SAN FRANCISCO, CA (October 15, 2014) – In honor of their twentieth season together, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) release Masterpieces in Miniature, a collection of short orchestral works, on their in-house label SFS Media. The recording is available Tuesday, November 11 on CD and can be pre-ordered as a digital download from iTunes.com/SFSymphony or on CD from SFSymphony.org/store. Masterpieces in Miniature includes Henry Litolff’s Scherzo from Concerto symphonique No. 4 featuring pianist Yuja Wang, Gustav Mahler’s Blumine, Charles Ives / Henry Brant’s “The Alcotts” from A Concord Symphony, Gabriel Fauré’s Pavane, Claude Debussy’s La Plus que lente, Franz Schubert’s Entracte No. 3 from Rosamunde, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, Antonín Dvořák’s Legend for Orchestra, Jean Sibelius’s Valse triste, Frederick Delius’s On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, Edvard Grieg’s The Last Spring, and Léo Delibes’s Cortège de Bacchus from Sylvia, all recorded live in performance at Davies Symphony Hall. With this collection, MTT shares some of his most treasured musical memories.
MTT says, “The short pieces in this album exist in various versions. Many began as piano pieces but were, except for the Ives, orchestrated by their composers. They were often played as encores by musicians who took special delight finding the most personal way of presenting them. This recording pays homage to the tradition of these pieces. It marks the beginning of my twentieth season as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony and my seventieth birthday. On these occasions, I wanted to give a present to our whole San Francisco family and to our listeners everywhere. What better way than to fashion a garland of these charming pieces? Playing them is now nearly a lost art. The musicians and I have taken a wonderful voyage in creating these performances, which are a mixture of my musical memories and the imagination and virtuosity of my colleagues.”
As acclaimed interpreters of the music of Mahler, MTT and the Orchestra have included their performance of the composer’s Blumine as part of this special collection. Their self-produced Mahler recording project, launched in 2001 and concluded in 2010, encompassed all of Mahler’s symphonies and works for voice, chorus and orchestra. The Orchestra’s Mahler cycle on SFS Media has been recognized with seven Grammy Awards and MTT was named Gramophone Artist of the Year in recognition of his work on the recording cycle. For the 2011 Mahler centennial, the SFS performed his music in a four-concert engagement at the famed Vienna Konzerthaus in May, an honor rarely extended to American orchestras and a keystone of the city’s commemoration of the Mahler anniversary.
MTT and the SFS’s Keeping Score: Mahler PBS Television documentary and concert is available on DVD and Blu-ray. MTT and the SFS’s recording of “The Alcotts” movement from A Concord Symphony, an orchestration ofCharles Ives’s “Concord” Sonata arranged by Henry Brant, was originally released in a 2011 recording of the full work. In his San Francisco Chronicle review, Joshua Kosman wrote, “To listen to ‘A Concord Symphony’…is to feel an exhilarating sense of discovery and dramatic vigor, an explosive dynamism that emanates from all the participants…Thomas and the orchestra…convey every bit of the score’s boisterous vitality in a performance of magnificent virtuosity – it’s a landmark achievement.”
A promotional video about the Masterpieces in Miniature recording can be viewed on the SF Symphony’s YouTube channel at bit.ly/MasterpiecesInMiniatureSFS. Excerpts from the first four tracks on the recording can be previewed on SoundCloud here.
About Yuja Wang
Yuja Wang has appeared with the SFS every season since her debut at the Orchestra’s 2006 Chinese New Year concert. Her most recent performance with MTT and the SFS was of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at the 2014-15 season Opening Gala. She will return to Davies Symphony Hall this season to perform with MTT and the SFS in Liszt’s Hexameron (for five pianists) for the music director’s 70th birthday gala on January 15, and with MTT conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on March 22 and Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F on March 23. She performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Orchestra in 2009, as well as on tour throughout Asia with MTT and the SFS in 2012. Her most recent recording, Brahms: The Violin Sonatas with Leonidas Kavakos was released in March 2014.
About the San Francisco Symphony
The San Francisco Symphony, widely considered to be among the most artistically adventurous and innovative arts institutions in the U.S., celebrated its Centennial season in 2011-12. Led by Michael Tilson Thomas, who begins his 20th season as Music Director in 2014-15, the SFS presents more than 220 concerts annually, and reaches an audience of nearly 600,000 in its home of Davies Symphony Hall and through its multifaceted education and community programs, and a global audience through its media initiatives and on national and international tours.
About SFS Media
SFS Media is the San Francisco Symphony’s in-house label, launched in 2001. SFS Media records and releases audio and visual material reflecting the Orchestra and Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas’s commitment to showcasing music by maverick composers as well as core classical masterworks. The recordings reflect the broad range of programming that has been a hallmark of the MTT/SFS partnership. Recorded live in concert and engineered at Davies Symphony Hall, the audio recordings are released on hybrid SACD and in high-resolution digital formats. SFS Media has garnered eight Grammy awards. SFS Media also produces and releases documentary and live performance videos, including the SFS’s national public television series and multimedia project Keeping Score, which included three seasons of television episodes, eight documentaries, and eight concert films designed to make classical music more accessible to people of all ages and musical backgrounds, available on DVD and Blu-ray. Other videos of the San Francisco Symphony available from SFS Media include A Celebration of Leonard Bernstein: Opening Night at Carnegie Hall 2008 and San Francisco Symphony at 100, a documentary about the Symphony’s history, which won a Northern California Emmy Award for “Historical/Cultural Program or Special” in 2012.
All SFS Media recordings are available from the Symphony Store in Davies Symphony Hall and online at sfsymphony.org/store, digitally from itunes.com/sfsymphony, and from all major retailers and other digital outlets worldwide. SFS Media recordings are distributed by harmonia mundi in the U.S. and Canada, Avie Records internationally, and The Orchard to digital retailers.
Title: Masterpieces in Miniature
San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director
Yuja Wang, piano (Litolff, Scherzo from Concerto symphonique No. 4)
Henry Litolff Scherzo from Concerto symphonique No. 4 (Wang)
Gustav Mahler Blumine
Gabriel Fauré Pavane
Claude Debussy La Plus que lente
Franz Schubert Entracte No. 3 from Rosamunde
Charles Ives / Henry Brant “The Alcotts” from A Concord Symphony
Sergei Rachmaninoff Vocalise, Opus 34, No. 14
Antonín Dvořák Legend for Orchestra, Opus 59, No. 6
Jean Sibelius Valse triste
Frederick Delius On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
Edvard Grieg The Last Spring, Opus 34, No. 2
Léo Delibes Cortège de Bacchus from Sylvia
Recorded live at Davies Symphony Hall September 26-28, 2013, May 22-25, 2014, and February 2-6, 2010.
Label: SFS Media
Catalogue Number: SFS 0060
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Pre-order a digital download from iTunes at iTunes.com/SFSymphony or on disc from SFSymphony.org/store.
harmonia mundi (North America)
The Orchard (Digital)
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