The Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne makes its performances archive available on demand with GO PLUS, the orchestra’s streaming platform, presenting a selection of entire concerts performed by the Gürzenich Orchestra from each season. The concert HD streams of the 2016/17 season, recorded live in Cologne’s Philharmonie include:
Mozart | Brahms
Leonidas Kavakos, Violin and Conductor
Recorded on 08 November 2016
As a violin virtuoso, Leonidas Kavakos is an international star. In November 2016 he performed at the Gürzenich Orchestra’s concerts as conductor as well. His concert programme in Cologne focuses on two fixed stars in the musical sky: Johannes Brahms and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Experience the unforgettable moments once again in audio and video.
The Gürzenich Orchestra’s last performance of the “Prague Symphony” was quite a while back: Günter Wand most recently conducted the work with the orchestra in November 1967. Kavakos emphatically gives the performance his personal stamp. His interpretation of Johannes Brahms’s Fourth Symphony also originates in his deep understanding of Brahms’s chamber music: Kavakos illuminates the great symphonic work for its hidden beauties. In Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3, Kavakos underscores as both soloist and conductor why Alfred Einstein declared the work “a miracle”.
Jean-François Heisser, Piano
Daniel Roth, Organ
François-Xavier Roth, Conductor
Recorded on 13 December 2016
In a portrait concert commemorating the 95th anniversary of Saint-Saëns’s death, Gürzenich Orchestra Principal Conductor François-Xavier Roth has chosen three of the most important works from the French composer’s output:
in Danse macabre from 1874, an out-of-tune violin accompanies rattling skeletons in a demonic nighttime dance, a masterpiece of program music with almost impressionistic timbres. His Fifth Piano Concerto, completed in 1896 in North Africa, where Saint-Saëns had found a second home, is quite different. The concerto was given the nickname “Egyptian” because of the Oriental character of the middle movement in which – as Saint-Saëns said – a Nubian love song he once “heard boatmen on the Nile singing” can be heard. Finally, in the “Organ Symphony” of 1885-86 the wealth of tonal color produced by the large orchestra, against which the “queen of instruments” has to measure itself, is impressive. Daniel Roth, the father of the Gürzenich principal conductor and titular organist of the Church of Saint-Sulpice, Paris – and one of the best organists of our time – will make it a work of astonishing grandeur.
Britten | Chin | Ravel |Debussy
Donatienne Michel-Dansac, soprano
François-Xavier Roth, conductor
Recorded on 9 May 2017
The sea always represents the world: vast, deceitfully waveless, troubled by storms, the strokes of fate full of hidden lurking cliffs and reefs, the perils of life. (Christoph Hönig)
The wonderful and seductive singing of the sirens has been the downfall of many a mariner. An iridescent piece by Korean composer Unsuk Chin breathes new life into the myth of the sirens, setting texts by Homer and James Joyce – interpreted with irresistible force and lyric intensity by soprano Donatienne Michel-Dansac. The dangers of life at sea are also the subject of “Peter Grimes” by Benjamin Britten. The four “Sea Interludes” bring together the opera’s emotional storms. Concluding the concert, the two French colorists Ravel and Debussy have “captured” the sea in tone-paintings revealing the most artistic and subtle compositional nuances. This is music that evolves from the finely detailed interplay of numerous very small motifs. As Debussy once wrote himself: in a “mysterious convergence of nature and the imagination.”
Prokofiev | Bloch | Tschaikovsky
Nicolas Altstaedt, violoncello
Lahav Shani, conductor
Recorded on 20 June 2017
The question “Who am I?” underlies all the works in this concert program. In search of his musical identity, Ernst Bloch included his experiences, desires and dreams in this “recited” cello concerto full of orchestral colours that is based on the Old Testament figure of King Solomon. Bloch was searching for music with “Hebrew themes.” His Russian colleague Sergej Prokofjew was one of the first composers who captured the typical sound of klezmer music in his Overture on Hebrew Themes. Peter Tschaikowsky, too, found himself through his composing. “The Fourth originates from my very being and was composed with true inspiration, love and fervent enthusiasm. There is not a note in the score that did not arise from my sincerest feelings.” Hopelessness but also joy and happiness permeate this autobiographically tinged symphony. Cellist Nicolas Altstaedt and conductor Lahav Shani – two of the most versatile and internationally popular young concert artists – are performing with the Gürzenich Orchestra.
Lachenmann | Bruckner
François-Xavier Roth, conductor
Recorded on 11 July 2017
In the last concert of season 2016/17, Bruckner’s 8th
Symphony meets Lachenmann’s “Tableau”. Although Bruckner experienced the greatest success in his career as a composer with the Eighth, he remained ‘outmoded’. In contrast, Lachenmann’s “Tableau” examines the magic props of romantic music, seeking a new experience of beauty.
Bruckner rarely heard words of praise during his lifetime like these from Hugo Wolf after the premiere of his 8th
Symphony:“This Symphony is the creation of a Titan and in spiritual dimension, richness and grandeur surpasses all the master's other symphonies. Notwithstanding the usual Cassandra prophecies of woe, even from those in the know, its success was almost without precedent. It was the absolute victory of light over darkness, and the storm of applause at the end of each movement was like some elemental manifestation of nature. In short, even a Roman emperor could not have wished for a more superb triumph.” With the Eighth, Bruckner experienced the greatest success in his career as composer. And yet he remained ‘outmoded’ with this symphony, as with his others.
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