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Frédéric Chopin

Saturday, July 30, 2016


My Classical Notes

July 28

Shorter Piano Works by Brahms

My Classical NotesI enjoy much of the music composed by Johannes Brahms. Some of his compositions are grand and fairly long, such as the German Requiem, the two piano concerti, and the symphonies. Yet Brahms was also a phenomenal pianist, and he gave concerts throughout his lifetime. I am a particular fan of Brahms’ intermezzi, Opus 117, 118, and 119. On this new recording, we are able to listen to a huge collection of Brahms’ shorter piano pieces. Brahms: Works for Solo Piano Volume 6 Brahms: Capriccio in C sharp minor, Op. 76 No. 5 Intermezzo in A minor, Op. 76 No. 7 Capriccio in C major, Op. 76 No. 8 Intermezzo in E flat minor, Op. 118 No. 6 Hungarian Dance No. 2 in D minor Hungarian Dance No. 4 Hungarian Dance No. 6 in D flat major Hungarian Dance No. 7 Hungarian Dance No. 8 in A minor Hungarian Dance No. 9 in E minor Hungarian Dance No. 10 in F major Gigues Study after Fr. Chopin (Studie for Pianoforte, No. 1) Study No. 2 after Weber (Rondo, Op. 24) Presto after J. S. Bach Gavotte after Chr. W. Gluck (arranged for piano) Canon in F minor, Anh. III/2 Rakoczy March Studies (5), Anh.1a/1: Chaconne von JS Bach All are performed by Barry Douglas (piano) This is the sixth and final volume in Barry Douglas’s survey of Brahms’ output for solo piano, which started four years ago. The music recorded here spans the entirety of the composer’s creative career, from March 1852 (the Study after Weber) – eighteen months before the life-changing meeting between Brahms and Robert and Clara Schumann – to August 1893 (the Intermezzo, Op. 118 No. 6) – less than four years before his death, on 3 April 1897. The Sunday Times, July, 2016 wrote: “This final stage of Douglas’Brahms survey offers an engaging, always surprising sequence of short (with one exception) and often fugitive pieces…at the end, as if a salutary chastening after the fun, his left-hand-only transcription of Bach’s great D minor violin Chaconne. But, of course, it proves the most engrossing item of all.” Here is Barry Douglas, talking and playing some of this music…

Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

July 28

Japan’s proud Chopin finalist has died, at 72

Hiroko Nakamura was the first Japanese to finish among the finalists at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, placing fourth in 1965 behind Martha Argerich, Arthur Moreira Lima and Marta Sosinska. Her achievement was hugely celebrated back home and the NHK Symphony Orchestra took her on its first world tour. Married to the distinguished writer Kaoru Shoji, she went on to direct the Hamamatsu piano competition. Hiroko died on July 26 of colonic cancer.




My Classical Notes

July 26

Piano Daydreams

This is a wonderful collection of solo piano compositions played by different artists, such as Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Lang Lang, and more. Here is a long list of the selections that are recorded for your enjoyment: Bach, J S: Prelude & Fugue Book 1 No. 1 in C major, BWV846: Prelude Hélène Grimaud (piano) Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 ‘Moonlight’: Adagio sostenuto Daniel Barenboim (piano) Brahms: Intermezzo in E flat major, Op. 117 No. 1 Wilhelm Kempff (piano) Chopin: Nocturne No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 9 No. 2 Daniel Barenboim (piano) Nocturne No. 5 in F sharp major, Op. 15 No. 2 Daniel Barenboim (piano) Prelude Op. 28 No. 4 in E minor Martha Argerich (piano) Prelude Op. 28 No. 7 in A major Martha Argerich (piano) Debussy: Préludes – Book 1: No. 8, La fille aux cheveux de lin Dino Ciani (piano) Clair de Lune (from Suite Bergamasque) Alexis Weissenberg (piano) Grieg: Lyric Pieces Op. 43: No. 6 – To Spring Mikhail Pletnev (piano) Lyric Pieces Op. 54: No. 4 – Nocturne Andrei Gavrilov (piano) Liszt: Consolation, S. 172 No. 3 in D flat major Daniel Barenboim (piano) Liebestraum, S541 No. 3 (Nocturne in A flat major) Yundi Li (piano) Mendelssohn: Song without Words, Op. 19b No. 1 in E major ‘Sweet Remembrance’ Daniel Barenboim (piano) Song without Words, Op. 30 No. 6 in F sharp minor ‘Venezianisches Gondellied No. 2’ Daniel Barenboim (piano) Rachmaninov: Prelude Op. 23 No. 4 in D major Lazar Berman (piano) Prelude Op. 32 No. 12 in G sharp minor Lilya Zilberstein (piano) Satie: Gymnopédie No. 1 Jean-Marc Luisada (piano) Schubert: Impromptu in G flat major, D899 No. 3 Daniel Barenboim (piano) Schumann: Kinderszenen, Op. 15: Traümerei Lang Lang (piano)

Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

July 22

Label news: Warner signs Turk rebel

The pianist Fazil Say, who has been pursued through the courts by the Erdogan government for his outspoken atheism, has landed a major deal. He’ll be recording Mozart sonatas for Warner, a conglomerate that owns his very earliest releases on Teldec. Release below. Renowned pianist and composer Fazıl Say has signed a new recording contract with Warner Classics. A household name in his native Turkey, Say has been hailed internationally not only as “a pianist of genius”, but as “one of the greatest artists of the 21st century” (Le Figaro). The signing sees Say return to the Warner roster some 18 years after he made his first acclaimed recordings for the Teldec label in 1998 – from Mozart and Bach to Stravinsky, alongside his own contemporary piano masterpiece, Black Earth. “Fazıl Say is one of the greatest pianists of our era; he is also renowned composer whose unique style creates a scintillating blend of classical and jazz influences,” said Alain Lanceron, President of Warner Classics and Erato. “This is above all an artist engaged in the world around him; a humanist who never stops championing freedom of expression. To see him return to his original label family, with inspired recording projects that will captivate his loyal fans and new listeners alike, is for us a source of great pride.” Fazıl Say adds: “I’m very happy to be once again a part of Warner. Warner Music launched my recording career twenty years ago when I was a Teldec artist. We now have this wonderful opportunity to record Mozart, as well as future projects ranging from Chopin to Satie, to my own music as a composer.” Say renews his partnership with Warner Classics with a milestone project particularly dear to him: the completeMozart Piano Sonatas cycle, for release in September as a 6-CD boxed set and via digital/streaming platforms.



Frédéric Chopin
(1810 – 1849)

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.



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