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Hyperion Records

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Senecio (1922) by Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67870
Recording details: May 2012
City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Produced by Rachel Smith
Engineered by David Hinitt & Mike Panayiotis
Release date: June 2013
Total duration: 1 minutes 19 seconds

'The Concerto for piano and wind … places huge demands on soloist, conductor and also recording engineers, all of whom sail through unscathed by the technical problems and the difficult sonorities' (Gramophone)

'With Steven Osborne as soloist, the concertante works are in exceptionally good hands … after the Capriccio's grandiose opening, Osborne's tight control of the piano's insistent, driving textures provides a firm foundation for the opening movement's unexpected humanity and charm' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This superb disc on which Steven Osborne manifests both his rhythmic élan and his refined sense of tonal shading, underpinning the performances with virile energy … the string-orchestra Concerto in D and two pithy orchestral miniatures complete an outstanding album' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Osborne and Volkov judge them perfectly—keeping the Concerto, as well as the slightly later Capriccio, on a tight rein, and threading a lucid path through the thickets and intricacies of the Movements' (The Guardian)

'A wonderfully ebullient, rhythmically alert performance, and the recorded sound captures the work's utterly individual sonorities very well, with crystal clarity. Volkov's conducting has a drive and energy that matches Osborne's thrilling performance of the solo part … the Capriccio is only rarely heard in the concert hall, but it deserves to be played much more often, and from Osborne it receives the most persuasive advocacy. I don't think I've heard a more immediately engaging recording of the piece … the notes by Charles M Joseph are a mine of information and the recorded sound is excellent. Philippe Entremont and Stravinsky himself are impressive in the Concerto for piano and wind but Osborne and Volkov are lighter on their toes and theirs is a really splendid performance (I can't think of a better one on CD)' (International Record Review)

'This fine Stravinsky series … Steven Osborne plays all with diamantine brilliance' (The Sunday Times)

'The outstanding work here is the Concerto for piano and wind instruments, played by Osborne in a way that finds wit in the rhythmic quirks while lending substance to the music's 18th-century references … alert accompaniments from the BBC SSO under Ilan Volkov' (Financial Times)

Song of the Volga Boatmen
composer
1917; for wind and percussion; supposedly arranged at the request of Sergei Diaghilev to replace the Tsarist National Anthem; initially titled Hymne à la nouvelle Russie

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Stravinsky’s setting of the Song of the Volga Boatmen, scored for winds and percussion, captures the ancient spirit of a nation that remained unbendingly resilient. Over the years this iconic Russian folksong drew the attention of many composers, Mili Balakirev’s arrangement being perhaps the best known. Stravinsky’s Swiss exile during the First World War had stirred nostalgic feelings for his lost homeland as evinced in several settings of folk tales he knew as a child. With the 1917 February Revolution fresh in his mind, his memories grew particularly vivid. The composer supposedly prepared the arrangement of the Volga melody as a favour to Sergei Diaghilev. The Ballets Russes impresario needed a new work to replace the traditional playing of the Russian National Anthem ‘God Save the Tsar’ before performances. But the request for a new anthem actually came directly from the recently instated Russian parliament. Stravinsky’s manuscript reveals that he initially entitled the arrangement Hymne à la nouvelle Russie. The composer literally scored the famous song overnight, dictating the music to his friend Ernest Ansermet who dutifully took down every note. Stravinsky added a piano reduction of the work just below the orchestration. The manuscript also includes a colourful red banner on the cover, sketched by Stravinsky’s friend Picasso as an acknowledgement of the Russian Revolution.

from notes by Charles M Joseph © 2013

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