Liza Ferschtman / Mario Venzago / Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra Amsterdam

Violin concerto - An American in Paris

Format: SACD hybrid
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917253023
Catnr: CC 72530
Release date: 19 September 2011
1 SACD hybrid
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72530
Release date
19 September 2011

"The sound quality is excellent, as we are used to with the super audio albums of Challenge Classics. It lets us appreciate the interpretations to the fullest.", 28-2-2013

About the album

The premiere of the Violin Concerto composed by Dvořák would be in Prague on 14 October 1883, played by the Czech violinist František Ondříček. A month Later he played it in Vienna with the Wiener Philharmoniker, conducted by Hans Richter. It was a special and memorable concert for Dvořák, all the more so since the Third Symphony of Brahms was on the programme as well, and Brahms had been a driving force behind the Violin Concerto.

We do not know why Joachim never performed the Violin Concerto. it was the idea that Joseph Joachim would have played the actual Premiere but this in the end did not happen.It was claimed that, having been trained in the German musical tradition, he thought the concerto's form was too free. Although he never said so directly to Dvořák, a number of his proposed changes point in that direction. Strictly speaking he was right, but it was precisely the unconventional forms used by the composer that make the work so intriguing.(from the linernotes)

Liza Ferschtman gives a beautiful rendition of this intruiging concerto together with Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Mario Venzago.

On this cd we can also hear "An American in Paris", a symphonic poem, or perhaps it can better be termed a free rhapsody for an expanded orchestra by Gershwin . Although Gershwin had not meant it as programme music and certainly not as an autobiographic work, it clearly shows features of both. And it was even Gershwin himself who described the piece as follows: “My purpose here is to portray the impression of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city and listens to various street noises and absorbs the French atmosphere." As the story continues, the man becomes homesick for the familiar sounds at home in America. But pleasure gains the upper hand and he flings himself with conviction into the hustle and bustle of Paris.

Prachtige uitvoering van een intrigerend concert
Dit album bevat een prachtige opname van het vioolconcert van Dvořák, uitgevoerd door violiste Liza Ferschtman en het Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, onder leiding van Mario Venzago.

Wat Dvořák’s vioolconcert bijzonder maakt is het gebruik van onconventionele vormen. Er wordt beweerd dat Joseph Joachim, die de vioolpartij tijdens de première had moeten spelen, hiervan heeft afgezien omdat hij de vorm van het concert te vrij vond. Hij heeft gelijk, maar dit is juist wat het werk zo intrigerend maakt.

Daarnaast bevat het album een opname van het beroemde symfonische gedicht ‘An American in Paris’ van George Gershwin. Dit werk bevat autobiografische kenmerken, ook al had Gershwin het niet met die bedoeling gecomponeerd. Hij omschrijft het doel van het werk zelf als volgt: “My purpose here is to portray the impression of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city and listens to various street noises and absorbs the French atmosphere”

Dvoraks Violinkonzert ganz im Geiste der russischen Schule

Die junge, russisch-stämmige Geigerin Liza Ferschtman beweist mit ihrer Interpretation des Dvoraks Violinkonzertes erneut ihren Weltrang. Gemeinsam mit dem Niederländischen Philharmonischen Orchester unter dem ebenso temperamentvollen wie sensiblen Schweizer Dirigenten Mario Venzago, gelingt eine intensive und atmosphärisch dichte Deutung. Das ganze garniert mit Gershwins berühmter Tondichtung für Orchester ‚Ein Amerikaner in Paris’.


Dutch violinist Liza Ferschtman is known for her passionate performances, interesting programs and communicative qualities on stage. She is equally at home on the concert stage with concertos, chamber music, recitals and solo works. In 2006 she received the highest accolade awarded to a musician in the Netherlands, the Dutch Music Prize.

Born into a family of Russian musicians, Liza Ferschtman was constantly surrounded by music.
One of her earliest major influences was the violinist Philipp Hirschhorn, a close family friend. She received her formal training from Herman Krebbers at the Amsterdam Conservatory, Ida Kavafian at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and David Takeno in London.

In recent years Liza Ferschtman has performed with all significant Dutch Orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw and the Rotterdam Philhamonic. She has been soloist of the Orchestre National de Belgique, European Union Youth Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic, Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, Bremen Philharmonic, Radio Symphony Orchestra of Prague, Malmö Symphony, and Bergen Philharmonic. Conductors she has worked with include Stephan Blunier, Frans Bruggen, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Claus Peter Flor, Neeme Järvi, Yakov Kreizberg, Zdenek Macal, Jun Maerkl, Gianandrea Noseda, Marc Soustrot, Leonard Slatkin, Thomas Sondergard, Karl-Heinz Steffens, Mario Venzago and Jaap van Zweden.

An avid chamber musician, Ms. Ferschtman has collaborated regularly with artists such as Inon Barnatan, Jonathan Biss, Nobuko Imai, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Enrico Pace, Christian Poltera, Lars Anders Tomter and Alisa Weilerstein. In addition to appearances at numerous international Chamber Music festivals, she has performed at venues such as the Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Library of Congress in Washington, Wigmore Hall in London, the Brahms Saal at the Vienna Musikverein, as well the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Liza Ferschtman has been the artistic director of the Delft Chamber Music Festival since 2007, one of the reputable festivals in Europe. During her tenure the festival has become widely known for adventurous programming with dynamic performances by artists from around the globe.

Highlights in the past season were the performance of the complete solo works by Bach in Amsterdam and a concert tour to Budapest, Amsterdam, New York and Montréal with the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Playing under the baton of Iván Fischer, Ms. Ferschtman received outstanding reviews for her rendition of Bernstein's "Serenade" with this orchestra.

During the current season Liza Ferschtman is scheduled to make her debuts with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Essen, the Staatskapelle Weimar and the Flanders Symphony Orchestra. She will perform chamber music at the Liederhalle in Stuttgart and the Beethoven Haus in Bonn and will be present in the Netherlands with several recitals.

Ms. Ferschtman's recording of the Beethoven Concerto and Romances was received with great critical acclaim, as well as her other recordings with concertos by Dvorak, Röntgen, solo works by Bach and Ysaye, (STRAD CD choice of the month), and duo works by Beethoven and Schubert.

Mario Venzago,
Mario Venzago was born in Zurich Switzerland. He began playing the piano at age 5, attended the conservatory and university in Zurich and continued conducting studies with Hans Swarowsky in Vienna. For the next 10 years he traveled extensively and was the official pianist of the Swiss Italian Broadcasting Television Company and Orchestra (RTSI).

In 1978 he began his career on the podium as principal conductor of the Winterthur Symphony Orchestra. He later led the Lucerne Opera House and served as principal conductor for the broadcast recordings of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva. From 1986 to 1989 he was music director of the Heidelberg Philharmonic Orchestra and opera house and later served as chief conductor of the German Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Graz Opera, the Basque National Orchestra, the Basel Symphony Orchestra, and the Swedish National Orchestra in Gothenburg. He was Artistic Director of the Baltimore Summer Music Fest, and from 2002 – 2009 Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In 2010 he was named Principal Conductor of the Northern Sinfonia in Newcastle and in the same year was appointed chief conductor of the Bern Symphony Orchestra, as well as Artist in Association with the Tapiola Sinfonietta. He is also “Schumann Guest Conductor” of the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker.

Mario Venzago's distinguished conducting career has included engagements with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony, La Scala di Milano, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the NHK Symphony in Tokyo, and the symphony orchestras of Copenhagen, Helsinki and Paris. He has also conducted, among other prestigious festivals, at the Salzburg and Lucerne Festivals.

Mr. Venzago’s American debut took place in 1988 at the invitation of Leonard Bernstein, at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute Orchestra. In North America he has appeared with the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, and the National Arts Center Orchestra of Ottawa. In March 1995, he conducted the Baltimore Symphony on short notice, a success leading to a very close relationship with that orchestra, including subscription concerts each year and his artistic directorship of the summer festivals 2000-03.

Maestro Venzago has recorded widely and his varied discography has earned him several major awards, including the Diapason d´or, two Grand Prix du Disque, and the Edison Prize. With the Basel Symphony he has recorded the complete symphonic works of Schumann, Ravel and Nono, with the choir and orchestra of the MDR Leipzig the whole choral works by Othmar Schoeck, and with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra all orchestral works of Alban Berg. At present he is preparing a complete recording of Bruckner Symphonies for the CPO label.

He has collaborated with famous stage directors Ruth Berghaus, Peter Konwitschny and most recently Hans Neuenfels with whom he presented the 2007 production of Pentheseilea at the Basel Theatre to great acclaim from the international press (Production of the year). The same year his first feature film, "My Brother the Conductor" by Alberto Venzago was released throughout Europe and on DVD.

Mr Venzago performs with many renowned artists of the world`s concert stage including Argerich, Bell, Freire, Josefowicz, Kremer, Lang Lang, Levin, Lupu, Maisky, Mutter, Nicolet, Ohlsson, Pletnev, Shaham, Steuerman, Tetzlaff, Vengerow, Zehetmair, K.Zimerman, F.P.Zimmermann and many of the world`s finest singers such as Araiza, Banse, Baltsa, Häfliger, Heppner, Kalisch, Naef, Moser, Popp and Ziesak.



The sound quality is excellent, as we are used to with the super audio albums of Challenge Classics. It lets us appreciate the interpretations to the fullest., 28-2-2013

It seethes insinde. Even though the erruptions are seldom, the passion of playing is in every moment: Liza Ferschtman is a Violin-Volcano.

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