A treasure island of piano music — Spiegel Online
The Grand Piano label continues to uncover gems of the piano repertoire. — Fanfare

USTVOLSKAYA • SILVESTROV • KANCHELI

WORKS FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRA

Galina USTVOLSKAYA • Valentin SILVESTROV • Giya KANCHELI


  • Elisaveta Blumina, piano
  • Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
  • Thomas Sanderling

With two world première recordings, this programme highlights the Romantic and spiritual side of contemporary music from Russia and Eastern Europe. Galina Ustvolskaya’s early Concerto expresses a vision of beauty and suffering in a tonal language quite unlike her later works. Giya Kancheli’s Sio or ‘breeze’ is notable for its striking use of silence, as well as modal tunes, bass drones and wide dynamic extremes derived from Georgian folk music. Silvestrov’s devotional Hymn reflects his approach to music as “a song the world sings about itself”. Elisaveta Blumina’s acclaimed recording of Silvestrov’s solo piano works can be heard on GP639.

Tracklist

Ustvolskaya, Galina Ivanovna
1
Concerto for Piano, Strings and Timpani (original version) (1946) (00:18:41)
Silvestrov, Valentin
 
4 Postludes for Piano and String Orchestra (2004) (00:16:39 )
2
No. 1. Larghetto - Andante * (00:05:42)
3
No. 2. Moderato, con moto (poco rubato) * (00:03:38)
4
No. 3. Larghetto, con moto (poco rubato) * (00:02:50)
5
No. 4. Larghetto, con moto (poco rubato) * (00:04:38)
Kancheli, Giya
6
Sio (1998) * (00:16:20)
Silvestrov, Valentin
7
Hymn - 2001 (2001) (00:06:14)
* World Première Recording
Total Time: 00:58:03

The Artist

Blumina, Elisaveta

Prizewinner of the Award Echo Classic, Elisaveta Blumina is much in demand in the most prestigious concert halls of Europe. A child prodigy, she made her concert début as a soloist at the age of sixteen with the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra directed by Alexander Polyanichko with Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1. She continued her studies at the University of Music and Theatre in Hamburg and later at the Conservatoire in Berne, with teachers including András Schiff, Evgeni Koroliov, Radu Lupu and Bruno Canino. She won the the International Brahms Piano Competition which culminated in her acclaimed recording of Brahms’ Piano Sonata No. 2 and Klavierstücke, Op. 76. She is recognised as one of the most important interpreters of modern Russian repertoire, and her Mieczysław Weinberg recordings have won wide acclaim. Her career has taken her to venues such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Laeisz-Halle in Hamburg and Carnegie Hall in New York.

www.blumina.com

Founded by Karl Munchinger in 1945, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra has held a prominent position in the international orchestral world for some seven decades. Munchinger, who was principal conductor of the orchestra for over forty years, was able to attract a small group of élite players in the early days to realise his vision of a completely new and exemplary way of interpreting works by Johann Sebastian Bach and the Viennese classicists. Dennis Russell Davies, who was principal conductor from 1995 to 2006, re-defined the orchestra’s artistic priorities to enhance the orchestra’s versatility. Under his directorship the orchestra was able to distinguish itself, both in the concert hall as well as in the recording studio, with repertoire from the 20th and 21st centuries including specially commissioned compositions, particularly from the composers Phillip Glass and Giya Kancheli. With Davies, a complete edition of all 107 symphonies by Joseph Haydn was recorded live for Sony BMG in a unique series of concerts sponsored by Daimler Benz, extending over an eleven-year period ending in 2009. A recording of works by Bartok and Lutosławski appeared on the ECM label in 2012 conducted by Dennis Russell Davies, who remains associated with the orchestra as conductor laureate. Since 2006, Michael Hofstetter, the internationally renowned specialist for authentic performing practice, has been the orchestra’s principal conductor. From the 2013-14 season the young conductor Matthias Foremny has served as chief conductor of the orchestra. For its exceptional achievements, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra was awarded the 2008 European Chamber Music Prize by the European Cultural Foundation. The orchestra is supported by the Land Baden-Württemberg, the City of Stuttgart and Robert Bosch GmbH.

Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Photo: Jona Laffin Klein

Thomas Sanderling was born in Leningrad on October 2, 1942. His father, celebrated conductor Kurt Sanderling, was forced to flee Germany in 1936. Young Thomas studied first at the Leningrad Conservatory, then at the Hochschule fur Musik in East Berlin. His first important post came at the age of 24, when he was appointed director of the Halle Opera. By his mid-twenties he was conducting in all East Germany’s principal orchestras and opera houses, including the Dresden Staatskapelle and the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and won the Berlin Critics’ Prize for his performances at the Komische Oper Berlin.

In the 1970s he developed a friendship with the declining Shostakovich, who presented Sanderling with scores to his Thirteenth and Fourteenth symphonies. Sanderling later led the German premieres of those controversial works. Sanderling’s premiere recording of Shostakovich’s Michaelangelo Suite directly led to his becoming assistant to both Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein.

Despite his close association with the music of Dmitry Shostakovich, his repertory is broad, encompassing Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, and Dvorak, as well as moderns like Karl Weigl and Americans Menotti, Barber, and Tobias Picker. He has conducted a mixture of orchestras worldwide, generally to critical acclaim, and made a number of successful recordings. He has also developed an equally respected reputation in opera, particularly for performances in the most important operatic centers in Germany, Austria, and Scandinavia.

Reviews

“A marvelous release with everything right: good music, good playing, and good production. The performances are superb and the sound a noteworthy example of what a recorded piano should sound like.” – American Record Guide

“Excellent performances are given throughout from Blumina and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra under Thomas Sanderling. This music isn’t about virtuosity or high-level technical skills, but the sheer amount of rhythmic unison and the radical simplicity of the textures make perfect ensemble and tuning a key requirement, and that is exactly what we hear.” – Fanfare

“…very worthwhile, contentful release. Both Blumina and Sanderling/Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra put a good deal of care and commitment into the realizations. The results are quite exemplary. Bravo!” – Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

“Elisaveta Blumina handles Silvestrov’s silky textures with sensitivity, and the orchestra supports her with easy precision. This is another album from Grand Piano, the commendable label focusing on piano music that is off the beaten track and repeatedly presenting the most beautiful discoveries.” – Spiegel Online

Klassik heute

“Interpretations and sound quality score quite high marks, as do the booklet notes.” – Klassik heute

Concerti

“The musicians find great empathy with the spirit of this music and achieve an overwhelming intensity…transitions are managed seamlessly and the melting tone is constantly soothing on the ear. ” – Concerti

“This is a unique coupling occupying itself with Russia’s ‘new spiritualism’.” – MusicWeb International

Musical Toronto

“Elisaveta Blumina, Dublin-based, is the capable soloist, and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra play well for Londoner Thomas Sanderling, whose father conducted the second performances of many of Shostakovich’s works.” – Musical Toronto