A live recording with the Berne Symphony Orchestra accompanying pianist Miguel Angel Estrella under conductor Dmitrij Kitanjenko. This beneficiary concert performance comprised Mozart's Piano Concerto K. 466 and Brahms 4th Symphony.
With this programme we would like to introduce listeners and audiences to "Musique Espérance", the international organisation founded by pianist Miguel Angel Estrella together with other musicians, music supporters and friends. Musique Espérance was founded to serve the cause of human rights, respect and solidarity through cultural dialogue and communication.
This production by the way showcases one of Switzerland's leading orchestras, the Berne Symphony Orchestra, under the historical direction of its spirited principal conductor Dmitrij Kitajenko. Miguel Angel Estrella, the founder of Musique Espérance, is the soloist in this live recording of a concert featuring works by Mozart and Brahms.
Miguel Angel Estrella
Born in Argentina, Miguel Angel Estrella studied in Buenos Aires with Celia de Bronstein and Erwin Leuchter. Studies in Paris, london and brussels followed. Especially important and inspiring were his studies with Nadia Boulanger from 1969-72. From 1966 on Miguel Angel Estrella started to combine his concert tours with work serving the cause of human rights. This included teaching people in backward rural areas, working-class neighbourhoods, hospitals, prisons etc. But this engagement increasingly irritated South America's military dictators. In 1977 Estrella was kidnapped by paramilitary commands in Uruguay, detained in a clandestine prison and subjected to torture.
In 1980 an international campaign succeeded in liberating him from the clutches of the state terrorism which prevailed in the south of the continent at that time. Nadia Boulanger, Henri Dutilleux, Yehudi Menuhin, Pierre Boulez, Olivier Messiaen, Luciano Berio a.o., had launched an international movement, unique in the world of music.
On December 10, 1982, out of gratitude towards his colleagues and as atribute to music, Miguel Angel Estrella, created Musique Espérance, as an international NGO of solidarity. Besides Miguel Angel Estrella is considered one of the most outstanding pianists of our times.
Berne Symphony Orchestra (BSO)
The Bernese Symphony Orchestra (BSO) was founded in 1877. Since then it has been led by a number of noteworthy musicians, including Fritz Brun (from 1909-1941), Luc Balmer and Charles Dutoit. Paul Kletzki's conductorship (1964-1968)marked a period of extraordinary development for the orchestra. In retrospect, Kitajenkos leadership led to comparable results. thereby the Berne Symphony Orchestra has developed a unique sound marked by remarkable registerwise balance and extended dynamic range. The BSO and Dmitrij Kitajenko earned overhelming praise and were considered to be among Switzerland's most prestigious symphony orchestras.
Born in St. Petersburg in 1940, Dmitrij Kitajenko studied at the Glinka School of Music and the conervatories of St. Peterburg and Moscow. Kitajenko first earned international acclaim as a prizewinner at the first Herbert von Karajan Competition in Berlin. During 14 years he was the principal conductor of the Moscow Philharmonic (1976-1990). Another following 14 years saw him as principal conductor of the Berne Symphony Orchestra (1990-2004). His work during this period enriched Bernese musical life enormously. Dmitrij Kitajenko is considered as leading interpreter of Russian music. His interpretations of late Romantic composers was noteworthy, too. His imagination and committment are also evident regarding rare or neglected works, as is the case with this edition of Swiss composers.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) - Piano Concerto in D minor, K. 466
Mozart composed his 23 piano concertos between 1773 and 1791. He wrote the majority of these concerts for his own use in Vienna, where he had moved in 1781. There he started to appeared as soloist and organiser of his own concerts. The first of six "Friday Concerts" in the Casino "Zur Mehlgrube" took place on February 11, 1785. This was where "Mozart's most brillant concerto" in D minor was first performed. The piano concerto in D minor (except for the concert in C minor, K 491), is the only concerto that he wrote in a minor key. Mozart reserved the aura of D minor for only a few of his works such as the "Don Giovanni" or the Requiem.
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) - Symphony no. 4 in E minor. op. 98
Brahms' essays with symphonic forms, with orchestral compositions in general, were a lifelong struggle. This was evident in the long birth pangs of the first piano concerto as well as in the late composition of his four symphonies. Along with the third symphony Brahms completed his 4th in the year of 1885. Brahms composed his fourth symphony during the summers of 1884 and 1885. Doubts about this composition plagued the composer during the work. To Elisabeth von Herzogenberg he wrote: "May I send you a part of piece that I am composing?...If this thing shouldn't suit your taste, then don't be polite. I have no desire to write a bad fourth symphony". And to Hans von Bülow he announced: "I am enclosing some interludes, something that you could call a symphony...".
But in contrast to initial doubts that Brahms and his friends had about the work, the fourth symphony was a complete success under Brahms' direction on October 25, 1885.
Musique Espérance. Miguel Angel Estrella. Berne Symphony Orchestra. Dmitrij Kitajenko (1994). Musica Helvetica MH CD 83.2. Produced by Patrick Linder.