A.A. Cristi. Crowning a parade of highly positive reviews for their first two recent recordings under Music Director Robert Trevino - 'Ravel' and 'Americascapes' - the Basque National Orchestra have been given the orchestra of the month spot in this month's issue of Gramophone.
Andrew Mellor writes in 'Orchestra Focus', "In a region where culture is politics, an ensemble like the Basque National Orchestra (Euskadiko Orchestra in Basque) exists for more than the provision of fine concerts...But whatever its musical DNA, it is a modern, versatile ensemble.". The Basque National Orchestra is the first Spanish ensemble to be given the prestigious spot.
The orchestra has announced a 'sequel' to their Ravel album, which was recorded in their San Sebastian headquarters during December and will be released later in 2022 (precise repertoire details to be revealed nearer the time).
After the great press accorded to the Ravel album - including 'Disque du jour' by Radio France Musique; 'Critic's Choice' by leading Japanese magazine Record Geijutsu; Recording Of The Month by Australia's leading arts magazine Limelight; Recording Of The Week by Australia's ABC Classic (radio) and Apple Music's 'Best New Classical Releases' - recent weeks have seen a parade of just-as-ecstatic reviews for 'Americascapes'. The album, of neglected American masterpieces selected by Robert Trevino, who conducts both recordings, has been named 'Editor's Choice' by Gramophone, a 'Recording Of The Year' by Presto Music, 'Editor's Choice' by Limelight, and given five stars by Classics Today. Alex Ross of The New Yorker called it "superb", while MusicWeb International wrote, "Simply one of the best and most unique classical CDs of 2021...Robert Trevino and the Basque National Orchestra deserve the highest praise for the verve and polish and their playing, replete with enviable transparency and nuance." Gramophone called the album, "Urgently recommended."
Trevino said of the Gramophone review and the feature, "To be named as an 'Editor's Choice' in Gramophone is a great honour, but for the orchestra then to be further recognised is truly wonderful. This is an orchestra that means a great deal to a proud nation, and further more they are a fantastic group of people whom I am privileged to call my musical family. These last two albums have shown that relationship at its strongest, in fact. As a Basque composer, Ravel is in the BNO's blood and I have learnt so much about him from them, over our years together. And with 'Americascapes' I, as an American, brought them important, if little-known, music of my own homeland. If that isn't musicians drawing from each other, I don't know what is! And our sessions for 'Ravel 2' were wonderfully enjoyable - I know that I speak for the whole orchestra when I say that I can't wait to share these performances with listeners."
Oriol Roch, General Manager of the Basque National Orchestra, said, "Orchestras in Spain quite rarely have the international spotlight shone upon them, so we do not take the honour of the wonderful recognition in Gramophone and elsewhere lightly. It makes us all the more inspired and determined - even in tough times like these - to represent the Basque Country to the world, through playing great music as well as we possibly can!"
'Ravel' and 'Americascapes are released by Ondine. Robert Trevino returns to the Basque National Orchestra in February and March, conducting music by Bernstein, Zhou Tian and Mahler.