"The fact that the present CD still exudes considerable unity is due to the consistently high quality of the interpretations of the three disparate works, with emphasis on the fine textures in the solo part (Isabelle van Keulen) as well as in the orchestra (NDR Radiophiharmonie). [...] The conductors Andrew Manze (Prokofiev), Keri-Lynn Wilson (Walton) and Andrew Litton (Vaughan Williams) work equally well on the excellent skills of the orchestra."Klassik.com, 30-1-2021
Bijzondere combinatieOp het eerste gezicht lijkt de combinatie van de stukken op het album misschien wat vreemd. Het is niet vanzelfsprekend om het vioolconcert van een Russische componist te koppelen aan het concert voor altviool van een Engelse componist. Maar niets is minder waar, deze koppeling is juist een heel slim idee geweest van Isabelle van Keulen, die op de altviool net zo goed speelt als op de viool. Het eerste Viool Concert van Prokofjev, dat in 1923 in première ging toen de componist nog in Parijs woonde voor hij terugkeerde naar de Sovjet-Unie, diende als geliefd model voor het altviool concert van Walton, dat in 1929 voor het eerst werd gespeeld door altviolist Paul Hindemith. De overeenkomst tussen de twee werken gaat verder dan de uit drie bewegingen bestaande opbouw langzaam-snel-langzaam, het blijkt ook uit de thema's, de begeleiding en de vorm van het rondo van het virtuoze Scherzo.
Een opstijgende leeuwerik tot slotDit voortreffelijke album wordt afgesloten met het mooie The Lark Ascending van de Engelse componist Vaughan Williams. Het is de muzikale uitbeelding van een leeuwerik die opstijgt en steeds hoger vliegt. Het stuk is geïnspireerd op een gedicht van George Meredith, geschreven over de leeuwerik en zijn gezang. Vaughan Williams componeerde het stuk oorspronkelijk voor piano en viool maar herschreef het later voor soloviool en orkest. Deze versie werd de bekendste en de meest uitgevoerde van de twee.
In 2003 Andrew Litton became the first American principal conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and the successful partnership was confirmed as his tenure was renewed in 2005 and he was made music director. During his time in Bergen Litton has taken the orchestra on tour both in Norway and abroad, including appearances in 2007 at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Royal Albert Hall (the BBC Proms) in London and a 12-concert tour of the United States including Carnegie Hall, New York. Litton and the Bergen Phil- harmonic Orchestra also participated in the creation of a new Norwegian opera company, Den Nye Opera, and in 2006 performed Tosca as its opening produc- tion. The same year Andrew Litton stepped down as music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra after twelve highly successful seasons. He remains conductor laureate of Britain’s Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, whose principal conductor he was between 1988 and 2004. He appears regularly with major orchestras and opera companies around the world, performing at pres- tigious venues and festivals such as Deutsche Oper Berlin and the BBC Proms. Andrew Litton is also a frequent guest at the Minnesota Orchestra, of whose summer festival, the Sommerfest, he has been artistic director since 2003.
Sir William Walton, in full Sir William Turner Walton, (born March 29, 1902, Oldham, Lancashire, Eng.—died March 8, 1983, Ischia, Italy), English composer especially known for his orchestral music. His early work made him one of England’s most important composers between the time of Vaughan Williams and that of Benjamin Britten.
Walton, the son of a choirmaster father and a vocalist mother, studied violin and piano desultorily as a boy and also sang, with somewhat better results, in his father’s choir. He taught himself composition, although he received advice from both Ernest Ansermet and Ferruccio Busoni. In 1912 he entered the University of Oxford, where he sang in the choir of Christ Church. He put in the requisite four years of study but failed by one examination (Responsonions) to win a bachelor of music degree. At Oxford he had met the Sitwell brothers, Osbert and Sacheverell, by whom he was virtually adopted, and he spent most of the next decade traveling with them or living with them at Chelsea. During this period he composed Façade (1923)—a set of pieces for chamber ensemble, to accompany the Sitwells’ sister Edith in a recitation of her poetry—as well as Sinfonia Concertante for piano and orchestra (1928; revised 1943) and Portsmouth Point (1926), which established his reputation as an orchestral composer.
Walton was influenced by some of his older contemporaries, notably Edward Elgar, Igor Stravinsky, and Paul Hindemith. Hindemith was soloist in the first performance of one of Walton’s finest works, his Viola Concerto (1929). Walton also composed a number of scores for motion pictures, including Major Barbara (1941), Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1947), and Richard III (1954). His vocal music includes the oratorio Belshazzar’s Feast (1931) and the operas Troilus and Cressida (1954) and The Bear (one act; 1967). The composer received a knighthood in 1951.
The fact that the present CD still exudes considerable unity is due to the consistently high quality of the interpretations of the three disparate works, with emphasis on the fine textures in the solo part (Isabelle van Keulen) as well as in the orchestra (NDR Radiophiharmonie). [...] The conductors Andrew Manze (Prokofiev), Keri-Lynn Wilson (Walton) and Andrew Litton (Vaughan Williams) work equally well on the excellent skills of the orchestra.
There are myriad subtle insights throughout where she, Manze and the orchestra are in delicious collusion. ...the orchestra shines best in a warm and detailed recording.
The Strad, 25-2-2019
It is nice to be able to compare them, and even better to once again establish that violinist Van Keulen also belongs to the top with the viola. Beautiful. Rating: 9.
Isabelle van Keulen plays it all with ease and contagious enthusiasm, one feels how these three works belong to her favorites.
Jo Cornille, 21-12-2018
Van Keulen is in her element and there is a nice exchange of ideas between the musicians in the orchestra and the soloist.
De Volkskrant, 13-12-2018
Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto and Walton’s Vila Concert are somehow related. Together with Vaughan Williams’s rhapsodic The Lark Ascending they allow the versatile and brilliant Isabelle van Keulen to excel on both instruments. The orchestral performances are exciting as well.
The preference of Isabelle van Keulen, "Music that cracks and scours"