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HERBERT SCHUCH, piano  · REFLECTING BEETHOVEN

REFLECTING BEETHOVEN

Mr Schuch, you are celebrating Beethoven’s anniversary year in 2020 and, at the same time, going beyond his legacy. What does this composer mean to you?

Beethoven has been pressed into many categories. At times he was seen as the great Titan, at others as an idealist; later approaches occasionally attempted to “de-emotionalize” his music. He simply had an incredible ability to be many things, but his music was never dispassionate.

Beethoven could even sound overemotional, and then display dry wit! I see him at a crossroads in music history where he was occasionally still allowed to write plain, simple music, and I find that thoroughly moving.

You introduce each of the three Beethoven sonatas with a piano piece from the late 20th or early 21st century. What is the idea behind this approach?

I’m always searching for connections across the centuries. Composers relate to one another, consciously or unconsciously. For instance, unconsciously: Henri Pousseur wasn’t thinking at all about Beethoven’s G Major Sonata. When I was thirteen years old, I performed the Pousseur piece at the European Youth Music Competition: it was a compulsory piece, and I won a special prize.

 It was the first truly “modern” piece in my repertoire, and required things I wasn’t prepared for at all. At the beginning, for example, six different dynamic shadings are overlapping simultaneously in both hands. I found those challenges exciting: after having gone through such an experience, I had “tasted blood” as far as contemporary music was concerned.

 In the middle of the piece, there is an improvisation on predetermined musical material: I wrote my version down, and have recorded it that way now. At the onset, the piece features a displacement of one semiquaver between the two hands, which is maintained until the phases come together again.

This always reminded me of the first movement of Beethoven’s G Major Sonata. Beethoven was surely one of the first to discover how such small shifts can generate a kind of jagged, forward-moving energy, and he presents it in a dry, unemotional manner………
(Excerpt of an interview by Rainer Nonnenmann, from the booklet)

Release Date  18 September 2020






     
   

VLADIMIR STOUPEL, piano  ·
RATHAUS · SHOSTAKOVICH · Piano Sonatas (2 CD)

Contemporaries with diverend biographies

Although Karol Rathaus (1895-1954) and Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) were contemporaries, they could hardly have led more different lives. Both biographies nevertheless exemplify the 20th century with its catastrophes, persecutions and destruction, and it is thus worthwhile to feature their music together in the same program.

 Born into a Polish Jewish family in Ternopil (then part of Austria-Hungary), Karol Rathaus started composing at a very early age. He was accepted into the Vienna Academy for the Performing Arts and Music in 1913, but his studies were suddenly interrupted by the onset of World War I.
 As one of Franz Schreker’s favorite students, he followed Schreker to the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, where he passed the entrance exam with flying colors with his First Sonata for Piano in C Minor, op. 2 (1920). The Vienna publishing house Universal-Edition published the sonata and signed a ten-year contract with the young composer.

This marked the beginning of the quasi-meteoric rise of Karol Rathaus, whom prominent German critics were starting to hail as “New Music’s greatest hope” (Walter Schrenk).
………

In December 1926, 20-year-old Dmitri Shostakovich presented his 1st Piano Sonata, op. 12, to the public in Leningrad. Certain parallels with Rathaus’s 3rd Sonata are striking: driving momentum, rapid changes of mood, a complex and technically challenging piano texture, free tonality, and a bustling metropolitan mood.

In Shostakovich’s sonata we additionally encounter a series of clusters along with a grotesque aspect….”
(Excerpt from the liner notes by Vladimir Stoupel)

Release Date  18 September 2020






     
   

JONIAN ILIAS KADESHA, Violin  & VASHTI HUNTER, Cello ·
A JOURNEY FOR TWO

When choosing the title of this CD, we were immediately drawn to the title of the first piece in our recording, Dhipli Zyia by Xenakis, which simply translates as a band of two folk musicians.

After delving more deeply, we discovered that
Zyia derives from the ancient Greek word balance, which is such a vitally important element of chamber music, and indeed in any relationship. .

This CD symbolises an important part of a journey for us not only as partners in chamber music but also as a celebration of our friendship………

Our recording centres around pieces which celebrate the joy and vibrancy of folk music, opening with music by Xenakis from the Balkans in Greece, Jonians birthplace, then venturing north to Hungary for the Kodály, west to Switzerland/France for the Sonatina by Honegger and finally returning to Greece for a rarely performed duo by Skalkottas.

We are both in love with folk music, particularly from the Balkans, and hope to pass on
some of the joy it brings us when playing it!............

(Excerpts from the booklet liner notes by Vashti Hunter & Jonian Ilias Kadesha)

Release Date 21 August 2020






     
   

MONET QUINTET ·
DUBUGNON  · TAFFANEL  · HOLST · FRANÇAIX

Unknown Wind Quintets

The woodwind quintet is probably the only instrumental combination in chamber music that can claim to have been invented twice. The colorful combination of flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon was quite popular in 18th-century noble courts, probably due to its refreshing sonority reminiscent of serenade music: composers felt inspired to write a great number of works.

After the French Revolution and the corresponding decline of nobility, the wind quintet genre was only seldom featured in chamber music concerts held by the upper middle classes, and slowly sank into oblivion…….

Another welcome addition to repertoire can be found in Swiss composer Richard Dubugnon’s Frenglish Suite (1997), inspired and influenced by several British and French composers, as Dubugnon explains himself.…….

In the late 1800s, French flutist and composer Paul Taffanel devotedly started to create chamber music societies with the intention of reviving music of the past – an uncommon initiative in those times, and therefore much to his credit. ……..

British composer Gustav Holst’s Late Romantic Quintet in A Flat Major Op. 14 is not as well known, but sheds light on other aspects of this instrumental combination: en lieu of virtuosity, it features a great variety of harmonies and timbres, similarly to what Taffanel had sought in his slow movement.……..

Jean Françaix likewise possessed thorough knowledge of all five instruments and applied it specifically in his Quintet No. 1, with the goal of attaining a “high level of difficulty”, as he remarked himself. …”
(Excerpt from the booklet liner notes )


Release Date  21 August 2020






     
   

AXEL KOBER  ·  DUISBURGER PHILHARMONIKER

STREAM NOW AVAILABLE – SIEGFRIED · WALKÜRE · GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG
 
AXEL KOBER: A Water Damage turned into luck

“The Rhine is where Richard Wagner’s cycle of operas “Der Ring des Nibelungen” begins and ends – and it was beside the Rhine in 1851 that the composer first dreamed of this equally visionary and monumental work.

Even if Wagner’s plans for a festival would ultimately be realised in an entirely different part of Germany, the performance of a “Ring on the Rhine” will always remain something very special.

And where better to make this happen than at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein? Two cities, two orchestras, two casts of singers – with the Rhine opera’s fantastic ensemble of singers and its two outstanding orchestras, the Duisburger Philharmoniker and the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, at their two venues in Duisburg und Düsseldorf, the essential conditions were in place.

 The “Ring on the Rhine” staged by Dietrich W. Hilsdorf and under my own musical direction gradually began to take shape from June 2017 onwards……….

However, a few weeks before the premiere of “Götterdämmerung”, a defective sprinkler system flooded the theatre Duisburg. The damage this caused made the staged “Ring” cycle in Duisburg (for the time being) completing impossible.

 Fortunately, on short notice we had the opportunity to perform the “Ring des Nibelungen” at least in concert form in Duisburg at the nearby Mercatorhalle.

 Soon after we started rehearsing, we realised that this supposed “emergency solution” had turned out to be a real stroke of luck. In the brilliant acoustics of the concert hall the singing voices and the sound of the orchestra came together to create a thrilling experience for the listeners – one that our audience greeted with standing ovations.

A desire was soon expressed to make the experience available to a wider public beyond this one-time concert performance. The result is this live recording of
all four parts of the “Ring” cycle..…..“

(From the Editorial of the musical director Axel Kober)


Release Date  24 July 2020








     
   

NATALIA PRISHEPENKO, Violin & DINA UGORSKAJA, Piano ·
PROKOFIEV ·  SHOSTAKOVICH · Violin sonatas ·

It will remain a singular coup!!

In February 2016 the recording took place in the Studio 2 of the Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich.

Dina Ugorskaja pursued the finishing process of the master with great impulse and unbelievable energy during all the time when her health abated, even to the point where she selected and approved herself the booklet notes by Tatjana Frumkis.

 This project will stay simply as a singular milestone, there was a lot planned by the two artists.

„..They were also ambivalent toward one another. Prokofiev accused Shostakovich of “devouring everything” (the fact that the younger composer dared to incorporate the street genres of entertainment music into his classical compositions), and affirmed that Shostakovich had no gift for melody.
Shostakovich, for his part, occasionally found Prokofiev’s music too crude, too clearly illustrative. .."

Release Date  17 July 2020






     
   

WAYNE MARSHALL, conductor / Piano , WDR Funkhausorchester ·
BORN TO PLAY GERSHWIN

 TIME TO SAY GOOD BYE TO WDR FUNKHAUSORCHESTER

'GERSHWIN REALLY CHANGED MY LIFE'

„Wayne Marshall was eight years old when, at home in England, he heard a Gershwin concert broadcast on the radio – a pivotal listening experience, as he recalled fifty years later in a WDR video clip. It may have set his life in a new direction, eventually leading to Cologne as Chief Conductor of the Funkhausorchester. It comes as no surprise that outstanding recordings from those six years at WDR include productions of great Gershwin works………(Excerpt from the lines notes by Joh. Jansen)

Wayne Marshall called it to an end, after ten years of being chief conductor of the WDR Funkhausorchestra, the second orchestra of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk broadcast station. Wayne just wanted to look out for new challenges, internationally and worldwide, being an independent musician, mainly organ player. This CD is a document of his work with the WDR Funkhausorchestra.


Release Date  29 June 2020






     
   

LINOS PIANO TRIO · CPE BACH · Complete Piano Trios

"In Hamburg, 1775, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, by then an internationally celebrated and well-connected figure, was surely aware of the genre’s popularity. After all, his half-brother, the London-based Johann Christian, was central in promoting this new culture of domestic piano playing.

Despite the title, Bach referred to these works at times as Trios, at times as Sonatas, and sometimes even as “Trios (which are also Solos)”. It seems he didn’t really know what to call them, as they sat in between his previously clear categories of Trios (in the Baroque trio-sonata format of two equal instrumental parts accompanied by basso continuo), keyboard solo works, and the “Soli” (works for various solo instruments to be accompanied by the continuo).

Business acumen aside, these works reveal C.P.E. Bach at the height of his career and are full of invention, expression, and shocking surprises that at times surpass what even Beethoven might dare to do..…..“ (Excerpt from the liner notes )

First Prize and Audience Prize winner of the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition 2015, the LINOS PIANO TRIOis increasingly recognised as one of Europe’s most creative trios.

Drawing on the rich and varied backgrounds of its members, which encompass five nationalities, as well as specialisms in historically informed performance and new music, the Linos Piano Trio possesses a distinctive musical voice.

Release Date  29 May 2020






     
   

BEETHOVEN TRIO BONN · BEETHOVEN  · Gassenhauer Trio & Symphony No. 6

The little 3-CD-Series on Beethoven: Vol. 3

Piano Trio, Op. 11 (“Gassenhauer”) & Symphony Nr. 6 . Standard versus „Home music“
Large-scale music as chamber music

The very well-known Piano Trio No. 4 (Gassenhauer) with his enormous witty playfulness (we listen to the version with the violin instead of the clarinet) and his three (!) movements is partnered with the Symphony No. 6, in an arrangement of the Brahms friend Christian Gottlieb Belcke (1796-1875).
 Listening to it will be a big surprise, as the Sixth is a lovely flowing full body music piece with all the details not forgotten, wonderfully balanced with all its pastoral melodies.

Vol. 3 rounds up the trilogy “Original versus „Home music-versions” of large-scale symphonic works. And surely some of the six pieces contains quite nice surprises, showing the music in different (new?) aspects.

 All of that is owed to the playing of the Beethoven Trio Bonn (“BTB”) with its richness of nuances and colours, interpreting the six trios, highly expressive as well as impressive.


Release Date  29 May 2020






     
   

BEETHOVEN TRIO BONN · BEETHOVEN  · Trio Op. 70 No. 2 & Symphony No. 2

A 3-CD series, pairing Beethoven’s original piano trios with arrangements

 Vol. 2  Standard vs. “domestic” music

Vol. 2 presents the young fresh Symphony No. 2 in Beethoven own trio arrangement coupled with the less known but definitely beautiful Trio No. 6. It sounds as if the Symphony was a trio in its original form, natural and favourable.

Also in this arrangement, the piano carries the main load of all the orchestral voices. “BTB”, the Beethoven Trio Bonn is mastering this major challenge again and makes also this Vol. 2 to a little diamond and enjoyable CD.

Thanks to BTB there is a fascinating, committed tempo and clarity, a major portion of musicality and joy in the performance.

Release Date  17 April 2020






     
   

BEETHOVEN TRIO BONN · BEETHOVEN  · Ghost Trio  · Triple Concerto

A 3-CD series, pairing Beethoven’s original piano trios with arrangements

Vol. 1 “Ghost” Trio  · Triple Concerto: standard vs. “domestic” music

In a series of 3 CDs, the Beethoven Trio Bonn explores the confrontation between one of Beethoven’s standard works for piano trio with a further “house music” arrangement of one of his orchestral works.

More than providing an interesting pairing, the Beethoven Trio Bonn was keen on interpreting an original work for piano trio alongside an arrangement of an orchestral work “downsized” to piano trio format. This new concept delivers surprising, unforeseen results.

Composers and publishers in Beethoven’s day sought to indulge the pleasures of the middle class: dozens of arrangements and transcriptions of orchestral works were in wide circulation for domestic use.

Haydn, Mozart and many others had always tried to provide access to the wonders of symphonic music for those members of the population who could not gain entrance to the grand concerts of the upper classes.

Release Date  13 March 2020






     
   

AMATIS TRIO · ENESCU  · BRITTEN · RAVEL

DEBUT ALBUM:

PERSONAL NOTES by the Amatis Trio

As a piano trio, we find it particularly interesting to discover music that is seldom recorded or performed. We enjoy the artistic challenge of interpreting such works using our own individual approach and it enables us to offer interesting and diverse programming.

The idea of uncovering and recording lesser known pieces for our first CD led us to include a wonderful early work by George Enescu, his Trio No. 1, along with the youthful Benjamin Britten’s Introduction and Allegro.

Finding our own voice with these scores, free from preconceived musical ideas or influences, is a process that inspires us. It is an exploration that we regard as an invaluable experience. Both Enescu and

Britten found inspiration through Ravel’s music and this in turn led us to his Piano Trio in A minor, hailed as one of the great masterworks of the 20th century.

Release Date  13 March 2020






     

AXEL KOBER  ·  DUISBURGER PHILHARMONIKER · DAS RHEINGOLD

A Water Damage turned into luck

“The Rhine is where Richard Wagner’s cycle of operas “Der Ring des Nibelungen” begins and ends – and it was beside the Rhine in 1851 that the composer first dreamed of this equally visionary and monumental work.

 Even if Wagner’s plans for a festival would ultimately be realised in an entirely different part of Germany, the performance of a “Ring on the Rhine” will always remain something very special.

And where better to make this happen than at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein? Two cities, two orchestras, two casts of singers – with the Rhine opera’s fantastic ensemble of singers and its two outstanding orchestras, the Duisburger Philharmoniker and the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, at their two venues in Duisburg und Düsseldorf, the essential conditions were in place.

The “Ring on the Rhine” staged by Dietrich W. Hilsdorf and under my own musical direction gradually began to take shape from June 2017 onwards.

However, a few weeks before the premiere of “Götterdämmerung”, a defective sprinkler system flooded Theater Duisburg. The damage this caused made completing the staged “Ring” cycle in Duisburg (for the time being) impossible.…..“

(From the Editorial of the musical director Axel Kober)

Release Date  27 March 2020






     
   

ELISABETH KUFFERATH, Violin & Viola · TWO

TWO - Violin & Viola solo

In her solo album TWO, violinist and violist Elisabeth Kufferath presents compositions of four
modern composers, each represented by one work for the violin and one work for the viola.
Four composers.

Four pairs of works exhibiting an immense musical spectrum while sharing a
wealth of cross-references . . . . ?

The number of correspondences one can find is striking: relationships between composers,
interpreters, compositions, and instruments, stretching throughout the centuries and into our
own. The more one searches, the more one can find . . . .

(extensive interview and comments to all works in the Booklet)


Release Date 28 February 2020





     
   

ILKER ARCAYÜREK, Tenor &  FIONA POLLAK, Piano

SONGS OF A WAYFARER

"The International Art Song Competition held by the Hugo Wolf Academy in Stuttgart was the birthplace of this CD. During the competition, Fiona Pollak and I took a certain amount of musical risks and were ultimately rewarded with the First Prize, as well as with the opportunity to record this CD.

This recording features songs by composers from the period of the kaiserlich-und-königlich Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary around the turn of the 20th century.

We wanted to venture outside our comfort zone to discover as many different timbres and new songs as possible. We have selected composers from the Austro-Hungarian Empire of that time, including the region of Vojvodina, which is now part of Serbia.

The variety of art songs featured here not only reflects the Austro-Hungarian period, but also the
Austria of today, along with each of our individual artistic personalities. We are two musicians with entirely different origins and religious backgrounds: Austria is where we met and started making music together. .  ."

© 2019 Ilker Arcayürek


Release Date 14 February 2020





     
   

ANDREAS WILLWOHL, Viola · DANIEL HEIDE, Piano · ISANG ENDERS, Cello
Viola Sonatas, Op. 120 · Piano Trio, Op. 114

The late Brahms

BRAHMS – Viola-Sonatas & Trio

Brahms’ Sonata in F Minor, Op. 120 was one of the first works Daniel and I played together 22 years ago. We already noted the work’s weighty, intense urgency: with wide interval leaps and abrupt emotional shifts from the onset, it feels like a voyage between continents.

The beginning flows like lava; later on, the second theme raises its sweet melody in soft hues, striving toward heaven.

Through the years, Daniel and I have explored and played many works by Brahms. Daniel has gotten to know Brahms’ lieder output particularly well; in my case, I have become quite familiar with the chamber and orchestral music.

Each new exploration of a work by Brahms has added something to our insight; our current interpretation of the late sonatas, Op. 120, has profited from that accumulated
experience.

Thus we have worked through his output from back to front, so to speak. . . "

 Release Date 14 February 2020





Brahms, Op. 120 Nr. 1

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OBERON TRIO · DUALITY

“Until it all completely dissolves” - in conversation with the Oberon Trio

An interview by Friederike Westerhaus

“Duality” is the title of your new album. In your trio lineup, are you confronted with duality on a basic level?

Jonathan Aner: All the time! A piano trio combines two different instrumental families: this is already something “dual”. We even ask ourselves how the piano can form a unity with string instruments at all! But piano trio repertoire shows that it is possible. The combination is almost magical.

Antoaneta Emanuilova: However, when I think of the three of us and our personalities, I find that we do not form a duality. We are three strong, proactive personalities: in our trio each one of us is autonomous, and we make music as equals.

Henja Semmler: Perhaps a sort of duality is nevertheless at work in the very fact that the trio forms a unity, on the one hand, but is made up of three different personalities on the other. Of course we find it important to work together until we become homogeneous.

(Excerpt from the Booklet interview)


Release Date  15 January 2020





     
   

EDITION piano-FESTIVAL RUHR Vol. 38 (3 CDs) · FESTIVALDEBÜTS 2019  ·
Live Recordings 2019

BRAUSS · GUARRERA ·  HOFFMANN  · NAMORADZE · POON · ULLMAN · ZHANG 

INTERNATIONAL YOUNG ARTISTS AND WINNERS

„ On these three CDs I am thrilled to present seven highly gifted young pianists who gave their début performances at the Ruhr Piano Festival 2019 – promising artists from whom we can expect and are sure to hear much more in the future.

The most recent volumes of our Ruhr Piano Festival Boxed Edition mainly featured work of the 18th and 19th centuries, in accordance with each Festival edition’s chosen themes; this year, however, we can feature Baroque und Early Classical repertoire on almost two entire CDs.

On CD 3 we then plunge headlong into the Romantic 19th century with major challenging works by Brahms and Liszt. ……“
(Excerpt from the forword by Franz Xaver Ohnesorg, Director)


Release Date  17 January 2020





     
   

DINA UGORSKAJA, piano  ·

Now available separated in  Book I and Book II

J. S. BACH · THE WELL-TEMPERED CLAVIER I


J. S. BACH · THE WELL-TEMPERED CLAVIER II

The Pianist DINA UGORSKAJA has recorded Book I & II of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier within the year 2015 in Co-operation with Bayerische Rundfunk in Munich.

She reflects her dialogue with Bach in a large interview in the two booklets referring to tempo, characteristics, form, colours, interpretation, style of playing, and many other aspects.

 „A Keyboard Magnificat” – “An Encyclopedia of Bach’s Univers” „

........Continuity only installed itself when I was preparing the recording. Every morning, when I awoke, I thought to myself that I was about to spend another entire day with Bach – every day the same, but only apparently identical: a prelude and a fugue.

 And I knew that I was going to devote myself exclusively to that activity, fully concentrated. That discipline gave me a firm grounding, but also directed my gaze upwards.

The idea of infinity never seemed as evident to me as when I was working on the WTC. Its intensity carried me through the day...... I tried to free myself from certain clichés that had ‘gotten stuck’ in a series of interpretations. This was particularly difficult in Vol. I, since I had often heard those pieces in the hands of outstanding performers, also ofstudents.. ........

 Sure, I’m performing on a modern grand and I use its potential, but my intention is not to make a Steinway sound like a harpsichord or a clavichord. The modern grand is capable of evoking all those instruments, along with all the other ones that Bach’s shades of color bring to mind........ And in this recording I occasionally try to slow things down!“ (Excerpts from the large interview in the two booklets of the set)

Release Date  18 November 2019



     
   
     
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