Wolf-Ferrari - Violin Concerto, Orchestral Music from Operas
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Cat No: B108069
Format: CD + DVD
Number of Discs: 2
Release Date: 2nd September 2013
ArtistsBenjamin Schmid (violin)
Amidst all the turmoil of war in the years 1940 to 1943, Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari composed a violin concerto in the festive key of D major. The composer's ability to distance himself artistically from what was happening in the world was often called “anachronistic” and described as “composing with blinkers on”.
No one knows what the composer was thinking and feeling at the time. An intense encounter with the great violinist Guila Bustabo was what inspired him to write this composition in a melodic, romantic tonal language untouched by the contemporary trends of modernity. The two artists were enchanted by each other and carried on a spiritual friendship, largely by correspondence. The composition is a declaration of love: “For Guila Bustabo in admiration” is written in the score, and her letters to him respond in kind.
The first performance took place in the Munich Tonhalle in 1944. Bustabo was partnered by the Munich Philharmonic under Oswald Kabasta. Why this inspired violin concerto has since led a marginalised existence, all but completely neglected in everyday concert life, is incomprehensible.
Thanks to Friedrich Haider, the German-Italian Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari has experienced something of a renaissance over the past few years. Ever since the conductor came across a score by this composer in a London second-hand bookshop, he has been fascinated by this music and become an ardent champion of the almost forgotten master.
“Wolf-Ferrari's violin concerto contains simply everything a violinist could desire”, says Benjamin Schmid. When he was given the score by Friedrich Haider, he was immediately captivated by the work. “With Wolf-Ferrari, you have the feeling that he is singing every second of the time. One brilliant melodic idea follows the other in all four movements of the violin concerto. It has enchantingly beautiful inspirations and an endless wealth of nuance, and is subtle in form and magnificently orchestrated as well”.
Farao classics is planning a Wolf-Ferrari cycle with Friedrich Haider, including several world première recordings.
Benjamin Schmid's quality as a soloist, the extraordinary range of his repertoire (which includes violin concertos by Hartmann, Gulda, Korngold, Muthspiel, Szymanowski, Weill, Lutoslawski and Schoenberg alongside the more conventional works of this genre) and, in particular, his abilities as a jazz improviser, make him stand out uniquely as a violinist. The Vienna-born Benjamin Schmid plays on a Stradivarius violin from 1731. He teaches at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and the Bern University of the Arts and gives some 100 concerts each year.
Born in Austria in 1961, Friedrich Haider was appointed chief conductor at the Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg at the age of just 29. Appearances followed at opera houses in Vienna, Munich, Berlin, Dresden, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Venice and New York, with a repertoire of around 70 different operas. In 2005, Friedrich Haider began to shift the focus of his activities to the concert stage and was chief conductor of the Oviedo Filarmonía in northern Spain for seven years. In 2012 he took over the position of chief conductor and artistic director at the Slovakian National Theatre in Bratislava.
Compact Disc + Bonus-DVD-Video “Declaration of love to a violinist” (A documentary in German about the CD recording; subtitled in English, Italian and Japanese)
Booklet: 96 pages, 4/4 colour, with detailed textual and visual material about the work and life of Wolf-Ferrari (German, English)
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