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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Benjamin Britten & Samuel Barber: Piano Concertos – Elizabeth Joy Roe, London Symphony Orchestra, Emil Tabakov (Audio video & Download 96kHz/24bit)

Η κορεατικής καταγωγής, Αμερικανίδα πιανίστρια Elizabeth Joy Roe ερμηνεύει τα Κοντσέρτα για πιάνο, έργο 13 του Μπέντζαμιν Μπρίτεν και έργο 38 του Σάμιουελ Μπάρμπερ, καθώς επίσης και δύο Νυχτερινά: το «Νυχτερινό για πιάνο (Φόρος τιμής στον John Field)», έργο 33 του Σάμιουελ Μπάρμπερ, και το «Νυχτερινό κομμάτι» του Μπέντζαμιν Μπρίτεν. Τη Συμφωνική Ορχήστρα του Λονδίνου διευθύνει ο διακεκριμένος Βούλγαρος μαέστρος και συνθέτης Emil Tabakov. Η ηχογράφηση έγινε στο Cadogan Hall του Λονδίνου, μεταξύ 20 και 22 Σεπτεμβρίου του 2013 και κυκλοφόρησε σε ψηφιακό δίσκο από τη βρετανική εταιρεία Decca το 2014.

Το Κοντσέρτο για πιάνο, έργο 13 του Μπέντζαμιν Μπρίτεν, είναι το μοναδικό κοντσέρτο για πιάνο που έγραψε ο σπουδαίος Άγγλος συνθέτης.

Το έργο γράφτηκε το 1938 και αναθεωρήθηκε το 1945, συμπεριλαμβανομένης της αντικατάστασης του τρίτου μέρους. Το Κοντσέρτο, το οποίο είναι αφιερωμένο στον συνθέτη Lennox Berkeley (1903-1989), έκανε πρεμιέρα, με τον Μπρίτεν στο πιάνο, σε προμενάντ συναυλία* το 1938. Καθώς απαιτεί μεγάλη δεξιοτεχνία από τον πιανίστα, το έργο έχει γίνει ιδιαίτερα γνωστό τα τελευταία χρόνια.

Η αναθεωρημένη έκδοση του Κοντσέρτου παρουσιάστηκε για πρώτη φορά στο Μουσικό Φεστιβάλ του Cheltenham στις 2 Ιουλίου 1946.

* Promenade Concert: συναυλία στους κήπους αναψυχής του Λονδίνου, όπου το κοινό μπορούσε να περπατάει ενώ άκουγε τη μουσική. Σήμερα ο όρος αναφέρεται στα BBC Proms. (Γαλλικά, se promener = περπατώντας.)

Ο Σάμιουελ Μπάρμπερ συνέθεσε το Κοντσέρτο για πιάνο, έργο 38, κατά τα έτη 1960 και 1962, μετά από παραγγελία του μουσικού εκδοτικού οίκου G. Schirmer, για την επέτειο των 100 χρόνων από την ίδρυσή του.

Για το έργο του αυτό, στον συνθέτη απονεμήθηκε, το 1963, το Βραβείο Πούλιτζερ, και ένα χρόνο αργότερα το Βραβείο του Κύκλου Κριτικών Μουσικής. Η πρεμιέρα του έργου έγινε στο Κέντρο Λίνκολν, στη νεόκτιστη Αίθουσα της Φιλαρμονικής (σημερινή ονομασία: David Geffen Hall), με σολίστ έναν αγαπημένο πιανίστα του Μπάρμπερ, τον John Browning, και τη Συμφωνική Ορχήστρα της Βοστόνης υπό τη διεύθυνση του μεγάλου Αυστριακο-αμερικανού μαέστρου Erich Leinsdorf. Το Κοντσέρτο για πιάνο, έργο 38, είναι το τελευταίο αριστούργημα του Σάμιουελ Μπάρμπερ, ενός από τους πιο τιμημένους κατά τη διάρκεια της ζωής του και γνωστούς Αμερικανούς συνθέτες, τόσο στη χώρα του όσο και στο εξωτερικό.

Benjamin Britten's Piano Concerto, Op.13, is the composer's sole piano concerto. The piece was written in 1938 and then revised in 1945, including the replacement of the third movement. This was Britten's first work for piano and orchestra, which he premiered as soloist at a Promenade Concert in 1938. Dedicated to the composer Lennox Berkeley, the concerto is a "bravura" work that has gained more international attention in recent years. Britten described the piece as "simple and in direct form".

The revised version premiered at the Cheltenham Festival on July 2, 1946. The London premiere was performed soon after at the Proms in Royal Albert Hall with Noel Mewton-Wood as the soloist performing with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Basil Cameron.

The most well-known and widely considered definitive recording of the concerto is with the English Chamber Orchestra featuring Sviatoslav Richter as the soloist with Britten conducting, from a 1970 performance at the Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, near Britten's own home.

The work is scored for 2 flutes (both doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (II doubling English horn), 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba, timpani, glockenspiel, cymbals, whip, bass drum, snare drum, tambourine, tenor drum, harp, and strings.


Samuel Barber's Piano Concerto (1960-1962) served as the composer's final masterpiece, and arguably the zenith of his professional life. For its composition he received his second Pulitzer Prize (1963) and, one year later, the Music Critics' Circle Award; during this period, Barber was among the most honored and respected living American composers, both at home and abroad.

The concerto was commissioned in 1959 by G. Schirmer, Inc. – Barber's publisher for most of his career – in honor of the company's upcoming 100th anniversary. The work was to be among the first performed at Lincoln Center's new Philharmonic Hall, which was under construction at the time; John Browning, Barber's favorite pianist at the time, would be the soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Erich Leinsdorf.

The concerto is notable as an instance of the composer's self-borrowing; for the work's second movement, he orchestrated and elaborated upon the Elegy for Flute and Piano (1959). This movement, as well as the concerto's first, was complete by 1960, but the last movement was not completed until two weeks prior to the premiere, on September 24, 1962. Work was partly delayed by Barber's lengthy depression following the death of his sister; also, in the spring of 1962, Barber became the first American composer to attend the Congress of Soviet Composers.

As he had done in previous compositions intended for a soloist, Barber worked closely with Browning to shape the work around his style and technical skills -- apparently listening to three days worth of the pianist's repertoire in the process (similar partnerships were formed during the composition of the Cello Concerto (1945), with Raya Garbousova, and the Piano Sonata (1949), with Vladimir Horowitz).

The resulting masterwork incorporates Barber's natural affinity for flowing melody and rather traditional compositional demeanor into an imposing structure. Eschewing any need for an orchestral introduction, the first movement ends with a declamatory recitative for the soloist -- substantial enough to accommodate three distinct themes – that gradually gives way to a more lyrical strain in the full orchestra. Over the course of the movement, which is roughly in sonata form, these two elements – declamation and impassioned lyricism – are ever more intricately entwined.

The previously mentioned second movement is considerably calmer in mood, very much like a song; true to its origins, it features the solo flute as a main protagonist, while the piano occasionally assumes an accompanimental role. The finale, much more rhythmic and active, seizes obsessively on an ostinato figure in the piano that, within the movement's persistent 5/8 meter, takes on a sinuous, ambiguous quality.

Source: Chris Boyes (

Barber wrote his Nocturne in 1959. The piece is subtitled "Homage to John Field". It is a five-minute work, much in the mold of Chopin's. An arpeggiated accompaniment provides the harmonic background for a chromatic, ornamented melody that unequivocally sounds like 20th century. In the first half, the intensity builds up gradually until a climax is reached. A brief pause, and the music begins again in similar fashion, only that this time instead of building up intensity, it fades into nothingness.

Source: Hector Bellman (

The Night Piece was composed in 1963 as a test piece for the first Leeds Piano Competition which was won by the seventeen-year-old pupil of Fanny Waterman, Michael Roll. The idea behind this composition was to put musicianship rather than mere virtuosity to the test. It is a quiet ternary design in B flat – very challenging in touch, legato melody and subtle use of pedal. The same gently falling motif of "Sailing" forms a secondary theme here and the prevailing flow is broken by a cadenza of bird-song before the coda. The piece has been compared to the night musics of Bartók – a composer not without influence on Britten. But Britten's own special feeling for night created a world of its own, and here is a miniature pendant to the preoccupations of the Serenade, the Nocturne and A Midsummer Night's Dream. While we may regret that the projected piano piece for Sviatoslav Richter never materialized, here is a characteristic envoi.

Source: Eric Roseberry (

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)

♪ Piano Concerto, Op.13 (Revised Version 1945)

i. Toccata. Allegro molto e con brio
ii. Waltz. Allegretto
iii. Impromptu. Andante lento
iv. March. Allegro moderato sempre alla marcia

Samuel Barber (1910-1981)

♪ Piano Concerto, Op.38 (1960-1962)

i. Allegro appassionato
ii. Canzone. Moderato
iii. Allegro molto

Samuel Barber

♪ Nocturne for Piano (Homage to John Field), Op.33 (1959)

Benjamin Britten

♪ Night Piece (Notturno) (1963)

Elizabeth Joy Roe, piano

London Symphony Orchestra
Μουσική διεύθυνση (Conductor): Emil Tabakov

Recorded at the Cadogan Hall, London, September 20-22, 2013

Decca 2014

(HD 1080p – Audio video)

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Elizabeth Joy Roe is a concert pianist, educator, and arts advocate. She was born in Illinois to parents of Korean descent.

Hailed "brilliant" (The New York Times) and "an artist to be taken seriously" (The Chicago Tribune), pianist Elizabeth Joy Roe was named one of Symphony Magazine's "Six on the Rise: Young Artists to Watch". The recipient of the prestigious William Petschek Piano Debut Recital Award, she has appeared as recitalist, orchestral soloist, and collaborative musician at major venues worldwide, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Seoul Arts Center, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts, Singapore's Esplanade, Salle Cortot, Teatro Argentino, the Ravinia Festival, the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Banff Centre, and the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Earlier this year, Elizabeth made her debut as a recording artist for Decca Classics with a critically acclaimed release of the Britten & Barber Piano Concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra. Additional career highlights include broadcasts on NPR, PBS, the BBC, and KBS; a solo recording, Images Poetiques (Universal Classics/DG); a Visiting Artist faculty appointment at Smith College; a residency with Trio Ariadne at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center; a new role as artistic curator for the Joye in Aiken Festival in South Carolina; the PBS broadcast of "Jazz & the Philharmonic" (in which she performed alongside jazz legends Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea, and more); the Carnegie Hall premiere of Olivier Messiaen's Visions de l'Amen for the composer's centennial celebration, hosted by Pierre Boulez; performance presentations for the United Nations and at various international leadership symposia, including the EG Conference, Chicago Ideas Week, and La Ciudad de las Ideas; an artistic residency sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Argentina; and the McGraw-Hill Companies' Robert Sherman Award for Music Education and Community Outreach.

An avid chamber musician, Elizabeth has performed with an array of prominent artists, including violinist Daniel Hope, violist Richard O'Neill, jazz pianist Shelly Berg, and the Parker Quartet; she is also a member of Decoda, Carnegie Hall's first ever Affiliate Ensemble, as well the groundbreaking Anderson & Roe Piano Duo, whose concerts, Billboard chart-topping albums, Emmy-nominated music videos (viewed by millions), compositions, and social media presence have captivated audiences around the globe.

A Chicago native, Elizabeth was 13 years old when she won the grand prize at the IBLA International Piano Competition in Italy. Throughout her career she has received honors from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, the Music for Youth Foundation, the National Association for Professional Asian Women, and the Samsung Foundation of Culture. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from The Juilliard School as a full scholarship student of Yoheved Kaplinsky, graduating with Scholastic Distinction for her thesis on representations of music in the fiction of Thomas Mann, Marcel Proust, and E.M. Forster. She was subsequently an inaugural fellow of Carnegie Hall's postgraduate professional program, The Academy. A Soros Fellow, Steinway Artist, and National YoungArts Foundation alumna, Elizabeth's mission is to connect with others through the inspiration, joy and essential humanity of music.


Elizabeth Joy Roe opens the disc with a blistering tempo for the first movement of Benjamin Britten's Piano Concerto (1938/1945). She can certainly play, and what's more she is given an integrated balance, first among equals with the LSO in a spacious and reverberant acoustic – a surprise then to read that the venue is Cadogan Hall, here bolstered if without compromising details and dynamics, yet the bass is a tad heavy (boosted?). It's all very vivid, as is the performance, save that the recorded perspective is manipulated somewhat, thus there are inconsistencies – and the side drum is all but inaudible between 6'35 and 6'56 – after which Roe gives a likeably capricious account of the cadenza, not least the ominous suggestion of conflict (World War Two just around the corner at the time of composition); she likes the sustaining pedal, mind!

In the middle movements, a "Waltz" and an "Impromptu" (the latter replacing the then existing movement), a vein of fantasy is welcome, opening up possibilities for the music's potential. The beginning of the "Impromptu" is particularly poised and sensitive and its later fantastical outpourings are well brought out. The final "March" is given with determination and also fully registers the shadows – the composer's warnings – although the trumpets might have welcomed another go at what is now for posterity a dicey note at 6'47.

Samuel Barber's Piano Concerto (1962) opens in combative terms, the soloist's music challenging if emotionally fervent, something continued by the orchestra. It’s a malleable piece, though, often beguiling and lyrical, quite wonderful in fact in its energy and poetry and is well served here. Yet, in the Britten, Roe must yield to Sviatoslav Richter's recording with the composer (also Decca) and, in the Barber, to original soloist John Browning's two versions, first with George Szell and then with Leonard Slatkin.

There is though much to admire in the way that Roe approaches the Barber – full of power and crusade and with no shortage of subtlety, the LSO and Emil Tabakov inside the music’s dark passions, and there are some graceful wind solos in the quite-lovely if melancholic slow movement; Barber did sad sentiment so well. The finale is driven and rhythmically angular with some intriguing strangeness along the way. Well done to Elizabeth Joy Roe for championing the piece; she should win it many friends. But in both Concertos I did tire of the upholstered reproduction.

Of the solo pieces, the piano a little thick-sounding (maybe too much pedal, again), Barber's Nocturne is an expansive meditation that grows in emotionalism, while Britten's Night Piece (written as a "test" for the 1963 Leeds International Pianoforte Competition) is rather breathtaking and, surprisingly, reminds of Chopin. It invites many listens.

Source: Colin Anderson (

Δείτε επίσης – See also

John Field: Complete Nocturnes – Elizabeth Joy Roe (Audio video)

Vanessa Benelli Mosell: [R]evolution – Karlheinz Stockhausen, Karol Beffa, Igor Stravinsky (Audio video & Download 96kHz/24bit)

Conrad Tao: Voyages – Meredith Monk, Sergei Rachmaninov, Maurice Ravel, Conrad Tao (Download)

Lucas Debargue plays Scarlatti, Chopin, Liszt, Ravel, Grieg & Schubert (Download)

Dmitri Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.1 in E flat major & Symphony No.1 in F minor | Benjamin Britten: Sinfonietta, Op.1 – Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Steven Isserlis, Teodor Currentzis (HD 1080p)

Robert Schumann: Dichterliebe – Peter Pears, Benjamin Britten (Audio video)

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