Archive for Violin

Violinist Roman Mints Releases a New Exploration of Hindemith’s Works for Violin & Piano

Possessing a passion for the avant-garde and an extraordinary creative energy, Roman Mints is considered one of the most original musicians of his generation. The acclaimed Russian violinist is joined by Van Cliburn International Piano Competition winner Alexander Kobrin for a new recording of Hindemith’s Complete Works for Violin and Piano, available from Quartz Music on April 5, 2019.

A longtime champion of of contemporary composers, Roman Mints’s deep appreciation for the works of Paul Hindemith began when he was a young violinist, studying in Moscow in the 1980s: “This music, written not just before I was born but closer to the time of my grandparents’ birth, felt completely contemporary, and daringly advanced in its sound … From the time I put Sonata in D on the stand, I was gripped by the first subject, constructed from seconds and sevenths, marked to be played with stony defiance. I was never the same again and Hindemith became my window into contemporary music.”

First and foremost a violinist and a violist himself, Hindemith’s four violin sonatas span the composer’s lifetime, offering an overview of his stylistic influences, from the German Late Romantics to polytonality and atonality, to his own eclectic, personal style intergrating Baroque and Classical elements. Also included in this survey are the the Kleine Sonata for viola d’amore and piano and Trauermusik, written in just one day in honor of the death of King George. Reflecting upon this new recording with Alexander Korbin, Mints said, “We had drawn the portrait of a man whose wildness hid a tender side, whose severity concealed humour, and behind whose crustiness there lay a capacity for ecstasy. I began to understand how he had resonated with me as a 13-year-old, and why he continues to hold a special place in my heart.”

Most recently for Quartz Music, Roman Mints released an album of music by the contemporary Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov, which received a 5-star review in BBC Music Magazine and Audiophile Audition called “some of the most interesting music you’ve never heard of.” Also for Quartz Music, Roman Mints released an album of works for violin and piano by Alfred Schnittke, which the San Francisco Chronicle called “a thrilling reminder of the eloquence this composer … superb performances from Mints and [Katya] Apekisheva.” The New York Times called his previous release, Dance of Shadows, an innovative program of music by Ysaÿe, Piazzolla, and Schnittke, as well as a premiere by Dobrinka Tabakova “fascinating and technically brilliant,” while Strings Magazine called the recital “a thing of haunting beauty and magic.”

ROMAN MINTS was born in Moscow and began playing the violin at the age of five. In 1994, Mints won a Foundation Scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London and also studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, winning prizes at each, alongside contemporaries Dobrinka Tabakova, Elena Langer, Maxim Rysanov, and Kristina Blaumane. Along with championing the work of Leonid Desyatnikov, Mints has given the Russian premieres of works by Golijov, Tavener, MacMillan, Mozetich and world premieres of over fifty works including compositions from Tabakova, Bennett, Langer, Finnissy, Irvine and others. He has worked alongside conductors Andrew Davis, Saulius Sondeckis, Vladimir Ziva, Vladimir Ponkin, and Philipp Chizhevsky, amongst others. Mints has performed with such prominent groups as London Mozart Players, London Chamber Orchestra, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Musica Viva Orchestra, Russian Philharmonia, Kremerata Baltica, Prague Soloists and Prague Sinfonia. In 1998, alongside oboist Dmitry Bulgakov, he founded the Homecoming Chamber Music Festival which takes place annually in Moscow. Mints’s previous recordings also include the Grammy-nominated String Paths for ECM, and releases for the Black Box and Harmonia Mundi labels.  Roman Mints plays a Francesco Ruggieri violin, circa 1685.

Pianist ALEXANDER KOBRIN’s prize-winning performances have been praised for their brilliant technique, musicality and emotional engagement with the audience. In 2005, Alexander Kobrin was awarded the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medal at the Twelfth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth. His numerous successes in competitions also include top prizes at the Busoni, Hamamatsu, and Scottish International Piano Competitions. Kobrin has performed with many of the world’s great orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic, Russian National Orchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Verdi, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, among many others, with conductors including Mikhail Pletnev, Mikhail Jurovsky, James Conlon, Vassiliy Petrenko and Yuri Bashmet. His piano recitals have been heard in major halls worldwide, including Avery Fisher Hall in New York, the Kennedy Centre in Washington, the Albert Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, Louvre Auditorium, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, Sala Verdi in Milan, and annual concert tours in Japan, China and Taiwan. His recordings can be heard on the Harmonia Mundi, Quartz, and Centaur labels.

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World Premiere Recording of Desyatnikov’s Sketches to Sunset Featuring Acclaimed Violinist Roman Mints

Quartz Music presents a new album featuring the mesmerizing and deeply beautiful music of Leonid Desyatnikov, one of today’s most treasured and frequently-performed living Russian composers, and including the world premiere recording of the 1992 work Sketches to Sunset, and the Russian Seasons. Supervised by the composer, the new recording features renowned violinist Roman Mints with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Philipp Chizhevsky. This new release follows Roman Mints’s recent albums for Quartz – Dance of Shadows and a double-album of works by Alfred Schnittke – which have been widely critically-acclaimed.

Roman Mints, a long time champion of the work of the composer, comments, “Leonid Desyatnikov creates a unique world in which you can find a place for both your heart and your mind. His sparkling intellect lets him set off in a single stroke an explosion of associations and ideas.” Both works on the new recording are being staged by choreographer Alexei Ratmansky at New York City Ballet this spring.

This is the first-ever symphonic recording of Desyatnikov’s Sketches to Sunset, also featuring pianist Alexey Goribol. Based on Desyatnikov’s music for Alexander Zeldovich’s film Sunset, after Isaac Babel, the story is based in pre-revolution Odessa and is full of Biblical references, including movements with titles such as “The Death of Absalom” and “Lot’s Daughter,” as well as “Take Five and Seven,” and “Jewish Lambada.” “It was my first encounter with Desyatnikov’s amazing manner of being serious and wicked at the same time,” says Mints, “Laughing through tears, irony, and self-irony.”

The Russian Seasons contains twelve movements, all based on Russian folk tunes and texts, with five of them featuring vocals by Yana Ivanilova. Here, Desyatnikov shows off his entire musical palette, from Du Fay to Piazzolla. While the instrumental movements feature moments of joy and merriment, utter hopelessness dominates the vocal movements, in which the composer addresses listeners directly in words. “Swaying Song” talks about an unloved old husband; “Whit Monday Song,” about a lover who did not return from a war; “Fasting Song,” about a soul that has not been admitted to heaven; and “Wedding Song,” about a maiden who does not have too long to cry and, consequently, live. “While working on Desyatnikov’s music,” says Mints, “I often wonder why there are so many sunsets, so much fading and hopelessness, which are more apparent to Russian listeners than western listeners. I think I have found the answer. We live in a country where it is always the same time of year, and it is always sunset. But the glow from the sunset sparkles beautifully against the clouds.”

A major figure in post-World War II Russian music, LEONID DESYATNKIOV was born in 1955 in Kharkiv, Ukraine. He has written four operas and numerous vocal and instrumental compositions. His principal works include an opera The Children of Rosenthal; ballets Lost Illusions and Opera; a chamber opera Poor Liza; Gift, a cantata; Liebe und Leben des Dichters, a vocal cycle; The Leaden Echo for voice(s) and instruments on the poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins and The Rite of Winter 1949, a symphony for choir, soloists and orchestra. His works have been commissioned by the Bolshoi Theatre and La Scala. He has collaborated with Gidon Kremer to write Wie der Alte Leiermann; the chamber version of Sketches to Sunset; as well as arranging the works of Astor Piazzolla, including the tango-operita María de Buenos Aires and the tango suite Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas. An award-winning composer for film and amongst his scores are those for Sunset, Lost in Siberia, Moscow Nights, Hammer and Sickle, Giselle’s Mania, His Wife’s Diary, The Prisoner of the Mountains, Moscow and Target.

Last spring, also on Quartz Music, Roman Mints released an album of works for violin and piano by Alfred Schnittke which the San Francisco Chronicle called “a thrilling reminder of the eloquence this composer could wring from even the most aggressively dissonant material … and all elicit superb performances from Mints and [Katya] Apekisheva.” The New York Times called his previous release, Dance of Shadows, an innovative program of music by Ysaÿe, Piazzolla, and Schnittke, as well as a premiere by Dobrinka Tabakova “fascinating and technically brilliant,” while Strings Magazine called the recital “a thing of haunting beauty and magic.”

ROMAN MINTS was born in Moscow and began playing the violin at the age of five. In 1994, Roman won a Foundation Scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London and also studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, winning prizes at each, alongside contemporaries Dobrinka Tabakova, Elena Langer, Maxim Rysanov, and Kristina Blaumane. Along with championing the work of Leonid Desyatnikov, Mints has given the Russian premieres of works by Tavener, MacMillan, Mozetich and world premieres of over fifty works including compositions from Tabakova, Bennett, Langer, Finnissy, Irvine and others. In 1998, Roman and oboist Dmitry Bulgakov founded the Homecoming Chamber Music Festival which takes place annually in Moscow. Mints’s previous recordings also include the Grammy-nominated String Paths for ECM, and releases for the Black Box and Harmonia Mundi labels.

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