Dutch Hidden Gems

Anna Fedorova, Dana Zemtsov, Phion Orchestra of Gelderland & Overijssel, Shizuo Kuwahara

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Original Recording Format: DSD 256
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Dutch Hidden Gems features a wonderful little treasure chest overflowing with musical gems for the viola, all composed in Holland in the twentieth century. It includes the first recording of the Concertino for Viola and Orchestra composed by Jan Koetsier.

Even more delightful is the thought that these pieces and their four composers abide in the twilight of Dutch musical life and seldom if ever come to the attention of soloists and orchestras. They spotlight a beautiful solo instrument – the viola – which is not exactly seen as the prima donna of the podium, and which usually occupies a modest place as a middle voice in the orchestra or string quartet.

Dana Zemtsov: “As a violist, a big mission in my professional life is to disproof the general misconception that the repertoire written for my instrument is limited. There is still so much that has not yet been played or recorded, so much to be explored or reinterpreted. It is such an interesting journey to evaluate the worth of a forgotten or lost work (as the Koetsier Viola Concerto and Badings Sonata for Viola & Piano) because at such a stage, the willingness of the artist to search and to discover what is in the pages is just as important as what might later be considered to be the objective worth of the piece. It is in this spirit of discovery and excitement that I would like to present this new album to my fellow violists, music lovers, and all those who are curious and eager for musical surprises. This album is also a homage to the Netherlands, a country which I love dearly, which has o ered me so many possibilities and where I always feel welcome and at home.”

Dana Zemtsov – Viola
Anna Fedorova – Piano
Phion Orchestra of Gelderland & Overijssel
Shizuo Kuwahara, Conductor

Tracklist

1.
Badings: Viola Concerto: I. Quasi lento
11:51
2.
Badings: Viola Concerto: II. Adagio
06:27
3.
Badings: Viola Concerto: III. Allegro molto
05:30
4.
Werkman: Pavane for Viola and Orchestra
05:25
5.
Koetsier: Concertino for Viola and Orchestra: I. Allegro energico
03:37
6.
Koetsier: Concertino for Viola and Orchestra: II. Andante cantabile
04:33
7.
Koetsier: Concertino for Viola and Orchestra: III. Lento quasi recitativo
04:38
8.
Badings: Sonate for Viola and Piano: I. Allegro
08:42
9.
Badings: Sonate for Viola and Piano: II. Largo
06:06
10.
Badings: Sonate for Viola and Piano: III. Vivace
05:13
11.
Bosmans: Arietta - Largo
02:58

Total time: 01:05:00

Additional information

Label

SKU

41222

Qualities

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Channels

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Artists

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Composers

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Genres

,

Analog to Digital Converter

Horus, Merging Technologies at DSD 256

Assistant Recording Engineer

Paul de Vught

Cables

Van den Hul, exclusive use of Van den Hul 3T cables

Conductor

Shizuo Kuwahara

Mastering Engineer

Jared Sacks

Mastering Room

Grimm LS1 Loudspeakers, Van den Hul Cables, exclusive use of Van den Hul 3T cables

Microphones

Brüel & Kjær 4006, Schoeps

NativeDSD Exclusive

Exclusively Available in Stereo and 5 Channel DSD 256, DSD 128, DSD 64 & DXD plus Stereo DSD 512 at NativeDSD

Instruments

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Original Recording Format

Preamps

Rens Heijnis, custom design

Producer

Jared Sacks

Recording Engineer

Jared Sacks

Recording Location

Muziekcentrum Enschede, MCO in Hilversum, The Netherlands during March 2021

Recording Software

Pyramix Workstation, Merging Technologies

Release Date February 10, 2022

Press reviews

NRC 4 out of 5

De componisten, van wie alleen de in 1960 geboren Anne Werkman nog leeft, hebben in Zemtsov (1992) met haar nu eens gulle, dan weer elegante toon en solistische temperament een ideaal pleitbezorgster. (…) Een corona-pareltje, deze cd.

The composers, of whom only Anne Werkman, born in 1960, is still alive, have an ideal advocate in Zemtsov (1992), with her sometimes generous, sometimes elegant tone and soloistic temperament. (…) A corona gem, this CD.

Musicalifeiten

(…) Wanneer zich dan bovendien nog iemand van haar kaliber zich voor deze composities inzet en het klinkend resultaat zo mooi is, mogen we haar heel dankbaar zijn. Alle waardering ook voor de inzet van pianiste Anna Fedorova en het Phion orkest onder Shizuo Z Kuwahara.

(…) If, moreover, someone of her [Dana Zemtsov’s] caliber is committed to these compositions and the sounding result is so beautiful, we can be very grateful to her. Huge appreciation, too, for the efforts of pianist Anna Fedorova and the Phion orchestra under Shizuo Kuwahara.

HRAudio / NativeDSD

Dana Zemstov demonstrates that the viola can say things the violin cannot. As an eminently accomplished player, she displays the power to communicate with her instrument the sometimes ugly, sometimes compassionate shades of the concerto to perfection. Dana doesn’t play to please, she plays to convince; to draw the listener into her world of vivid imagination, to which Badings provides all the tools she needs to that effect. This is a performance on no account to be missed.

Het Parool

Voor Zemtsov telt duidelijk slechts de muziek, die ze met grote overtuigingskracht voor het voetlicht brengt.

For Zemtsov clearly only the music counts, which she exhibits with great persuasiveness.

De Volkskrant

Aan haar instrument weet ze een hele waaier aan klanken te ontlokken, van smeltend warm tot ijl en unheimisch. Hier etaleert ze haar veelzijdige virtuositeit in vrijwel onbekend Nederlands repertoire. De titel, ‘Nederlandse verborgen juwelen’, blijkt geen overdrijving te zijn.

Dana Zemtsov manages to elicit a whole range of sounds from her instrument, from melting warm to rarefied and eerie. Here she displays her versatile virtuosity in virtually unknown Dutch repertoire. The title, ‘Dutch hidden gems’, turns out to be no exaggeration.

De Gelderlander 5 out of 5

Zemtsov en Fedorova voelen de muzikale verdieping perfect aan en presenteren momenten waarop de twee instrumenten op een bedwelmende wijze samensmelten en kleuren en bewegingen naadloos in elkaar overlopen. (…) Met Shizuo Kuwahara op de bok is ook hier sprake van een optimale samenwerking.

Zemtsov and Fedorova sense the musical depth perfectly and present moments where the two instruments merge in an intoxicating way, and colors and movements flow seamlessly into each other. (…) Under the baton of Shizuo Z Kuwahara, this is an optimal collaboration.

Trouw

De prachtig aarzelende, maar zinderende toon van Dana Zemtsovs instrument trekken je oren meteen het Altvioolconcert van Henk Badings in. (…) Phion en dirigent Shizuo Z Kuwahara begeleiden Zemtsov mooi.

The beautifully hesitant, but blistering tone of Dana Zemtsov’s instrument immediately draws your ears into Henk Badings’ Viola Concerto. (…) Phion and conductor Shizuo Z Kuwahara accompany Zemtsov beautifully.

Cultuurpakt (BE)

Een CD vol zalige ontdekkingen, romantiek en experiment.

A CD full of blissful discoveries, romance and experiment.

Positive Feedback

This new recording by the ever-excellent Dana Zemtsov offers much to savor, particularly with the rich, resonant tonal qualities of her viola brought front and center. And the sound quality provided by Jared Sacks is a true sonic joy, as usual.

This album is filled with music new to me from four Dutch composers working in the twentieth century, one of whom is still writing today. Tonal, complex, and inventive, I’ve found this music thoroughly engaging. And the performances by violist Dana Zemtsov are superb, as always.

Overall, Dana Zemtsov’s programming for this album is quite wonderful. It overflows with musical gems for the viola, all composed in the Netherlands in the 20th century. These works highlight a beautiful solo instrument, the viola, which rarely holds the spotlight but instead generally occupies a discreet place as the middle voice in the orchestra or the string quartet.

Highly recommended.

NativeDSD Blog

Dana Zemtsov says that there is no real shortage of good viola music. Despite general belief to the contrary, with this new release of rarely heard pieces, I tend to agree with her statement. On the other hand, and for all sorts of reasons, it is perhaps not so much a matter of shortage of compositions but rather a shortage of good viola players that explains why we have so few solo viola recordings. Why is that so, one may wonder? Lack of interest in this instrument?

The fact that the viola is neither violin nor cello, but no more than an ‘inconspicuous instrument in the middle’ may be a reason for making it less attractive for talented and ambitious youth. It is Possible.

At 30, Dana Zemtsov has already joined the superior ranks of such star players like Yury Bashmet, Kim Kahskashian, Antoine Tamestit (in no particular order nor claiming completeness), and my all-time favorite: Tabea Zimmermann.

And then there is the story of PHION, Orchestra of Gelderland & Overijssel. Ever heard of it? Neither had I. Another surprise. It was interesting to learn that not so long ago they were two provincial orchestras in the Netherlands. One, The Netherlands Symphony Orchestra (Overijssel) which harvested fame with Jan Willem de Vriend on the rostrum; the other one being The Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra (Gelderland) with which Martin Sieghart recorded a brilliant ‘Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde’ (Exton). Financial difficulties brought (forced?) them together. Nowhere does it say that only the best players of each were selected, but without having to assume that such has been the case, the result, as we can now ‘ear’-witness, is not bad at all!

And to complete the exploration into the unknown, the conductor, Shizuo Z Kuwahara, invited to lead PHION in this recording, may not yet be a household name for many, but can on evidence be seen as one of those new and coming conductors with a fast and amazing learning curve. We will never know how many hours of repetition were consumed before the music was entrusted to Jared Sacks recording equipment, but here we get a performance that does justice to the quality of soloist and orchestral players.

Though being a thoroughly respectable conductor/composer, and Jan Koetsiers’ resurfaced viola concertina an attractive work of musical art – and glad that it is now on record – it is Badings’ viola concerto with which Dana Zemtsov made on me the most profound impression. She demonstrates that the viola can say things the violin cannot. As an eminently accomplished player, she displays the power to communicate with her instrument the sometimes ugly, sometimes compassionate shades of the concerto to perfection. Dana doesn’t play to please, she plays to convince; to draw the listener into her world of vivid imagination, to which Badings provides all the tools she needs to that effect. This is a performance on no account to be missed.

All these elements come together in Henk Badings’ Sonata for Viola and Piano, where Dana Zemtsov, is so endearingly accompanied by another favorite of mine, the Ukrainian born pianist, Anna Fedorova, assisting her in ‘digging’ up and serving out a Violin Sonata that merits to find its rightful place among the prominence in its genre.

Summing it up: Readers will by now be aware that I regard the viola as an instrument that deserves full recognition for its supreme means of expressing emotional moods in all its forms on condition that the player is up to the task. Dana Zemtsov is such a violist.

In the world of streaming services, people seldom realize what they miss. Yes, sound quality does matter. Thanks, Jared. If your gear is up to the mark, download the best resolution it can handle. The recording and, better still, the artists are worth it.

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