LALO: Symphonie Espagnole / RAVEL / SAINT-SAENS / SARASATE
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Edouard Lalo (1823 -1892)
Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21
PabloSarasate (1844 - 1908)
Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20
CamilleSaint-Sa?½ns (1835 - 1921)
Havanaise, Op. 83
MauriceRavel (1875 - 1937)
Tzigane, rapsodie de concert
EdouardLalo's Symphonie espagnole is among the mostpopular works in the violinist's repertoire. Lalo's name may be Spanish but his family hadestablished themselves in northern France in the 16th century .The composer was born inLille in 1823, son of a father who had served in Napoleon's armies. Early training atLille Conservatoire in violin and cello was followed, at the age of sixteen, by a briefperiod of study in Paris with the violinist and conductor Habeneck and private lessons incomposition. In Paris, in independence of his father, who disapproved of his son's choiceof career, he earned a living as a violinist and as a teacher, while writing music thatdid not achieve the success he needed. From the 1850s he was particularly involved inperformance as viola-player in the Armingaud Quartet, and later in his own quartet,ensembles that re-introduced to the French public the classical quartet repertoire ofHaydn, Mozart and Beethoven.
Itwas not until the 1870s that Lalo began to make an impression as a composer, with theperformance of his Violin Concerto in 1874by Pablo Sarasate, to whom the Symphonie espagnole
of the same year was dedicated. This was followed by other orchestral compositions,including the successful Cello Concerto anda series of works for solo violin and orchestra. Still greater success came at last in1888 with the production of his opera Le roi d'Ys
at the Opera-Comique, after a series ofearlier operatic disappointments. He died in 1892.
Symphonie espagnole is a symphony only inname. The mood of the work is established at the start with the brief orchestralintroduction, followed by the entry of the soloist and the characteristic Spanish rhythmsof the principal theme. The second scherzando
movement, with its contrasting central section, is followed by a characteristicallySpanish Intermezzo and a lyrically movingslower movement that grows in intensity with its idiomatically Spanish turns of phrase.
The work ends with a final Rondo of brightelegance and charm in which there is ample opportunity for virtuoso display.
TheSpanish violinist Pablo Sarasate studied in Paris and at the age of fifteen started on aconcert career that was to bring him fame throughout Europe and the Americas. Composerswho wrote for him include Bruch, and his fellow-violinists Joachim and Wienawski. For hisown use he wrote a number of works for violin of which his Gypsy piece, Zigeunerweisen, Opus 20, was published in Leipzig in1878.
CamilleSaint-Sa?½ns, a composer whose life spans a vast period, from the age of Schumann andMendelssohn to that of Ravel and Debussy, and whose works embrace every conceivable genre,wrote two of his violin concertos for Sarasate, as well as the very Spanish Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso. The same Spanishelement informs the well known Havanaise,written in 1887.
Havingleft the Paris Conservatoire in 1895, Ravel returned two years later to study with GabrielFaure. He nevertheless failed to win any prize for composition, an achievement that wasobligatory for the continuance of studies. His attempts to win the Prix de Rome insuccessive years brought no result, while he was at the same time winning considerablesuccess outside the academic world. This success continued, while the scandal of hisultimate failure to win the Prix de Rome in 1904 led to the resignation of the Director ofthe Conservatoire and his replacement by Faure, a composer of more progressivetendencies. In the years after the 1914 - 1918 war, during which he served as a driver,Ravel moved out of Paris. His compositions of this period include a violin sonata, a sonatafor violin and cello in memory of Debussy and the famous >Tzigane, written in 1924 for the Hungarian violinistJelly d'Aranyi, whose own improvised additions the composer added to the completed work.
Ravel reportedly remarked that he had no idea w hat she was doing, as she played thepiece, but he liked it. The Tzigane remainsa show-piece of the violin repertoire, whether in the version for violin and orchestra orin its original form, for violin and piano, designed by the composer to test the musicaland technical ability of any performer and later described by one of Ravel's friends as aviolinist's minefield. The work captures the spirit of gypsy improvisation, its artsuccessfully concealing art.
MaratBisengaliev was born in Alma-Ata in Kazakhstan in 1962 and began to learn the violin atthe age of six, graduating from the Alma-Ata Conservatory in 1984 with a first prize. Hewent on to study at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow with Boris Belinky and ValerieKlimov. Having made his concerto debut at the age of nine in Alma-Ata, Bisengalievcontinued to perform as a soloist throughout Eastern Europe and also served as ArtisticDirector of the Kazakhstan Chamber Orchestra, before settling in 1989 in England. In 1991Bisengaliev won first prize in the International Nicanor Zabaleta Competition, alsoreceiving the special virtuoso prize for the most outstanding performance of thecompetition. He earlier was a prize-winner in 1988 at the Leipzig International BachCompetition. He made his concerto debut in England playing the Beethoven concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,followed by a London performance of the Tchaikovsky concerto.
He has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras in Russia, England, Germany, Poland andthe former Republic of Czechoslovakia. His recordings include concertos issued byMelodiya, Naxos and Marco Polo and he has been three times the subject of a Central SovietTelevision documentary, most recently in 1992.
ThePolish National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Katowice (PNRSO)
ThePolish National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Katowice (PNRSO) was founded in 1945, soonafter the end of the World War II, by the eminent Polish conductor Witold Rowicki. ThePNRSO replaced the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra which had existed from 1934 to 1939 inWarsaw, under the direction of another outstanding artist, Grzegorz Fitelberg. In 1947Grzegorz Fitelberg returned to Poland and became artistic director of the PNRSO. He wasfollowed by a series of distinguished Polish conductors - Jan Krenz, Bohdan Wodiezko,Kazimierz Kord, Tadeusz Strugala, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Stanislaw Wislocki and, since 1983,Antoni Wit. The orchestra has appeared with conductors and soloists of the greatestdistinction and has recorded for Polskie Nagrania and many international record labels.
For Naxos, the PNRSO will record the complete symphonies of Tchaikovsky and Mahler.
JohannesWildner was born in the Austrian resort of M??rzzuschlag in 1956 and studied violin andconducting, taking his diploma at the Vienna Musikhochschule and proceeding to a doctoratein musicology. A member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, he has toured widely asleader of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra's Johann Strauss Ensemble and of the Vienna MozartAcademy. As a conductor he has directed the Orchestra Sinfonica dell'Emilia Romagna ArturoToscanini, the Budapest State Opera Orchestra, the Silesian Philharmonic, the MalmoSymphony Orc