Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Anton Bruckner - String Quintet; String Quartet (Fitzwilliam Quartet)


Information

Composer: Anton Bruckner
  1. String Quintet in F major: I. Gemässigt
  2. String Quintet in F major: II. Scherzo: Schnell - Trio: Langsamer
  3. String Quintet in F major: III. Adagio
  4. String Quintet in F major: IV. Finale: Lebhaft bewegt
  5. Intermezzo in D minor
  6. String Quartet in C minor: I. Allegro moderato
  7. String Quartet in C minor: II. Andante
  8. String Quartet in C minor: III. Scherzo: Presto - Trio: Langsamer
  9. String Quartet in C minor: IV. Rondo: Schnell

Fitzwilliam Quartet
Lucy Russell, violin
Jonathan Sparey, violin (1-5)
Colin Scobie, violin (6-9)
Alen George, viola
Heather Tuach, cello
&
James Boyd, viola (1-5)
Date: 2010-2011
Label: Linn
http://www.linnrecords.com/recording-bruckner-quintet-quartet.aspx

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Review

This first ‘period’ recording of Bruckner’s String Quintet may overturn some preconceptions. When writing it in 1879, the composer was still working through the contrapuntal mania to which he had given voice in the Fifth Symphony (completed immediately before beginning work on the Quintet), and there are modulating sequences in the first movement’s recapitulation that anticipate the Ninth’s finale, tied up in harmonic knots but jerked forward by the composer’s dotted rhythm of fate. The Fitzwilliams and James Boyd loosen the straitjacket and give these episodes the space they need. The relaxed swing they bring to the Scherzo and Trio recalls the Fifth like no previous recording: both movements sit back and watch the fun like a doctor of philology in the corner of a beer garden. The quality of patience prized by Robert Simpson in Bruckner is honoured by the Fitzwilliams, at least until the codas of the outer movements, where they push on to skirt the trappings of symphonic grandiloquence to which the piece is just occasionally prone.

In a long and useful booklet-note, Alan George, the quartet’s founding viola player, lays out their performing principles, which (guess what?) in practice come back round to share the pitch and spacious confidence of the Amadeus Quartet, with important differences: more vocally inflected portamento (revealing the ‘surprisingly modern operatic dimension’ of the work: John Williamson in the CUP Bruckner Companion) and less vibrato, though there is enough of it in Lucy Russell’s first violin to let the glorious main theme of the Adagio take wing.

The Intermezzo (an unused replacement for the quintet’s Scherzo) and early quartet (effortfully imitated Schubert and Mendelssohn) are no less stylishly done, but the Quintet should find new friends for Bruckner and for what Russell shrewdly values as the ‘sense of unravelling time and space’ to be treasured in his music.

-- Peter Quantrill, Gramophone
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Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896)) was an Austrian composer. His symphonies are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner composed eleven symphonies, scored for a fairly standard orchestra. His orchestration was modeled after the sound of his primary instrument, the pipe organ.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Bruckner

***

Founded in 1968 by four Cambridge undergraduates, the Fitzwilliam Quartet was one of the first of a long line of quartets to have emerged under the guidance of Sidney Griller at the Royal Academy of Music. They became well known through their close personal association with Dmitri Shostakovich, who befriended them following a visit to York to hear them play.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitzwilliam_Quartet
http://www.fitzwilliamquartet.org/

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Anton Bruckner - Te Deum; Motets; Psalm 150 (Eugen Jochum)


Information

Composer: Anton Bruckner
  1. Te Deum in C major, for soloists, chorus & orchestra: 1. Te Deum laudamus
  2. Te Deum in C major, for soloists, chorus & orchestra: 2. Te ergo
  3. Te Deum in C major, for soloists, chorus & orchestra: 3. Aeterna fac
  4. Te Deum in C major, for soloists, chorus & orchestra: 4. Salvum fac
  5. Te Deum in C major, for soloists, chorus & orchestra: 5. In te, Domine, speravi
  6. Locus iste
  7. Ave Maria
  8. Tota pulchra es, Maria
  9. Virga Jesse
  10. Ecce sacerdos magnus
  11. Afferentur regi
  12. Pange lingua
  13. Os justi
  14. Vexilla regis
  15. Christus factus est pro nobis
  16. Psalm 150, for soprano, chorus & orchestra

Maria Stader, soprano (1-5, 16)
Sieglinde Wagner, alto/contralto (1-5)
Ernst Haefliger, tenor (1-5)
Peter Lagger, bass (1-5)
Wolfgang Meyer, organ (1-5)
Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin, chorus master Walter Hagen-Groll (1-5, 16)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (1-5, 16)
Richard Holm, tenor (8)
Hedwig Bilgram, organ (8, 10)
Bavarian Radio Chorus, chorus master Wolfgang Schubert (6-15)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (10)
Eugen Jochum, conductor

Date: 1965 (1-5, 16), 1966 (6-15)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/en/cat/4577432


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Review

"What seraphic music. It must be Bruckner", remarked a friend who entered the room as I was playing this recording. I cannot recommend this mid-price four-disc set too highly, both as performances and recordings. Seraphic is the word. Bruckner's three settings of the Mass are enough in themselves to convert the heathen. I cannot possibly decide which of them I like most, though my head tells me that No. 2 in E minor, with its wind-only accompaniment, is the greatest. What is obvious is that they are the work of a master of choral music, who knew infallibly what effects he wished to create and how to create them, who had the acoustics of a cathedral inbuilt into his notes as he put them on paper and who can rightly be compared with Palestrina in the purity and emotional fervour of his art.

The recordings were made between 1963 and 1972 and come now as a wonderful memorial tribute to Eugen Jochum. His conducting of Bruckner's symphonies was always admired but he had rivals there who could provide alternative routes to the towering peaks. I cannot believe he has a peer in this sacred music. The transfers to CD are magnificent and allow us to hear every nuance of the singing of the Bavarian Radio Chorus in the Masses and 10 motets and of the Deutsche Oper Chorus in the Te Deum and Psalm 150. The 1971 performance of the E minor Mass has not previously been issued in Britain, and it is of the highest quality, with most sensitive and expressive oboe playing.

If you play the beginning of the Mass in F minor you will obtain an immediate impression of how good these performances are and of the intensely moving nature of the music. Here is the symphonic Bruckner in all his heaven-scaling rapture but without some of the repetitious features which deter some listeners (though not those who are fully prepared to enter his world). The soloists are good in all the performances but Maria Stader and Kim Borg excel in this Mass. Stader is superb too, in the really astounding Te Deum.

Not least of the excellence of this generous issue are the ten short motets, most of which will, I suspect, be unfamiliar to many listeners. Each one is a gem of its kind—a most touching Ave Maria, for instance, a moving Pange lingua and an elaborate Ecce sacerdos magnus. The presentation of the discs by DG is first class, with all the texts in translation and a most illuminating essay.

-- Gramophone
reviewing DG 423 127-2 - ANTON BRUCKNER: SACRED WORKS FOR CHORUS - EUGEN JOCHUM (Box set 4 CD)

More reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/Bruckner-Deum-Motets-Psalm-150/dp/B00000J9H8
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bruckner-Deum-Motets-The-Originals/dp/B00000J9H8

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Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896)) was an Austrian composer. His symphonies are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner composed eleven symphonies, scored for a fairly standard orchestra. His orchestration was modeled after the sound of his primary instrument, the pipe organ.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Bruckner

***

Eugen Jochum (1 November 1902 – 26 March 1987) was an eminent German conductor. Jochum is considered by many to have been the foremost Bruckner conductor of the mid- to late twentieth century; he producing many outstanding recordings of Bruckner's symphonies (as well as worthy interpretations of a great many other composers).

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Anton Bruckner - The 3 Masses (Eugen Jochum)


Information

Composer: Anton Bruckner

CD1:
  • (01-06) Mass No. 1 in D minor, for soloists, chorus & orchestra
  • (07-09) Mass No. 2 in E minor, for 8-part choir & wind orchestra
CD2:
  • (01-03) Mass No. 2 in E minor, for 8-part choir & wind orchestra (cont.)
  • (04-10) Mass No. 3 in F minor, for soloists, chorus & orchestra

Edith Mathis, soprano (No. 1)
Marga Schiml, alto/contralto (No. 1)
Wieslaw Ochman, tenor (No. 1)
Karl Ridderbusch, bass (No. 1)
Elmar Schloter, organ (No. 1)
Maria Stader, soprano (No. 3)
Claudia Hellmann, alto/contralto (No. 3)
Ernst Haefliger, tenor (No. 3)
Kim Borg, bass (No. 3)
Bavarian Radio Chorus
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Eugen Jochum, conductor

Date: 1962 (No. 3), 1971 (No. 2), 1972 (No. 1)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/en/cat/4474092


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Review

The Gramophone Choice

Like Bruckner, Eugen Jochum came from a devout Catholic family and began his musical life as a church organist. He would have known the Mass texts more or less inside out, which explains why his readings focus not on the sung parts – which, for the most part, present the text in a relatively foursquare fashion – but on the orchestral writing which, given the gloriously full-bodied playing of the Bavarian orchestra, so lusciously illuminates familiar words. He approaches the Masses with many of the same ideas he so eloquently propounds in his recordings of the symphonies and the music unfolds with a measured, almost relaxed pace which creates a sense of vast spaciousness. This can have its drawbacks: you can be so entranced by the beautifully moulded orchestral introduction to the Benedictus from the D minor Mass that the entry of a rather full-throated Marga Schiml comes as a rude interruption. DG’s transfers are extraordinarily good – they really seem to have produced a sound which combines the warmth of the original LP with the clarity of detail we expect from CD.

-- Gramophone

More reviews:
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/bruckner-sacred-choral-works-2
http://www.amazon.com/Bruckner-Messen-Masses-Nos-Messes/dp/B000001GQ6
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bruckner-Masses-Nos-1-3-Originals/dp/B000001GQ6

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Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896)) was an Austrian composer. His symphonies are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner composed eleven symphonies, scored for a fairly standard orchestra. His orchestration was modeled after the sound of his primary instrument, the pipe organ.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Bruckner

***

Eugen Jochum (1 November 1902 – 26 March 1987) was an eminent German conductor. Jochum is considered by many to have been the foremost Bruckner conductor of the mid- to late twentieth century; he producing many outstanding recordings of Bruckner's symphonies (as well as worthy interpretations of a great many other composers).

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Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 9 (Simon Rattle)


Information

Composer: Anton Bruckner
  1. Symphony No. 9 in D minor (1894, ed. Nowak): I. Feierlich. Misterioso
  2. Symphony No. 9 in D minor (1894, ed. Nowak): II. Scherzo. Bewegt, lebhaft - Trio. Schnell
  3. Symphony No. 9 in D minor (1894, ed. Nowak): III. Adagio. Langsam, feierlich
  4. Symphony No. 9 in D minor: IV. Finale. Misterioso, nicht schnell (Samale/Mazzuca/Phillips/Cohrs completion)

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Simon Rattle, conductor
Date: 2012
Label: EMI

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Review

PERFORMANCE: ***** / SOUND: *****

During the last two years of his life Bruckner struggled valiantly to finish the Finale of his Ninth Symphony. He envisaged the movement in terms of a mighty tussle between the forces of life and death – a conflict that would ultimately be resolved in a grand coda, modelled on those of the Fifth and Eighth Symphonies, in which all the main motifs from earlier in the work would come together in a blaze of affirmative glory. Unfortunately very little in Bruckner’s hand survives of this section of the work, although a good deal of anecdotal evidence from the composer’s close friends makes it possible for the music to be reconstructed. Indeed the surviving manuscript sketches of the Finale conclusively show that the movement was pretty well complete in terms of its structural outline even if the instrumentation often remained fragmentary.

There are a number of recordings of the Symphony which include a performing edition of the Finale, though none so far has been undertaken by such a major conductor and orchestra as Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. Their staunch endorsement of the version prepared by musicologists Nicola Samale, John Phillips, Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs and Giuseppe Mazzuca could well secure a sea-change in the way the Symphony is performed in future, for although some may still feel that the third movement Adagio makes a very moving end to the work, there’s little doubt that the composer intended it to be followed by the Finale.

Experiencing the work for the first time as four-movement work is bound to be disorientating, and one inevitably listens to the Finale with deep regret that the composer was unable to put the finishing touches to the music. Yet much of what survives is still quite remarkable, not least some extraordinarily daring passages such as a manically driven fugue in which the composer replicates some of the piercing dissonances that appear at the climax of the Adagio. It’s in these surprisingly modernistic episodes where Rattle’s urgently focused and warmly recorded live performance comes into its own.

In the first three movements, the orchestra is wonderfully responsive, and Rattle assuredly paces the music’s long paragraphs and musters a sense of the monumental. Although recordings by Günter Wand, Carlo Maria Giulini and Herbert von Karajan may plumb even greater depths, Rattle’s interpretation nonetheless encompasses the full gamut of emotions from tenderness and nostalgia to some amazingly apocalyptic climaxes.

-- Erik Levi, BBC Music Magazine

More reviews:
ClassicsToday ARTISTIC QUALITY: 9 / SOUND QUALITY: 9
MusicWeb International RECORDING OF THE MONTH
http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/pbrj
http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_cd_review.php?id=10202
http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/e/emi95269a.php
http://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/may/23/bruckner-symphony-9-rattle-review
http://www.allmusic.com/album/bruckner-symphony-no-9-mw0002352571
http://www.amazon.com/Bruckner-Symphony-reconstructed-4th-movement/dp/B007O3QC8K

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Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896)) was an Austrian composer. His symphonies are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner composed eleven symphonies, scored for a fairly standard orchestra. His orchestration was modeled after the sound of his primary instrument, the pipe organ.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Bruckner

***

Simon Rattle (born 19 January 1955 in London), is an English conductor. He has been principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic since 2002, and plans to leave his position at the end of his current contract, in 2018. It was announced in March 2015 that Rattle would become Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra from September 2017.

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Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 9 (Carlo Maria Giulini)


Information

Composer: Anton Bruckner
  1. Symphony No. 9 in D minor (1894, ed. Nowak): 1. Feierlich. Misterioso
  2. Symphony No. 9 in D minor (1894, ed. Nowak): 2. Scherzo (Bewegt, lebhaft) - Trio (Schnell)
  3. Symphony No. 9 in D minor (1894, ed. Nowak): 3. Adagio (Langsam, feierlich)

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
Date: 1988
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/en/cat/4273452

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Review


AllMusic Rating: *****

Carlo Maria Giulini recorded Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Angel in 1976, and that album has long been considered a superb achievement and difficult to surpass. Yet Giulini's 1988 performance with the Vienna Philharmonic matches the older recording in every important detail and exceeds expectations by sounding richer in the digital format. As wonderful as Chicago's sound was, the Vienna Philharmonic offers more varied and subtle timbres, a result of its long history of Bruckner performances. Using the Nowak edition, Giulini takes this unfinished symphony into dark places, making it the full realization of the Romantic idea of Sturm und Drang. The opening movement is one of Bruckner's most commanding essays in sonata form. Through its explicit parallels with Beethoven's Ninth, Bruckner clearly points to his source of inspiration. The terrifying Scherzo, with its stacked dissonances and pounding rhythms, creates a mood of violence and instability that the nervous Trio does little to alleviate. Resolution -- indeed, an apotheosis -- comes in the glorious Adagio. Giulini elicits the most sumptuous sounds from the orchestra, particularly in the ecstatic opening measures. After hearing this movement, any thought of adding a finale must seem pointless, for this is a sublime valedictory and nothing more is needed.

-- Blair Sanderson, AllMusic

More reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/Bruckner-Symphony-No-9-Anton/dp/B000001GAM
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bruckner-Symphony-No-9-Anton/dp/B000001GAM

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Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896)) was an Austrian composer. His symphonies are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner composed eleven symphonies, scored for a fairly standard orchestra. His orchestration was modeled after the sound of his primary instrument, the pipe organ.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Bruckner

***

Carlo Maria Giulini (9 May 1914 – 14 June 2005) was an Italian conductor. He was appointed principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony in 1969, and was the director of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra from 1973 to 1976. He succeeded Zubin Mehta as musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1978, remaining at that post until 1984.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Anton Bruckner; Johann Sebastian Bach - Symphony No. 8; Violin Concerto No. 2 (Klaus Tennstedt; Thomas Brandis)


Information

Composer: Anton Bruckner; Johann Sebastian Bach

CD1:
  1. Bach - Violin Concerto No. 2 in E major, BWV 1042: I. Allegro
  2. Bach - Violin Concerto No. 2 in E major, BWV 1042: II. Adagio
  3. Bach - Violin Concerto No. 2 in E major, BWV 1042: III. Allegro assai
CD2:
  1. Bruckner - Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1890, ed. Nowak): I. Allegro moderato
  2. Bruckner - Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1890, ed. Nowak): II. Scherzo. Allegro moderato - Trio. Langsam
  3. Bruckner - Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1890, ed. Nowak): III. Adagio. Feierlich langsam, doch nicht schleppend
  4. Bruckner - Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1890, ed. Nowak): IV. Finale. Feierlich, nicht schnell

Thomas Brandis, violin (CD1)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Klaus Tennstedt, conductor
Date: 1981
Label: Testament

More info & reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Violin-Concerto-Bruckner-Symphony/dp/B003S5QATE


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Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896)) was an Austrian composer. His symphonies are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner composed eleven symphonies, scored for a fairly standard orchestra. His orchestration was modeled after the sound of his primary instrument, the pipe organ.

***

Thomas Brandis (born in 1935 in Hamburg) is a German violinist, chamber music performer and pedagogue. He became concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic at age 26, and served in the position until 1983. In 1976 he founded the Brandis-Quartet, which has performed virtually in all major festivals in Europe, Japan and the Americas. Thomas Brandis has recorded for EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, Teldec, Orfeo and Harmonia Mundi.

***

Klaus Tennstedt (June 6, 1926 – January 11, 1998) was a German conductor. He studied violin and piano at the Leipzig Conservatory, but directed his talents toward conducting after a finger injury. Tennstedt was appointed as Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1983 but due to ill-health, stepped down in 1987. His recordings include a complete cycle of the symphonies of Gustav Mahler. Several of Tennstedt's concert performances have been reissued on CD.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaus_Tennstedt

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Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 8 (Simone Young)


Information

Composer: Anton Bruckner

CD1:
  1. Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1887, ed. Nowak): 1. Allegro moderato
  2. Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1887, ed. Nowak): 2. Scherzo. Allegro moderato - Trio. Allegro moderato
CD2:
  1. Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1887, ed. Nowak): 3. Adagio. Feierlich langsam, doch nicht schleppend
  2. Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1887, ed. Nowak): 4. Finale. Feierlich, nicht schnell

Philharmoniker Hamburg
Simone Young, conductor
Date: 2008
Label: Oehms
http://www.oehmsclassics.de/artikel.aspx?voeid=3500


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Review

Simone Young has been working her way through a cycle of the very first versions of those Bruckner symphonies that were later heavily revised; her interpretations have been effective so far, and this latest installment is no exception. This is the first version, 1878, of Bruckner’s Eighth, an edition that has been issued on disc several times in the past; the most easily available have been Eliahu Inbal/Frankfurt RSO on various Teldec releases (75:35), Georg Tintner/Ireland NSO on Naxos (89:28), and Dennis Russell Davies/Linz Bruckner Orchestra on Arte Nova (80:30). As you can see, Young’s is one of the more leisurely versions of this edition—compared to Inbal, she takes a lot more time in the outer movements—but, without rushing, she keeps a tight rein on the unruly score, always maintaining a focused through line, not letting the music break apart into discrete units, and refusing to wallow in the moderate-paced and slow sections. Yet she does allow enough elasticity for the smaller details to emerge along the way. The performance is notable for its clarity and balance of voices, although at the climaxes the woodwinds can’t make themselves heard in competition with the strings and blaring brass.

It’s especially striking how Young illuminates how beholden Bruckner’s first movement is to the opening movement of Beethoven’s Ninth, although the episodic Bruckner lacks Beethoven’s staying power—Bruckner pauses for breath often, whereas Beethoven maintains unbearable tension throughout his movement. At least Young doesn’t let Bruckner sound like he’s stepping off the podium every few bars just to get his heart rate down, which can happen in other performances; she finds natural rhythms in the periodic release of tension. This version of the first movement, by the way, ends triple forte, not softly.

Other major differences between this and later editions: the trio of the second movement is substantially different; the first three movements require only double woodwinds and four horns, the wind section not expanded until the final movement; the Adagio is 38 bars longer, and includes more cymbal crashes (and a different climactic key); the Finale is 62 bars longer. I especially admire Young’s treatment of the Adagio, which is played with clarity and integrity, not soppy piety; she’s very good at holding it together without slighting its internal contrasts.

The SACD surround mix has lots of presence, although there are balance problems at the climaxes, as noted. Personally, I think most of Bruckner’s later changes to the score improved the Symphony, but Simone Young and her Hamburg forces make an exceptionally strong case for this original version.

-- James Reel, FANFARE

More reviews:
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/bruckner-symphony-no-8-1
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/Jan13/Bruckner_sy8_OC638.htm
http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/o/oeh00638a.php
http://www.allmusic.com/album/bruckner-sinfonie-nr-8-mw0001947020
http://www.amazon.com/Bruckner-Symphony-No-8-A/dp/B002ED6VS6

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Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896)) was an Austrian composer. His symphonies are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner composed eleven symphonies, scored for a fairly standard orchestra. His orchestration was modeled after the sound of his primary instrument, the pipe organ.

***

Simone Young (born 2 March 1961 in Sydney) is an Australian conductor. She studied composition, piano and conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Young was chief executive of the Hamburg State Opera and chief conductor of the Philharmoniker Hamburg from 2005 to 2015. She was the first woman to have recorded a cycle of Bruckner's Symphonies and Wagner's Ring Cycle.

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Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 8 (Günter Wand)


Information

Composer: Anton Bruckner
  1. Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1887/90, ed. Haas): I. Allegro moderato
  2. Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1887/90, ed. Haas): II. Scherzo. Allegro moderato - Trio. Langsam
  3. Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1887/90, ed. Haas): III. Adagio. Feierlich langsam, doch nicht schleppend
  4. Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1887/90, ed. Haas): IV. Finale. Feierlich, nicht schnell

NDR Symphony Orchestra
Günter Wand, conductor
Date: 1987
Label: RCA


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Review

ARTISTIC QUALITY: 10 / SOUND QUALITY: 9

Four of Günter Wand's commercial recordings of Bruckner's Eighth Symphony were released on RCA (at least two simultaneously). Of those, this 1987 version was the second (in order of recording) and the best. Wand is at his most incisive in this rendition, employing pointed attacks, crisp rhythms, and bold, rich sonorities. The NDR Symphony brass snarl darkly in the first movement and finale, while the strings deliver sharp-edged playing in the scherzo (which also features unique dynamic effects from the timpani).

The Adagio is quite spacious but never sounds overlong, due to Wand's urgent shaping of the long-spun melodies. Wand renders the finale's dark drama with a stirring potency and makes a strong case for the Haas edition through his big-hearted playing of the restored cuts.

Another compelling aspect of this performance is the recording itself, made in the very live acoustic of Lübeck Cathedral. It features an echo decay that fits quite naturally into Bruckner's prolonged pauses. Listen to the dramatic effect of the brass fanfares before the first movement's quiet coda. RCA deleted this recording in lieu of later versions that never reached this one's level of excellence. Happily, Arkivmusic.com has made it available once again through its on-demand service. For Bruckner lovers it's a must! [5/8/2008]

-- Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday

More info & reviews:

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Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896)) was an Austrian composer. His symphonies are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner composed eleven symphonies, scored for a fairly standard orchestra. His orchestration was modeled after the sound of his primary instrument, the pipe organ.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Bruckner

***

Günter Wand (January 7, 1912, Elberfeld, Germany – February 14, 2002, Ulmiz, Switzerland) was a German orchestra conductor and composer. He was largely self-taught as a conductor. Wand received twice the internationally significant Diapason d'Or for his Schubert and Bruckner recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BCnter_Wand

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Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 8 (Herbert von Karajan)


Information

Composer: Anton Bruckner
  1. Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1887/90, ed. Haas): 1. Allegro moderato
  2. Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1887/90, ed. Haas): 2. Scherzo. Allegro moderato - Trio. Langsam
  3. Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1887/90, ed. Haas): 3. Adagio. Feierlich langsam, doch nicht schleppend
  4. Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1887/90, ed. Haas): 4. Finale. Feierlich, nicht schnell

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Date: 1988
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/en/cat/4790528


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Review

It's great to see this magnificent recording on one overstuffed disc. Since this performance was released in 1989, only a full-priced two-disc set has been in circulation. Now at mid-price and on the generally laudable "Originals" series, anyone interested in Bruckner, Karajan, the orchestra, or even simply eliminating the disc change should pick this up.

As his valedictory recorded effort and released after his death, Karajan's deeply moving and intensely personal way with the score deserves attention. Yes, he recorded this work many times, and all of those (except perhaps the grossly overpriced one on Andante) could grace your collection with pride. There is something so uniquely compelling about this final reading that you understand why his final concerts in New York with this very piece were so special.

The orchestra plays as only they can. When Karajan's relationship with the Berlin Philharmonic crumbled in the late 80's, Vienna was more than happy to work with the aging maestro. Surely, some of his final work did come off as tired compared to his readings in Berlin, but then there were times like these, where everything went right. Tempi are broad, but Karajan makes everything sound so natural. He also knows how to work within the orchestral sound he has. He lets the string soar in a nearly ethereal way, while the fabled horns get lots of attention too. Only in the second movement do things seem just a touch stiff, but this remains as fine a "last" recording as it gets.

Chances are that the serious Bruckner fan already owns this, or knows they don't want it. For the newcomer to this glorious music, having such a storied performance on one disc makes this a no-brainer. As a tribute to one of the 20th century's great conductors and orchestras, it stands tall among an impressive discography. DG graced this particular set of sessions with some fine digital sound. Grab it while you can.

-- Brian Wigman © 2013, Classical Net

More reviews:

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Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896)) was an Austrian composer. His symphonies are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner composed eleven symphonies, scored for a fairly standard orchestra. His orchestration was modeled after the sound of his primary instrument, the pipe organ.

***

Herbert von Karajan (5 April 1908 – 16 July 1989) was an Austrian conductor. He was principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for 35 years. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century. He made a large number of recordings and was the top-selling classical music recording artist of all time, having sold an estimated 200 million records. He was admired and also criticized for his over polished sound of the orchestras he conducted.

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Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 7 (Günter Wand)


Information

Composer: Anton Bruckner
  1. Symphony No. 7 in E major (1885, ed. Haas): I. Allegro moderato
  2. Symphony No. 7 in E major (1885, ed. Haas): II. Adagio. Sehr feierlich und sehr langsam
  3. Symphony No. 7 in E major (1885, ed. Haas): III. Scherzo. Nicht schnell - Trio. Langsam
  4. Symphony No. 7 in E major (1885, ed. Haas): IV. Finale. Bewegt, doch nicht schnell

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Günter Wand, conductor
Date: 1999
Label: RCA


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Review




This Bruckner Seventh, Wand's third go at the piece, sounds absolutely magnificent in all respects--interpretation, playing, and sound. He sets flowing tempos and holds each movement together organically, effortlessly. There are so many wonderful moments: his perfect pacing of the big brass outburst of the inverted main theme in the first movement's development and the way this merges imperceptibly into the recapitulation; his rapturous vision of the same movement's coda; the way the great Adagio's principal theme surges forward, especially on its first reappearance after the lyrical second subject, like some great wave; and the same movement's climax, a moment of supreme fulfillment even without the controversial percussion parts. There are also those miracles of textural transparency and orchestral balance that Wand has made his personal trademark in Bruckner, most noticeable in the Scherzo, where all of those little woodwind echoes that permeate the movement peek through the most heavily scored passages like individual stars on a cloudy night. This newcomer clearly surpasses Wand's previous two recordings of this symphony (something that hasn't been unambiguously true of his Berlin Bruckner performances), and RCA was right to capture it. [1/2/2001]

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

More reviews:
BBC Music Magazine PERFORMANCE: **** / SOUND: *****
http://www.allmusic.com/album/bruckner-symphony-no-7-mw0001851446
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bruckner-Symphony-No-7-Anton/dp/B00004YMJ0
http://www.amazon.com/Symphony-7-Anton-Bruckner/dp/B00004YMJ0

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Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896)) was an Austrian composer. His symphonies are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner composed eleven symphonies, scored for a fairly standard orchestra. His orchestration was modeled after the sound of his primary instrument, the pipe organ.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Bruckner

***

Günter Wand (January 7, 1912, Elberfeld, Germany – February 14, 2002, Ulmiz, Switzerland) was a German orchestra conductor and composer. He was largely self-taught as a conductor. Wand received twice the internationally significant Diapason d'Or for his Schubert and Bruckner recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BCnter_Wand

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Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 7 (Bernard Haitink)


Information

Composer: Anton Bruckner
  1. Symphony No. 7 in E major (1885, ed. Haas): 1. Allegro moderato
  2. Symphony No. 7 in E major (1885, ed. Haas): 2. Adagio. Sehr feierlich und sehr langsam
  3. Symphony No. 7 in E major (1885, ed. Haas): 3. Scherzo. Nicht schnell - Trio. Langsam
  4. Symphony No. 7 in E major (1885, ed. Haas): 4. Finale. Bewegt, doch nicht schnell

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Bernard Haitink, conductor
Date: 1978
Label: Philips


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Review




This is the second of Haitink’s four (!) recordings of this symphony, made in 1978. There’s been a lot of bad Bruckner recently, an artifact of the need of modern conductors who feel uncomfortable with the forms of the German classics, sonata form in particular. Now of course Bruckner grew up with this tradition and believed that he was working with traditional symphonic structures, but the fact remains that his “stop and go” first movements and finales never require the conductor to create and sustain the kind of tension and momentum that we find in, say, Beethoven or Brahms (never mind Haydn or Mozart). As a result, he has become the flavor of the decade, especially among modern music specialists who need to find music to program that a normal audience might conceivably sit through.

Bruckner does, however, have his own sense of momentum, and however many pauses he may have written between sections, the best performances capture and project the music’s flow. This one does it as well as any ever has. The playing of the Concertgebouw is gorgeous; the strings glow, the brass are ideally balanced, and Haitink paces each movement to perfection. The first movement isn’t rushed, but it has the requisite energy, while the Adagio rises to a climax that’s positively apocalyptic. Both the scherzo and finale are fresh and bracing, with the coda of the latter not upstaged by that of the first movement. It should be mandatory listening for all young conductors who play Bruckner for reasons that don’t allow them even to begin to plumb the music’s expressive depths.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday


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Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896)) was an Austrian composer. His symphonies are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner composed eleven symphonies, scored for a fairly standard orchestra. His orchestration was modeled after the sound of his primary instrument, the pipe organ.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Bruckner

***

Bernard Haitink (born 4 March 1929) is a Dutch conductor. In his glowing career, he is the principal conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw (1959-1988), London Philharmonic (1967-1979), Chicago Symphony (2006-2010) and and principal guest conductor Boston Symphony (1995-2004). Haitink has conducted and recorded a wide variety of repertoire, with the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Bruckner, Mahler, Shostakovich and Vaughan Williams, and the complete piano concertos of Beethoven and Brahms with Claudio Arrau notable among his recordings.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Haitink

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Anton Arensky; Sergei Taneyev - Piano Quintets (Piers Lane)


Information

Composer: Anton Arensky; Sergei Taneyev
  1. Taneyev - Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 30: 1. Introduzione: Adagio mesto
  2. Taneyev - Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 30: 2. Scherzo: Presto
  3. Taneyev - Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 30: 3. Largo
  4. Taneyev - Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 30: 4. Finale: Allegro vivace
  5. Arensky - Piano Quintet in D major, Op. 51: 1. Allegro moderato
  6. Arensky - Piano Quintet in D major, Op. 51: 2. Variations: Andante
  7. Arensky - Piano Quintet in D major, Op. 51: 3. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
  8. Arensky - Piano Quintet in D major, Op. 51: 4. Finale (in modo antico): Allegro moderato

Piers Lane, piano
Goldner String Quartet
Dene Olding, violin
Dimity Hall, violin
Irina Morozova, viola
Julian Smiles, cello
Date: 2012
Label: Hyperion
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA67965

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Review

Lane and the Goldner explore Tchaikovsky’s varied influence

The shadow of Tchaikovsky is sometimes said to fall over both of these fine works; it would be fairer to suggest that some of the rays of his genius suffuse them. Taneyev was one of the few composers who studied with Tchaikovsky and also one of the rare people from whom he tolerated criticism (though even the faithful pupil could get a rap on the knuckles if he went too far). His Piano Quintet is an expansive work, warmly played here and with the subtle intelligence Taneyev demanded of himself when planning a work. Among much else, he shows how much invention can be wrought out of something as simple as a scale, hauntingly in the Largo, which David Fanning’s booklet essay perceptively describes as ‘a dialogue…between intellectual severity and expressive warmth’. There is particular brilliance in the Scherzo: like others of their colleagues, when exercising their very Russian preference for French influence over German, Taneyev and Arensky made an exception in favour of Mendelssohn.

If Taneyev’s Quintet is the more impressive, Arensky’s is perhaps the more attractive. It has the lightness of touch that he admired in Tchaikovsky, to whose influence he migrated from that of his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov (thus earning himself a sniffy dismissal in the latter’s memoirs that he would soon be forgotten). The introduction of a waltz into the variation movement (on a French song) is certainly Tchaikovskian, and none the worse for that. The piano-writing is deft and delicate, excellently handled by Piers Lane and well balanced with the strings in the recording.

-- John Warrack, Gramophone

More reviews:
http://www.classical-music.com/review/arensky-taneyev-piano-quintets-piers-lane-goldner-piano-quintet
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/Dec13/Taneyev_Arensky_quintets_CDA67965.htm
http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/Review/370357,taneyev-arensky-piano-quintets-piers-lane-goldner-string-quartet.aspx
http://www.amazon.com/Arensky-Taneyev-Quintets-Piers-Lane/dp/B00E0IZ05S

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Anton Arensky (12 July [O.S. 30 June] 1861 – 25 February [O.S. 12 February] 1906) was a Russian composer of Romantic classical music, a pianist and a professor of music. Tchaikovsky was the greatest influence on Arensky's musical compositions. The perception that he lacked a distinctive personal style contributed to long-term neglect of his music, though in recent years a large number of his compositions have been recorded.

***

Sergei Taneyev (November 25 [O.S. November 13] 1856 – June 19 [O.S. June 6] 1915) was a Russian composer, pianist, teacher of composition, music theorist and author. Taneyev's specialized field of study was counterpoint, and he was one of the greatest of contrapuntalists. Taneyev's compositions reveal his mastery of classical composition technique, but many of them were considered "most dry and laboured in character".

***

Piers Lane (born 8 January 1958) is an Australian classical pianist. His performance career has taken him to more than 40 countries. His concerto repertoire exceeds 75 works. Lane has an extensive discography on the Hyperion label and has also recorded for EMI, Decca, BMG, Lyrita and Unicorn-Kanchana.

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Goldner String Quartet is an Australian string quartet formed in 1995 in honour of Richard Goldner, the founder of Musica Viva Australia. The Quartet consists of Dene Olding and Dimity Hall (violins), Irina Morozova (viola; an ex-pupil of Goldner) and Julian Smiles (cello).

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Anton Arensky; Sergei Taneyev - Violin Concertos (Ilya Gringolts)


Information

Composer: Anton Arensky; Sergei Taneyev
  1. Arensky - Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 54: Allegro -
  2. Arensky - Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 54: Adagio non troppo - Allegro -
  3. Arensky - Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 54: Tempo di valse -
  4. Arensky - Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 54: Poco meno mosso - Tempo I - Cadenza - Tempo I
  5. Taneyev - Suite de concert, Op. 28: Prelude: Grave
  6. Taneyev - Suite de concert, Op. 28: Gavotte: Allegro moderato
  7. Taneyev - Suite de concert, Op. 28: Märchen (Tale): Andantino
  8. Taneyev - Suite de concert, Op. 28: Theme and variations: Theme: Andantino
  9. Taneyev - Suite de concert, Op. 28: Theme and variations: Variation I: Allegro moderato
  10. Taneyev - Suite de concert, Op. 28: Theme and variations: Variation II: Allegro energico
  11. Taneyev - Suite de concert, Op. 28: Theme and variations: Variation III: Tempo di valse
  12. Taneyev - Suite de concert, Op. 28: Theme and variations: Variation IV: Fuga doppia: Allegro molto
  13. Taneyev - Suite de concert, Op. 28: Theme and variations: Variation V: Presto scherzando
  14. Taneyev - Suite de concert, Op. 28: Theme and variations: Variation VI: Tempo di mazurka: Allegro con fuoco
  15. Taneyev - Suite de concert, Op. 28: Theme and variations: Variazione finale e coda: Andante
  16. Taneyev - Suite de concert, Op. 28: Tarantella. Presto - Più presto

Ilya Gringolts, violin
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Ilan Volkov, conductor
Date: 2008
Label: Hyperion
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA67642

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Review

Compelling performances of Romantic concertos from Russia’s Silver Age

Though each is problematic in terms of the concert repertoire, these two products of Russia’s Silver Age go well together on disc. Both composers were friends of Tchaikovsky, both taught Rachmaninov and Scriabin, and both their reputations have suffered somewhat from their place in between those generations. Neither of these works is quite the best of them, though both make fine violinistic vehicles, as you might expect from their dedications to the Joachim pupil Leopold Auer.

Arensky’s Concerto is a continuous, four-inone, 20-minute movement, Mendelssohnian in style, elegantly turned at every stage, and with a relatively undemanding solo part that would be perfect for students looking for something other than Bruch to limber up on. Taneyev’s Suite is far more ambitious, not to say hybrid in form, encompassing a neo-Baroque Prelude and Gavotte, a Schumannesque “folktale”, a Theme with seven variations and coda (shades of Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations), and a final Tarantella, all in a 40-minute structure that needs a soloist of outstanding technical command and expressive range.

Ilya Gringolts is fine advocate for both works, combining brilliance and idiomatic sensitivity, and enjoying fine support from Volkov and the BBC Scottish. Phrase-for-phrase in the Taneyev, Oistrakh’s 1956 recording makes me listen more intently and persuades me more fully that the work needs to be as long as it is. But then no violinist of our day could withstand comparison with that classic account. Gringolts and team are at least the equals of Kuusisto and his Finns, and their approach to the Arensky is more natural than that of Trostiansky and Co. In short, another superbly conceived and truthfully recorded addition to Hyperion’s “Romantic Violin Concerto” series.

-- David Fanning, Gramophone

More reviews:
http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-15379/
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/Apr09/Arensky_cda67642.htm
http://www.allmusic.com/album/arensky-violin-concerto-op-54-taneyev-suite-de-concert-op-28-mw0001946550
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/4536063/Arenskys-Violin-Concerto-classical-CD-of-the-week.html

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Anton Arensky (12 July [O.S. 30 June] 1861 – 25 February [O.S. 12 February] 1906) was a Russian composer of Romantic classical music, a pianist and a professor of music. Tchaikovsky was the greatest influence on Arensky's musical compositions. The perception that he lacked a distinctive personal style contributed to long-term neglect of his music, though in recent years a large number of his compositions have been recorded.

***

Sergei Taneyev (November 25 [O.S. November 13] 1856 – June 19 [O.S. June 6] 1915) was a Russian composer, pianist, teacher of composition, music theorist and author. Taneyev's specialized field of study was counterpoint, and he was one of the greatest of contrapuntalists. Taneyev's compositions reveal his mastery of classical composition technique, but many of them were considered "most dry and laboured in character".

***

Ilya Gringolts (born 2 July 1982 in Leningrad) is a Russian violinist and composer. He attended the Juilliard School, and studied violin with Itzhak Perlman for 3 years. He founded the Gringolts Quartet in 2008 and plays first violin in the quartet. Gringolts plays the "ex-Kiesewetter" Stradivarius violin. He has made commercial recordings for such labels as Onyx and Deutsche Grammophon.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilya_Gringolts
http://ilyagringolts.com/

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