Sunday, October 23, 2016
Pianist Vladimir Horowitz was born on October 1, 1903, in Kiev, Ukraine. His mother, a pianist herself, provided him with piano lessons at an early age—marking the start of his lifelong love of the piano. Horowitz enrolled at the Kiev Conservatory in 1912. He studied there until 1919, and upon graduation, performed the Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 by Sergei Rachmaninov. Many years later Horowitz left the Soviet Union, and he ultimately came to the US. After a distinguished performance career, what followed was an extensive period where Horowitz did not perform at all. Vladimir Horowitz ended a twelve-year absence from the concert stage in May, 1965, with a Carnegie Hall recital that included Schumann’s Fantasy and various works by Scriabin and Chopin. The performance earned great acclaim, and the subsequent recording of that concert proved immensely successful. Horowitz died on November 5, 1989, in New York City. He was 86 years old. Here is Mr. Horowitz playing Chopin in Vienna:
Laurent Wagschal (piano) (Evidence)Among all the virtuoso pianists who have embellished the music they play, Leopold Godowsky was one of the most extreme. His imaginative paraphrases go far beyond the bounds of mere transcription: Saint-Saëns’s famous Swan is sugar-coated with decoration, and three Schubert songs take Liszt’s elaborations even further. Most fascinating here is Bach’s G minor sonata for solo violin, in which the first movement is an entirely original meditation. It is difficult to quite see the point of Chopin studies arranged for the left hand, but Laurent Wagschal plays them with clarity and definition – which is admirable, but possibly at odds with the warm, late Romantic tradition from which the arrangements spring. Continue reading...
The American pianist on composers and mortality, having two violinist parents, and his lack of coordination in all things not piano-relatedIn his Late Style series, which he is playing across the US, Italy, the Netherlands and in London – at Milton Court, Barbican on 8 November, returning next year – the American pianist Jonathan Biss, 36, explores the music Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Schubert, Schumann and Kurtág wrote near the end of their lives.Life can be short or long, death lingering or sudden. Is there any common thread in the music you’re playing in this three-concert series? Actually, it’s the lack of a common thread that really interests me. Playing these works, I feel clearly that these composers are moving in new directions late in life, but those directions vary enormously, composer to composer. Schubert, who died at the impossibly young age of 31, faced mortality with a feverish intensity. In contrast, Mozart, who was almost as young, brought an almost naive but profound simplicity to his late works – think of the Clarinet Concerto, or the Clarinet Quintet. Bach, 65 when he died, became more abstract and austere – The Art of the Fugue is so extreme in that way. And Elgar, writing his final works around the same age, though he lived on into his 70s, became incredibly emotionally expansive – in the Piano Quintet, the String Quartet, the Violin Sonata. Continue reading...
Pianist Yuma Wang is always a crowd pleaser, because she is prepared, flamboyant, highly musical, and an amazing musician. She will appear in a concert with the San Francisco Symphony. Venue: Louise Davies Concert Hall Address: 201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102 Dates: November 2, 3,, and 4 at 8:00 PM Program: Chopin, Piano Concerto number 2 Bruckner, Symphony number 7
The Leeds piano competition is being given a radical, creative reboot. Paul Lewis, one of its new directors – alongside Adam Gatehouse – explains the plan I’ve never liked competitions. So when I was approached about becoming one of the new artistic directors of “the Leeds”, my first reaction was to say no. Then I began to wonder if it might be possible to reinvent the competition in terms of what benefits the participants. It still feels like only yesterday that I was entering competitions myself, and I remember only too well how it felt – and how I wished it could feel different.I was fortunate enough to win some good prizes, including second prize in the London international piano competition. But I always found such contests intimidating. I’m not a naturally competitive animal – I don’t enjoy getting into a metaphorical boxing ring, playing the piano and waiting to see who’s going to knock me out. I’ll never forget that awful feeling of: “Oh God, I played two wrong notes in that Chopin study,” or worrying that I’d lose points for an unusual fingering. Continue reading...
Among her many qualities pianist Martha Noguera has perseverance and the courage to tackle difficult tasks. Long before she created Chopiniana, the pianistic Festival that has brought many great talents to Argentina, she did here in 1998 the integral Beethoven sonatas (32) and all Chopin´s works with opus number in 1999. Her ample career started when she was eleven and she is now in her early seventies, along with Argerich, Gelber and Barenboim. So we have a formidable Argentine school of piano playing. And although they are no longer active, let us not forget such names as Sylvia Kersenbaum and Elsa Púppulo. Her yearly recitals for Chopiniana are always long and difficult, never less than 95 minutes of music. But in recent seasons I felt that she is asking too much from herself, and that her programmes are exhausting for any pianist. Her memory has been proverbial for many decades and her technique is up to almost any hurdle, but now there are occasional fissures in both, although the level remains high. The recital at the Palacio Paz began with Schubert´s last Sonata, Nº21, D.960, surely the most played but not part of her repertoire until recently. Schubert is beautiful but needs patience; days ago I mentioned concerning his Octet the Schumann phrase about him, "heavenly length", and it certainly applies to this 40-minute Sonata. Noguera showed that patience in her faithful, detailed and solid account of the first two movements, never rushing in the slow one, admittedly repetitive. The scherzo was a bit too fast though it held. But the Finale was uneven, with some fine passages followed by others who were, yes, rushed; and at a certain point she wavered and for some seconds didn´t find her way. The Second Part started with one of the most problematic Beethoven Sonatas, Nº28, op.101. The lovely lyrical First movement was done with much sensibility and style, and the brusque "Vivace alla marcia" was tackled with energy. The Finale is the complicated movement: it starts with a morose "Lento", quotes the first movement, and then turbulently falls into a tremendous Fugue, almost as hard to play as that of the "Hammerklavier" Sonata though not so long. But Beethoven states: "not so fast", and pianists should comply, for Noguera started too fast and then had to keep that pace as the music became more and more arduous; apart from some slips, again it happened that suddenly a figuration didn´t come out well and she repeated it for some seconds until resuming the progress of the music. Then she played Chopin: two youthful works, the Rondo op.16 and the rarely done First Sonata op.4. The Introduction and Rondo, to give its proper name, was written in 1832, when he was 22, a brilliant showpiece light in content: Chopin as a virtuoso. As I have no score, I can´t vouchsafe that everything was played as written, but Noguera produced plenty of fireworks. The Sonata is a strange work, written as a teenager (18). The initial Allegro maestoso is based on a chromatic subject, and its course provides many surprises, although with a feeling of immaturity. The Larghetto is melodic but rather tame, and the Menuetto has charm, although this form is certainly not Romantic. The Finale is speedy, ample and rather entangled. Was it this last characteristic that troubled Noguera? For she skipped four whole pages of score in what seemed a memory lapse. Up to then she had played quite well. The hall was full, for Noguera has a large following, and Poland´s Ambassador was present and gave her a public homage. Her encores were temerary but surprisingly were among the best interpretations of the evening: a murderous arrangement by György Cziffra of Rimsky-Korsakov´s "Flight of the Bumblebee"; and the ultrafamous Chopin "Heroic" Polonaise, in a strong and assured performance full of the adequate contrasts. May I venture a suggestion for next year? Be a little less ambitious and play a shorter and not so arduous programme. For Buenos Aires Herald
Frédéric François Chopin (22 February 1810 / 1 March - 17 October 1849) was a Polish composer, virtuoso pianist, and music teacher, of French-Polish parentage. He was one of the great masters of Romantic music. Chopin is also known as "The poet of the Piano". Chopin was born in ?elazowa Wola, a village in the Duchy of Warsaw. A renowned child-prodigy pianist and composer, he grew up in Warsaw and completed his musical education there. Following the Russian suppression of the Polish November 1830 Uprising, Chopin settled in Paris as part of the Polish Great Emigration. He supported himself as a composer and piano teacher, giving few public performances. From 1837 to 1847 he carried on a relationship with the French woman writer George Sand. For most of his life, Chopin suffered from poor health; he died in Paris in 1849 at the age of 39. Most of Chopin's works involve the piano. They are technically demanding but emphasize nuance and expressive depth. Chopin invented the musical form known as the instrumental ballade and made major innovations to the piano sonata, mazurka, waltz, nocturne, polonaise, étude, impromptu and prélude.
Great composers of classical music