Press Room

On Nov 13, Grammy Award-Winner Fabio Luisi Releases 3CD-Set on Philharmonia Zurich’s Own Label: Rachmaninov Concerto Cycle Featuring Lise de la Salle

It was under the auspices of Grammy and ECHO Klassik Award-winning Italian conductor Fabio Luisi, now in his fourth season as General Music Director of the Zurich Opera, that the Philharmonia Zurich launched its own recording label last January. Now November 13 brings the U.S. release of their next title, again under Luisi’s leadership: a complete Rachmaninov cycle comprising all four of the Russian composer’s piano concertos and his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Captured live in concert with French pianist Lise de la Salle during her recent two-season residency with the orchestra, the recording draws on the exceptionally close musical rapport Luisi shares with his soloist.

As the conductor explains:

“These four concertos and the ‘Paganini Variations’ have relevance in the history of 20th-century music. They show an important development of the piano concerto genre. And the fact that I had this young French pianist, with whom I love to make music, was perfect for me.”

De la Salle responds:

“The first time we played together was seven years ago, and since the very, very, very first time we rehearsed together, this connection was immediately here: it was that feeling where you don’t really need to talk, you just feel the music the same way.”

About her approach to these touchstone works by Rachmaninov, de la Salle observes:

“Everything is in the music already, so you don’t need to add so much.  If you really go for what he writes – for this beautiful simplicity, and flowing lines – this is very powerful music, but also very sensitive at the same time.”

Click here to hear more from Luisi and de la Salle in a video preview of the recording.

This sympathy between conductor and soloist is one to which critics are quick to respond. Last year Luisi and de la Salle impressed the UK’s Guardian as “powerful and convincing” together in their joint debut with the London Symphony Orchestra, and their Rachmaninov cycle at Philharmonia Zurich drew glowing praise. After a live performance, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung declared:

“This is beyond competition-style virtuosity. [Lise de la Salle] thoughtfully draws out the melodic lines of the densely landscaped score, making breakneck passages transparent and understandable, and setting the delicate texture of the composition free. What de la Salle demonstrates is not just mastery of the instrumental and technical requirements of the work, but its motivic inner workings and richly detailed musicality. Under Fabio Luisi’s direction, the Philharmonia Zurich rarely imposes itself, but rather, as a musical partner, actively internalizes the soloist’s design.”

Likewise, of the forthcoming recording, Aargauer Zeitung reports:

“Lise de la Salle is commanding in [Rachmaninov], playing all four concertos and the ‘Paganini Rhapsody’ with an extensive sound imbued with the most beautiful details. Between the orchestra and de la Salle a great understanding prevails, so they seem to communicate their message as one.”

Fabio Luisi and Lise de la Salle at the Philharmonia Zurich (photo: Monika Rittershaus)

Fabio Luisi and Lise de la Salle at the Philharmonia Zurich (photo: Monika Rittershaus)

Luisi’s leadership of the Philharmonia Zurich on their three initial releases has also won recognition in the media. Of their studio recording of Wagner’s Preludes and Interludes, WQXR observes:

“Luisi coaxes shapely playing from the Zurich strings in the Prelude to Tristan und Isolde and makes a compelling case for the obscure overtures to Das Liebesverbot and Die Feen.”

All Music Guide likewise praised their live recording of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique:

“[This is] a nuanced and rather subtle interpretation of the Romantic masterpiece, which is something of a rarity in a market full of spectacular versions with startling effects. Fabio Luisi leads the Philharmonia Zürich with an ear for fine details, carefully graded dynamics, and intensely expressive phrasing.”

And of Zurich Opera’s live Rigoletto DVD, Opera News’s Mark Mandel raved: “Luisi’s persuasive pacing and varied dynamics key the best-conducted Rigoletto I’ve heard since the Giulini recording.

New from Fabio Luisi and Philharmonia Zurich on Philharmonia Records

Rachmaninov Piano Concertos, with Lise de la Salle, piano

CD 1
Piano Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 1
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18

CD 2
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30

CD 3
Piano Concerto No.  4 in G minor, Op. 40
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for piano and orchestra, Op. 43

U.S. release date: November 13
Click here for more information.

Fabio Luisi: fall engagements

Nov 7 & 8
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysian Philharmonic
Mahler: Symphony No. 7

Nov 13 & 14
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysian Philharmonic
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 (with Beatrice Rana, piano)
Bruckner: Symphony No. 9

Nov 21 & 22
Naples, Italy
Teatro di San Carlo
Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro di San Carlo
Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C minor, “Resurrection” (with Julia Kleiter, soprano; Patricia Bardon, alto)

Nov 25
Milan, Italy
Sala “Verdi” of the Music Conservatory
Accademia Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Schönberg: Verklärte Nacht
Mahler: Symphony No. 4

Dec 3 & 4
Copenhagen, Denmark
Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Danish National Concert Choir
Handel, arr. Mozart: Messiah

#             #             #


© 21C Media Group, November 2015

Return to Press Room