“My enthusiasm flows towards the heritage of the phenomenal Cremonese violins. After showcasing the wonderful violins by Antonio Stradivari, c1718, the ‘ex Deszö Szigeti/ex Benno Walter’ and by Guarneri del Gesù, c1724, the ‘Caspar Hauser’ (private edition), it is my pleasure to present another violin by Antonio Stradivari, the ‘Irish Burgundy’, c1694. The violin concerto by Ludwig van Beethoven presents a wonderful platform for this instrument with its warm and clear sound, and most especially for the great violinist Oleg Kaskiv, professor at the International Menuhin Music Academy. Perfected by a masterfully executed recording, this CD presents an excellent Mix for any audiophile who is interested in the beauty of the great Cremonese violins.”
ANTONIO STRADIVARI (1644 –1737)
Antonio Stradivari is universally regarded as the greatest of all violin makers.
The combination of tonal qualities, visual beauty and mastery of workmanship of his instruments has never been surpassed. The striking varnish that has a great influence on the quality and power of his violins is a secret to this day. The golden period of Antonio Stradivari (defined as from 1700–1720) led to the ultimate development of his ingenious work. The chosen tone woods are beautifully flamed maple backs in one or two pieces. The shape of the violins became broader and the varnish took on the well-known brilliant orange-brown colour. The sound of these instruments is usually characterized by great richness, colour and power.
Michael A. Baumgartner
THE INSTRUMENT: A VIOLIN BY ANTONIO STRADIVARI (1644–1737)
The outstanding genius of the luthier’s art in Cremona was Antonio Stradivari. The resounding miracle of sound embodied by his instruments was probably only understood in its profundity by Stradivari himself, who is considered part of the Amati school. In Antonio Stradivari’s oeuvre, three periods are distinguished; the ‘Irish Burgundy’ belongs to the second one, when he made his long pattern violins (1686–1698).
During that time he combined the mellow, soulful sound of Amati instruments with the powerful sound of Maggini violins. The master’s increasing wealth enabled him to obtain the best materials. The wood of these violins is excellent, the backs being most beautifully grained and the soundboards made of especially slow-grown spruce. It was presumably also during this time that he found the recipe for his varnish, a secret to this day, which has a transparent luminance and changed from its earlier dark yellow to a more brilliant reddish colour. The ‘Irish Burgundy’ exemplifies all the above-named qualities.
Michael A. Baumgartner
VIOLINIST OLEG KASKIV
Oleg Kaskiv was born in 1978 into a family of musicians in the small Ukrainian village of Kremenetz.
He started playing the violin at the age of seven under the guidance of his violinist parents and later entered the M. Lysenko National Academy of Music in Lviv.
In 1996, he won a scholarship to study in Switzerland at the famous International Menuhin Music Academy (IMMA), founded by Lord Yehudi Menuhin in 1977. At the Academy, Oleg’s great mentor was Professor Alberto Lysy (educated directly by Lord Yehudi Menuhin and his only student), who passed on the great romantic violin playing to him.
Today, Oleg Kaskiv is a soloist and lead violin professor at the IMMA. He has also taught at the Conservatoire de Genève since 2007.
As a soloist, Oleg Kaskiv performs regularly with great success in his native country with the National Symphony of Ukraine, Odessa Philharmonic and Lviv Philharmonic Symphony Orchestras as well as worldwide with the Camerata Lysy, Camerata de Lausanne, Symphonisches Orchester Zürich, Orchestre National de Belgique, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden.
He is a laureate of many prestigious violin competitions: Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition (Belgium), International Oistrakh Competition (Ukraine), International Kotorovych Violin Competition (Ukraine), International Spohr Competition (Germany), Montreal International Musical Competition (Canada), Premio Lipizer (Italy), International Niredgazi Violin Competition (Japan), International Dvarionas Competition (Lithuania) and International Molinari Competition (Switzerland).
THE CONDUCTOR: ARIEL ZUCKERMANN
Ariel Zuckermann was born in Israel and studied conducting with Jorma Panula at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, graduating from the Musikhochschule München as a student of Bruno Weil. In 2007, he was nominated Chief Conductor of the wellknown Georgian Chamber Orchestra in Ingoldstadt.
As early as 2003 he was appointed assistant of Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra where he acquired a broad repertoire. In the mean time he worked with many orchestras around the world, including the Young Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
He started his career as a flutist and won several international competitions, promoted by his teachers Alain Marion and Aurèle Nicolet. With his ensemble ‘Kolsimcha‘ he recorded the electrifying program ‘Contemporary Klezmer’ with the London Symphony Orchestra.
THE ORCHESTRA: THE GSTAAD FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA
The Gstaad Festival Orchestra (GFO, www.gstaadfestivalorchestra.ch) is made up of the best musicians from Switzerland‘s leading orchestras like the Tonhalle Orchestra and Philharmonia Zürich, the Chamber Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra Basel and the Bern Symphony Orchestra. Furthermore some of the best students from Swiss and international academies are added as invited guests. Its concert master is Vlad Stanculeasa, long-standing concert master at the Göteborg Symphony Orchestra and educated by Alberto Lysy, as Oleg Kaskiv or Pierre Amoyal.
The aim is to bring the highquality sound and famous musical spirit of the top Swiss orchestras together, creating a process of dialogue between the musicians and and at the same time assembling a dynamic, unique-sounding orchestra every year.
Since 2014 the GFO is ‘Orchestra in Residence’ at the Gstaad Conducting Academy consisting of 15 international young conductors lead by professors like Jaap van Zweden, Neeme Järvi, Johannes Schlaefli, Leonid Grin and Gennady Rozhdestvensky.
Christoph Müller, Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy AG