Elgar’s Violin Concerto has a certain mystique about it independent of the knee-jerk obeisance it has received in the British press. It probably is the longest and most difficult of all Romantic violin concertos, requiring not just great technical facility but great concentration from the soloist and a real partnership of equals with the orchestra. And like all of Elgar’s large orchestral works, it is extremely episodic in construction and liable to fall apart if not handled with a compelling sense of the long line. In reviewing the score while listening to this excellent performance, I was struck by just how fussy Elgar’s indications often are: the constant accelerandos and ritards, and the minute (and impractical) dynamic indications that ask more questions than they sometimes answer. No version, least of all the composer’s own, even attempts to realize them all: it would be impossible without italicizing and sectionalizing the work to death.
Filmed at the Opéra Comique, February 2013. Music direction and artistic collaboration: Laurence Equilbey. Stage direction: Michel Fau. Intended to set the spice of Parisian operetta against American musical comedy, 'Ciboulette' was Reynaldo Hahn’s first light score. It features the tribulations of the pretty market gardener Ciboulette, determined to earn herself a bright future without sacrificing her feelings. Her pursuit of happiness leads her to come across a whole collection of typical characters from the Paris of the Belle Epoque, from the humblest to the most distinguished. 2 discs DVD including a 32-page booklet. Extra features: 31 mins - interviews with Laurence Equilbey, Michel Fau, Agnès Terrier, Jérôme Deschamps and Julie Fuchs.
After her last two albums of completely new compositions, “Silfra” and “In 27 Pieces – The Hilary Hahn Encores”, Hilary returns with classic-romantic repertoire. Two-times Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn now combines Mozart’s beloved Concerto in A, K 219 – with its fiery “Turkish” episode – with the rich, virtuosic romanticism of Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No. 4.
"The sound of her violin in both of these dramatic, operatic concertos is like an ultimate contralto voice, ranging from a rich, throbbing alto through a warm mezzo to a light, clear soprano . . . the Swedish Radio Symphony provides polished, robust accompaniment for Ms. Hahn as she sails gracefully through acrobatic passages and unfurls gleaming phrases with sumptuous tone." ~NY Times
It is a sad fact that the reputation and fame of many composers, built up over a lifetime, evaporates on their death bed. Si mes vers avaient des ailes, a short song written when the composer was just thirteen, is the work on which Hahn’s posthumous fame had, until relatively recently, relied, and is included here in the composer’s own transcription for cello and piano. Recording catalogues now reveal an ever-growing list of works—concertos, symphonic offerings, songs, piano pieces and chamber music—by this most urbane and charming composer.
Ms Yakar is not only a specialist in French melodies (and a native speaker of French), but is also well known as a baroque specialist. This combination of specialities often produces very fine approaches to interpretation - one sees it in the singing of Sandrine Piau, Veronique Gens, Patricia Petibon, etc. And in the singing of Rachel Yakar, the effect is marvellous - a wonderful sense of intimacy and that indefinable quality one can only call "charm". I doubt that this elusive quality can be taught - I have never yet heard a singer develop it from nothing……….Merveilleux, Mme Yakar! This is a thought-provoking and beautiful recording worth the possessing.Ingrid Heyn @ Amazon.com
For his entire life, Reynaldo Hahn was labeled as a composer of salon music, a lightweight, whose compositions were written to satisfy the academic tastes of social circles in the Belle Époque and during the period between the two wars. Luckily however, in recent years, a handful of performers and publishers have allowed us to discover the incredible diversity of his eclectic and enchanting work. While not widely known, his piano music is in fact one of the most original aspects of his talent. The outstanding recordings presented in this boxed set of four CDs should help in banishing those long held prejudices.
Reynaldo Hahn's reputation as the composer of some of the most attractive songs in the French repertoire has increased greatly in recent years with the issue of several recordings. His chamber music is now beginning to appear on disc. Like the songs, this Piano Quintet is immediately appealing to anyone with a liking for tuneful, easygoing and not-too-profound chamber music. It was written in 1922. Louis Vierne's Piano Quintet dates from 1917 ……