"It gives me enormous pleasure, as I celebrate my fortieth birthday (and incidentally I share a birthday with Mozart and Lalo, amongst others), to play and replay these works which are so well written for violin. It was an intense and exhilarating experience to record them in Paris - the very place where Symphonie espagnole had its first performance - with the Orchestre de Paris and Paavo Järvi in the brand new Philharmonie de Paris hall.
“These three works, all written between 1868 and 1878, are among the most famous in the history of the violin. There is a history of respect and friendship linking the three composers, Lalo, Sarasate and Bruch. Lalo dedicated his Symphonie espagnole to Sarasate. It was also to Sarasate that, not long afterwards, Bruch dedicated his Fantaisie écossaise, while it was the great Joachim who first brought Bruch's concerto to the attention of the world.
"As for me, I was 12 years old when I first tackled these works with Veda Reynolds. The Bruch was my first competition piece, the Lalo was the work I chose when I played for Gérard Poulet for the first time and I performed the Sarasate at my first 'serious' récital.
"I would like to dedicate this album to two great men who were both passionate about the Bruch concerto, two people who were very dear to me but who passed away recently: Jacques Chancel and Gratien Ferrari.”
Warner Classics and Erato has taken three of the major prizes in the French Classica magazine's 'Choc' of the Year awards, in a ceremony held last night at the Salle Cortot in Paris.
The Choc for Opera of the Year went to Antonio Pappano's luxurious Aïda studio recording, made in Rome with an all-star cast. "No doubt this new complete recording was conceived around Jonas Kaufmann, star tenor of his day, but let's not forget that it's not just this Radames - so penetrating, electric, attentive to text (yes, our hero unites all these superlatives), that has earned the prix Choc de l'Année. It's also the sovereign direction of Antonio Pappano that instantly sets the mood... and ties this Aïda, and especially the two leads, to a golden age of the past," declared Classica.
The Choc for 'Radio Classique's Choice' went to French coloratura soprano Sabine Devieilhe for her brand new Mozart album, The Weber Sisters. "The disc pays homage to the Weber sisters - Josepha, Aloysia and Konstanze - as so many faces in which the composer found his path to creative liberty through the inspiration of humanity. Sabine Devieilhe follows this path with grace and lightness, an astonishing natural flexibility, audacious high notes, rich tone and a quality of projection that is quite unique today," wrote Classica.
Her husband Raphaël Pichon, directing Pygmalion ensemble, "captures a range of moods and affects that constantly renew the listeners' interest."
Sabine said of the prize: "I must tell you how important this Choc de l'Année is to me. This album is the fruit of a long period of reflection, and was a challenge from all points of view, so I'm truly proud to see it acknowledged by Classica with this award."An orchestral Choc of the Year was awarded to Paavo Järvi's daring album of music by the beloved French composer Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013), with the Orchestre de Paris and violinist Christian Tetzlaff. "What a programme!" declared Classica. "Admirable compositional rigour aligned with dizzying heights of imagination make Dutilleux an instant classic of our time. Paavo Järvi gives these scores a faithful reading." (Métaboles, Sur le même accord, Symphony No.1, spanning the great composer's entire career.)
Voting for the coveted Gramophone Artist of the Year Award closes on 31 July; have your say here.
Gramophone's in-depth interview with Artist of the Year nominee Paavo Järvi appeared in the May issue of the magazine. “At a time when some other conductors seem to be focusing their recording activity on single-composer projects or on big landmark ventures, Järvi is bucking the trend in...the way in which he views recording as an integral part of his daily musical life.
"One of the key factors behind his diversity of programming is that he is associated with so many different orchestras that have their own traditions, their own sounds, their own strengths.”
The Estonian maestro made headlines with this year's album of controversial Shostakovich cantatas praising Stalin, including The Song of the Forests and The Sun Shines over our Motherland. "I had to have a bodyguard with me," he told The Wall Street Journal of performances in his home country with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the Estonian Concert Choir.
Järvi also had the honour of conducting the historic opening concert of the Philharmonie de Paris this year, with the late French composer Henri Dutilleux's Sur le même accord on the programme. He recorded the same thrilling work with the Orchestre de Paris for a milestone Dutilleux retrospective album released in January.
Don't forget: 31 July is your last chance to choose one of ten superlative musicians nominated for Gramophone Artist of the Year.
Following a week of tragedy in Paris, the French capital's long-awaited new arts complex the Philharmonie de Paris will open its doors to the public on 14 January, bringing people together to celebrate music and culture at a crucial time.
It is fitting, then, that the Orchestre de Paris - with conductor and music director Paavo Järvi - this week inaugurates the concert hall as the Philharmonie's main resident ensemble, playing the music of the late French composer Henri Dutilleux. The work for violin and orchestra, Sur le même accord, features on the Orchestra de Paris' new album out today.
Regarded by many to be the most important French composer of the second half of the 20th century, Dutilleux passed away on 22 May 2013 at the age of 97. The Orchestra de Paris today releases a new recording devoted to the music of this unassuming giant of French music, who synthesised an intensely modern idiom with the orchestral colours and harmonic lushness of music by his countrymen Debussy and Messiaen.
"In his Nocturne for violin and orchestra, Sur le même accord, Dutilleux uses a six-note chord as the basis for the development of his musical ideas and after a short introduction alternates 'Rapid Music' with 'Lyrical Sections'," explains maestro Järvi. "It was composed for Anne-Sophie Mutter, who premiered the work in London on the 28th April 2002 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Kurt Masur."
Dutilleux is in good company at this week's grand opening concert, an all-French program also featuring music by Fauré and Ravel, with pianist Hélène Grimaud and soprano Sabine Devieilhe among the French soloists.
The Orchestre de Paris' new album also features Dutilleux's Symphony No.1 and Métaboles. Although the performance of Sur le même accord at the Philharmonie gala will feature French violinist Renaud Capuçon as soloist, the recording was made with another internationally acclaimed virtuoso.
"Christian Tetzlaff is one of the greatest living musicians and certainly one of the most respected and accomplished violinists," enthuses Järvi. "He is, of course, reputed for his interpretations of the Germanic repertoire (Bach, Brahms), but I find his reading of the Dutilleux particularly natural and polished, even though he had not played it very often. He is totally in phase not only with the piece's architecture but also with its lyricism.
"After Bizet, Fauré and Poulenc, with this recording of Dutilleux works we continue our journey in French music, begun when I took over as musical director of the Orchestre de Paris, and henceforth on disc," Järvi adds. "The journey began with classic works of the French repertoire, and we are now gently arriving at the major works of the modern era. Unfortunately, Dutilleux's death reminds us that this period is coming to an end. This recording is in homage to this great French composer."