Asier Polo & Eldar Nebolsin
Thus, the music of Brahms, regardless of tastes, trends or aesthetic currents, is already part of the whisper of history. It does not need defenders, it does not concern detractors. It just stays. This recording that is presented here breathes nobility. Nobility in the message of Brahms’s work and nobility in an interpretation that also starts from an absolute devotion to the music of two performers in a moment of full artistic maturity. There are no hesitations here either, the ideas are clearly and emphatically exposed, everything emerges and develops as if there were no other possibility of interpretation. Pure music that demands a total surrender and that parts from the deep knowledge of the Brahmsian language that the interpreters display at all times.
Considered by the specialist music press as one of the most important cellists of his generation, Asier Polo has worked with many of the major international orchestras, such as the Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionalle della RAI, Dresdner Philharmonie, Orchestre de Paris, BBC Philharmonic, Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Symphoniker, Orquesta Nacional de México, Orquesta Sinfónica de Sao Paulo, Louisiana Philharmonic, Spanish National Orchestra and the Basel Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of distinguished conductors such as John Axelrod, Pinchas Steinberg, Christian Badea, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Claus Peter Flor, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Günther Herbig, Juanjo Mena, Antoni Wit and Anne Manson. He is a regular guest at prestigious festivals, such as those held in Schleswig-Holstein, Nantes, Ohrid, Biennale di Venezia, Rome, Lisbon, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Morelia, Granada and the Quincena Musical in San Sebastián. He has appeared with great artists such as Silvia Marcovici, Nicolás Chumachenco, Sol Ga-betta, Maxim Rysanov, Isabelle van Keulen, Josep Colom, Eldar Nebolsin, Gerard Caussé, Cuarteto Janácek, Cuarte-to Casals and Alfredo Kraus, who in the last years of his career invited him to perform as soloist at his concerts, with engagements at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London, Tonhalle in Zurich and the prestigious Musikverein in Vienna, as well as a successful tour in the major concerts halls in Japan. He is devoted to contemporary music, especially from his native country. Always in demand to perform new compositions, he has a great interest in repertoire that is somewhat unknown by the general public (for example works by Tomás Marco and Carmelo Bernaola). Composers such as Gabriel Erkoreka, Jesús Torres, Luis de Pablo, Jesús Villa-Rojo, Fernando Velázquez and Antón García Abril have all dedicated their cello concertos to Asier Polo. He enjoys combining modern music with the great classical repertoire, covering everything from Bach’s Suites, classical and romantic concertos, to contemporary music such as Dutilleux, Cristobal Halffter and Sofia Gubaidulina. He has recorded 17 albums for major record labels such as Naxos, Claves, RTVE, IBS Classical and Marco Polo, playing some of the major Spanish repertoire for cello, such as the concertos by Usandizaga, Rodrigo, Escudero, Marco, Bernaola and Rueda. Highlights include the nominated for the Gramophon Editor’s Choice Award CD dedicated to the work of the composer Sofía Gubaidulina (Et’cetera Records) and the recording of the “Ecos y Sombras” (Echoes and Shades) DVD dedicated to Cristóbal Halffter, performing his Cello Concerto Nº2 with the Spanish National Orchestra (Koala KPA 111), as well as Rachmaninov and C. Frank’s Sonatas withe the pianist Marta Zabaleta and Brahms’ Cello Sonatas with the pianist Eldar Nebolsin (IBS Classical). Two new albums will soon been released with the Spanish National Orchestra, conducted by Juanjo Mena: Joaquín Rodrigo’s two cello concertos, “Concierto como un Divertimento” and “Concierto in modo Galante”, as well as Alberto Ginastera’s second Cello Concerto, Op.50 (1980). Asier Polo studied in Bilbao, Madrid, Cologne and Basel with Elisa Pascu, María Kliegel and Ivan Monighetti, and also received guidance from János Starker, Natalia Gutman and Mstislav Rostropovich in various masterclasses. He soon stood out as a promising young musician, winning the first prizes in Cello and Chamber Music at the National Young Musicians Competition in Spain. Asier Polo has been awarded numerous prizes, and amongst others, the “Ojo Crítico” by Radio Nacional de España (2002) and the Fundación CEOE Prize for Musical Interpretation (2004). In 2009 he was appointed “Ilustre de Bilbao” (Bilbao being his native city). He is regularly invited to be on the judging panel of international cello competitions, such as the Dotzauer Wettbewerb (Germany), Carlos Prieto International Cello Competition (México), Benedetto Mazzacurati Competition (Italy) and the Manhattan International Music Competition (New York). He also gives masterclasses in many countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil. Asier Polo plays a Francesco Ruggeri cello (Cremona, 1689) purchased in collaboration with the Fundación Banco Santander.
Described by the Gramophone Magazine as “virtuoso of power and poetry”, Eldar Nebolsin is considered one of the most versatile and interesting musicians of his generation. A former student of renowned Russian pianist and teacher Dmitri Bashkirov. His debut album, Rachmaninov’s Preludes op 23 and 32 earned from ClassicsToday the praise “close to stunning … Nebolsin’s is a truly exceptional excursion into the music of Rachmaninov “, while his second album released the following year, both Liszt Piano Concertos and Totentanz with the Liverpool Philharmonic and Vasily Petrenko, earned top place on Naxos’ Bestseller’s Digital Platform for six consecutive months. The next albums for Naxos were Ernst von Dohnanyi’s Variations of Nursery Theme, with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and JoAnn Falletta , Chopin’s complete works for piano and orchestra with the Warsaw Philharmonic and Antoni Wit, a solo album of works by Schubert, and the Lopes-Graça Piano Concertos with Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto and Matthias Bamert. The three piano quartets by Brahms coupled with Mahler’s piano Quartet were followed by two albums released by Naxos in collaboration with Spectrum Concerts Berlin – albums of Arensky and Sculhoff’s Chamber Works. Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Concert Fantasia with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Michael Stern received stunning reviews declaring it to be the definitive version of this repertoire. Earlier recordings include two albums for Decca – a solo works by Chopin and Liszt, and Chopin’s Piano Concerto with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Some of Eldar’s more recent engagements are re-invitations to the Buffalo and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras, his debuts with the Kansas City Symphony, Helsinki and Turku Philharmonics and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras, an all-Liszt evening in Lisbon with Jaime Martin, continuing chamber collaborations with Janine Jansen and Friends in Utrecht and with Spectrum Concerts at the Philharmonie, Berlin, a recital tour in Canada and USA with Eldar’s frequent partner, Maxim Rysanov, viola, as well as his debut with MDR Symphony Orchestra and Jun Mäarkl at the Gewandhaus Leipzig, and a tour throughout Spain performing Liszt’s 2nd Piano concerto with the Royal Seville Philharmonic Orchestra. Eldar also returns regularly to perform with London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, most recently sharing the stage with Josep Caballé-Domenech, while he enjoyed debuts in both recital and concerto repertoire in Berlin’s Konzerthaus, in Budapest, Winterthur, Brisbane, and in Taiwan. In the Chamber Music field, Eldar collobarates with some of the world’s most renowned musicians such Julian Rachlin, Maxim Rysanov, Alexey Ogrintchouk, Ilya Grintgolts or Gustav Rivinius. Recent chamber music engagements include performances with the Leipziger Streichquartett, Barnabas Kelemen, Miklos Perennyi, Alexander Melnikov and Wolfgang Emmanuel Schmidt. In 2005 Eldar Nebolsin was unanimously awarded the Sviatoslav Richter Prize in the 1st edition of the International Piano Competition in Moscow where he was also honored with the special Award for the best Classical Concerto performance. During the 09/010 season Eldar enjoyed the honor of being Artist in Residence for Musis Sacrum in Arnhem. Eldar’s earlier international performances have taken him to the stages of some of the most famous orchestras of the world – New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sankt Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra with outstanding conductors such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Ricardo Chally, Yuri Temirkanov, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Dutoit, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vasili Petrenko, Nikolaj Alexeev, Vladimir Spivakov or Lawrence Foster amongst many others. From 2012 Eldar has held the position of Professor of Piano at the Hanns Eisler Musik Hochschule, Berlin where he now lives. He previously lived in Spain and for the last 11 years held a place on the faculty of the International Institute of Chamber Music in Madrid teaching alongside Ralf Gothoni where he regularly presents master classes both in piano solo repertoire and chamber music.”