The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra breaks new ground with its latest album, The Romantics Grieg | Mendelssohn | Paganini, which ventures into exploring the music of three of the Romantic era’s greatest composers on period instruments. Directed by Japanese-American violin star Shunske Sato and release by ABC Classics, the Brandenburg musicians under Artistic Director Paul Dyer AO, present the baroque-inspired dances of Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 3 in E minor, written as a precocious 12-year-old and a scintillating performance of Nicolo Paganini’s Violin Concerto No.4 with Sato as the soloist.
Paganini was the most famous violin virtuoso who ever lived. An incomparable showman, he was accused of being in league with the devil to explain his super-human feats on the violin. He premiered his fourth Violin Concerto at the age of 50, when he was plagued by a multitude of ailments including advanced sexually transmitted disease – even though the jaw-dropping pyrotechnics and the sheer tenderness of the slow movement required astonishing skill and musicianship to pull off.
The bravura playing of Shunske Sato combined with the period instruments of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra create a vivid and colourful soundworld. Grieg’s well-loved Holberg Suite is cast in a fresh light; and Paganini’s Violin Concerto will be welcome as a rare recording on the instruments that the composer would have known.
This album was recorded live in Sydney’s City Recital Hall in September 2016, in concerts that received unanimous critical acclaim. The Daily Telegraph reported that ‘Sato carried the whole three movements off with amazing elan, power and accuracy, often with a dash of humour, prompting a standing ovation’, whilst The Australian praised his ‘spectacular display of thrilling highwire musical acrobatics’.
Tracks: Edvard Grieg 1843–1907
From Holberg’s Time – Suite in the Olden Style
I. Prelude (Allegro vivace)
II. Sarabande (Andante)
III. Gavotte (Allegretto / Musette)
IV. Air (Andante religioso)
V. Rigaudon (Allegro con brio)
FELIX MENDELSSOHN 1809–1847
String Symphony No. 3 in E minor
I. Allegro di molto
NICCOLÒ PAGANINI 1782–1840
Violin Concerto No. 4 in D minor
I. Allegro maestoso
II. Adagio flebile con sentimento
III. Rondo galante (Andantino gaio)
Album available 3 February 2017
1CD | Digital Album | ABC 481 4952