I'm happy! On April 10, my new disk “Denis Matsuev. Shostakovich / Schnittke / Lutosławski” is released in digital format. And you can buy it as a real disc starting from 8th of May. This recording was made in Musikferrhein (Vienna) with the Vienna-Berlin Chamber Orchestra under the Deutsche Grammophon label, one of the most brilliant music labels with a solid history, an impressive list of performers and German recording quality.
This April our Russian-European tour with the Vienna-Berlin orchestra was supposed to take place with the program that we recorded on this CD. The Vienna-Berlin Chamber Orchestra is a unique and outstanding ensemble consisting of soloists (10 people each) from two legendary European orchestras – the Vienna Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic. The orchestra performs without a conductor and decides collectively which soloist they want to invite for their concert program. When you perform with them, there is a strong feeling that you are playing chamber music, despite the fact that there are 20 people in the group. We have been working together and have been friends with them for many years, so it was only natural that we decided to record a joint CD, which you can now listen to at the link at the end of this text.
We chose a program that included works by three titans of classical music of the twentieth century-Dmitry Shostakovich, Alfred Schnittke and Witold lutoslawsky.
Dmitry Shostakovich. Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra No. 1
This concert has been in my repertoire for almost twenty years. I recorded it before with famous orchestras, soloists and conductors, such as Yuri Temirkanov and Valery Gergiev. During this time I got acquainted with different concepts and approaches to performing of this concert. In this recording, we did not have a conductor and there was the unique Hungarian trumpeter Gabor Tarkovi, a soloist of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra.
Alfred Schnittke. Concerto for Piano and Strings
Now this Schnittke's Concerto, unfortunately, is not performed on the world concert stages as often as it deserves. I think this is one of the most outstanding works for piano and chamber orchestra, thanks to the original Schnittke energy, structure and style. At the time, it was very popular, in particular, performed by Vladimir Kraynev or Alexander Slobodyanik. And we would like to return it to its former popularity by recording this CD and starting to perform this concert in various famous concert halls all around the world and in Russia.
W. Lutoslawski. Variations on a theme of Paganini
Especially for our project Alexander Varenberg made an arrangement of this work for piano and chamber string orchestra with the addition of percussion. We met him when Alexander Rachmaninov, S. V. Rachmaninov’s grandson, was still alive. A. Varenberg became famous for his arrangement of Rachmaninov's Second Symphony, which can be called “a veiled Fifth Concerto for piano and orchestra”, at the request of Alexander Borisovich.
This combination of three geniuses of the twentieth century, in my opinion, is very natural and harmonious. The unusual ensemble of performers, I believe, will let you see new facets of familiar works and give food for the mind and heart. The twentieth century was full of hardship for the whole world, but, nevertheless, in classical music of this period, in tragedy and a sense of impending darkness there was always a piercing hope that everything would be fine. And now, I think, this message is more important than ever for all of us.
As soon as the restrictions on concert activities are lifted, we will definitely go on a tour of Europe and Russia (Moscow and Kazan) with this program. I know that many people were looking forward to this tour this spring. Don't worry, we will meet again.