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CD Review

Alexander Prior


  • Concerto for 2 Violins, Cello, Piano & Orchestra
Zhang Xiao Ming, piano
Michael Province & Simon Porter, violin
Nathan Chan, cello
The Northern Sinfonia/Alexander Prior
Toccata Classics TOCC0109 47m DDD
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In Spring of 2008, BBC Channel 4 embarked on an undertaking aimed at giving viewers an insight into the mind and lives of some of the most gifted young contemporary musicians. The ultimate task finally fell on the 16-year-old composer and conductor, Alexander Prior, who in his turn toured the globe in search of the most prolific young musical talents to perform a specially written concerto.

After many auditions, the chosen prodigies were revealed; Chinese pianist Zhang Xiao Ming, American cellist Nathan Chan and violinists Simon Porter and Michael province. With the search at an end, Prior was now faced with the task of writing a piece for the four young wonders to perform and the result is "Velesslavista" which translated means "Glory to Veles", the Slavic God of Music.

In the composer's own words, this concerto was conceived to reflect the inner world and personalities of the soloists as well as those pertaining to his own character. The group lived and rehearsed together in the 16th century Eshott Hall, and by the time of their live recording at the sage, Gateshead, everything had gelled into place. This stunning recording is the result of months of hard work and a living testimony of a truly triumphant evening highlighting five of today's most promising musical geniuses. With performances such as this, music's future is thoroughly assured and every genuine music lover should feel indebted to both Channel 4 and Toccata Classics for having the courage to invest in such prodigies and such an originally vital artistic venture.

Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech