Notes and Editorial Reviews
...Claudio Arrau, Friedrich Gulda, Malcolm Frager, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Martha Argerich, and Hélène Grimaud have all championed [the Burleske]. Weller clearly knows this music, but who is Plamena Mangova? The 28-year-old Bulgarian pianist seems to have already established a professional relationship with Weller, and specialized in the music of Shostakovich. It is therefore not surprising that she holds her own in the Burleske. The fiendishly difficult and sometimes percussive piano part at times seems to be a precursor to some of the piano music of Shostakovich. The National Orchestra of Belgium acquits itself nicely, and is probably near the level of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the time of Mehta’s Decca Ein
Heldenleben... These are solid performances of two major Strauss pieces from the beginning and end of his orchestral period...
-- Arthur Lintgen, FANFARE [7/2009]
A short chronology of the project 1945-49 : Walter Weller's father is a violinist at the Wiener Philharmoniker and a friend of Richard Strauss ; he teaches the violin to the composer's grandson and to his own son, Walter. The latter is warmly encouraged by the old Master who gives him a signed photograph. 1953 : Walter Weller turns 13 and plays occasional stand-inns at the Wiener Philharmoniker... 1957 : He wins a competition to become a titular violinist and, aged 20, is appointed Koncertmeister when he performs, accompanied at the piano by an overwhelmed Karajan, the daunting soli of Ein Heldenleben. 1960-1971 : During 12 years, Walter Weller regularly performs these solos in concert, often accompanied by Karl Böhm. 1972 : Walter Weller abandons the violin and bids farewell to the Vienna Philharmonic and its fabulous string quartet, a Decca catalogue favourite. He has fully succumbed to the baton's virus. 1972-2007 : He now launches on a brilliant conductors career, six years after a chance substitution for Böhm at the helm of the Vienna Philharmonic. Most of his recordings are made under the Decca label (some are absolute references), principally in the Anglo-Saxon orbit (Liverpool, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra), with numerous outings in the Scandinavian countries, Switzerland (Bâle opéra ) and Spain. 2006 : Walter Weller is appointed director of the Belgian National Orchestra. He decides to conduct a series of recordings with Fuga Libera. The label introduces him to the Bulgarian pianist Plamena Mangova whose secret dream it is to play...Richard Strauss' Burleske . Weller, who has often conducted the piece with Arrau and Gulda at the piano, warns the young virtuoso: It's very difficult, we'll have to see.... 2007 : After two concert performances, all is seen : the project is duly launched. 2008 : And what a nice, symbolic « compliment » if one adds a confidence from Weller to the label's artistic director: Ein Heldenleben : The Orchestra has the right sound to do that....
Works on This Recording
Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 by Richard Strauss
Alexei Moshkov (Violin),
Ivo Hadermann (French Horn)
Belgian National Orchestra
Written: 1897-1898; Germany
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