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“An Emperor which offers increasing musical dividends – an unmissable bargain … There are plenty of big-name Emperors around, but this latest entry holds its own against any competition. Yefim Bronfman’s touch is light and fleet, while he, David Zinman and the Tonhalle Orchestra form a warmly responsive partnership.” – GRAMOPHONE EDITOR’S CHOICE
Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 1958, Yefim Bronfman immigrated to Israel at the age of thirteen and later to the U.S., where he pursued his training at the Juilliard School and the Marlboro and Curtis Institutes under Rudolf Serkin, Rudolf Firkusny, and Leon Fleisher. Bronfman celebrated his international dÃ©but in 1975, accompanied by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under Zubin Mehta. He soon acquired an excellent reputation as a pianist on the stages of the world’s major concert halls. Highlights of recent years include concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, and the Vienna Philharmonic. Yefim Bronfman also gives regular piano recitals in the leading concert halls of the United States, Europe, and the Far East. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with the Emerson, Cleveland, Guarneri, and Juilliard Quartets. Other long-term musical partners include Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Lynn Harrell, Shlomo Mintz, and Pinchas Zukerman. Born in 1936, American conductor David Zinman has risen to the pinnacle of his career in the last decade. After bringing the Baltimore Symphony to major status, he became musical director of the Aspen Music Festival and then took the helm of Zurich’s beloved Tonhalle Orchestra. Zinman’s discography of some one hundred recordings has won five Grammys and two Grands Prix du Disque. Ever since 1999, when the Tonhalle Orchestra was awarded the German Record Critics’ Award for its seminal recording of all Beethoven’s symphonies, the oldest symphony orchestra in Switzerland has been the focus of international interest. Under the leadership of David Zinman, the Tonhalle Orchestra has undertaken a number of successful concert tours throughout Europe, the U.S., and Japan. In addition to its concerts at home and its touring schedule, the orchestra and Zinman are devoting increasing time to recording projects. Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto is the most dramatic of his five piano concertos, and one of the most popular in the entire genre. First performed in 1812, it is still a concert staple. First-time listeners to Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy” are inevitably taken aback by its similarities to the far more famous final movement of the Ninth Symphony, and indeed it was to become a sort of model or study for that magnificent finale. The “Choral Fantasy” was especially written for a mammoth concert of Beethoven’s works given in December of 1808. Seldom heard in concert today, Beethoven’s dramatic choral piece Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage was composed in 1814/15 to two poems by Goethe, and dedicated to the great German poet who received a copy of the score from Beethoven in 1822, the year of its first performance.