Prior: Concerto Velesslavitsa
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Alexander Prior: Velesslavitsa, Concerto for Piano, Two Violins and Cello

Catalogue Number: TOCC0109
EAN: 5060113441096
Release Date: 12 October 2009
Duration: 46:34

Velesslavitsa, Concerto for piano, two violins and cello

Alexander Prior, conductor
Zhang Xiao Ming, piano
Michael Province, violin
Simone Porter, violin
Nathan Chan, cello
Northern Sinfonia, chamber orchestra

In spring 2009 Channel 4 sent the sixteen-year-old British-Russian composer-conductor Alex Prior around the world: his task, to find ‘The World’s Greatest Musical Prodigies’ for a TV series with that title and to compose a concerto for them, which Alex would conduct. The resulting work, Velesslavitsa (the title means ‘Glory to Veles’, the god of music in ancient Slav cultures), is steeped in the Russian Romantic tradition, with echoes especially of Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. This live recording features the ten-year-old Chinese pianist Zhang Xiao Ming, the American violinists Simone Porter and Michael Province, twelve and thirteen, and the fifteen-year American cellist Nathan Chan.

Booklet texts   (PDF)

Track Listing, MP3 Downloads and Streaming Samples

Track No. Track Title / Details Duration Sample Add to Cart
1-3 Velesslavitsa, Concerto for piano, two violins and cello (2008)

Zhang Xiao Ming, piano
Michael Province, violin
Simone Porter, violin
Nathan Chan, cello
Northern Sinfonia, chamber orchestra
Alexander Prior, composer, conductor

(first recording)
1 I. Maestoso – Allegro 17:09 play
2 II. Grave 17:40 play
3 III. Presto 11:45 play


Alexander Prior

Alexander Prior, composer, conductor

Zhang Xiao Ming

Zhang Xiao Ming, piano

Michael Province

Michael Province, violin

Simone Porter

Simone Porter, violin

Nathan Chan

Nathan Chan, cello

Northern Sinfonia

Northern Sinfonia, chamber orchestra


Real wunderkind music

Toccata Classics has also released a highly unusual item: Velesslavits – Concerto for Piano, Two Violins, and Cello – composed by Alexander Prior, a 16-year-old British-Russian musician. What is more, the piece was written for and is played by a ten-year-old Chinese pianist and two American violinists, ages twelve and thirteen. What I like about Prior's composition is that he does not try to be avant-garde or concern himself with any particular musical technique. His music is steeped in the Russian Romantic tradition and shows his incredibly precocious mastery of it. This is real wunderkind music. The performances are equally startling. In short, there is no element of condescension involved in enjoying this music; we are way beyond party tricks here. I will avidly follow this extraordinary young man's future. Bravo to Toccata for this premiere release of a live recording.

Robert Reilly CatholiCity 28th May 2010

[…] a triumph. The concerto is an exhilarating, rip-roaring melodic noise […]. And the four young musicians […] rise to the occasion like seasoned professionals

The Times 21st June 2009

Province and Chan […] their sheer pleasure in music was a fillip in itself […] Porter was the consummate chamber musician. Best of the lot was the diminutive Xiaoming […] already fully in command of the music. […] it was no surprise that Velesslavitsa […] has drama, colour and excitement in abundance. And Prior the conductor is an absolute professional […]. No longer a Wunderkind, he's well on the way to being a Wunder-adult.

The Independent 11th May 2009

There is grandeur in its progress from darkness to light and a sense of growing unity as the four soloists become more closely intertwined with each other and the orchestra. It had a superb first performance and could put more than its composer on the musical map for a long time to come.

North East News 2nd May 2009

I promise that you won’t hear a more exciting, invigorating work of classical music anywhere.

Journal Alive 30th April 2009


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