Transfigured Night Alisa Weilerstein & Trondheim Soloists
- Franz Joseph Haydn /1732 - 1809): Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major, Hob. VIIb:2:
- 1Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major, Hob. VIIb:2: I. Allegro moderato13:38
- 2Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major, Hob. VIIb:2: II. Adagio04:50
- 3Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major, Hob. VIIb:2: III. Rondo. Allegro04:21
- 4Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Hob. VIIb:1: I. Moderato08:40
- 5Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Hob. VIIb:1: II. Adagio07:03
- 6Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Hob. VIIb:1: III. Finale. Allegro molto05:47
- Arnold Schoenberg (1874 - 1951): Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4 (Version for String Orchestra):
- 7Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4 (Version for String Orchestra): I. Grave06:27
- 8Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4 (Version for String Orchestra): II. Molto rallentando05:56
- 9Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4 (Version for String Orchestra): III. A tempo02:21
- 10Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4 (Version for String Orchestra): IV. Adagio09:21
- 11Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4 (Version for String Orchestra): V. Adagio, molto tranquillo04:22
Info for Transfigured Night
Transfigured Night brings together two outstanding composers associated with Vienna: Joseph Haydn and Arnold Schoenberg. The former is often seen as the oldest representative of the “First Viennese School”, whereas the latter founded the “Second Viennese School”, using the classicism of his predecessors to explore new, atonal musical paths into the twentieth century. By combining Haydn’s two cello concertos (in C-major and D-major) and Schoenberg’s symphonic poem Verklärte Nacht – in the 1943 edition for string orchestra – this album sheds a new, fascinating light on both Viennese masters.
The connection between the stylistically contrasting pieces on this album is further enhanced by the inspired playing of American cellist Alisa Weilerstein and the Trondheim Soloists. For Weilerstein, this album is not only a fascinating exploration of the rich Viennese musical heritage, but just as much a confrontation with the dark history of a city her grandparents had to flee in 1938. Transfigured Night is Weilerstein’s first album as an exclusive PENTATONE artist, as well as the first album recorded with the Trondheim Soloists since her appointment as Artistic Partner of the ensemble in 2017.
As the cellist says of the new album:
“Schoenberg fled Vienna in 1934, four years before my grandparents escaped. So, as a young artist, nowhere in my imagination was the possibility of duality and contradiction made more manifest than in the history of that city. A culture that gave birth to some of the greatest achievements in the art form that I had chosen to pursue could, in the same breath, harbor sentiments and sanction behavior antithetical to music’s transcendent promise.
“It might be fitting then, in the spirit of grappling with these odd realities, that this album was conceived in the most “un-Viennese” location: the sweeping white landscapes and rugged fjords of northern Norway. In late April, patches of frozen snow surrounded an 11th-century church where I spent twenty-one hours rehearsing and recording these three pieces with the Trondheim Soloists. Although all three had long occupied the back of my mind as potential recording projects, it wasn’t until last September, when I first had the opportunity to collaborate with these artists, that I knew I had found the ideal partners for an album of this scope and intensity.
“I always considered the chamber music setting as my native environment, and the small orchestra intimacy of the Haydn concerti along with the dynamic range of the Schoenberg allowed the session to feel both big and small. This, coupled with the personal relationship I developed with my artistic partners, made for a uniquely intimate experience. I believe this comes through in the performances that I am thrilled to be sharing on this recording.”
Since the ensemble was founded 30 years ago, the Trondheim Soloists have become one of Norway’s leading chamber orchestras, winning international renown with a sound so distinctive in its Nordic clarity and openness that Classic FM has dubbed it “the Trondheim sound.” Featured on more than 50 albums, the string ensemble has been recognized with ten Grammy nominations and three Norwegian Spellemann Prizes, while its best-selling title – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with Anne-Sophie Mutter – has sold around 700,000 copies to date. The ensemble has been led by Artistic Director and concertmaster Geir Inge Lotsberg since August of 2017. After launching their partnership with the Pentatone recording, Weilerstein and the ensemble look forward to a Scandinavian tour in early September, with tours of Europe and the U.S. planned for seasons to come.
Weilerstein’s previous recordings include the Elgar and Elliott Carter concertos with Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin, named “Recording of the Year 2013” by BBC Music magazine; Dvořák’s concerto with the Czech Philharmonic, which topped the U.S. classical chart; Solo, a compilation of unaccompanied 20th-century music that, as France’s ResMusica recognizes, is an “uncompromising and pertinent portrait of the cello repertoire of our time”; and both Shostakovich cello concertos with Pablo Heras-Casado and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “powerful and even mesmerizing.”
Alisa Weilerstein, cello
Geir Inge Lotsberg, concertmaster
American cellist Alisa Weilerstein has attracted widespread attention worldwide for her combination of natural virtuosic command and technical precision with impassioned musicianship. The intensity of her playing has regularly been lauded, as has the spontaneity and sensitivity of her interpretations. Following her Zankel Hall recital debut, New York Magazine wrote: “Whatever she plays sounds custom-composed for her, as if she has a natural affinity with everything.”
Weilerstein was born in 1982 into a distinguished musical family (her father Donald was first violin in the Cleveland Quartet; her mother is the noted pianist Vivian Weilerstein). She made her professional debut with the Cleveland Orchestra when she was 13 and her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Youth Orchestra in March 1997. In 2000 she received an Avery Fisher Career Grant and in 2000-01 she was selected for two prestigious young artists programmes: the ECHO (European Concert Hall Organization) “Rising Stars” recital series and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two. In May 2004, she graduated from Columbia University in New York with a degree in Russian History. She was named the winner of the 2006 Leonard Bernstein Award, and in 2008 she was awarded Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal prize for exceptional achievement. A graduate of the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Richard Weiss, she was appointed artist-in-residence at the institute beginning August 2009.
In November 2009, Alisa Weilerstein was one of four artists selected to participate in a White House classical music event that included student workshops hosted by the First Lady, Michelle Obama, and playing for guests including President Obama and the First Family. In December 2009 she was the soloist on a tour of Venezuela with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel.
Another milestone in her career came in spring 2010: Weilerstein made her Berlin Philharmonic debut playing the Elgar Concerto with conductor Daniel Barenboim; the concert was repeated in Oxford, televised live around the world and later issued on DVD. The Guardian reviewer of the Oxford concert wrote: “Alisa Weilerstein gave the most technically complete and emotionally devastating performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto that I have ever heard live.” In August of that year, Weilerstein made her BBC Proms debut with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä playing Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1, a work she performed in spring 2011 with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic under Yuri Temirkanov on a US tour.
Alisa Weilerstein signed an exclusive contract with Decca Classics in 2011. Her first recording under the agreement, a coupling of the concertos by Elgar and Elliott Carter, with Barenboim conducting the Berlin Staatskapelle, was released in January 2013. The New York Times acclaimed “the soloist’s superb control keenly matched by the conductor’s insightful support”. In April 2014 (US pre-release in January) Decca will issue her new recording of the Dvořák Cello Concerto, with Jiří Bělohlávek conducting the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and October will bring the release of her first solo album.
Alisa Weilerstein has already appeared with all of the other major orchestras throughout North America and Europe, with conductors including Marin Alsop, Pablo Heras-Casado, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Manfred Honeck, Marek Janowski, Paavo Järvi, Jeffrey Kahane, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Ludovic Morlot, Tadaaki Otaka, Peter Oundjian, Matthias Pintscher, Yuri Temirkanov, Juraj Valcuha, Simone Young and David Zinman. She also appears at major music festivals throughout the world as a soloist, recitalist and chamber player, including as part of a core group of musicians at the Spoleto Festival USA and performing with her parents, Donald and Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, as the Weilerstein Trio.
Committed to expanding the cello repertoire, Ms. Weilerstein is a fervent champion of new music. She has performed Osvaldo Golijov’s Azul for cello and orchestra around the world. She also frequently performs Golijov’s Omaramor for solo cello. In 2008 she gave the world premiere of Lera Auerbach’s 24 Preludes for cello and piano with the composer at the Caramoor Festival.
Highlights of Alisa Weilerstein’s 2012-13 season included North American and European tours with pianist Inon Barnatan and her debut with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields for a 16-city United States tour. She gave concerts in Berlin performing the Elliott Carter Cello Concerto with Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Staatskapelle, appeared with Gianandrea Noseda and the Philadelphia Orchestra, made her debut with conductor Lionel Bringuier and the Atlanta Symphony and performed at the Kennedy Center with Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra. Her festival appearances in summer 2013 included Ravinia, Vail, Aspen, Grand Teton, Bonn Beethovenfest, Tivoli and Aarhus.
In the 2013/14 season Ms. Weilerstein is artist-in-residence with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and has engagements with the Toronto, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas and Chicago symphonies and the New York, Los Angeles, Oslo and Israel philharmonic orchestras. Further plans include performances with the Australian Chamber, Philharmonia, Hallé and Zurich Tonhalle orchestras, the Netherlands Philharmonic and the NHK Symphony Orchestra as well as recitals in Europe and North America.