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Soundscapes

Tosca Opdam | Alexander Ullman

Soundscapes

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917289329
Catnr: CC 72893
Release date: 04 February 2022
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Label
Challenge Classics
UPC
0608917289329
Catalogue number
CC 72893
Release date
04 February 2022

"It’s gripping where the music requires momentum the finale has plenty of thrust."

Fanfare, 01-9-2022
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
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About the album

Movements in time and sounds in space: While visual art and music share inspirational sources, they often flourish in different realms. This CD circles around the idea of bringing (back) visual elements into the musical experience.

The term “soundscapes” refers to acoustic environments created by contingent phenomena. Sounds create scapes, evoking visual experiences. The compositions on this recording are capable of creating landscapes and seascapes in their own right. The three sonatas by Edward Elgar, Felix Mendelssohn, and Robin de Raaff originate environments that allow juxtapositions, pairings with three short pieces by Florence Price, Felix Mendelssohn, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.
Op deze debuut-cd van de jonge Nederlandse violiste Tosca Opdam horen we hoe muziek de mooiste landschappen kan oproepen. Zij is een begenadigd violiste, die met haar muzikale intelligentie en expressiviteit de luisteraar boeit. Met de muziek van onder meer Edward Elgar en Robin de Raaff en begeleid door de Britse pianist Alexander Ullman, zorgt Tosca Opdam met Soundscapes voor een waar luistergenoegen.

Hoewel beeldende kunst en muziek voortkomen uit dezelfde inspiratiebronnen, gedijen ze vaak op verschillende terreinen. Bij deze cd draait het om de wens visuele elementen te (her)introduceren in de muzikale ervaring. De term ‘soundscapes’ verwijst naar klanken die landschappen en zeegezichten creëren en visuele ervaringen oproepen. Dat gebeurt nagenoeg vanzelf met de sonates van Edward Elgar, Felix Mendelssohn en Robin de Raaff, gecombineerd met drie korte stukken van Florence Price, Felix Mendelssohn en Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

Edward Elgar werd bij het schrijven van zijn vioolsonate, ‘vol gouden klanken’, geïnspireerd door het stralende en weelderige Britse platteland rond het huisje in Sussex, waar hij met zijn vrouw woonde. Hij creëerde een kaleidoscoop van licht en landschappen, in verschillende seizoenen en op verschillende tijden van de dag. Met een gedurfd en krachtig eerste deel, gevolgd door een fantastisch, expressief middendeel, misschien wel het beste wat hij ooit schreef, en een ruim en rustgevend laatste deel. En ja, de expressiviteit van Elgars sonate vult de lucht met gouden streken.

Florence Price was de eerste Afro-Amerikaanse vrouw die erkenning kreeg als symfonisch componiste. Ze combineerde haar klassieke compositiestudie, beïnvloed door Europese componisten, met Afro-Amerikaanse blues en jazz, volksmelodieën en spirituals. Haar stuk The Deserted Garden, geschreven in 1933, is een prachtige tegenhanger van Elgars sonate. Terwijl Elgars sonate doet denken aan een bloeiend en kleurrijk landschap, roept Price het beeld op van een desolaat grijs landschap.

Felix Mendelssohn was niet alleen een van de grootste componisten van zijn tijd, maar ook een begaafd tekenaar. Met tedere aquareltinten legde hij de kolkende waterval van Schaffhausen in Zwitserland vast, de eeuwige kracht van de natuur. Hetzelfde doet hij in zijn sonate, vol schittering en meanderend tussen krachtige motieven en spetterend water. De sonate uit 1838 werd tijdens zijn leven nooit gepubliceerd. Het was Yehudi Menuhin die het stuk in 1953 ontdekte en geschikt maakte voor publicatie en uitvoering.

Robin de Raaff liet zich met zijn compositie North Atlantic Light inspireren door een bijzonder zeegezicht van de Nederlandse schilder Willem de Kooning. De Raaff benadert in zijn muziek het reflecterende licht en winderige water van De Koonings penseelstreken. In zijn sonate heeft de violist de rol van de schilder, en schetst de violist de noten terwijl hij op zoek is naar vaste grond. De lijnen van De Koonings zeegezicht volgend, roept De Raaffs sonate een gevoel van drijven op het water op. Er zijn golven in alle vormen en maten. Om dit in de partituur te bereiken gebruikt De Raaff de meest extreme aanduidingen. Van bijna stil tot donderend, van een heel langzaam tempo naar versnellende klanken tot snelle ritmes en terug. Robin de Raaff gebruikt het volledige bereik van de piano, op zoek naar nieuwe hoogten op de viool. In aanloop naar de climax, komen klankgroepen samen in donkere modderige pianotexturen, als dikke lagen verf op het doek van De Kooning.

In het charmante Sea Murmurs van Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco gaat het er rustiger aan toe. De muziek drijft voorbij als een lied, de luisteraar zachtjes bij de hand nemend in het voorbijgaan. Licht schommelende bewegingen weerspiegelen vriendelijk en rustig water, waardoor de luisteraar zijn ogen en oren kan openhouden om elke keer weer verrast te worden door de vormen en landschappen.
Bewegungen in der Zeit und Klänge im Raum: Bildende Kunst und Musik haben zwar gemeinsame Inspirationsquellen, entfalten sich aber oft in unterschiedlichen Bereichen. Diese CD kreist um die Idee, visuelle Elemente (wieder) in die musikalische Erfahrung einzubringen.

Der Begriff "Soundscapes" bezieht sich auf akustische Umgebungen, die durch kontingente Phänomene entstehen. Klänge schaffen Landschaften, die visuelle Erfahrungen hervorrufen. Die Kompositionen auf dieser Aufnahme sind in der Lage, Landschaften und Meereslandschaften auf ihre Weise zu schaffen. Die drei Sonaten von Edward Elgar, Felix Mendelssohn und Robin de Raaff schaffen Umgebungen, die ein Nebeneinander und eine Verknüpfung mit drei kurzen Stücken von Florence Price, Felix Mendelssohn und Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco ermöglichen.


Artist(s)

Tosca Opdam (violin)

Praised for her “enchanting musical personality” (De Volkskrant), Dutch violinist Tosca Opdam has captivated audiences and critics alike with her luminously elegant performances, musical intelligence and a gift for storytelling that surpasses mere virtuosity. Tosca won First Prize in the 2011 Oskar Back Violin Competition. She subsequently performed at the Royal Concertgebouw and returned for a sold-out debut recital — lauded by The Huffington Post as “at times bold and regal, other times poignant and tender; at all times rendered gorgeously” - and a performance in honor of the re-opening of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Her 2015 performance as part of the Liberation Day Concert on the Amstel River, with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima in attendance, was broadcast live on Dutch national...
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Praised for her “enchanting musical personality” (De Volkskrant), Dutch violinist Tosca Opdam has captivated audiences and critics alike with her luminously elegant performances, musical intelligence and a gift for storytelling that surpasses mere virtuosity.

Tosca won First Prize in the 2011 Oskar Back Violin Competition. She subsequently performed at the Royal Concertgebouw and returned for a sold-out debut recital — lauded by The Huffington Post as “at times bold and regal, other times poignant and tender; at all times rendered gorgeously” - and a performance in honor of the re-opening of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Her 2015 performance as part of the Liberation Day Concert on the Amstel River, with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima in attendance, was broadcast live on Dutch national television. Other live broadcast performances include broadcasts on NPO Radio 4, WQXR (New York), Podium Witteman (Netherlands).

Tosca Opdam made her recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in June 2018 performing a program that included the World Premiere of Robin de Raaff’s North Atlantic Light, dedicated to Ms. Opdam and inspired by the Willem de Kooning painting of the same name. In May 2019 she premiered the work’s orchestral version with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Concertgebouw, led by Marc Albrecht.

Recent and upcoming highlights include a performance of Bartok’s violin concerto nr. 2 with the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz under the baton of Annedore Neufeld, recitals at the main hall of De Doelen, Rotterdam, Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, the Hong Kong Generation Next Music Festival, as well as the lead role in a program dedicated to Mendelssohn year 2022, including his concerto for violin, piano and strings orchestra alongside his Octet.

An avid chamber musician and recitalist, Tosca has appeared at the Grachtenfestival (Amsterdam), Delft Chamber Music Festival, Storioni Festival, the Siletz Bay Music Festival (Oregon), YAP festival (Ottawa, and the Festival Musica Classica Joao Pessoa (Brazil).

As an outgrowth of her wider interests, Ms. Opdam often designs programs that connect music to painting, dance, and other art forms. She performed with New York City Ballet and the New York Choreographic Institute at Lincoln Center and appeared with the Dutch National Ballet. In 2020, she founded the concert series “Miniatures inspired by visual arts and music” (www.miniatures-music-arts.com), combining music and visual arts in close collaboration with museums such as the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam.

In 2017 the Toscata Foundation was established in Tosca Opdam’s name with the aim of promoting classical music worldwide through education, collaborations with other artistic disciplines, and the championing and commissioning of contemporary composers for performance in the Netherlands and beyond.

She earned her Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and her teachers have included Catherine Cho, Patty Kopec and Sylvia Rosenberg. Tosca Opdam plays a Matteo Gofriller violin from 1700, which is generously on loan to her by a private collector.


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Composer(s)

Edward Elgar

Eward Elgar was a British composer, who stood on the forefront of the revival of English music around 1900. Many of his works have entered the international concert repertoire, although there are performed more often in Britain than elsewhere. Although Elgar is often considered as a typically English composer, he has primarily been influenced by composers on the European continent. He was contemptuous of folk music and had little respect for English Renaissance and Baroque composers. Instead he was particularly inspired by Dvorák, Händel and Brahms, and the clarity of 19th-century French composers, which resonates through his orchestrations. Elgar was autodidact, and learned to play the organ, violin and viola at an early age within the musical family in which he was...
more
Eward Elgar was a British composer, who stood on the forefront of the revival of English music around 1900. Many of his works have entered the international concert repertoire, although there are performed more often in Britain than elsewhere.
Although Elgar is often considered as a typically English composer, he has primarily been influenced by composers on the European continent. He was contemptuous of folk music and had little respect for English Renaissance and Baroque composers. Instead he was particularly inspired by Dvorák, Händel and Brahms, and the clarity of 19th-century French composers, which resonates through his orchestrations.
Elgar was autodidact, and learned to play the organ, violin and viola at an early age within the musical family in which he was brought up. He also composed and arranged music for various ensembles. He became somewhat well-known with his overture Froissart, but only gained international recognition after composing his Enigma Variations in 1899. Currently researchers are still trying to find out which melody Elgar has hidden within the variations.
Other famous works by Elgar are the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, the oratorio The Dream of Gerontinus and the Cello Concerto.
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Robin de Raaff

Robin de Raaff (Breda, 1968) discovered his own diverse musical world through playing classical piano as well as bass guitar from a very early age. After being introduced to the legend and legacy of Jaco Pastorius, De Raaff’s musical world expanded explosively as an instrumentalist. Parallel with this early development he created his own music and lyrics for his Band where instrumental sections grew in significance, ultimately in to completely scored instrumental works. These instrumental compositions led him to enrol as a student of composition. De Raaff is of the generation of Dutch composers emerging in the nineties. He first studied composition with Geert van Keulen at the Amsterdam Conservatory and later with Theo Loevendie, graduating cum laude in 1997. Still...
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Robin de Raaff (Breda, 1968) discovered his own diverse musical world through playing classical piano as well as bass guitar from a very early age. After being introduced to the legend and legacy of Jaco Pastorius, De Raaff’s musical world expanded explosively as an instrumentalist. Parallel with this early development he created his own music and lyrics for his Band where instrumental sections grew in significance, ultimately in to completely scored instrumental works. These instrumental compositions led him to enrol as a student of composition.
De Raaff is of the generation of Dutch composers emerging in the nineties. He first studied composition with Geert van Keulen at the Amsterdam Conservatory and later with Theo Loevendie, graduating cum laude in 1997. Still being a student in 1995 he encountered Pierre Boulez in a Masterclass who praised his String Quartet No. 1 “Athomus” creating a whole new momentum to his development and career. In 1999 De Raaff had the privilege of being invited to work as George Benjamin’s only composition student at the Royal College of Music in London where he also studied with Julian Anderson.
In 2000 De Raaff was invited to the renowned Tanglewood Music Center as the ‘Senior Composition Fellow’ which was the beginning of an ongoing relationship resulting in a series of commissions and performances (Piano Concerto No. 1 for the Festival of Contemporary Music and Entangled Tales for the Boston Symphony Orchestra) and performances of his septet Ennea’s Domein and Un Visage d’Emprunt. For 2015 De Raaff was commissioned to compose a Fanfare dedicated to the 75th Anniversary of the Tanglewood Music Center. His residency at Tanglewood in 2000 was the beginning of a bigger exposure with performances and residencies in North America through festivals and theaters such as: The Aspen Music Festival, Cabrillo Festival (Santa Cruz), State of the Union Festival (London), ISCM World Music Days, The Banff Center, CBC Parry Sound Festival (Ontario), Takefu International Chamber Music Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Ultima Contemporary Music Festival, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center (New York), Betty Oliphant Theatre and Glenn Gould Studio (Toronto).
After a creative period of nearly 10 years, De Raaff finished his first opera RAAFF in 2004, which was commissioned by the Dutch National Opera in a co-production with the Holland Festival. The birth of this opera started with De Raaff’s success at a master class for young composers with Pierre Boulez organised by DNO in 1995.His second opera, also commissioned by DNO, resulted in Waiting for Miss Monroe (2012), which was received with much acclaim by the international press including The New York Times, Der Tagesspiegel and Der Süddeutsche Zeitung.
De Raaff’s Violin Concerto No. 1 “Angelic echoes” (2008, written for Tasmin Little and Jaap van Zweden) was selected as the Best Orchestral Work of the year 2008 in the Dutch composition competition Toonzetters. His special interest in this genre led him to compose many Concertos of which his Percussion Concerto (2014 commissioned by The New Juilliard Ensemble and premiered in Lincoln Center), is the most recent one.
In September 2016, his Oratorio “Atlantis”, an In Memoriam Pierre Boulez, was successfully premiered in Vredenburg, Utrecht (the Netherlands), to date De Raaff’s largest work for the concert stage. Early in 2017, his Symphony No. 4 “Melodies unheard” was premiered during a concert tour with the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra as part of his term as Composer in Residence.
The 2nd Sonata for Violin and Piano “North Atlantic Light” was given its world premiere in the Kurt Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall on the 4th of June 2018. It is based on the famous painting by Willem de Kooning, a fellow countryman of De Raaff. The larger vision on this painting, Violin Concerto No. 2 “North Atlantic Light”, was premiered in the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, both versions were written for Tosca Opdam.
With the recent world premiere of Sfera for large orchestra in the esteemed ZaterdagMatinee, De Raaff finished his Symphony No 5 “Allegory of Time, of which Sfera is movement I and Unisono for large orchestra movement II.
Commissioned by the Holland Festival for their 75th Anniversary De Raaff composed his Piano Concerto No. 2 “Circulus”, premiered by Ralph van Raat, Matthias Pintscher conducting the Radio Filharmonic Oerchestra.
For 22 successive years, De Raaff has been Professor of Composition and Instrumentation at the Composition Department of the University for the Arts in Rotterdam, Codarts.


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Press

It’s gripping where the music requires momentum the finale has plenty of thrust.
Fanfare, 01-9-2022

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