This latest recording presented by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is the result of a long-standing friendship between acclaimed pianist Garrick Ohlsson and the Symphony. Mr. Ohlsson was the first soloist Spano ever worked with when he made his professional debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the two have shared many happy collaborations since. When considering his discography, Mr. Ohlsson saw the Rachmaninov 3 as the one piece that has eluded him in recorded form. He approached Maestro Spano about recording the work, and Spano said, ‘Well, we have to do it.’ Maestro Spano took the opportunity as a chance to also record a signature Spano/ASO collaboration, Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances. The less-often recorded Symphonic Dances have a long history with the ASO, who has performed them both on tour and in Atlanta many times over the past ten years.
Our faculty member, Paul Murphy, provides the current music selection: the Brahms Sextet No. 1 in B-flat major, Op. 18. He likes the recording by the Amadeus Quartet, but notes that it is part of a set of most of Brahms chamber music and that you cannot buy just the recording of the Sextet without buying the whole set. (Paul also says, by the way, that it is a really wonderful set.) For a link to iTunes, click here. Two other recordings are also recommended: a historic one with Isaac Stern and Pablo Casals and another one with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble. Enjoy!
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has released the second recording on its own in-house label, ASO Media.The first recording featured Robert Spano (currently celebrating his tenth anniversary as the orchestra’s Music Director) conducting two ASO commissions: Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon’s concerto On A Wire, featuring the chamber ensemble eighth blackbird, and Michael Gandolfi’s choral work QED: Engaging Richard Feynman, with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. This newest release includes Theofandis’s Symphony No. 1 and Lieberson’s Neruda Songs. Mr. Theofanidis’s Symphony No. 1 was commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with the generous participation of the Savannah Music Festival and the Immanuel & Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival. Mr. Spano led the world premiere at Atlanta Symphony Hall in April 2009. Mr. Lieberson’s Neruda Songs are performed by mezz-soprano, Kelley O’Connor. Ms. O’Connor was the first artist to perform Mr. Lieberson’s Neruda Songs after the death of his wife, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. She has since performed the work with numerous orchestras around the world, including the Chicago Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and in Edinburgh, Scotland, in April 2011, the week following the composer’s death. Mr. Spano led Ms. O’Connor in the work at Atlanta Symphony Hall last summer in June 2010. Of their on- going collaboration, she has said: “Whenever I perform with Robert Spano, it is as if we are composing the music at that exact moment. Yes, it existed before, but this is our version; we lovingly create it together and send it out into the world. There is a certain intimacy in performance that comes from sharing a musical language, and it is so special when the audience joins us in this experience.” You can read an ASO press release about the recording here:
Our board member, Alex Simmons, recommends the Kronos Quartet recording of Osvaldo Golijov’s “Tenebrae.” Alex first heard “Tenebrae” performed by the Franklin Pond Quartet. Here is a quote from the composer:
“I wrote Tenebrae as a consequence of witnessing two contrasting realities in a short period of time in September 2000. I was in Israel at the start of the new wave of violence that is still continuing today, and a week later I took my son to the new planetarium in New York, where we could see the Earth as a beautiful blue dot in space. I wanted to write a piece that could be listened to from different perspectives. That is, if one chooses to listen to it “from afar”, the music would probably offer a “beautiful” surface but, from a metaphorically closer distance, one could hear that, beneath that surface, the music is full of pain.”