Christopher spent 10 days on the jury of the Busoni Piano Competition in the beautiful town of Bolzano in South Tirol. This prestigious competition takes place every two years, and the pre-selection in the off years ensures that the level of the 24 candidates who make the competition is very high. The jury was made of soloists, teachers (but none of their students were in the competition), concert hall artistic directors and one recording producer. The various nationalities, ages and backgrounds made for an interesting mix. Mari Kodama was an excellent and diplomatic president. After the first intense week the schedule became slightly more relaxed for the chamber music stages and the final rounds with orchestra. The winner was Ivan Krpan who impressed particularly in the last rounds.
The rest of the summer was spent editing the Christmas releases and traveling to some of the artists to listen and to obtain their approval. In October the season started with a recording of Dvorak’s Syphony No.9 and other works in Helsingborg with Stefan Solyom and the Helsingborg Symphony. Shortly afterwards a recording of a John Adams program in Canada with the Montreal Symphony conducted by Kent Nagano made a welcome and challenging change .The day after returning to Germany Christopher was recording with Martha Argerich and Sergei Babayan at Schloss Elmau. Martha’s rhythm of starting at 6pm and finishing after 4am fitted Christopher’s jetlag just fine! In November there was a recording near Venice at the Fazzioli concert hall with the Duo Praxedis on harp and piano.
After a few days in Milan listening with Maurizio Pollini to the takes of the last Debussy recording it was time to catch up on some post-production work, editing and supervising the mix of completed projects. The next recording was in Munich with Jonas Kaufmann singing a recital of French opera arias, accompanied by the Bavarian State Opera orchestra conducted by Bertrand de Billy. The orchestra and conductor get on very well and the sessions were exciting but relaxed. Straight after this Christopher was in Boston for a recording with the Choir of St.Paul’s Cambridge directed by John Robinson. This is the only Catholic boys school choir in the USA and the programme was an attractive mix from Palestrina, Josquin and Bach through to Bruckner, Fauré and Delibes.
June saw Christopher for a small recording in London and then in Germany with the Duo Praxedis for 2 CDs of music for harp and piano by Dvorak and his compatriot Dussek.
Mid-May 2017 “Requiem”with The Fraternity was released and went straight to the #1 place in Billboard’s classical music charts.
At the beginning of the year Christopher was off to Denton, Nebraska to record a disc of Gregorian chant and polyphony with The Fraternity, priests of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary. Situated in farm country southwest of Omaha, the seminary belongs to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, an organization active in 37 dioceses in the U.S. and seven in Canada. They sing chant at least four times a day and their familiarity with the genre and the importance of the text to them was quite obvious during the recording. Shortly after returning to Germany Christopher worked together with two favourite artists of his, the Praxedis Duo, Geneviève on piano and Praxedis playing harp. The combination of harp and piano was quite common in the 19th century and there is a wealth of literature for it.
A few weeks later Christopher was in Paris to record the role of Anita in Massenet’s short opera La Navarraise with Alekasandra Kurzak. Originally recorded with the Opera Orchestra of New York under the baton of Alberto Veronesi, the role was left blank because of the singer’s indisposition and only the orchestra was laid down. A week later Christopher was in warmer Malta to work with the tenor Joseph Calleja, before returning to record something completely different – Ysaye’s sonatas for solo violin. The fine violinist was Shlomo Mintz, an artist with whom Christopher recorded the Brahms concerto in Berlin nearly 20 years ago, with the Berlin Philharmonic and Claudio Abbado. Finishing the quarter Christopher was in the attractive seaside town of Helsingborg, where Stefan Solyomcontinues his Dvorak cycle with his orchestra, the Helsingborg Symphony.
The year end is normally quiet as the budgets run dry at the record labels and musicians are too busy playing concerts in the new season to record. And so it is this year. In October there is the second period of the Pollini recording and an extensive sojourn in Prague setting down a disc of opera arias with the wonderful soprano Angela Gheorghiù. She is accompanied by the Prague Phlharmonia under the baton of their music director Emmanuel Villaume, and the recording is in the beautiful and historically significant – but where isn’t in Prague? – Smetana Hall.
!!! DECEMBER – TOP-SELLING CLASSICAL ALBUM USA !!! Billboard announces top-selling Traditional Classical Album 2016 (USA) is BENEDICTA: Marian Chant From Norcia which Chris recorded with the Monks of Norcia in 2015!!! Let is hope that they can use the ioncome towards recuilding the lovely Basilica where the recording was made and which was largely destroyed in the earthquake in October.
July was a TV month, with a week in Turin with Jonas Kaufmann making a video around a concert of Italian songs. This was for a ZDF (German TV) broadcast in November and a later DVD release on SONY. Shortly afterwards another pleasant week was spent in Baden-Baden preparing and recording a gala concert for ZDF. An all-star line-up of singers was feastured: Anja Harteros, Ekaterina Gubanova, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel, accompanied by the Badische Staatskapelle and conducted by the exuberant Marco Armiliato. In August Chris was in Hannover recording one of his favourite pianists, Judith Jauregui in an imaginitive programme of works by Scriabin, Szymanowski and Chopin. In September Chris recorded a new combination of him – harp and piano – and was very pleasantly surprised at how well the instruments harmonised. The program of Piazzola was masterfully and idiomatically performed by the remarkable Duo Praxedis.A couple of weeks later Christopher was again together with Maurizio Pollini for a Debussy program. This recording represents a ‘first’ in that Maurizio was joined by his son Daniele to play the work En Blanc et noir for two pianos.
After a quiet Spring – well, sometimes the recordings actually have to be edited and mixed so a pause is welcome – May was choc-a-bloc with a Dvorak symphony disc in Helsingborg with the orchestra there conducted by Stefan Solyom, an opera by the little-know composer Ramón Carnicer* in Madrid with the Orquesta Nacionales de España conducted by Garcia Calvoand a recording of Chopin late works with Maurizio Pollini in Munich and a TV production of Andris Nelson‘s first concert in Leipzig since he was named future music director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra.
It is never a hardship to go to Vienna, especially to hear the Vienna Philharmonic playing Mahler in the Musikverein. Christopher had the good fortune in June to listen to and record several rehearsals, a concert and a patch session of the orchestra performing the wonderful Das Lied von der Erde with Jonas Kaufmann singing and Jonathan Nott conducting.
* A humorous aside: Wikipedia says of Carnicer he is best-known as the composer of the Chilean National Anthem. Whistle that to me and I will invite you to my next recording (only open to non-Chileans).
The holidays over, Christopher was in the air for New Orleans for a project called….. ‘Christmas in New Orleans’! The album is an exciting and original combination of Christmas music newly arranged for a 17-strong jazz ensemble, consisting of some of the crème de la crème of US jazz musicians. Chris was fascinated by the dedication and discipline of the musicians and learned they have the same concerns regarding ensemble, intonation, tone quality and musical expression as classical musicians – just as well as those are areas of Chris’ expertise and areas he could help in. On returning to Europe Chris flew to Palermo to record an album of Italian songs with Jonas Kaufmann . The Orchestra del Teatro Massimo di Palermowas conducted by Asher Fisch
August saw Christopher enjoying concerts at the Salzburg Festival, purely for pleasure. The complete package of the town, surroundings and cultural events remains the most satisfying of all the major festivals, even if the demands both on the wallet as well as the waistline are considerable. It is still a great place to meet people. Later in the month Christopher was in Prague for a recording with the American pianist Andrew von Oeyen (with whom Chris has produced a couple of excellent solo recital albums). Andrew performed the G major concerto by Ravel, Saint-Saens Concerto No.3 and the Second Rhapsody by Gershwin (a better piece than the more famous ‘Rhapsody in Blue’). Emmanuel Villaume conducted the Prague Philharmonia . In September Chris was in Turin with the RAI Orchestra under the baton of Marco Armiliato for the debut recording of the wonderful young South African soprano Pretty Yende . Later that month Chris was in Madrid with the harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet for a disc of concertos by Rodrigo and Ginastera. She was ably accompanied byOrquesta Nacionales de España under the baton of Juanjo Mena . Most of November was spent in the studio editing and mixing down various projects and also in Pisa with Pierpaolo Guerrini , Bocelli’s engineer, for the final post-production of “Aida”. In December the last recording of the year was in Purchase, New York with Augustin Dumay and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto on the program, surprisingly the first time that Chris has recorded that work.
The beginning of May Chris was in Madrid for a recording of works by the Spanish composer Manuel Garcia, a contemporary of Beethoven. The two symphonies and a short operetta were played by the Orquesta Nacionales de Españaunder the direction of Christophe Rousset , and the singers were Ainhoa Garmendia soprano, Carol Garcíamezzosoprano, Gustavo de Gennaro tenor and José Antonio López baritone. The following 6 weeks were dedicated to the piano, first with Maurizio Pollini recording works by Chopin in Munich, Lang Lang with works by Tchaikovsky and Chopin in Paris and Giuseppe Albanese playing works by Liszt in Faenza. It was (actually) a welcome relief and change for the ears to change instruments and produce a recording at Abbey Road, London of works for guitar and orchestra: ‘Nocturnos de Andalucia’ a really excellent contemporary work in 5 movements composed by Lorenzo Palomo, an orchestrated version of ‘Serenata Espanola’ by Malats and Rodrigo’s ubiquitous ‘Concierto de Aranjuaz’. Christoph Denoth was the soloist and he was accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra , conducted by Jesus Lopez Cobos .
Again crossing the Atlantic, Chris was in Purchase NY to record the Mendelssohn string octet with members of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra , The Mendelssohn violin concerto was also planned but had to be cancelled after the soloist Augustin Dumay fell ill. (The continuation is planned for December.) A couple of weeks later Chris was in Vienna for SONY to record the debut album of the young Russian soprano Aida Garafullina . The ORF Sinfonieorchester was conducted by their Music Director Cornelius Meister . For something completely different, shortly afterwards Christopher was in Norcia, the birthplace of St.Benedict, where he recorded the Monks of Norcia singing plainsong and Gregorian chant. The small Umbrian town was snowed in and rather cold, but the warm hospitality of the monks and the excellent beer they brew contributed to a most pleasant experience. In March followed the completion of the January recording with Catherine Manoukian , of Brahms Double Concerto and the cellist Jakob Koranyi . The recording took place in Helsingborg with the Symphony Orchestra conducted by Stefan Solyom . In April a much warmer experience was the recording of Verdi’s “Aida” in Florence for DECCA. The recording took place in the new home of the Maggio Musicale, and the conductor was Zubin Mehta and soloists included Kristin Lewis, Andrea Bocelliand Carlo Colombara .
The year gets off to a flying start with a long stay in the lovely town of Cremona, working together with the Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva, who recorded arias by the young Handel. She was brilliantly accompanied by Il Giardino Armonico directed by Giovanni Antonini. A good time and excellent food were enjoyed by all. This was followed seamlessly in Montreal with a contrasting program of Bartok: the Violin Concerto no.2 and Concerto for Orchestra. Kent Nagano conducted the Montreal Symphony and the soloist was Augustin Dumay. In the last week Chris was in Helsingborg, Sweden for a recording of the Brahms Violin Concerto. Here the soloist was Catherine Manoukian and the excellent Helsingborg Symphony was conducted by Stefan Solyom.
!10th GRAMMY FOR CHRISTOPHER ALDER !!
The album of Verdi arias with Plácido Domingo and the Orchestra of Valencia conducted by Pablo Heras-Casadowas awarded the Latin Grammy for Best Classical Album.
Two albums produced by Christopher Alder won ECHO awards for their artists: Jonas Kaufmann‘s Verdi disc won the prize for best solo voice recording and the Verdi (!) album with Anna Netrebko won her the prize as best vocal artist.
The autumn was ushered in delightfully with a recording of the Scherzi and the Ballades by Chopin played by the Azerbaidjani pianist Manafov. Soon afterwards Chris was in Warsaw again for music by the Russian composer Yury Kunets, in sparkling orchestrations by Lee Holdridge, who also conducted the orchestra. The last recording before Christmas was with the best-selling core classical artist in the USA, the Benedictines of St.Mary. Chris was at their priory located around an hour north of Kansas City to record an album of music for Easter and Pentecost.
The summer is always busy with finishing the post-production of the CDs which are released in time for Christmas, and visits to Bayreuth and Salzburg as well as a holiday have to be fitted in somewhere too. Recordings continued with a Beethoven violin concerto in Warsaw with Augustin Dumay as soloist and directing the Sinfonia Varsovia. Putting down a recital of Italian songs with Juan-Diego Florez was a highlight, and this took place in a theatre near the tenor’s summer home in the town of Fano, next to Pesaro in Italy.
The very talented young Spanish pianist Judith Jáureguiwas in Hannover for sessions with Chris. The programme included works by Liszt, Debussy and Mompou and the instrument used was a Steingraeber concert grand, excellent for this repertoire and indicative of the enormous renaissance in quality of this venerable company based in Bayreuth. Shortly after this Chris was on a jury of the piano competition “Neue Sterne” in Wernigerode. More piano follows, with a recording of Beethoven sonatas with Maurizio Pollini in Munich. These sonatas (op.31 and op.49) in fact conclude the series that Pollini started in 1977 – so hardly a marketing ploy! Shortly afterwards Chris recorded a disc of late works by Aleksander Scriabin with Daniele Pollini (Maurizio’s son). In mid-summer Chris was again in Valencia, recording another opera, Puccini’s Turandot,, conducted by Zubin Mehta with Jennifer Wilson in the title role, and Andrea Bocelli singing Calaf.
The beginning of the year sees Chris in Valencia, Spain for several weeks, first recording a disc of French arias for SONY with their exciting new signing, the soprano Sonya Yoncheva. The orchestra of Valencia was conducted by Frédéric Chaslin. Right after that came a recording of the opera Manon Lescaut, conducted by Plácido Domingo. The cast included Ana Maria Martinez and Andrea Bocelli. A few weeks later, in a completely different musical and climate zone, Chris was in Berlin working with one of his favourite violinists, Augustin Dumay, for a disc of Brahms sonatas. The pianist was Louis Lortie.
A time of consolidation, and planning (and also cancellations this year!) with hectic post-production for various recordings. The recordings from Spring and summer have to be edited and mixed. Another two Verdi recordings are released: the baritone arias with Plácido Domingo and the tenor arias with Jonas Kaufmann.
Concluding sessions in Italy with Vittorio Grigolo were done just before the big August break there. Towards the end of August Christopher was in the Rossini town of Pesaro for a recording with the Italian pianist Giuseppe Albanese of a fine and imaginative programme with works by Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann. Moire piano followed, but this time in the form of a competition: Christopher was on the jury of the Clara Haskil competition for 10 days in Vevey, Switzerland. A pleasurable experience (which is not always the case with competitions) as the entrants’ niveau was very high and the other jury members (Staffan Scheja, Nicolas Angelich, Martin Engstrœm, Joaquín Achúcarro and Bruno Mantovani) a delight to be with.
Anna Netrebko‘s disc of Verdi Arias is released and enters the pop charts at #1, the first time a classical album has done this.
It was good to return nearer to home for a piano recital disc in the Beethovensaal Hannover. ‘Big’ works by Brahms, Liszt and Alkan were impressively played by Albert Mamriev. A change of scenery followed with sessions in beautiful (and warm!) Norrköping, Sweden with the violinist Catherine Manoukianplaying the Tchaikovsky violin concerto with the Norrköping symphony orchestra conducted by Stefan Solyom. The temperature continued to rise with a recording directly afterwards in Turin, Italy. The recording was with tenor Vittorio Grigolo and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino under the very capable hands of Evelino Pido. The end of June saw Christopher recording with the pianist Maurizio Pollini in Munich. This recording (to be completed in early 2014) realises the end of Pollini’s complete Beethoven sonatas cycle.
The recording Angels and Saints with the Benedictines of Mary was released in the USA and immediately headed the Core Classical Billboard charts. It kept the #1 slot on and off for 11 weeks.
A new composition for a flute quartet was the impulse for Christopher to be at the legendary AIR studio in London (founded by George Martin). The 50′ composition called Le jour infini by Sam Marzbani was performed by the flautist Wissam Boustany and members of the Brodsky Quartet. An unusual request to record a capella choral music in the rolling snow-covered countryside of Missouri near Kansas City certainly piqued Christopher’s curiosity, and the recording with the Benedictines of Mary was in fact one of the highlights of recent years. The nuns proved to be gifted and diligent singers, and the sincerity of their devotion is apparent in their music-making. They made Christopher and engineer Mark Donahue most welcome and we look forward to returning. Singing of quite a different nature followed a few weeks later in Parma with the tenor Jonas Kaufmann singing Verdi arias, accompanied by the Parma Opera house orchestra conducted by Pier Giorgio Morandi. This inspiring recording took place in the Auditorio Paganini, a sugar factory beautifully redeveloped by Renzo Piano.
A very full month: the soundtrack for a new film on the life of the Venezuelan politician and liberator Simón Bolívar was composed by Gustavo Dudamel, and Christopher was in Caracas with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orquestra and the composer conducting. Afterwards follow recordings in London, Berlin and Dresden: of works composed by Handel in Italy, with the London Early Opera and Bridget Cunningham; Bach’s A musical offering with the Baroque ensemble Melanteand Brahms Piano Concerto No.2 with Maurizio Pollini and Christian Thielemann conducting the Staatskapelle Dresden
Christopher records a listening book version of a stage production involving the life and works of Gustav Mahler with Feline Knabe, Mathias Kosel and the actor Markus Boysen. This is followed by quite a different project, of diverse works for trumpet with the prize-winner of the ARD competition Manuel Blanco and the Orquestra Nacional de España conducted by Josep Pons. Richard Strauss and César Franck offer a contrast in a recording of their sonatas and other works with a long-time friend of Christopher’s, the violinist Augustin Dumay and Louis Lortie, piano. Back to Spain- this time to Valencia – a disc of Verdi Arias with Plácido Domingo and the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana under the baton of Pablo Heras-Casado finishes the year.
The opera La vida breve by de Falla with the Orquestra Nacional de España conducted by Josep Pons; Rossini Arias with the exuberant soprano Aleksandra Kurzak accompanied by the Sinfonia Varsovia and Pier Giorgio Morandi and Verdi Arias with Anna Netrebko and the Orchestra del Teatro Regio Torino directed by Gianandrea Noseda are the recording highlights of Christopher’s summer
Recordings include a recital with the violinist Ryu Goto and Michael Dussek in New York, a project in London with Bridget Cunningham directing the London Early Opera, Beethoven sonatas with Maurizio Pollini in Munich and religious arias with Vittorio Grigolo in Rome. A TV production of a concert on 1st May in the Spanish Riding School in Vienna with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel rounds off a busy Spring.
Brahms Symphony Nr. 4 with the Los Angeles Philharmonicconducted by Gustavo Dudamel (for download only through iTunes) wins a Grammy Award in the category “Best Orchestral Recording”. Christopher records Brahms Violin Sonatas with Catherine Manoukian and Gunilla Süssmann.
Christopher goes to Caracas to record 2 CDs with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. The programs comprise Beethoven’s Symphony No.3 (Eroica) with Overtures, and Mahler’s Symphony No.7.
In September Chris goes to Wroclaw (Breslau) to put down an album of music by the Russian composer Yury Kunets with the Stage Orchestra Wroclaw conducted by Lee Holdridge. In Madrid Chris records a program of Stravinsky orchestra works with the Orquestra Nacional di Espana under the baton of Juan Pons. After that he is Los Angeles for a recording of Prokofiev’s Symphony No 5 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel.
The German ECHO Klassik awards are announced and three CDs produced by Chris are honoured: Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the baritone Thomas Hampson; The Italian Tenor with Vittorio Grigolo and Live in Vienna with Lang Lang– this last as the bestselling classical album of the year.
Busy months: the summer begins in Vienna and the Vienna Philharmonic playing the Liszt first piano concerto with Lang Lang conducted by Valery Gergiev. This completes a Liszt disc and Chris edits and mixes the concerto in Vienna with Lang Lang together. For an iTunes release Chris edits performances of Brahms’ Symphony No.4 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel.
In Dresden Maurizio Pollini plays the Brahms Piano Concerto No.1 with the Staatskapelle Dresden and Christian Thielemann conducting. This is to be a CD and video recording and for the recording there is the luxury of the dress rehearsal and three concerts. In Weimar Chris records the Elgar Violin Concerto with the remarkable Armenian/Canadian violinist Catherine Manoukian, accompanied by the Staatskapelle Weimar conducted by Stefan Solyom. In August Chris Alder is the audio producer for a TV spectacular from the Berlin Waldbühne for ZDF. The concert features the singers Anna Netrebko, Jonas Kaufmann and Erwin Schrott in a wide-ranging program from opera to tango, and the live broadcast is watched by millions of viewers throughout Europe. Later that month Chris is in the Beethovensaal Hannover to record a mixed program of Debussy, Stravinsky and David Newman with the pianist Andrew von Oeyen.
Chris Alder starts a long series of sessions for a recording with the tenor Vittorio Grigolo in Parma, Italy for an album of famous Italian songs and arias. This continues their successful collaboartion after their first recording last year, also in Parma with the Orchestra Teatro Regio di Parma conducted by Per Luigi Morandi. In April he works with Lang Lang in Berlin recording solo Liszt piano repertoire. In May Chris is in Munich to start a Chopin disc with Maurizio Pollini which will be finished in June. Chris Alder is asked to be the audio producer by iTunes for one of the iTunes concerts from the Roundhouse, London with Lang Lang. This also becomes part of a video project for a TV broadcast in various countries and a DVD release for SONY later in 2011.
Just announced – Chris Alder won a Grammy as Producer for the Best Classical Album of the Year. The recording was of Verdi’s Requiem with the Chicago Chorus and Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Riccardo Muti and won also in the Best Choral category. This brings the total number of Grammy Awards won by Chris up to 8.
The end of the year is always dispatched with a New Year’s Eve gala concert in Berlin’s Philharmonie and broadcast on TV internationally. Chris Alder was the audio producer for a gala programme featuring the mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca, the Berliner Philharmoniker and Gustavo Dudamel and the DVD is a rush release due out in mid-January. A few days later Chris flew to Los Angeles where the LA Philharmonic played four concerts under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel with works by John Adams, Leonard Bernstein and Beethoven. The last concert was broadcast live to 450 cinemas throughout the USA and the Aadams and Bernstein pieces are available for download on iTunes as of 17th January!
ZDF asked Chris to be the audio producer for the filming of a concert in Dresden’s beautiful Frauenkirche of a performance of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, involving Anna Netrebko, Marianna Pizzolato, the Sächsische Staatskapelle and Bertrand de Billy. The programme will be aired on German TV around Easter 2011.
The recording Chris Alder produced of Verdi’s Requiem with the Chicago Symphony and Riccardo Muti was nominated for a Grammy in two categories, Choral and Recording of the Year.
Chris was in Singapore to record the soundtrack for the first 3D film of a classical music concert, featuring the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Simon Rattle. Rachmaninov’s virtuosic Symphonic Dances and Mahler’s towering Symphony No.1 made up the programme, performed in two concerts in the imposing Esplanade center. Around 50 technical staff were involved and this important EuroArts production will appear in cinemas worldwide in Spring 2011.
Two recordings produced by Chris Alder won German ECHO awards: Puccini’s La Bohème with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon, with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra conducted by Fabio Luisi; and Chopin’s two Piano Concertos with Lang Lang as soloist accompanied by the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta.
The beginning of the month Chris was in Los Angeles recording the season opening Gala Concert with Juan Diego Florez, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel. This was both for TV world-wide and for an iTunes Deutsche Grammophon Concert series download. Later in the month Chris was again in the USA for a recording of Massenet’s lttle-known opera La Navarraise with Elina Garanca, Roberto Alagna and Ildar Abdrazakov, accompanied by The Opera Orchestra of New York, conducted by Alberto Veronesi.
The festival season saw Chris in Baden-Baden recording a programme of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and cantatas with Anna Netrebko, Marianna Pizzolato, and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, conducted by Antonio Pappano.
In Lucerne Chris produced the sound for the Leipzig company Accentus for TV and DVD of Mahler Symphony No.9 with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under the direction of Claudio Abbado; and a couple of weeks later a mixed programme by Rossini, Ravel, Bernstein, and Orbón with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. This latter was relayed live in surround sound to cinemas throughout Europe.
Chris was in Madrid for almost two weeks recording French orchestral music by Ravel and Debussy with a Spanish flavour. Juan Pons was conducting the excellent Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España. The second week the chorus recorded a wide-range of Spanish choral music, conducted by Mireia Barrera
There was a lot of post-production to complete but there was time for a brief visit in between to Berlin for the filming for TV (arte)/Unitel of Anna Netrebko’s recital of Russian songs, accompanied by Daniel Barenboim in the Philharmonie.
The renowned baritone Thomas Hampson is co-editor of a new edition of Gustav Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn. The new edition brings to light numerous inaccuracies in previous ones and for a first recording based on this version Hampson asked Christopher to produce the sessions near Vienna with the Wiener Virtuosi.
After almost 3 months of unbroken snow in Hamburg it was good to spend a week in Rome, especially as the reason to be there was to record the new album by Jonas Kaufmann of verismo arias for DECCA. The other star on the disc is the orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under the baton of the irrepressible Antonio Pappano. News came from Korea that Sumi Jo’s new album Ich liebe dich was top of the pop charts.
For Universal Korea the soprano Sumi Jo is their commercially most important artist. Her new album of German Lieder in arrangements with various chamber ensembles had to be recorded and a master produced in record time for her April tour, and so they asked Christopher to produce the sessions in Cologne. Despite a harrowing schedule (also for the singer!) the master was delivered to Universal only 10 days after the sessions. Lang Lang’s move from Deutsche Grammophon to SONY was announced in the press worldwide. His first recording for his new ‘home’ was in connection with a recital in Vienna and he asked Christopher to produce the discs, which include works by Beethoven, Albeniz, Prokoffiev and Chopin
Christopher was asked by SONY to make the debut recording of the exciting young Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo. Sessions took place in Parma with the orchestra and chorus of the Teatro Regio di Parma under the direction of Pier Giorgio Morandi.
Two months full of piano recordings: firstly in Zürich with Yundi (formerly known as Yundi Li) who has been signed by EMI to make a complete traversal of Chopin’s piano works over the next five years. Here we recorded the complete Nocturnes for release in early 2010. The second recording was in Neumarkt with the young German-Korean pianist Christopher Park of transcriptions by Russian composers, and then the third in Hamburg with the celebrated Armenian pianist Sergei Babayan of works by Rachmaninov.
For the inaugural concert of Gustavo Dudamel’s tenure as Music Director at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Christopher Alder was asked to be the audio producer for US and international TV broadcasts as well as preparing an iTunes download version in record time. The download in the Deutsche Grammophon Digital Concert s series is available from 20th October.
The prestigious German ECHO opera award was given to the recording of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Anna Netrebko, Elina Garanca, Joseph Calleja and the Wiener Symphoniker conducted by Fabio Luisi, produced by Chris Alder in 2008 for Deutsche Grammophon.
After a recording of a Liszt programme with Andrew von Oeyen, an exceptional US pianist Chris is in Copenhagen for Danish Radio as audio producer for two concerts, one with Anna Netrebko and Massimo Giordano, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume; the other a gala event, the so-called Crown Prince Concert (“Kronprinsparrets Kulturpris”) both of which take place in the wonderful new DR Concert Hall designed by Jean Nouvel.
At the Lucerne Festival Chris Alder was the audio producer for EuroArts for concerts with the Lucerne Festival Orchestraunder Claudio Abbado. The soloist was Magdalena Kozena and the Mahler symphonies will appear on DVD. The Financial Times critic wrote of the concerts: “There is a life-or-death immediacy, coupled with a level of technical perfection that has no equivalent anywhere in the world…This was a religious experience.”
Martin Engstroem, founder of the Verbier Festival, asked Chris to produce the second half of a concert (“something different and entertaining”) with the three bass-baritones René Pape, Thomas Quasthoff and Bryn Terfel. Chris made a medley of numbers from Broadway shows, and some evergreens such as Delilah and New York, New York, and asked Matthias Kosel to arrange them. The accompanying piano trio consisted of Vadim Rapin, Mischa Maisky and Lang Lang. The programme demanded much of the singers including some tricky ensembles, and for the instrumentalists it was unusual fare. The public loved it and their roars of approval could be heard right down the valley!
At the end of the month Chris was in the studio again, recording Schubert’s cycle “Die Schöne Müllerin” with the tenor Jonas Kaufmann and Helmut Deutsch, piano. This rush release is due out in October.
The recording of German arias “Sehnsucht” by tenor Jonas Kaufmann – “surely the finest of the world’s young tenors” (Daily Mail) – is released in Germany and immediately rises to the top of the classical music charts. Chris Alder produced the album in Parma in November 2008. Kaufmann is partnered by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Claudio Abbado. Chris Alder produces a new recording of works by de Falla with the Spanish National Orchestra and their principal conductor Josep Pons, the first of a wide-ranging series of discs for Universal Music, Spain with that orchestra over the next few years.
Chris Alder was in Naples for the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Europakonzert. He was the audio producer for the worldwide TV broadcast from the newly-renovated Teatro San Carlo in a programme of works by Verdi, Martucci and Schubert with Violeta Urmana, mezzosoprano, conducted by Riccardo Muti.
A busy month: first a recording of Bach’s Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Book 1 with Maurizio Pollini in Munich (to be completed in summer) and then on to Paris to complete an opera with the tenor Roberto Alagna and New York with Angela Gheorghiu.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new Music Director from the 2010 season is Riccardo Muti. His first concerts with the CSO since the announcement are in January, and the CSO has asked Chris Alder to produce the recording of the Verdi Requiem for the CSO Resound label. The release will also be in surround sound on SACD as well as a conventional stereo release.
In September Chris Alder was in Berlin recording at the Deutsche Opera with Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagnain Mascagni’s opera L’Amico Fritz, conducted by Alberto Veronesi. This grand opera was followed in October by a recording of the intimate sounds of the classical guitar with the renowned Swiss guitarrist Christoph Denoth.
The year closed with a return to the world of opera with a recording in Parma, Italy, of German arias by the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra was conducted by Claudio Abbado in arias by Wagner, Beethoven, Schubert and Wagner and will be Kaufmann’s second release for DECCA. His first disc Romantic Arias was also produced by Chris Alder.
Chris Alder has finished the post-production work on two Chopin recordings: a solo recital with Maurizio Pollini which is due for release in Fall 2008 and both concertos with Lang Lang, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Zubin Mehtadue out shortly, both for Deutsche Grammophon.
The DVD release of the Berlin Staatsoper production of Massenet’s Manon with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazónis in August. Directed by Vincent Paterson and conducted by Daniel Barenboim, Chris Alder was the audio producer for Unitel.
At the Lucerne Festival this year, Chris Alder will be the audio producer for the TV broadcasts and DVD production for EuroArts of the concerts with Hélène Grimaud, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Claudio Abbado. The programme includes Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite.
Deutsche Grammophon’s big opera release for 2008 has just come out
Puccini’s La Bohème with an all-star cast of Anna Netrebko, Nicole Cabell, Rolando Villazón, Boaz Daniel, Vitalij Kowaljow and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bertrand de Billy. Chris Alder was the executive and recording producer. Recorded last April in Munich, the soundtrack is also the basis for a film directed by Robert Dornhelm which will be in cinemas worldwide in Autumn.
Chris was recording another opera, Donizetti’s I Capuletti e i Montecchi in Vienna in the last two weeks of April. Anna Netrebko, Elina Garanca and Joseph Calleja, accompanied by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra conducted by Fabio Luisi.
Historic NY Phil concert in North Korea
Chris Alder was in Pyongyang as audio producer for EuroArts – part of an international team from both Koreas, Germany, and France –who were responsible for the broadcast and recorded the “unprecedented concert” (Reuters) given by the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel on 26 February, which made headlines around the world. The first time in over 50 years that a US cultural organisation has been allowed into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the concert was telecast live in both North and South Korea, and was watched the same day by over 200 million viewers in the USA, Japan and Europe.
2008 started for Chris Alder in Beijing, China, where he was asked to be the audio producer by the national broadcaster CCTV for the New Year Concert which marks the opening season of the National Centre for the Performing Arts. The spectacular building on Tiananmen Square designed by Paul Andreu houses an opera house, a theatre and a concert hall. The concert included the violinist Vadim Rapin, the soprano Kathleen Battle, Jiang Jianhua on erhu, and China’s most famous classical artist, Lang Lang. The programme ranged from Offenbach, Saint-Saens, Dvorak, and Puccini to a new piece for organ and orchestra by Ye Xiao Gang and ended with Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Seiji Ozawa conducting the China National Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
In January, Chris is recording in Vienna with the Vienna Philharmonic (Puccini Arias with Violeta Urmana, Plácido Domingo) and Leoncavallo’s opera “Fedora” in Brussels with Plácido Domingo and Angela Gheorghiú, Alberto Veronesi conducting.
2007 Grammy Award Nominations 6th December.
Anna Netrebko’s “The Russian Album” was nominated in the category of ‘Best Vocal Album’. Chris Alder was both Executive and Recording Producer for this disc, which was recorded in the Mariinsky Theatre, St.Petersburg with Valery Gergiev conducting. The winner wil be announced in February 2008.
Three recordings which Chris Alder produced are awarded the ECHO prize, Germany’s most prestigious accoloade in classical music: Best Concerto recording for Pollini’s recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 17 and 21 with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; as Best DVD the DEAG Waldbühne Concert with Netrebko, Domingo and Villazón; and Best Seller the Russian Album with Anna Netrebko and Valery Gergiev conducting the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre.
Often a quiet time of year for recordings because of the Festivals, this year Chris was busy on several projects, including a world première recording of Leoncavallo’s opera I Medici with a cast including Plácido Domingo and Carlos Alvarez, in Florence, Alberto Veronesi conducting (release 2008); in Prague the debut album for DECCA of the outstanding young German tenor Jonas Kaufmann, accompanied by the Prague Philharmonic and Marco Armiliato conducting : TV and DVD production of an Opera Gala from Baden-Baden, with Anna Netrebko, Elina Garanca, Ramon Vargas, Ludovic Tezier, the Südwest Rundfunk Orchester and Marco Armiliato conducting; TV broadcast from Bonn with the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.
A busy month, with recordings of Mozart Piano Concertos in Vienna with the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra and Maurizio Pollini playing and directing; Bach Cantatas in Berlin with Dorothea Röschmann and Thomas Quasthoff, accompanied by the Berliner Barocksolisten directed by Rainer Kussmaul: Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.2 and the Ravel G major Piano Concerto with Yundi Li partnered by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Seiji Ozawa. Chris was the audio producer for a live broadcast for TV and production for DVD of Massenet’s Manon from the Berlin State Opera, starring Anna Netrebko and Rolkando Villazón, conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
The CD of Duets with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón is released internationally. In Germany it enters the pop charts at number 3 and goes straight to the top of the classical charts in several European countries.
Recording of Puccini’s La Bohème in Munich with an all-star cast including Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Nicole Cabell, and Bertrand de Billy conducting the Bavarian State Radio Symphony Orchestra (due for release in early 2008)
At France’s annual “Victoires de la Musique Classique” awards ceremony week, televised in prime time at the end of February, Maurizio Pollini’s recording of Chopin Nocturnes won the prize for “Classical Recording of the Year”
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- Los Angeles: Grammy Award for Chopin’s complete Nocturnes (Maurizio Pollini) – for which Alder was both Executive and Recording Producer – in the category “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance”
- Grammy Award for Intimate Voices (Emerson String Quartet) as “Best Chamber Music Performance” (Chris Alder was Executive Producer, Recording Producer: Da-Hong Seetoo)
Four of Chris Alder’s recordings are nominated for the 49th Annual Grammy awards:
- Chopin’s complete Nocturnes (Maurizio Pollini) – for which Alder was both Executive and Recording Producer – in the category “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance”
- plus three discs for which Alder served as Executive Producer: Intimate Voices (Emerson String Quartet) as “Best Chamber Music Performance”; Consider, My Soul (Betrachte, meine Seel) (Thomas Quasthoff) as “Best Classical Vocal Performance”; and Mozart’s C minor Mass (Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort & Players) as “Best Choral Performance”
- DVD release of this year’s concert from the Berlin Waldbühne, with Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón and Plácido Domingo. It achieves Gold status in Germany within three weeks of release.
- Maurizio Pollini’s recording of the complete Chopin Nocturnes is nominated by French critics as “Record of the Year” (La Victoire de la Musique)
- Anna Netrebko’s Russian Album with the Mariinsky Opera Orchestra under Valery Gergiev is released and enters the German pop charts at number 8 – the highest entry of a classical album since the legendary “3 Tenors” CD in 1990. It achieves Gold status in Germany and Austria in four weeks and easily achieves six-figure sales internationally. Gramophone magazine writes that “the recording, especially the balance between voice and orchestra, is fine throughout. This is the best disc Netrebko has made so far.”
- Gramophone names Mozart’s Zauberflöte conducted by Abbado as “Best Opera Recording” in their annual awards in London.
Release of Mozart Piano Concertos K453 and K467 with Maurizio Pollini playing and directing the Vienna Philharmonic:
“Listening to this new CD…you hear a man in love…. He plays Mozart with real feeling, leading us into the music’s depth, its inner melodies, never content with the surface…the music always moves forward, developing, growing, with the subtlest range of colours …These are performances of conversational intimacy”– The Times (London).
Recording sessions take place in Dresden for the Duet Album of Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón, with the Staatskapelle conducted by Nicola Luisotti. Composers include Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, Massenet, Gounod, Tchaikovsky and Moreno Torroba. Release will be spring 2007.
The Mozart Album is released, a specially recorded collection of the composer’s most famous arias with Anna Netrebko*, Erika Miklósa*, Elina Garanca, Christoph Strehl*, Thomas Quasthoff, Bryn Terfel, René Pape*, Mahler Chamber Orchestra*, Orchestra Mozart*, Claudio Abbado*, Scottish Chamber Orchestra Sir Charles Mackerras, Staatskapelle Dresden, Sebastian Weigle. Elina Garanca
* Christopher Alder, producer
International release of Die Zauberflöte with a brilliant young cast and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra recorded in conjunction with performances at the Teatro Comunale of Modena.
“It is Abbado’s conducting that compels attention, making this as good as any new version of Zauberflöte released on disc since Otto Klemperer’s set more than 40 years ago.” – The Guardian (London)
“It’s hard to remain level-headed with the sound of Claudio Abbado’s new version of Die Zauberflöte – recorded in Modena last year during his tour of the work – ringing in the ears…Every bar matters, and every detail is considered afresh…It doesn’t matter how many Zauberflöte recordings you own, you will need this one too.” – Opera (London)
“Clear-textured, articulate and wondrously natural…You will seldom hear such unmannered and graceful Mozart playing.” – The New York Times
“Claudio Abbado leads this “live” performance of The Magic Flute with a nimble, light hand, stressing the playful elements of the score and turning the experience into a sheer delight…Excellent sonics.” – Classics Today.com
- JONAS KAUFMANN
- JONAS KAUFMANN - ANTONIO PAPPANO
- JONAS KAUFMANN HELMUT DEUTSCH
- LANG LANG