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MARKUS BECKER, Piano  & MA' ALOT QUINTETT
MOZART · Piano & Winds

How many works for piano and winds Mozart wrote?
A twin to BEETHOVEN‘s Piano & Winds

“Playing with other instruments is always fascinating: it’s not only great fun, but also an important experience for me as a pianist, every time. The piano is actually just a mechanical toolbox that we can operate without having to use our breath. . .

With a woodwind quintet as musical partner, I cannot help but breathe with the music: my colleagues are constantly putting that ability on display. It starts with the very first attack. If I just “played piano” as usual, we would never be together on the beat; thanks to the piano’s immediate mechanism, my note would always be there a little earlier. But if I imagine the gentle attack of a bassoon or a clarinet while listening closely, I can make an attempt not to be overly “on time” when I strike the key.

The piano is an instrument designed to create illusion: the toolchest produces the most wonderful things, but to achieve them, we, as players, are required to use our imagination…..“ (from the remaks, written by the artists)

Release date 29 October  2021






     
   

AXEL KOBER, conductor ·  DUISBURGER PHILHARMONIKER 
WAGNER  · Götterdämmerung

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.

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. ....

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 29 October  2021






     
   

OLENA KUSHPLER, Piano
JANÁČEK · Piano Works

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS

"Ever since my youth I have been fascinated by the music of Leoš Janáček: initially by his vocal works, particularly Jenufa, an opera with an unadulterated ‘peasant’ tone of such radical authenticity that it transforms itself into avant-garde music.

I only discovered Janáček’s piano repertoire at a later date, and immediately grasped his basic aesthetic principle: he wanted to write a music of truth. Virtuosity for virtuosity’s sake had no place in his approach.

I read Janáček’s piano minisatures as intimate sketches from a diary he was keeping: personal thoughts turn into musical ideas.

He wrote the Rondo when he was a young student, and The Golden Ring was his last composition, dated 8 August 1928, four days before his passing.

These “diary entries” thus encompass Janáček’s entire life, and for me they are treasures of inestimable value." (Olena Kushpler).
 

Release date 27 August  2021






     
   

CATHY KRIER, Piano
GYÖRGI LIGETI · ÉTUDES pour Piano

" The Trois pièces pour deux pianos composed in 1976 stand as a central work in the composer's oeuvre and compositional development.

The importance of rhythm is omnipresent and the interest in this parameter would increase in the early 1980s with the discovery of the polyrhythms of the Aka Pygmies and the vast complexity of Conlon Nancarrow's Studies for Player Piano, as revealed by his Études.

György Ligeti composed his eighteen Études pour piano over a period of more than seventeen years. His first book of six Études was published in 1985. From the outset, the composer planned to compose a second volume, also comprising six Études.

The reference to the piano tradition and the collections of six and twelve études by Chopin, Liszt or Debussy is obvious.

 The second book, composed between 1988 and 1994, finally contained eight études. His third and last book includes four more Études composed between 1995 and 2001…”
(Excerpt of the booklet liner notes written by the artist)

Release date 27 August  2021






     

TOBIAS KOCH, Fortepiano
BEETHOVEN · Piano Sonatas Nos. 8 - 18

In Search of new paths

“This recording of eleven Beethoven sonatas was made by Südwestrundfunk during several recitals entitled Beethoven – in search of new paths, which I had the honour of giving within the framework of the long-established Bad Krozingen Castle Concert Series.

These sonatas were written in short succession from 1797 to 1802: one practically led to the next. It was the same period in which Beethoven is said to have revealed to a friend that he was “dissatisfied with his previous works” and intended to “embark on a new path”.

Indeed, in those years, the composer seems to have stepped on the turbo accelerator, innovating sonata form in a series of energetically concentrated experiments.

Whenever we, as artists, reconsider our approach, new horizons are opened.

I not only resorted to the new Beethoven editions by Jonathan del Mar based on autograph manuscripts and first printings as a compass in my quest, but I also used Barry Cooper’s detailed, critically enlightened edition, a beacon for our times. .."
(from the Preword by Tobias Koch, Booklet)

Release date 27 August  2021






     
   

SEVERIN VON ECKARDSTEIN, Piano
PROKOFIEV · Piano Sonatas Nos. 6 - 8

"Prokofiev’s music has always been close to my heart. In his childhood, the Russian composer loved to improvise on the piano, just as I did. His piano style was not as sprawling as, say, that of Rachmaninov, his contemporary.

In its impressive cohesion and vitality, Prokofiev’s piano output elaborately intermingles a variety of surprising moments where a touch of human feeling sneaks up on the listener, thereby revealing striking sincerity and profound inner feeling.

Far from consisting in episodes of post-Romantic bathos, these are moments of bleak, violent despair.
Take, for example, the emotional outbreaks and the instances of sudden, hushed introversion in Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto, written prior to the Russian Revolution. .." (Excerpt from the liner notes by the artist)

Release date 27 August  2021






     
   

AXEL KOBER, conductor ·  DUISBURGER PHILHARMONIKER 
WAGNER  · Siegfried

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.

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. ....

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 27 August  2021






     
   

MIHAELA MARTIN, Violin & ELENA BASHKIROVA, Piano
FRANZ SCHUBERT · Violin & Piano

THE LIGHTNESS OF SCHUBERT

Schubert’s music is always associated in my imagination with a journey in a horse-drawn carriage. Outside, the scenery is flowing by. Cities, mountains, rivers, lakes, villages.

 At times the carriage slows down, then it speeds up again, but I always have that feeling of being on a journey. Not on foot and not on horse, but in a carriage on wheels.”
(Elena Bashkirova)

 "The year 1816 ushered in a series of new beginnings for 19-year old Franz Schubert. He had applied for a music teaching job in Laibach (and soon would probably be overjoyed in secret that he was turned down, thus avoiding the task of school teaching, which he abhorred).

 He sent Goethe a notebook with songs of his pen, hoping, in vain, that he would be allowed to dedicate them to the “prince of poets”.
 He dreamt of his future wedding with the soprano Therese Grob. And he composed incessantly.
. .
Furthermore: three sonatas “for fortepiano and violin”, his first chamber music works for violin. .."
(Excerpt of the line notes by Eva Blaskewitz)


Release Date   09 July 2021






     
   

BARTHOLDY QUINTETT
MENDELSSOHN · String Quintets Nos. 1 & 2

HOW WE APPROACHED THE PROJECT
Personal notes by the artists

"A further inherent challenge lies in those aforementioned “spontaneous chamber music parties”: the two Mendelssohn quintets are simply too difficult to be treated off-handedly.

In an insufficiently rehearsed B Flat Major Quintet, for instance, the main parts remain indistinguishable amidst a tumult of sixteenth notes.

Performers can become entangled in the challenging virtuoso polyphony of the A Major Quintet’s last movement. In the Scherzo, there is a tiptoe spiccato balancing act that can cause insufficiently prepared performers to tumble head over heals into the chasm (even if the second viola manages to avoid loss of face in the first eight solo measures)....

We find our musical fountain of youth in the works we rehearse as a quintet and the way we approach them. In a climate of mutual trust and familiarity, we find true joy in uncovering new aspects in works with which we were already well acquainted.

Geographically we hail from many different corners of Germany; without a “marriage certificate” (as would be required from each one of us if we were a string quartet), we are able to participate in this experience together with a great degree of individual freedom.

As good friends, we can communicate with one another on a profound musical level, thus making our ideal of music-making a reality. ."
(from the booklet notes by V. Jacobsen)

Release Date  04 JUNE 2021






     
   

MARKUS SCHÄFER, tenor & TOBIAS KOCH, pianoforte
SCHUBERT · WINTERREISE

Thoughts about WINTERREISE

Personal comments of the artists

Franz Schubert‘s two major song cycles based on texts by Wilhelm Müller (1794–1830) were milestones in music history. Whoever dares to “reproduce them in performance” is treading in the footsteps of giants.

As Markus Schäfer puts it: “through previous interpretations by distinguished artists, these cycles have not only become extremely popular; they have acquired an almost untouchable aura”.

In conversation, Markus Schäfer and Tobias Koch remind us that these songs’ status was not as monolithic as it has become. “Due to their audacity and sheer energy, the effect was initially almost frightening in Schubert’s closest circle of friends”, Schäfer explains.

 “It comes as no surprise that Franz von Schober, for one, did not like any of them except Der Lindenbaum.”

Although Schubert/Müller’s “Winterreise” seems to stand out in music history a monument – the very birth of art song – Schäfer and Koch do not regard this cycle’s content as straightforward or definitive. . . "


Release Date 14 MAY 2021






     
   

CUARTETO SOLTANGO
MISIÓN TANGO

PERSONAL NOTES and COMMENTS on each track
(Exsamples)

01 La Cumparsita

This piece is customarily played at the very end of a milonga and is one of the most famous pieces in tango repertoire! There are approximately 994,884,578 existing versions!

“La Cumparsita always takes me back to my first visit to Buenos Aires. To a then 13-year-old aspiring bandoneon player, experiencing a live performance of La Cumparsita by a full orquesta típica made a lasting impression!“ Andreas

“It is THE quintessence of tango. But the music can‘t be reduced to a trope!“ Martin

11 Si Sos Brujo

“I like that Francini was a classical violinist in a symphony orchestra, which I can personally relate to. Most notably, he died on stage during one of his Tango performances. Thankfully I‘ve survived all my concerts thus far!“ Thomas

21 Una Vez

Thanks to the wonders of technology, this recording has been fed to your living room from two different continents!
(Excerpts from the booklet notes of the Cuarteto)


Release Date 16 APRIL 2021






     
   

LUCA GUGLIELMI, Harpsichord
J. S. BACH · THE WELL-TEMPERED CLAVIER BOOK I

BACH’s WTC I on a sensational rare CHRISTIAN ZELL harpsichord

Original Time – Original Sound

"Das Wohltemperirte Clavier, a collection of preludes and fugues in all major and minor keys completed by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1722, was clearly modelled along the lines of Ariadne Musica by Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer (1662-1746, Kapellmeister in Baden from 1715 to 1746) – an organ music anthology published for the first time in 1702 and probably known by Bach in its second 1715 edition.

 Bach took Fischer’s original layout of 20 keys and expanded it to a total of 24, thereby creating the first self-contained collection of music written for the entire corpus of existing keys.

For this recording we have had the fortune and great joy to be able to use an original harpsichord by Christian Zell Hamburg 1737 in optimal condition, with beautiful inner resonance.

 The instrument is preserved in the Museu de la Musica in Barcelona, which also hosted the present recording: this is one of three surviving Christian Zell instruments to be found anywhere in the world.
.."
(From the booklet liner notes by Luca Guglielmi)

Release Date 26 MARCH 2021






     
   

CLAIR-OBSCUR SAXOPHONE QUARTET
MEMORIAS

ASTOR PIAZZOLLA
Memorias in 6 TABLEAUX
PERSONAL NOTES by clair-obscur saxophone quartet

Memorias I

Memorias is clair-obscur’s birthday present for Astor Piazzolla, who would have celebrated his
100th birthday in 2021.

A manera de memorias is the title of Argentinean author Natalio Gorín’s anthology of interviews with Astor Piazzolla from the 1990s.
That book gave us the idea to record this album, which provides the listener with comprehensive insights into Piazzolla’s musical environment.

For the album Memorias, clair-obscur has taken Piazzolla’s six most important musical models and placed their works alongside his own in six musical tableaux. . .

Memorias II

Memorias is clair-obscur’s birthday present to itself. This is the tenth album that clair-obscur has recorded in its current line-up, and we release it on the occasion of the quartet’s 20th birthday in the year 2021.
Many of the pieces on this recording have long been part of clair-obscur’s core repertoire.

Memorias is a musical retrospect of 20 years of making music together.
(excerpt from the Booklet’s liner notes)

Release Date 26 MARCH 2021






     
   

KATHARINA KONRADI, soprano & DANIEL HEIDE, piano
LIEBENDE

Personal notes by the artists on the program, which focusses on the theme of „lovers“

Strauss, Mozart, Schubert – What do these composers mean to you?

Katharina Konradi:' The labels “Mozart soprano” and “Strauss soprano” are often said to be practically indistinguishable. Indeed, in terms of melodic style, the two composers are not that far apart.

Mozart suits my voice well, and the same is true of Richard Straus’s light lyrical repertoire. Then Schubert, with his astoundingly vast lieder output and his variety of musical expression, holds a special place for me. .
….. Every piece on this CD has a special appeal for me. ..'

Daniel Heide:' For a pianist, Mozart and Schubert are a matter of course! Mozart wrote a number of keyboard sonatas (and the violin sonatas!) along with a multitude of piano concertos: his Lieder come as an added attraction. They are marvelous gems.

And any pianist who decides to go further than Schubert’s solo piano works in order to delve into his seemingly infinite world of 600 Lieder-treasures comes out a happier man.


In every Strauss song I find that the timbre is unique: an atmosphere you can experience only in Strauss territory, that special luminosity of sound, the silvery tone.…
'
(Excerpts from the booklet interview with both artists)

Release Date 26 February 2021






     
   

MARKUS BECKER, piano ·  HAYDN · Solitude Piano Works II

Personal Notes by the artist

What prompted you to make this selection?

The five sonatas in the first production were chosen to cut a broad swath within Haydn’s variegated, highly inventive keyboard output: the widest possible range of formats, movement types, creative periods, and characters.

Conversely, the works on the new recording are much closer to one another in terms of expression. Apart from the E Flat Major Variations, they are in minor keys. The result is a sort of programme album.

That is why you chose the title “Solitude”?

Indeed: solitude, or, more exactly, isolation, is what marked Haydn’s biography the most. Composing at the Esterházy court, he lived far from Vienna, without having to bother with the distractions of socializing among the upper set in the Imperial city.

 Haydn could remain at one with himself and his music, as he famously stated himself: “No one near could confuse me, so I was forced to become original
. . .”
(Excerpt from the Interview in the Booklet)

Release Date 26 February 2021






     
   

ADAM FISCHER, conductor ·  Düsseldorfer Symphoniker
Tünde Szabóki, soprano · Nadine Weissmann, alto
GUSTAV MAHLER · Symphony No. 2

ADAM FISCHER’s remarks on Mahler’s Second

'…. Apart from these considerations in terms of content, Mahler’s Second Symphony has special significance for me – for entirely different reasons.

The first reason is biographical. Mahler finished writing the first movement in Budapest where he was musical director at the opera. When I was likewise general music director at Budapest Opera, I imagined that Mahler had sat in the same room and gotten angry over the same things as I did.
Work at the opera must have been so nerve-wracking that he found no time for anything else. I can only confirm that.

A second thought leads me to Haydn. We know that famous quote from Hans von Bülow, who is reported to have exclaimed that Wagner’s Tristan, compared with the first movement of Mahler’s Second Symphony, was as tame as a Haydn symphony.

This mainly leads me to think that von Bülow was probably not yet aware of the direct connection that leads from Haydn to Mahler, which I sense. As far as I am concerned, Mahler is just as much a part of Vienna Classicism as Haydn.

The third personal story has to do with the third movement, which is based on Mahler’s song Saint Anthony of Padua’s Sermon to the Fishes. For the past thirty years I have been working in favor of a series of human and citizens’ rights organizations. I find that no other piece better describes the dilemma experienced by these organizations and movements than Mahler’s song... '
(from Adam Fischer’s preword of the Booklet)

Release Date 26 February 2021






     
   

SHEILA ARNOLD, fortepiano & ALEXANDER-SERGEI RAMIREZ, guitar

GREETINGS FROM THE BIEDERMEIER TIMES

PERSONAL NOTES by the artists

What was your first encounter with “historical” instruments?
Sheila Arnold :
Everything began in the late 1990s, attending a masterclass at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. There I met a handsome young guitarist from the class of Pepe Romero. The young guitarist, for his part, was not entirely uninterested in an Indian pianist from the class of Lev Naumov.

Pepe soon realized what was going on. He gave Alexander the score of a piano/guitar duet and said: “Go and find a pianist!” The title was full of innuendo: “Papageno wants a sweetheart”.

Alexander-Sergei Ramirez: No sooner said than done! At least sometimes I did what my teacher told me.

Many years went by as a couple until we actually started making music together. The guitar and the piano are entirely autonomous harmonic instruments that do very well by themselves, or combine ideally with melody instruments.

Sheila Arnold : Our musical approaches are nonetheless quite similar. Eventually we did try out that duet by Mozart/Beethoven/Carulli – but on our modern instruments. Due to their entirely disparate sonorities, the musical liaison was doomed to fail.

It became clear that these works were not conceived for the instruments we were playing
....(excerpts from the line notes)

Release Date 22 January 2021






     
   

EDITION KLAVIER-FESTIVAL RUHR Vol. 39 (2 CD) ·
250 YEARS LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN 2020  · Live Recordings 2020

250 years of LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN

The concert season of the Ruhr Piano Festival 2020 has suffered heavily under the Corona
pandemic shutdown – loosing more than 85% of all scheduled concerts.

In the late June/July days some concerts had taken place, some were live recorded;
some concert
also had taken place in the early autumn 2020, before the entire new planning was
cancelled as well for all 2020, like for so many other concerts and festivals.

At least the few live recordings are showing an interesting picture of a list of unknown
piano works of Beethoven. It is therefore for sure a rich source for collectors and
connaisseurs.

Release Date 22 January 2021






     
   
     
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