Three of the best
We are delighted that the Sunday Times has ranked three of our artists' recordings among the best of 2019. Among the 100 selected Pop, Classical, Jazz and World recordings are Philippe Manoury's Le temps, mode d'emploi with the GrauSchumacher Piano Duo, as well as Anssi Karttunen's CD with Hans Werner Henze's Cello Concerto, performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Oliver Knussen, and Tabea Zimmermann's recording of Berlioz's Harold en Italie with the Orchestra Les Siècles under François-Xavier Roth.
Congratulations to all the musicians involved - and lots of fun listening for those who have had the pleasure of discovering the recordings.
List from the Sunday Times
And the stars were shining
On 20th December, Steven Sloane will conduct the premiere of the new production of Puccini's Tosca, which will be staged at Malmö Opera under the direction of Sofia Jupither. The opera, which premiered 120 years ago, will be performed in Malmö 15 times through 16 February.
Steven Sloane is the first guest conductor and artistic advisor of the Malmö Opera Orchestra.
For dates, please see left side
Aquarius meets fluteman
On 14 December "Fluteman" Gabor Vosteen will be a guest in a fairytale production at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. In Der Kleine Wassermann, an acrobat and the virtuoso flutist will be on stage together with the speaker Axel Thielmann, pupils of the Robert-Schumann-Gymnasium and members of the Gewandhaus Orchestra.
The production was directed by Ines Hu and features music by Handel, Debussy, Dvořák and Vivaldi, among others.
14.12.2019, 16.00 o'clock
Gewandhaus zu Leipzig
The first 100 years
On 14 December, Charlotte Bray's new work will be premiered by Aurora Orchestra, conducted by Duncan Ward and featuring cellist Natalie Clein. The Certainty of Tides will be performed in a concert to mark the 100th anniversary of the British Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which gave women access to legal professions and public offices.
Charlotte Bray took the title for her work from a poem by the American writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. The program explains: "With clarity, the cello sings powerfully through the piece, her persistent voice a singular source of energy for the ensemble. In constant motion and usually ascending, the piece sparkles and radiates". The composition was also inspired by Drago Trsar's sculpture Amidst the Powerful and the Powerless, a work of art that stands in the Slovenian National Gallery, which also celebrates its 100th birthday.
London, Kings Place
Advent in Spain
Sarah Wegener will perform several times in December as a soloist in the Christmas Oratorio. Together with the Chorwerk Ruhr and the B'rock Orchestra, she will be a guest at the Philharmonie Essen on 13 December, followed by appearances in Alicante and the Auditorio Nacional de la Música in Madrid, before performing Bach's work with the Philharmonischer Chor München and the Orchester der KlangVerwaltung am Gasteig on 23 December.
In Munich she will be on stage alongside conductor Richard Egarr and her soloist colleagues Anke Vondung, Patrick Grahl and Christian Immler. In Spain and Essen, the concerts will be conducted by Florian Helgath; the soloists are Sarah Wegener, Marie Henriette Reinhold, Fabio Trümpy and André Morsch.
For specific dates, please see left
At the highest level
We congratulate the Castalian String Quartet on their 2019 Young Artists Award from the Royal Philharmonic Society! On 28 November, the four musicians received the prestigious award at the award ceremony in London, which honours their "thoughtful, intelligent music-making at the highest level".
The jury's reasoning went on to say: "The Castalian String Quartet has a strong identity, sound and style. It is great to see how it reaches audiences across the UK, interpreting with great consistency a wide repertoire from Thomas Adès to a sparkling young Haydn".
The four strings can be heard again soon in London: On 6 and 7 January they will perform at Wigmore Hall with pianist Stephen Hough and clarinettist Michael Collins. The concerts are part of their complete Brahms chamber music cycle.
More information: RPS Awards
Full cycle in Tokyo
François-Frédéric Guy will be guesting at the Musashino Civic Cultural Hall in Tokyo on 30 November and 1 & 7 December with the complete cycle of Beethoven's piano sonatas. After his three recitals on 23 and 24 November, he will interpret the remaining 32 works there in five concerts.
With his celebrated sonata cycle, the pianist has appeared in Washington, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Monte Carlo, Norwich, Metz and Buenos Aires.
Dates see left
Musashino Shimin Bunka Kaikan, Recital Hall
out of the concertgebouw...
... and into the Philharmonies of Paris and Luxembourg, as well as the BOZAR Brussels: from 14 to 16 December, Tabea Zimmermann will be on tour as Artist-in-Residence of the Concertgebouworkest with Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante (violin: Isabell Faust). Prior to this, a chamber music concert and two orchestral concerts are scheduled for 10 December in Amsterdam.
The orchestra will be conducted by Iván Fischer at all concerts. On 10 December, Tabea Zimmermann will also perform works by Klughardt, Mozart and Brahms as part of the concert series "Close Up" with musicians from the Concertgebouworkest.
For specific dates, please see left
Star moments with Beethoven
On 11 December Jan Caeyers and his Beethoven orchestra Le Concert Olympique will make their first appearance in Kassel before continuing their tour with concerts in Ludwigsburg and - exactly one year before the composer's 250th birthday - at the Berliner Philharmonie. Kristian Bezuidenhout, celebrated protagonist of the pianoforte scene, will play an Erard grand piano from 1837 in the concert, which is titled "Sternstunden".
The unusual format of the concerts - first the Piano Sonata No. 8 "Pathétique", then the Piano Concerto No. 1 and finally the 3rd Symphony (in Kassel and Ludwigsburg) and the 1st Symphony (in Berlin) - makes it possible to experience that Beethoven's musical innovations were always first reflected in his piano music before they became established in his orchestral music.
Kongress Palais Kassel
Musical Advent Calendar
Many children dream of opening a few doors at the same time before the day of Advent. Baritone Dietrich Henschel and the ensemble unitedberlin under Vladimir Jurowski are realising this dream for themselves and the audience at the Konzerthaus Berlin on 7 December. With the world premiere of twelve short Christmas compositions written by composers from different cultures, the musicians will simultaneously present their joint CD.
This double album, released by the label FARAO classics in cooperation with Deutschlandfunk Kultur, could be seen as an Advent calendar with its 24 pieces: The part X-Mas Contemporary with the twelve new compositions by Karim Al-Zand, Detlev Glanert, Vannessa Lann, Jobst Liebrecht, Jamie Man, Matan Porat, Olga Rayeva, Michèle Reverdy, José-Maria Sanchez-Verdú, Annette Schlünz, Manfred Trojahn and Arno Waschk is accompanied by the second part - X-Mas Percussive by Dietrich Henschel and Simone Rubino. This duo interpreted twelve traditional Christmas songs in a completely new way - in their own arrangements with celesta, piano and, above all, a vast selection of percussion instruments. Marimba, Thai gongs, Japanese drums, ocean drums, cowbells, bicycle bells, axe and saw as well as stones and shells, among other things, create completely new Christmas sounds.
X-Mas Contemporary can be experienced live for a second time on 17 December in the Tonhalle Düsseldorf.
Konzerthaus Berlin, Werner-Otto-Saal
X-Mas Contemporary / X-Mas Percussive
Dietrich Henschel, Bariton; Simone Rubino, Percussion
ensemble unitedberlin, Leitung: Vladimir Jurowski
FARAO classics, Bestellnummer B 108106, EAN 4025438081069
Gingerbread House in Korea
From December 5 to 8, Shiyeon Sung will conduct the Korean Symphony Orchestra in five performances of Engelbert Humperdinck's fairytale opera Hänsel und Gretel. The Korea National Opera in Seoul presents the popular work at the Opera Theater of the Seoul Arts Center in a production by Christian Pade.
For dates, please see left
Korea National Opera
Between the polarities
In mid-October Mark Andre's cycle riss was released on CD. The Ensemble Modern, which performed the cycle at the Kölner Philharmonie, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, Innsbruck, the Klangspuren Schwaz and the Shanghai New Music Week in 2019, recorded the triptych under the baton of Ingo Metzmacher.
Mark Andre searches in all three parts of the cycle riss (German for crack, tear) for compositional interstices - "spaces that are often latent or very fragile and breathless between polarities," says the composer. In 2011, he met the theologian Margareta Gruber during a research trip to Jerusalem. Her reference to the double figure of the crack in St. Mark's Gospel provided the decisive impulse for the creation of the work group, which Mark Andre did not compose in numerical order: in 2014, riss 2 was premiered by the Ensemble Modern; in 2016, the premiere of riss 3 with the Ensemble Musikfabrik followed; and in 2017, riss 1 with the Ensemble intercontemporain.
conductor: Ingo Metzmacher
Ensemble Modern Medien
Debut with citrus fruits
From 7 November Valentin Uryupin will be performing Sergei Prokofiev's Love for the Three Oranges at the Staatsoper Stuttgart for the first time. He will conduct the work in seven performances through 28 December, which will be staged in Stuttgart by Axel Ranisch.
7.11. through 28.12.2019
For exact dates, please see the left-side column.
Schumann and Wagner
Christoph Prégardien's recording of Schumann's Dichterliebe, his Lenau Lieder as well as Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder has now been released. Together with pianist Michael Gees, with whom he has worked intensively for many years, Prégardien recorded the works for the Challenge label. The duo has already recorded a whole series of highly acclaimed CDs for Challenge:
Amongst others, Die schöne Müllerin, which was awarded as Editor's Choice of the magazine Gramophone and with the MIDEM Record of the Year Award; Between Life and Death as well as the Grammy nominated new recording of Winterreise - were released.
Robert Schumann: Dichterliebe Op. 48, Lenau-Lieder and Requiem Op. 90
Richard Wagner: Wesendonck Songs
Christoph Prégardien, Michael Gees
Challenge Classics CC 72788
Antje Weithaas' recording with the NDR Radiophilharmonie, under the direction of its chief conductor Andrew Manze, will be released on the cpo label on 16 September. In addition to Schumann's Violin Concerto, the violinist recorded Brahms' Double Concerto, whose cello part was played by Maximilian Hornung. The recording thus unites two outstanding soloists, as well as two composers who were closely interwoven:
Both works were written for the renown violinist Joseph Joachim, who played a central role for both Schumann and Brahms.
In addition to her artistic friendship with Maximilian Hornung, Antje Weithaas also has a longstanding collaboration with the NDR Radiophilharmonie. Her complete recording of Max Bruch's works for violin and orchestra with the orchestra on the cpo label was released in 2016.
Schumann Violin Concerto
Brahms Double Concerto
Antje Weithaas, Maximilian Hornung, NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Manze
dialogue between composers
The award-winning young pianist Claire Huangci, together with the conductor Shiyeon Sung and the Deutsche Radiophilharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern, dares to perform an unusual repertoire. On her new album, which was released on 23 August by Berlin Classics, she juxtaposes the two early piano concertos by I.J. Paderewski and F. Chopin.
The result is an inspiring dialogue between two composers who are as different as they are extraordinary. Claire Huangci, as a masterful interpreter, brings to life the youthful energy of the works, along with the longings and raw emotions of the music.
WARNER CLASSICS DEBUT
Mariam Batsashvili’s first album for Warner Classics was released on 30 August. In her Warner debut, the young Georgian pianist dedicates herself to her favourite composer Franz Liszt and illuminates an interesting chapter: Liszt's relationship to his contemporary Frédéric Chopin. Here the link to the album.
The Observer writes „Her technical prowess and ability to negotiate Liszt’s showy grandeur is a given, but her sense of his inner world, his wistful, nonchalant poetry – in the Grande études in A flat or the Consolations (Pensées poétiques) or the Polish Songs after Chopin – sets her apart as one to watch.“
new position for Eva Ollikainen
The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has appointed Eva Ollikainen Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, with an initial four-year contract beginning with the 2020/21 season. The ISO is the national orchestra of Iceland and resident at Harpa Concert Hall, a landmark building in Reykjavík’s waterfront area. She will be working alongside Managing Director Lára Sóley Jóhannsdóttir:
“Eva Ollikainen's appointment marks a new chapter for the orchestra – a start of an incredibly exciting time of great opportunities. With her previous work with the orchestra, she has gained a strong connection with our musicians and audiences through her commitment, vibrant energy and enthusiasm. She understands how important the orchestra is to our society and how that connection can be developed even further. But most importantly Eva shares our vision for the future. She has all the qualities needed to raise the artistic level of the orchestra. We cannot wait to welcome Eva to our team.”
During her tenure, she will conduct a minimum of eight weeks during the regular concert season and will join the orchestra on international tours. Before her inaugural season, Ollikainen takes to the stage in March 2020 for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s 70th anniversary.
“I have always felt a deep bond with the musicians of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Not only are they virtuosos on the highest international level, but their way of understanding and communicating music is unique. I very much look forward to our collaboration exploring new and old repertoire together, and the musical encounters with our fantastic audience," says the Finnish conductor.