Alexander Prior: Velesslavitsa, Concerto for Piano, Two Violins and Cello

Catalogue No: TOCC0109
EAN/UPC: 5060113441096
Release Date: 2009-10-12
Composer: Alexander Prior
Artists: Alexander Prior, Michael Province, Nathan Chan, Northern Sinfonia, Simone Porter, Zhang Xiao Ming

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

Listen To This Recording:

    Velesslavitsa, Concerto for piano, two violins and cello (2008)

  1. I. Maestoso – Allegro
  2. II. Grave
  3. III. Presto

7 reviews for Alexander Prior: Velesslavitsa, Concerto for Piano, Two Violins and Cello

  1. :

    ‘I promise that you won’t hear a more exciting, invigorating work of classical music anywhere.’

    Journal Alive

  2. :

    ‘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

  3. :

    ‘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

  4. :

    ‘… 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

  5. :

    ‘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

  6. :

    ‘Listening to the recording, it is easy to forget just how young the participants were. […]

    The concerto is large and sprawling, but retains a sense of unity through the recurrent use of a Russian Orthodox chant. Prior takes every opportunity to show off his imaginative use of the orchestra, but even this is never just for effect. The orchestration continually varies, but is surprisingly economical, with everything in the ensemble always seeming to happen for a good reason. […]

    Both the performance and recording are excellent, and neither suffers for being taken from a live performance. Prior the composer is often daring in the ways that he moves unexpectedly between different moods and tempos, but Prior the conductor is able to demonstrate the innate logic behind each of these shifts. The sound benefits from the fine acoustic at the new Sage concert hall in Gateshead, and the woodwind and percussion soloists come across with particular clarity. A recommended release, then, and one that ought to appeal, for different reasons, to a number of different classical audiences. […] all credit to Toccata Classics for giving us the chance to hear this fine work in all its glory.’

    —Gavin Dixon, Fanfare Magazine July/August 2013

  7. :

    ‘The poise and responsiveness in ensemble of young Zhang make this a disc to hear and share with your families, especially if they include and aspiring musicians.’

    —Peter Grahame Woolf, Musical Pointers

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