This fourth release in RCO Live s ongoing Horizon series continues the label s survey of new music and key composers from the live concerts given by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The two disc set features music by Mahler, Shchedrin and Berio coupled with works by Geert van Keulen, Detlev Glanert, Willem Jeths, Joey Roukens and Matthew Hindson. Conductors include Lothar Zagrosek, Markus Stenz, Ed Spanjaard, Susanna Mälkki and David Robertson.
CD 1 represents a tribute to Gustav Mahler, the orchestra having devoted itself to a large-scale project commemorating the composer’s 150th birthday and the 100th anniversary of his death during its 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. In addition to a chronological series of performances of all the great symphonies – effectively constituting the third Mahler Festival held in Amsterdam following those of 1925 and 1995 –, the orchestra programmed a series of concerts featuring works exhibiting a strong connection to Mahler’s compositions. Four world premieres of works composed for this series have been brought together on CD 1, the fifth being the opening title on CD 2.
The three other recordings on CD 2 feature members of the orchestra play high-profile roles as solo or ensemble players, thereby symbolising a homage to the virtuosity and the musical intelligence and flexibility of the 120 individual musicians making up the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Oboist Alexei Ogrintchouk and trombonist Jörgen van Rijen are heard hear in the world premieres of two works written for their instruments by Rodion Shchedrin and Luciano Berio respectively.
Assistant principal violinist Marijn Mijnders and Monica Naselow, a member of the second violin section, team up in an explosive performance of Hindson’s Chrissietina’s Magic Fantasy for two violins, the discovery of the chamber music marathon with which the Society of Friends of the Concertgebouw and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary in 2009.