The center of this album is not only the “song” of the violin but also its “voice”. The violin becomes the vehicle for a talking expression so strongly rooted in the Yiddish culture that when the Jews want to congratulate a violinist they say “You speak the violin well”. Violinitistically growth on the shape of his father Sergei Berinsky, important Muscovite composer of a Yiddish family, Yulia Berinskaya in this anthology is looking for the archaic origins of the music itself (song and dance), declining them according to her personal violinistic Voice, a sort of alter ego of the soprano. Furthermore, the peculiarity of this project is the fact that new transcriptions have been properly made for violin and chamber orchestra by Giovanni Dettori (Falla, Bloch, Piazzolla) and Stefano Ligoratti (Stravinsky). […] (Translation by Fabiana Binarelli)
Ernst Bloch: (b Geneva, 24 July 1880; d Portland, OR, 15 July 1959). American composer and teacher of Swiss origin. He studied in Geneva with Albert Goss and Louis Etienne-Reyer (violin) and Jaques-Dalcroze (solfège and composition) before leaving, at the suggestion of Martin Marsick, to study in Brussels. There he took lessons from Eugène Ysaÿe (violin), Rasse (composition) and Franz Schörg (violin and chamber music), at whose home he lived from 1896 to 1899. He then went to study in Frankfurt with Knorr (1899–1901) and in Munich with Thuille (1901–3). After a year in Paris (1903–4), during which time he absorbed the French Impressionistic style, he returned to Geneva, married Margarethe Augusta Schneider, and entered his father’s business as a bookkeeper and salesman of Swiss tourist goods. Meanwhile, he kept his hand in music by composing in piecemeal fashion, conducting orchestral concerts in Neuchâtel and Lausanne (1909–10) and lecturing on aesthetics at the Geneva Conservatory (1911–15). A high point of this period was the première of his lyric drama, Macbeth, at the Opéra-Comique, Paris, on 30 November 1910.
Bloch went to the United States in 1916 with the encouragement of Alfred Pochon, second violinist of the Flonzaley Quartet, as conductor for a tour by Maud Allan’s dance company. When the tour collapsed, he accepted a position at the newly formed David Mannes College of Music in New York, teaching theory and composition there and also privately (1917–20). He was thus able to bring his wife and three children, Suzanne, Lucienne and Ivan, to America. The successful première of his String Quartet no.1 by the Flonzaley Quartet on 31 December 1916 led to performances of his orchestral works in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. He conducted his Trois poèmes juifs with the Boston SO in March 1917 and Schelomo, with Kindler as the cello soloist, at a concert sponsored by the Society of the Friends of Music in New York in May of the same year. Following additional successes in Philadelphia, where he conducted a programme of his ‘Jewish’ works with the Philadelphia Orchestra in January 1918, he signed a contract with G. Schirmer, who published these compositions with what was to become a trademark logo – the six-pointed Star of David with the initials E.B. in the centre; it was an imprimatur which firmly established for Bloch a Jewish identity in the public mind.
Bloch expanded his contact with American life by conducting Renaissance choral music with amateur singers at the Manhattan Trade School, teaching the fundamentals of music to children in Joanne Bird Shaw’s experimental summer school in Peterboro, New Hampshire, and discussing art and life with such figures as Julius Hartt. In 1919 his Suite for viola and piano (or orchestra) won the Coolidge Prize, quickly earning a place in the viola repertory.
Bloch served as founding director of the Cleveland Institute of Music (1920–25), where he conducted the student orchestra, taught composition, established masterclasses and courses for the general public, and proposed such radical reforms as the abandonment of examinations and textbooks in favour of direct musical experience, with study rooted in the scores of the great masters. However, the trustees continued to favour a practical curriculum and a more traditional approach to music education, and this eventually led him to resign. (It was in Cleveland, in 1924, that he became a naturalized US citizen.) He then accepted the directorship of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (1925–30), during which time he was awarded the Carolyn Beebe Prize of the New York Chamber Music Society for his Four Episodes for chamber orchestra (1926), the first prize in a contest sponsored by Musical America for his epic rhapsody in three parts, America, and a shared RCA Victor Award for his homage to his native land, Helvetia.
During the 1930s Bloch lived mainly in Switzerland, composing such works as Voice in the Wilderness, the Piano Sonata, Evocations for orchestra, the Violin Concerto and, most importantly, the Sacred Service, with which he began his second European period. He conducted his works in various European cities, and returned briefly to the USA to conduct the Sacred Service in New York in 1934. Major festivals of his works were held in London in 1934 and 1937, the latter in connection with the founding of an Ernest Bloch Society, with Albert Einstein as honorary president, and Alex Cohen as secretary. Macbeth was revived in Naples in Italian translation in March 1938, but only three performances were given owing to Mussolini’s deference to a visit from Hitler. Because of growing anti-Semitism and also because he wished to retain his American citizenship, Bloch returned to the USA and, in 1940, assumed a professorship at the University of California at Berkeley, where he taught summer courses until his retirement in 1952. The Berkeley duties fulfilled an obligation he owed the institution, which, in conjunction with a grant from the Stern family had enabled him to compose in Europe from 1930 to 1939 freed from the responsibilities of teaching.
In his later years, during which he lived reclusively at Agate Beach, Oregon, he was the recipient of numerous honours, including the first Gold Medal in Music (String Quartet no.2), from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1947) and the Henry Hadley Medal of the National Association for American Composers and Conductors (1957). He continued to compose in a wide variety of genres, and to pursue his lifelong hobbies of photography and mushroom collecting, and his newer interest in collecting and polishing agates. In 1958, suffering from cancer, he underwent unsuccessful surgery; he died a year later. In 1968 an Ernest Bloch Society was formed in the USA through the efforts of the composer’s children.
Igor Stravinsky: (b Oranienbaum [now Lomonosov], nr St Petersburg, 5/17 June 1882; d New York, 6 April 1971). Russian composer, later of French (1934) and American (1945) nationality. One of the most widely performed and influential composers of the 20th century, he remains also one of its most multi-faceted. A study of his work automatically touches on almost every important tendency in the century’s music, from the neo-nationalism of the early ballets, through the more abrasive, experimental nationalism of the World War I years, the neo-classicism of the period 1920–51 and the studies of old music which underlay the proto-serial works of the 1950s, to the highly personal interpretation of serial method in his final decade. To some extent the mobile geography of his life is reflected in his work, with its complex patterns of influence and allusion. In another sense, however, he never lost contact with his Russian origins and, even after he ceased to compose with recognizably Russian materials or in a perceptibly Slavonic idiom, his music maintained an unbroken continuity of technique and thought.
Falla Manuel De: (b Cádiz, 23 Nov 1876; d Alta Gracia, Argentina, 14 Nov 1946). Spanish composer. The central figure of 20th-century Spanish music, he addressed over the course of his career many of the salient concerns of modernist aesthetics (nationalism, neo-classicism, the role of tonality, parody and allusion) from a unique perspective. Like many Spaniards, he was attracted to French culture. His predilection for the French music of his time, especially that of Debussy, caused him to be misunderstood in his own country, where conservative-minded critics attacked his music for its over-susceptibility to foreign influences. Reaction to Falla’s music by his compatriots often mirrored the convulsive political changes the country underwent before and during the Spanish Civil War (1936–9), a period of intense cultural activity whose musical manifestations nonetheless remain relatively unexplored.
Pablo de Sarasate: (b Pamplona, 10 March 1844; d Biarritz, 20 Sept 1908). Spanish violinist and composer. The son of a military bandmaster, he began to play the violin at the age of five and gave his first public performance when he was eight. His precocity aroused such interest that he received sponsorship from the Condesa Espoz y Mina to study in Madrid with M.R. Sáez. Aided by Queen Isabella, he commenced studies with Delphin Alard at the Paris Conservatoire in 1856, winning the premier prix in violin and solfège the following year and a prize for harmony in 1859. He then began the concert tours which made his name famous in every country of Europe as well as in North and South America (1867–71 and 1889–90). His first appearance in London in 1861 failed to attract much attention, but he returned in 1874, playing at a Philharmonic Society concert and at the Musical Union; other visits followed in 1877 (Crystal Palace) and 1878 (Philharmonic) and frequently afterwards. In 1885 and 1886 he performed at orchestral concerts conducted by Cusins, and at the Birmingham Festival of 1885 he played the concerto written for him by Alexander Mackenzie. Sarasate attracted the admiration and friendship of many other famous composers who dedicated their works to him, including Bruch (Violin Concerto no.2 and Scottish Fantasy), Saint-Saëns (Concertos nos.1 and 3; Introduction et Rondo capriccioso), Lalo (Concerto in F minor and Symphonie espagnole), Joachim (Variations for violin and orchestra), Wieniawski (Concerto no.2) and Dvořák (Mazurek op.49). Sarasate incorporated all these works into his repertory and played them superbly. His success in the German-speaking countries, which began with his début in Vienna in 1876, was all the more remarkable since his style differed so radically from that of Joachim, Germany’s undisputed master violinist. Occasionally, Sarasate’s interpretation of the Beethoven concerto was compared unflatteringly with Joachim’s (as in Berlin in the 1880s), which angered him greatly. In spite of his virtuoso inclinations, he was also a keen string quartet player, both privately and in public chamber music performances. He particularly enjoyed playing Brahms’s string quartets but declined to perform his Violin Concerto.
Sarasate was the ideal embodiment of the salon virtuoso. His nine recordings (1904; available complete on Pearl Opal CD 9851) confirm critical opinion of his playing, which was distinguished by sweetness and purity of tone, produced with a ‘frictionless’ bowstroke and coloured by a shallow, fast vibrato, less sparingly employed than was customary at that time. At his best in his own compositions, his tone had little power or dynamic shading. His technique was assured, his intonation was precise, especially in high positions, his use of portamento was varied and frequent, and his whole manner of playing was so effortless as to appear casual. In his Memoirs, Carl Flesch characterized Sarasate’s playing by ‘aesthetic moderation, euphony, and technical perfection … he represented a completely new type of violinist’, though he might be criticized for a certain lack of musical insight and emotional involvement, particularly in the more classical violin repertory. Sarasate also achieved some fame as a composer of virtuoso violin music. Best known among his 54 opus numbers are the Zigeunerweisen op.20, still an indispensable item in the virtuoso repertory, and the four books of Spanische Tänze (opp.21, 22, 23, 26) which make use of folktunes in elegant arrangements. His fantasy on Carmen op.25 is ingenious and technically difficult, but his limits as an original composer are shown in such superficial pieces as the Introduction et tarantelle op.43. Sarasate bequeathed his two Stradivari violins to museums: his favourite (dated 1724) to the Paris Conservatoire and the other, the so-called ‘Boissier’ (1713), to the Madrid Conservatory.
Musici di Parma, I (String Orchestra), founded in the spring of 2002, the Chamber Orchestra I MUSICI DI PARMA, brings together musicians who collaborate with the most important orchestral institutions both in Italy and abroad. Created with the intent of exploring a musical world directed at rediscovering unpublished musical scores and popularizing the work of important musicians, I Musici di Parma perform, with symphonic or chamber formations , a wide repertoire ranging from baroque to classicism to the most beautiful pages of 20th-century music. Particular attention is devoted to the Italian melodrama and the most beautiful arias and romances of the international lyric opera. The Musici of Parma have accompanied concerts and recitals to internationally renowned musicians and singers such as Christoph Hartmann, Andrea Oliva, Enrico Bronzi, Giovanni Gnocchi, Simonide Braconi, Klaidi Sahatçi, Matthias Racz, Stefano Pagliani, Francesco Manara, Francesco De Angelis, Yulia Berinskaya, Andrea Lucchi, Fabrizio Bosso, Emanuele Arciuli , Federico Mondelci, Mario Marzi, Renato Bruson, Daria Masiero, Katia Pellegrino, Katia Ricciarelli, Chiara Taigi, Carlo Colombara, Francesco Meli, Carmelo Caruso and Federico Canonici. Thanks to the originality of their programs and the musical and artistic quality of their performances, the Orchestra has established itself in the Italian musical world, receiving the unanimous census from critics and public alike. The Musici of Parma have performed in important theaters, concert halls, festivals, in Italy and abroad. Among them the “Galuppi Festival” in Venice, the “G. Cantelli “of Novara, the “Amfiteatrof Festival” of Levanto, the KKL of Lucerne, the Martinskirche in Basel, the Arcimboldi Theater in Milan, where they performed with singer Lu Wei, directed by M ° Lu Jia, on the occasion of 40 Anniversary of relations between Italy and China; a concert broadcast in more than 50 countries around the world. I Musici di Parma are the holders of the same Academy of Fine Music and organize in Salsomaggiore Terme (PR), the city where they reside at the prestigious Palazzo Berzieri, the “Salso Summer Class & Festival”, and the festival “Musica alle Terme”. Of particular resonance, the cd featured by Enrico Bronzi, entirely dedicated to Nino Rota, has been reported in numerous magazines and periodicals in the sector (five stars of criticism on Amadeus and Classic Voice).
Stefano Ligoratti (Pianist). He studied at the “G. Verdi” Conservatory of Milan. His Academic course was characterized by a certain musical versatility that led him to obtain many degrees. He graduated in Piano, Organ, Harpsichord, Orchestral Conducting and Composition. He won several prizes in national and international competitions, including the prestigious European Piano Competition "Mario Fiorentini" of La Spezia (Italy, January 2010), where he won the first prize, the audience award and the prize for the youngest pianist. He is Artistic Director of the music network "ClassicaViva", and he performs with the homonymous orchestra, which he founded in 2005, often in the dual role of pianist and Conductor. Recently he is involved in musical dissemination, strongly believing that the historical period in which we live needs a wide operation of musical literacy. In this regard, in January 2019, together with the pianist and musicologist Luca Ciammarughi, he began a season of eight Concert Lessons (still in progress) at the Palazzina Liberty in Milan, under the name of "Non capisco! ... Son profano!”, Offering the public a historical and analytical verbal explanation of the various musical forms. As a pianist, he recorded CD’s for the labels: "ClassicaViva" ("Variations ... and beyond", published in 2007; "Fantasies", published in 2009; in duo with the Russian violinist Yulia Berinskaya: "Violin in Blue" published in 2010 and "Violin in White" published in 2012); "Limen" ("Sturm und Drang" published in 2018); “Da Vinci” (“F. Schubert: Works for Piano 4 hands” in duo with Luca Ciammarughi published in 2017), (“The voice of Violin” in the role of Conductor of “I musici di Parma Orchestra” and Yulia Berinskaya as a Violin Soloist), (Beethoven: Complete Works for Cello and Piano” Published in 2019 in duo with Matilda Colliard as Cellist). Also, he is finalizing the recording of complete works for Cello and Piano by G. Goltermann (for “Brilliant Classics” label) with the cellist Cosimo Carovani.