INTRODUCING: THROUGH THE LENS OF TIME
"Richter’s Four Seasons Recomposed awoke a renewed commitment to my musical approach focused on instinct and emotion. It brought me back to my own beginnings, as The Four Seasons was one of the few cassettes that my family would play in the car when I was a young boy. During the performance, Carlos Izcaray and I found that we both shared the same energetic approach to music making. It became clear that we both loved performing this piece too much not to do so again"
- Francisco Fullana on his first performance of Max Richter’s masterpiece with Venezuelan conductor Carlos Izcaray
Exploring four perspectives on the Baroque tradition
The Spanish violinist Francisco Fullana will release his debut recording in March 2018 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Entitled Through the Lens of Time, the recording brings together four modern perspectives reimagining the Baroque tradition: a dialogue that prompts both composers and performers to explore musical giants of the past and place them in their own lives.
The recording begins with Max Richter’s daring reworking of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which Fullana first performed in 2016 under Venezuelan conductor Carlos Izcaray, who also conducts this debut recording. Fullana comments: “Richter’s Four Seasons Recomposed awoke a renewed commitment to my musical approach focused on instinct and emotion. It brought me back to my own beginnings, as The Four Seasons was one of the few cassettes that my family would play in the car when I was a young boy. During the performance, Carlos Izcaray and I found that we both shared the same energetic approach to music making. It became clear that we both loved performing this piece too much not to do so again.”
The recording continues with three other works that provide unique takes on the Baroque tradition. The Korean-German Isang Yun’s Königliches Thema pays homage to Bach's Musical Offering, conflating Baroque and modern styles in one densely rich composition that magically surveys Western musical tradition through the lens of Eastern philosophies. Meanwhile, Schnittke’s Suite in the Old Style presents a combination of different aspects of the Western tradition from Baroque onward, and is heavily influenced by the musical aesthetic of the composers’ own time. As such, the writing represents a sort of time capsule, portraying what “Baroque style” meant to performers in the 1970s, with exaggerated gestures, verticality, and highlighting the sense of drama to the point of becoming ceremonial.
Finally, Salvador Brotons’ Variations on a Baroque Theme hearken to the roots of Fullana's career, and to his first performance before the public as a nine-year-old prodigy soloing in Mozart's Turkish A Major Concerto, under Broton's baton. The one-time mentor composed his set of variations specifically for this project, completing a circle by basing the work on a popular aria from the zarzuela, Acis Y Galatea, by a third Spaniard, the 18th Century Mallorcan composer Antoni Lliteres.
About Francisco Fullana
Described as “an amazing talent“ (maestro Gustavo Dudamel) Francisco Fullana is making a name for himself as both a performer and as a leader of innovative educational institutions. His active performing schedule has included a Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Bayerische Philharmonie, under the baton of the late Sir Colin Davis, the Sibelius Concerto with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, and a Brahms Concerto led by Señor Dudamel at Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar Hall. He has soloed with the Vancouver, Pacific, Alabama, Maryland, Madrid and Hof Symphonies and the Spanish Radio Television Orchestra, while collaborating with such noted conductors as Davis, Dudamel, and also Alondra de la Parra, Christoph Poppen, Jeannette Sorrell, and Josh Weilerstein. As well as the release of his debut recording, 2018 will see Fullana make his debut as a soloist with the Castilla y Leon Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
About Carlos Izcaray
The Venezuelan born Carlos Izcaray is Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and of the American Youth Symphony. As widely praised conductor, he has led performances of ensembles around the world, including the St. Louis, North Carolina and Grand Rapids Symphonies, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orquesta Sinfónica Venezuela, Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá, the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra and Sweden’s Malmö Symfoniorkester, among many others. His operatic work includes performances with the Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Opera Omaha, and in particular the Wexford Festival Opera (Ireland), where he has led several productions, in 2010 conducting the 19th century tragedia lirica Virginia that won Best Opera prize at the Irish Theater Awards. He is also a distinguished cellist.
Born in Caracas, Izcaray began studies in conducting in his teens. He is an alumnus of the Interlochen Arts Academy, the New World School of the Arts, and Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He won top prizes at the 2007 Aspen Music Festival and at the 2008 Toscanini International Conducting Competition. He has taught in his nation’s renowned El Sistema, while working with educational institutions throughout the Americas and British Isles.
About The City of Birmingham
The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra gives over 130 concerts each year in Birmingham, throughout the UK, and around the world, playing music that ranges from classics to contemporary, to film music and more. The orchestra, steeped in commitment to its home city and the Midlands, dates to a first concert in 1920, conducted by Sir Edward Elgar. Ever since, through war, recessions, social change and civic renewal, the CBSO has served the city of Birmingham. Under principal conductors including Adrian Boult, George Weldon, Andrzej Panufnik and Louis Frémaux, the CBSO won an artistic reputation that spread far beyond the Midlands. But it was when it discovered the young British conductor Simon Rattle in 1980 that the CBSO became internationally famous – and showed how the arts can help give a new sense of direction to a whole city.
Rattle’s successors have helped cement that global reputation, and continued to build on the CBSO’s tradition. As the only professional symphony orchestra in its region, the orchestra has travelled to Japan and the United Arab Emirates in recent seasons, and in December 2016 the CBSO made its debut tour of China. Its recordings continue to win acclaim. In 2008, the CBSO’s recording of Saint-Saëns’ complete piano concertos was named the best classical recording of the last 30 years by Gramophone.