RICCARDO CHAILLY NAMED MUSIC DIRECTOR OF LA SCALA
A return to the house where he made his conducting debut
Riccardo Chailly has been named the new musical director of La Scala, Milan. He becomes principal conductor in 2015, taking over the musical directorship in 2017. His appointment marks the return of an Italian at the head of the country’s premier opera house, in succession to Daniel Barenboim. Making the announcement, the Mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia, said: “We are happy and proud.”
Chailly, born into a musical family in Milan in 1953, became assistant conductor to Claudio Abbado at La Scala when he was 20, and made his professional debut as a conductor there in 1978.
He arrives at a time of great change for the legendary Italian opera house, with general manager Stephane Lissner leaving next year to take over at the Paris Opera.
Riccardo Chailly has been an exclusive Decca artist for over 30 years. His Viva Verdi release of overtures and preludes with La Scala Philharmonic sparked warm reviews on its release earlier this year, BBC Radio 3 referring to “the wonderfully charismatic Riccardo Chailly” and The Times writing of “a Verdian match made in heaven . . . It’s hard to imagine this music better played or conducted than here.” The Daily Mail said: “The La Scala Philharmonic play out of their skins for Chailly, who delivers whip-crack rhythms and exhilarating propulsion.”
RICCARDO CHAILLY’S RADICAL RETURN TO BRAHMS
Following the 2011 landmark Beethoven cycle, Riccardo Chailly returns with a new perspective on Brahms. The recording is released to coincide with residencies in London, Paris, Leipzig and Vienna of the complete Brahms symphonies and concertos.
It is a quarter of a century since Chailly recorded the symphonies with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He has radically rethought his approach to these works, re-examining the scores and returning to the recorded interpretations of a generation of conductors alive during Brahms’s lifetime, principally Felix Weingartner and one of his Gewandhaus predecessors, Bruno Walter.
This comprehensive overview of Brahms’s orchestral works includes several rarities, among them world premieres of two piano intermezzi orchestrated by Paul Klengel (brother of the Gewandhaus’s long-standing principal cellist Julius Klengel); the Liebeslieder Walzer from Op. 52/65; the original first performance version of the Andante of Symphony No. 1 and the even rarer revised opening of the Fourth Symphony.
The set is completed with the Tragic and Academic Festival overtures, Haydn Variations and the three Hungarian Dances orchestrated by Brahms himself.
The Chailly/Gewandhausorchester Beethoven cycle won critical plaudits, including five-star reviews in both the Independent – “… the effect is revelatory … restoring a dash and brio to works whose revolutionary aspects can once again be clearly glimpsed”
Chailly’s Brahms is similarly highly regarded by leading critics, “Chailly has worked well to create a style of interpretation which mixes the orchestra’s 250-year-old tradition with thoroughly modern, historically informed performance practice. This made for no-nonsense, unstuffy, youthful Brahms.” Musical Criticism 2007
The Daily Telegraph reviewing his Prom’s performance of the Fourth Symphony wrote “Chailly is not a conductor to linger unnecessarily, and he injected the first movement with an uncommon surge and passion … the finale’s fusion of structural grandeur and instrumental detail was conveyed with a masterly sense of direction and purpose.”
Leonidas Kavakos and Riccardo Chailly have also specially recorded the Brahms Violin Concerto in Leipzig for release as a separate album due in October 2013. Kavakos will perform the concerto in all four tour venues in October/November 2013 – Leipzig; London; Paris and Vienna – as well as the Brahms Double Concerto.
The outstanding pedigree of the Chailly/Leipzig partnership in Brahms was last seen in the award-winning set of the piano concertos Chailly recorded with Nelson Freire, the Gramophone “Recording of the Year” in 2007.
This eagerly anticipated new set celebrates Chailly’s recently renewed commitment to the Gewandhaus, an orchestra he has well and truly put back on the musical map, in music that is at the heart of the repertoire for both conductor and ensemble.
RICCARDO CHAILLY: Brahms: The Symphonies