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Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman, in technique and sensibility, harkens back to the golden age of violinists of the 19th and 20th centuries, while possessing the passion and energy of the 21st century. Lauded by both critics and audiences as a performer of great depth, virtuosity and technical brilliance, he has appeared throughout the world as a soloist and in a duo setting with his wife, pianist Angela Yoffe. Early in his career he enjoyed the encouragement and support of Isaac Stern and in 1994 he received the prestigious Henryk Szeryng Foundation Career Award. He appears regularly with such major orchestras as the London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic and Czech Philharmonic, to name a few. He has collaborated with the worlds most prominent conductors, among them Neeme Jrvi, Marek Janowski, Peter Oundjian, Dmitri Kitaenko, Paavo Jrvi and Yan Pascal Tortelier. A highly acclaimed recording artist, his recordings are released exclusively on BIS Records. His latest recording features the Korngold and Dvarionas violin concertos with The Hague Residentie Orchestra under conductor Neeme Jrvi. He plays the extraordinary 1690 ex-Leopold Auer Stradivari, on extended loan to him through the generosity of the Stradivari Society of Chicago.
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Sebastian Lang-Lessing is Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra since 2004. Awarded the Ferenc Fricsay Prize in Berlin at the age of 24, he subsequently took up a conducting post at the Hamburg State Opera, was appointed resident conductor at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and later Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy. Under his direction, the Opra de Nancy was elevated to national status becoming the Opra national de Lorraine. His international career started at the Paris Opera, followed by engagements at Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera and the Opera houses in Oslo and Stockholm. He conducted a highly regarded new production of Wagners Rienzi at Deutsche Oper Berlin in January 2010 and a new production of Rosenkavalier at Cape Town Opera during the World Cup. Concert engagements include performances with Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Tokyo Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, major German Radio Orchestras and major Australian orchestras. He inaugurated the TSOs annual Sydney season and led his orchestra on a tour of Japan. His discography includes music by the French composer Guy Ropartz, and his CDs with the TSO include the recently released complete symphonies of Mendelssohn with DVD, the complete Schumann symphonies, Romantic Overtures, music of Brett Dean, Mozart Arias with Sara Macliver, and works by Saint-Sans, Franck, Ravel. Forthcoming TSO recordings include Griegs Peer Gynt Suites, Mozart symphonies, Mendelssohn and Ravel piano concertos with soloist Kirill Gerstein. Sebastian Lang-Lessing has been appointed Music Director of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra.
MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)
Le tombeau de Couperin
Prlude Forlane Menuet Rigaudon
In using the title Le tombeau (literally tomb or tombstone), Maurice Ravel was reviving the 17th-century French literary and musical tradition of the tombeau poetry or music written to commemorate a mentor or colleague. Louis Couperin and Jean-Henri DAnglebert both commemorated their teacher Jacques Champion de Chambonnires with tombeaux for the harpsichord, and Franois Couperin (Le Grand)honoured the tradition with his Apothoses of Corelli and Lully.
Ravels tombeau was conceived towards the end of 1914, when the composer wrote to Lucien Garban (of Durand publishers): Im beginning two series of piano pieces: first, a French suite no, its not what you think the Marseillaise doesnt come into it at all, but therell be a forlane and a jig; not a tango though
The sketches for the French suite, largely completed, were set aside on the outbreak of World War I, and it was not until 1917 that they emerged as Le tombeau de Couperin, Ravels last work for solo piano. Each movement is dedicated to the memory of a friend who died in the war. Ravel prepared for the work by transcribing a forlane from Franois Couperins Concerts royaux. The buoyant rhythms and refrain structure of his own Forlane reveal their origins in the vigorous 16th-century Italian dance as heard through 18th-century French ears. But the melody and acid harmonies are all Ravels. Similarly, the flowing Menuet is more like Ravels own Menuet
antique than any by Couperin, for all the antique mood established by its modal harmonies and classically balanced phrases.
It was the concept of the French Baroque suite each dance with its specified character and set tempo rather than its musical style that emerged in Le tombeau. The works tribute is not so much to Couperin himself, said Ravel, as to 18th-century French music in general. And the apparent contradiction of a suite of dances dedicated to the memory of fallen comrades is perfectly resolved, although the muted gracefulness of the music suggests serenity, even resignation, rather than melancholy.
Shortly after pianist Marguerite Long gave the first performance in 1919, Ravel orchestrated four of the movements: Prlude, Forlane, Menuet and Rigaudon. In his orchestration Ravel makes much of the contrast between woodwinds and strings, often passing the melodies between the two sections, but the winds are given prominence from the very beginning, with a breathless succession of rapidly articulated notes for the oboe. The orchestration takes advantage, too, of the enhanced capabilities of Erards double-action harp, and the feeling of perpetual motion in the Prlude is brought to a close with ravishing trills swept up in a harp glissando. The trumpet adds brilliance to the exuberant opening of the final movement (a vigorous Provenal Rigaudon), balancing the prominence of woodwind and strings in the preceding movements.
Abridged from a note by Yvonne Frindle 1999
The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra last performed this work in Hobart on 10 April 2002 with conductor Sachio Fujioka.
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SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No 2 in G Minor Op 63
Allegro moderato Andante assai Allegretto Andante assai, come prima Allegro, ben marcato
Prokofiev left the Soviet Union in 1918 after several visits to Western Europe in the pre-revolutionary years. Musicologist Stanley Krebs points out the danger of assuming that Prokofievs expatriation was political: All Russian musicians of accomplishment went abroad, he notes, and suggests that Prokofiev had probably decided to leave even before the October revolution. Based in Paris, with determined forays into the musical scene of the United States, Prokofiev seems to have hoped to become more of a major figure on the world stage than ultimately proved to be the case. From 1927 he began a series of return visits. By mid-1936, with his only serious Soviet rival, Shostakovich, under a cloud, Prokofiev moved permanently to Moscow.
The year before, Prokofiev was approached by a group of admirers of the French violinist Robert Soetans to write a concerto. Prokofiev had had it in mind to write a work for violin, and toyed with the idea of a concert sonata for violin and orchestra. Gerald Abraham complains that there is no naughtiness, there is no steely glitter and there is almost no virtuosity in the solo part [of the Violin Concerto No 2], but it was Prokofievs intention to make this concerto altogether different from No 1 in both music and style. It was composed during an extensive concert tour that Prokofiev and Soetans made. As Prokofiev notes in his autobiography:
the principal theme of the first movement was written in Paris, the first theme of the second movement in Voronezh, the
orchestration I completed in Baku, while the first performance was given in Madrid [with the Madrid Symphony Orchestra under Eugene Arbos], in December 1935.
The piece stakes an immediate claim to simple, comprehensive tunefulness. The soloist, alone, establishes the key of G minor unequivocally with a disarmingly simple melody. Some busy passage-work leads to a new lyrical theme in B flat, reminiscent both of La Vie en rose and the Gavotte from Prokofievs Classical symphony. Both themes are developed in a varied central section characterised by Prokofievs lively rhythmic manipulation and deft touches of orchestration. The movement ends curiously, wi