Weergaloze uitvoeringen van operawerken voor twee piano’s
Op dit album staan originele werken en eigentijdse arrangementen (allemaal gemaakt met toestemming van de componisten) van opera ouvertures en uitreksels uit opera’s en operettes, allemaal geschreven voor twee piano’s. De werken op het album zijn weergaloos uitgevoerd op twee ongelofelijk mooi klinkende 19e eeuwse Erard vleugelpiano’s. Zowel Julian Reynolds als Peter Lockwood hebben ruime ervaring in het spelen met de Nederlandse Opera. Ze geven de stukken op deze opname de vertolkingen van hun leven met superieur dubbelspel.
Richard Wagner was an important innovator of music in his time. He is best known for his operas, which he himself preferred to refer to as musical dramas. He wrote the texts (the libretti) himself and sought to make a Gesamtkunstwerk, the ideal union of text, music and theatre. Over time, this lead to grandiose musical dramas which were performed in a specially built theater for these works in the small town of Bayreuth.
Wagner's greatest critic, the philosopher Nietzsche, named his former friend the "greatest miniaturist of music who in the smallest of space squeezed an endless amount of sense and sweetness". Nietzsche regarded this as a sympton of decadence, yet it does portray the large variety of treasures which can be found in Wagner's music: the mysterious fantasy stories of the love potion of Tristan & Isolde, Wotan's spear, the sea of flames of Brünhilde, the sword of Siegfried... Still the real main character is the orchestra, which shines its light on all the true intentions and feelings of these heroes with great depth.
Both as a composer and as an individual, Wagner remains a subject of controversy and emotional discussions. By many he is hailed as a hero, and by equally many others completely dismissed. But his influence as a composer and musical innovator is undeniable!
Johann Strauss II was an Austrian violinist and composer of many waltzes and operettes. His father, the composer Johann Strauss sr., did not want him to become a musician. As a child, he studied in secret under his father's biggest rival's guidance, Joseph Lanner. Johann Strauss jr. could really focus on a career as a composer once Johnn sr. left the family. His two brothers, Josef and Eduard, were composers two, but Johann jr. was by far the most succesful. This led to an enormous jealousy among the brothers, especially with Eduard. Yet, musically too, Johann jr. was far better equipped then his two brothers. During his lifetime, he was already known as the king of waltzes and the growing popularity of the Viennese waltz is partly due to him as he was able to lift the genre from the regular dance halls to concert stages. He was regarded as one of the most prominent composers of his time, among others by Johannes Brahms who was a personal friend of his. At the age of 73, Strauss II died of pneumonia.
Source: WikiPedia Alexis-Emmanuel Chabrier (French: [ɛmanɥɛl ʃabʁie]; 18 January 1841 – 13 September 1894) was a Romantic composer and pianist, born in Ambert, central France. His bourgeois family did not approve of a musical career for him, and he studied law in Paris and then worked as a civil servant until the age of thirty-nine while immersing himself in the modernist artistic life of the French capital and composing in his spare time. From 1880 until his final illness he was a full-time composer.
Although known primarily for two of his orchestral works, España and Joyeuse marche, Chabrier left a corpus of operas (including L'étoile), songs, and piano music, but no symphonies, concertos, quartets, sonatas, or religious or liturgical music. His lack of academic training left him free to create his own musical language, unaffected by established rules, and he was regarded by many later composers as an important innovator and a catalyst who paved the way for French modernism. He was admired by, and influenced, composers as diverse as Debussy, Ravel, Richard Strauss, Satie, Stravinsky, and the group of composers known as Les six. Writing at a time when French musicians were generally proponents or opponents of the music of Wagner, Chabrier steered a middle course, sometimes incorporating Wagnerian traits into his music and at other times avoiding them.
Chabrier was associated with some of the leading writers and painters of his time. Among his closest friends was the painter Édouard Manet, and Chabrier collected Impressionist paintings long before they became fashionable. A number of such paintings from his personal collection by artists known to him are now housed in some of the world's leading art museums. He penned a large number of letters to friends and colleagues which offer an insight into his musical opinions and character.
Chabrier died in Paris at the age of fifty-three from a neurological disease, probably caused by syphilis.