The diverse programming on the Music@Menlo LIVE 2016 box set features some of classical music's most compelling and beautiful works of self-reflection, including Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence and Rachmaninov's first Trio elegaique, alongside masterpieces that changed the shape and direction of classical music, such as Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. The bold, audacious new language of Scriabin and Cui provides an ideal contrast to elegant quartets by Mendelssohn and Mozart, and the in turns powerful and delicate nationalist Central European melodies of Dvorak and Janacek. Also included are outstanding performances of vocal works such as Mussorgsky's chilling Songs and Dances of Death, and Shostakovich's Spanish Songs, and familiar favorites from the Russian chamber music canon, including Tchaikovsky's luminous Serenade in C Major.
The title of the 2016 festival and recordings also refers to the parallels between Russian musical works and their Western European counterparts. By juxtaposing Russian masterworks with those of the West, as with the pairing of quintets by Sergei Taneyev and Johannes Brahms on Disc 6, we discover that the very elements that distinguish Russian music—passion, romance, elegance, and more—are universally resonant themes. Through each disc of Music@Menlo LIVE’s 2016 edition, these and other perspectives cast Russia’s musical identity in sharp relief, while also revealing an essential character that transcends any cultural divide.
Produced by Grammy Award-winning engineer Da-Hong Seetoo, the recordings showcase performances from the 2016 summer festival by a roster of the world’s finest chamber musicians. Featured performers include festival founding Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han; the Calidore String Quartet; pianists Alessio Bax, Michael Brown, Gloria Chien, Lucille Chung, Alon Goldstein, Hyeyeon Park and Wu Qian; violinists Ivan Chan, Nicolas Dautricourt, Paul Huang, Katie Hyun, Ani Kavafian, Jessica Lee, Sean Lee, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Arnaud Sussmann and Kyoko Takezawa; violists Matthew Lipman and Paul Neubauer; cellists Dmitri Atapine, Nicholas Canellakis, Clive Greensmith, Keith Robinson and Paul Watkins; double bassist Scott Pingel, flutist Tara Helen O'Connor, baritone Nikolay Borchev and soprano Dina Kuznetsova.
About Music@Menlo LIVE
Critics have hailed Music@Menlo LIVE, the festival’s exclusive recording label, as “the most ambitious recording project of any classical music festival in the world” (San Jose Mercury News) and “without question the best CDs I have ever heard” (Positive Feedback Online). Produced by Grammy Award-winning engineer Da-Hong Seetoo using state-of-the-art recording technology, Music@Menlo LIVE releases feature select concert recordings representing Music@Menlo’s signature thematic programming. Its CDs from all Music@Menlo festivals are available for purchase online at www.musicatmenlo.org, and downloads of MP3s are available on iTunes and www.amazon.com.
About the Recording Engineer
Six-time Grammy Award-winning recording producer Da-Hong Seetoo returned to Music@Menlo for the fourteenth consecutive season to record the festival concerts. A Curtis Institute– and Juilliard School trained violinist, Da-Hong Seetoo ranks among today’s elite audio engineers, using his own custom-designed microphones, monitor speakers, and computer software. His recording with the Emerson String Quartet for Deutsche Grammophon, Intimate Letters, garnered the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance.