New releases January 2018 / 1
SYMPHONY NO. 6 - SINFONIETTA
Estonian Festival Orchestra
The Järvi family is a pillar of Estonian musical life. Paavo is now director of the Pärnu Festival, held in August each year, which brings together the finest Estonian musicians, joined by the cream of European orchestras: members of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Orchestre de Paris etc. Paavo Järvi (recently appointed music director of one of the world’s leading formations, the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich) frequents all these instrumentalists regularly, and now works alongside them, ‘unpretentiously, in a warm, collegial manner’ for a series of highly convivial concerts on the shores of the Baltic: ‘magical and incredibly appealing’, says Die Welt. Paavo Järvi has now decided to record with this outstanding orchestra. For this first release, he has chosen Shostakovich, a key figure of the twentieth century, for both the region and the Järvi family: Paavo used to meet him as a child when the composer came to visit his father Neeme! The programme consists of Symphony No. 6 and the Sinfonietta Op. 110b, a rare arrangement of the String Quartet no.8 by Abram Stasevich for string orchestra and timpani. This first release in 2018 will also coincide with the centenary of the independence of the Estonian Republic and a tour that will take the orchestra to several major European cities.
FALLA - RAVEL - BERIO
black is the colour
Alpha continues its collaboration with the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and its Academy, which will celebrate its twentieth anniversary in 2018. We invite you to discover artists of great talent who take us on a trip to Auvergne, Sicily, Armenia and Azerbaijan thanks to Luciano Berio’s Folk Songs, to Andalusia with Falla’s Psyché on a poem of Georges-Jean Aubry, and to the world of Jules Renard with Ravel’s Histoires naturelles. The last-named are recorded in a version for chamber ensemble: ‘Since Ravel gave Manuel Rosenthal to make an arrangement for large orchestra which we found rather overblown, we set out to find a “chasseur d’images” (to quote the title of one of Renard’s Histoires naturelles poems) who could transcribe the work without losing its intimate, delicate aspect... We hope you will be as charmed as we are by Arthur Lavandier’s work, which beautifully conveys the immensely refined timbres and nuances of Ravel’, says the oboist Clément Noël, a member of the Swiss Ensemble Labyrinth. Anna Stéphany is a true revelation, performing this programme with the technique, the sensuality and the emotional impact that earned her a huge triumph in Mozart at last summer’s Glyndebourne Festival.
The pianist Martin Helmchen has now joined Alpha for several recordings. Acknowledged as one of the leading pianists of his generation, an eminent interpreter of the German repertoire, Helmchen will explore various periods and composers (including Messiaen!), but Beethoven will have a preponderant place in his forthcoming recording projects. Before the complete concertos, planned for 2020, he tackles the Diabelli Variations, ‘a climax in the life of a pianist’. He sees these variations as ‘a voyage to the very heart of the infinity of human feelings and moods, by turns profound, philosophical, satirical’. He regards the cycle as a visionary work that heralds future developments in music, containing the first stirrings of twentieth-century minimalism, atonality and abstraction. This recording is the end result of a long personal association and numerous concerts; a powerful version in which each variation emerges as a masterpiece in its own right.