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Tag: Viktoria Mullova

Berliner Philharmoniker – A Russian evening with Gustavo Dudamel and Viktoria Mullova 2009 720p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

The three composers in this concert by the Berliner Philharmoniker from March 2009 represent the stylistic diversity of Russian music during the 20th century. At the same time, their biographies show the influence of contemporary historical events. Although Sergei Rachmaninov had to leave his homeland forever in 1918, he remained true to his unmistakable late Romantic idiom, which was defined by his deep love for Russian culture and music, all his life. This style already characterized his opulent, dark tone poem The Isle of the Dead from 1909, which is in the unusual 5/8 metre and was inspired by Arnold Böcklin’s painting with the same title. Sergei Prokofiev began his career as a brilliant enfant terrible; after the October Revolution he lived for many years in America and Western Europe, then returned to the Soviet Union at the height of the worst Stalinist terror. His powerful but lyrically romantic (for example, in the slow movement) Fifth Symphony was already a great success during the Stalin era, but it easily outlasted the questionable stylistic ideal of “socialist realism” which prevailed at that time and, together with the “Classical” Symphony, it is regarded as the composer’s most successful contribution to the genre.

Like Rachmaninov, Igor Stravinsky eventually decided in favour of permanent exile; only once did he return to his Russian homeland, for a series of concert appearances in 1962. His only violin concerto, the premiere of which was conducted by the composer himself in Berlin in 1931, is generally assigned to his neoclassical creative period. Striking features of the work include his use of Baroque stylistic characteristics and a four-note chord in the solo violin, which is heard at the beginning of all four movements. “Virtuosity for its own sake has only a small role in my concerto,” Stravinsky declared. Nevertheless, there are enormous demands in the solo part, and violinist Viktoria Mullova approaches them with an impressive overall view of the work and crystal-clear articulation. After making his successful debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the Waldbühne Concert in 2008, Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel impressed listeners with his passion and precision during his second appearance with the orchestra.

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Viktoria Mullova – ARVO PaRT (2018) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Viktoria Mullova – ARVO PÄRT (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 58:57 minutes | 586 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download  | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Onyx Classics

Nearly all the pieces on this album were first performed and widely promoted by the Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer, one of them – Tabula rasa (1977) – being specifically written with his artistry in mind. They are also all products of what Arvo Pärt himself describes as a ‘tintinnabuli’ style, developed by the composer in the 1970s through studying medieval church music. As Pärt has explained: “I have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played. This one note, or a silent beat, or a moment of silence, comforts me. I work with very few elements – with one voice, two voices. I build with primitive materials – with the triad, with one specific tonality. The three notes of a triad are like bells and that is why I call it tintinnabulation.” Tabula rasa and Fratres, both composed in 1977, effectively established Pärt’s international reputation. Tabula rasa is effectively a concerto for two violins with string orchestra and a prepared piano, the latter instrument creating explicitly bell-like sonorities in the work’s slow second movement. Fratres, since its first performance by the Estonian ensemble of early music, Hortus Musicus, has been arranged for various instrumental combinations. The version heard here is the composer’s own, written in 1991 for solo violin, strings and percussion (involving claves and bass drum or tom-tom). Bach has long been an important influence in Pärt’s music, as is evident in his Passacaglia, composed in 2003, and in Darf ich… (May I…) originally composed in 1995 and dedicated to Yehudi Menuhin; Pärt subsequently revised the work in 1999, Kremer giving the premiere of this revised version with his ensemble, Kremerata Baltica. Spiegel im Spiegel, composed in 1978, is one of Pärt’s simplest compositions, a violin unhurriedly playing a mostly stepwise melody over a steadily arpeggiating piano part.

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Beethoven, Mendelssohn – Violin Concertos – Viktoria Mullova, John Eliot Gardiner (2003/2012) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Beethoven, Mendelssohn – Violin Concertos – Viktoria Mullova, John Eliot Gardiner (2003/2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:08:15 minutes | 1,3 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: |  © Decca
Recorded: June 2002 at The Colosseum, Watford, United Kingdom

Viktoria Mullova and John Eliot Gardiner: Mullova, a strong-toned, intense, and very virtuosic Russian violinist living in the West, an individualist without a trace of idiosyncrasy and a expressivist without a trace of sentimentality, and Gardiner, a superb proponent of period instruments who’s out of his depths with passionate expressivity, an excellent exponent of Handel and Bach who’s over his head with Beethoven or Berlioz, a conducting collection of idiosyncrasies passing himself off as an interpreter and an amateur passing himself off as an individualist. What could they have to say to each other? At least in this 2002 recording of the Beethoven and Mendelssohn violin concertos, the answer is: nothing good. Mullova is reserved, restrained, and almost reluctant, her tone contracted, her intensity constrained, and her virtuosity constricted. Gardiner leads the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique in an instrumentally colorful but ultimately lax and soporific accompaniment. Together, Mullova and Gardiner turn in a pair of tepid and timid performances with only Mullova’s fiery and passionate performances of Ottavio Dantone’s cadenzas to the Beethoven concerto to make the disc worth hearing. Philips’ sound is a little too reverberant and oddly empty. –James Leonard, AllMusic

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