In spring 2009 Channel 4 sent the sixteen-year-old British-Russian composer-conductor Alex Prior around the world: his task, to find 'The World's Greatest Musical Prodigies' for a TV series with that title and to compose a concerto for them, which Alex would conduct. The resulting work, Velesslavitsa (the title means 'Glory to Veles', the god of music in ancient Slav cultures), is steeped in the Russian Romantic tradition, with echoes especially of Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. This live recording features the ten-year-old Chinese pianist Zhang Xiao Ming, the American violinists Simone Porter and Michael Province, twelve and thirteen, and the fifteen-year American cellist Nathan Chan.
Alexander Prior, conductor Zhang Xiao Ming, piano Michael Province, violin Simone Porter, violin Nathan Chan, cello Northern Sinfonia, chamber orchestra
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Catalogue No: TOCC0109EAN/UPC: 5060113441096Release Date: 12.10.2009Composer: Alexander Prior Artists: Alexander Prior, Michael Province, Nathan Chan, Northern Sinfonia, Simone Porter, Zhang Xiao Ming
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Journal Alive :
“I promise that you won’t hear a more exciting, invigorating work of classical music anywhere.” Journal Alive
North East News :
“There is grandeur in its progress from darkness to light and a sense of growing unity as the four soloists become more closely intertwined with each other and the orchestra. It had a superb first performance and could put more than its composer on the musical map for a long time to come.” —North East News
The Independent :
“Province and Chan … their sheer pleasure in music was a fillip in itself … Porter was the consummate chamber musician. Best of the lot was the diminutive Xiaoming … already fully in command of the music. … it was no surprise that Velesslavitsa … has drama, colour and excitement in abundance. And Prior the conductor is an absolute professional …. No longer a Wunderkind, he’s well on the way to being a Wunder-adult.” —The Independent
The Times :
“… a triumph. The concerto is an exhilarating, rip-roaring melodic noise …. And the four young musicians … rise to the occasion like seasoned professionals” —The Times
Robert Reilly :
“The performances are equally startling. In short, there is no element of condescension involved in enjoying this music; we are way beyond party tricks here. I will avidly follow this extraordinary young man’s future. Bravo to Toccata for this premiere release of a live recording.” —Robert Reilly, CatholiCity
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