Julius Röntgen was born on 9 May 1855 in Leipzig, the son of Dutch violinist Engelbert Röntgen, leader of the Gewandhausorchester there, and German pianist Pauline Klengel. He started composing at an early age and took the stage with his own works in Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Leipzig as a child prodigy. At the age of fifteen he was introduced to Franz Liszt, who invited him to one of his famous soirees after he played two of his own compositions to him.
Música Callada (Music of Silence) is a very special work, one of the most beautiful and elusive in the entire piano repertoire. It is extremely difficult to perform. On the one hand, there’s the temptation to stretch each piece out hypnotically, if monotonously, while quicker speeds preserve the music’s melodic essence at the expense of much of its atmosphere and harmonic richness. For although much of the music is indeed quiet, and none of it moves quickly, it is all meaningful. Mompou himself found the perfect balance between incident and repose, and of all the pianists since, Jenny Lin arguably comes closest to doing the same, only in much better sound. It’s not so much that her tempos match Mompou’s own (she’s actually not copying him–it would hardly be possible in a work containing 28 individual pieces), but rather that her phrasing and sense of timing let the music breathe and sing with its own special poetry. To take just one example, consider the sadness that Lin finds in the fourth piece, “Afflitto e penoso”, by allowing the piece’s harmonic color time to speak simply and eloquently.
Bernard Haitink's classically clear and direct approach combines élan, elasticity and, where appropriate, tremendous rhythmic punch – his readings of Boléro and La valse are volatile, yet thrillingly disciplined to the last. He brings a natural compulsion to the languorous eroticism of Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2, while his idiomatic handling of the earliest (and slightest) of these works, the Menuet antique and familiar Pavane pour une infante défunte, is equally beguiling. Haitink's painstaking attention to fine orchestral detail adds refined distinction to his Valses nobles et sentimentales and crystalline delicacy to both Le tombeau de Couperin and the more elusive Ma mère l'oye. There are few more vibrantly evocative, or palpably exciting versions of the Rapsodie espagnole and Alborada del gracioso. Don't be in the least surprised, however, if the phenomenal sound quality prompts an incredulous second glance at the recording dates quoted in the booklet!
A collection of the best loved melodies of Cabaret Tzigane and klezmer music, Sirba Orchestra ! is a collaboration between the Sirba Octet, a full symphony orchestra and one of the best balalaika players, Nicolas Kedroff.
A stunning new release of John Williams’ classic film scores, newly recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Gavin Greenaway, featuring a previously unheard edition for solo cello of ‘Schindler’s List’ – a world premiere.