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IN 0876
AXELROD, F.: Brandenburg Fantasias Nos. 1-6 (Ensemble Nouvelle Epoque, Axelrod)

AXELROD, F.: Brandenburg Fantasias Nos. 1-6 (Ensemble Nouvelle Epoque, Axelrod)

The Classical Shop
release date: July 2014

Originally recorded in 2013


Lawrence Axelrod


Ensemble Nouvelle Epoque


Mary Stolper


Janice MacDonald


Desiree Ruhstrat


Caroline Pittman


Andrew Nogal


Ensemble Nouvelle Epoque


Record Label




Total Time - 56:16
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AXELROD, F.: Brandenburg Fantasias Nos. 1-6 (Ensemble Nouvelle Epoque, Axelrod)

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Brandenburg Fantasia No. 1

1 mm=54 - mm=69 - 05:19
2 Allegro ma non troppo 02:01
 Ensemble Nouvelle Epoque Ensemble

Brandenburg Fantasia No. 2

3 I. Murmurando e misterioso 03:43
4 II. mm=52 04:05
5 III. Con forza 02:51
 Mary Stolper Soloist
  Desiree Ruhstrat Soloist

Brandenburg Fantasia No. 3

6 Percussive and strident - Andante - 05:45
7 Movendo con forza 01:50
 Ensemble Nouvelle Epoque Ensemble

Brandenburg Fantasia No. 4, "in tempore belli"

 Janice MacDonald Soloist
  Caroline Pittman Soloist

Brandenburg Fantasia No. 5

9 I. Furioso - 01:58
10 II. Lento - 03:10
11 III. Andante - 03:39
12 IV. Cadenzas - 02:51
13 V. Tempo primo 01:26
 Ensemble Nouvelle Epoque Ensemble

Brandenburg Fantasia No. 6

14 I. Con brio - 03:21
15 II. mm=60 - 02:51
16 III. Passacaglia (mm=76 - poco piu mosso - ancora piu mosso - ancora piu mosso) 05:20
 Mary Stolper Soloist
  Andrew Nogal Soloist
  Lawrence Axelrod Conductor

In 2002, Chicago musician Lawrence Axelrod decided to write a series of works that would be companion pieces to each of J.S. Bach’s celebrated Brandenburg concerti. These would not be Baroque pastiche, but rather take their inspiration from the great possibilities inherent in Bach’s uniquely varied orchestration, placing him into a bustling tradition of composers such as Lukas Foss, John Tavener and Wendy Carlos who have re-imagined or reacted to the master’s works.

Written over the course of four years, the Six Fantasias were first and foremost an engaging compositional challenge. The very specific combinations of instruments stretched Axelrod’s imagination for sound possibilities. They also ended up providing an interesting and surprising addition to his compositional output for chamber orchestra and ensembles.

The parameters set by Bach’s orchestration made this project almost like a series of large etudes; it was a matter of discovering how to work within these constraints and make convincing and thoroughly new music. The resulting Fantasias were entirely different in both length and effect. The moods of the compositions range from searching and melancholy (No. 4 and the second movement of No. 2), to ethereal and floating (the opening of No. 1) to wildly virtuosic (the third movement of No. 2 and the first movement of No. 6). Compositional techniques are equally varied, shifting from aleatoric passages and extended techniques to fugue, passacaglia, and recitative.

Mr. Axelrod is equally at home as composer, pianist and conductor. As a composer, he has had works performed by Pinotage, The Lincoln Trio, The Duo Ahlert/Schwab, the Ensemble JungeMusik Berlin and The Verdi String Quartet in recent seasons. In the dual capacities of pianist and composer, he has presented concerts around the United States and internationally, including venues in Germany, Sweden, Cuba and South Africa. His compositions have been performed on composers’ festival concerts around the United States.

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