Anna Prohaska asked Wolfgang Katschner and the Lautten Compagney at the outset of the coronavirus crisis whether they shouldn’t spontaneously organize a musical get-together in this period. This has now resulted in #ERLÖSUNG/REDEMPTION, a sequence of music selected solely from Bach cantatas, compiled in keeping with the aforenamed conceptual association. We see the motto ERLÖSUNG/REDEMPTION as having multiple meanings, for instance: can music give us consolation in times of sickness and crisis; can it open up emotional and contemplative spaces for us; is it redemptive for us as musicians to be the “Instruments” in engendering music and therefore spirituality… ? Besides Anna as soloist and three other singers, we cast a larger group of musicians – around twenty instrumentalists – which stands for the lautten compagney and communes in accompanying the arias Anna sings, hence also initiating a statement or a kind of living sign of a collective such as the ensemble normally represents.
The gestation of this project lasted two years. Anna Prohaska and Julius Drake finally concentrated their research on the themes of Eve, Paradise and banishment. Some songs were obvious choices, such as Fauré’s Paradis, in which God appears to Eve and asks her to name each flower and animal, or Purcell’s Sleep, Adam, sleep with its references to Genesis. But Anna Prohaska also wished to illustrate the cliché of the woman who brought original sin into the world and her status as a tempter who leads man astray, as in Brahms’s Salamander, Wolf’s Die Bekehrte or Ravel’s Air du Feu. In Das Paradies und die Peri, Schumann conjures up the image of Syria’s rose-covered plains. Bernstein also transports us to the desert with Silhouette. John Milton’s seventeenth-century masterpiece Paradise Lost was the inspiration for Charles Ives and Benjamin Britten, also featured in this very rich programme that constitutes an invitation to travel and reflection.
Five years after first conducting the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra in their Venezuelan home, Claudio Abbado continues his commitment to this stunning ensemble in this first joint audiovisual concert recording. Prokofiev's extrovert Scythian Suite is a gift for the boundless energy of these young players, while the intricacy and anguish of Berg's Lulu-Suite are an Abbado speciality, with soprano Anna Prohaska, in her Lucerne Festival debut, singing the heroine's dazzling statement of self-justification. The concert ends with an impassioned account of Tchaikovsky's Pathétique, his final symphony, one of the most moving works in music history.
An all-star cast featuring Deutsche Grammophon artist Anna Netrebko, Bryn Terfel and Anna Prohaska, delivers a sensational new recording of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, conducted by Daniel Barenboim at the start of his inaugural season as Music Director of La Scala. Recorded live at the opening of the 2011-12 La Scala season, Don Giovanni is now set to be released in time for Bryn Terfel’s 50th birthday on 9 November 2015. It also ties in with the traditional opening of the new season at La Scala – 7 December, the feast-day of St Ambrose, patron saint of Milan.
Richard Wagner, the most controversial figure the arts have ever seen, whose music can move and overwhelm like no other, continues to divide the spirits even today. The year 2013, when we celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth, is inevitably going to be devoted to the man and his work.
The Complete Wagner Operas offers the best of Deutsche Grammophon, two operas each from Decca and the BBC and EMIs Rienzi.