte and classical ballet to create a visual feast for its audience, has made Don Quixote one of the most loved ballets world-wide. With its sparkling energy and the bright colours of the staging by Raffaele Del Savio and Anna Anni, Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote, transports audiences with freshness, joy and choreographic splendour to an enchanting Spain, with gypsy dances, fandangos, matadors, windmills and the airy candour of the Garden of the Dryads. The ballet of Teatro alla Scala and the classical ballet stars Natalia Osipova (principal dancer of the Royal Ballet in London and the Mikhaylovsky Theatre Ballet in St Petersburg) and Leonid Sarafanov (principal dancer of the Mikhaylovsky Theatre Ballet in St Petersburg) make this a breathtaking, and distinctive performance.
Richard Strauss was filled with doubt as to whether he would be capable of expressing in music the crazed revenge of "Elektra" after writing his opera "Salome" with its shocking story. It is quite understandable that he had trouble in composing the work, although such difficulties are not in the least evident during the course of the drama or in the musical flow. Drawing on natural sources, the forceful melodies make use of polyphonic, complex motifs and extreme dissonances. Here and there, Strauss’s typical chordal harmonies gleam through, though hardly audible, taking the harsh dissonances and chromaticism to the very extremes of atonality.