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Serafim Smigelskiy, the cellist in the Tesla Quartet, playing alone in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Photo by Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Frédéric Chopin: Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor – Olga Scheps (HD 1080p)














German-Russian pianist Olga Scheps performs Frédéric Chopin's Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor, Op.58. Recorded at Mosel Musikfestival, Barocksaal Kloster Machern, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on August 30, 2015.



Although Chopin was essentially a miniaturist, he handled the sonata form with remarkable assurance. To a degree, his fairly hefty ballades, scherzos, and impromptus provided good preparation for writing the four movements of his third and final piano sonata, but this work's first movement, in particular, displays compositional skills that Chopin had few other opportunities to practice.

The first movement, Allegro maestoso, falls into traditional sonata form, constructed from a decisive and sometimes impulsive first theme and a more extended second theme, highly lyrical with a detailed accompanimental filigree – music that would not be out of place in Chopin's nocturnes. The musical texture thickens considerably in the central development section; Chopin devotes long passages to variants on the second subject, but much of the development is highly contrapuntal. Following the recapitulation, which again emphasizes the second subject, the movement ends with a surprisingly peaceful coda.

The very brief Scherzo, molto vivace, uses light, fleet, but finger-challenging E flat outer sections to frame a gentle and pensive trio section in B major. The ensuing slow movement, a Largo, is the heart of the sonata, conceptually as well as rhythmically. Stern but harmonically ambiguous chords lead to a delicate, nostalgic aria supported by a gentle heartbeat figure in the bass. This is soon supplanted by a long, flowing, rhapsodic section of quiet rumination. The opening theme, now with a more murmuring accompaniment, returns in more ornamented garb to escort the movement to its conclusion. The final movement, Presto, non tanto, makes a short transition from the Largo with a few swelling introductory bars that lead to the urgent, driving first theme of what turns out to be a rondo; this B minor material alternates with a contrasting, chord-launched section in the major designed to showcase the performer's agile fingerwork. Elements of both sections overlap for a grand coda.

Source: James Reel (allmusic.com)



Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)

♪ Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor, Op.58 (1844)


i. Allegro maestoso

ii. Scherzo: Molto vivace
iii. Largo
iv. Finale: Presto, ma non tanto

Olga Scheps, piano


Mosel Musikfestival, Barocksaal Kloster Machern, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, August 30, 2015


(HD 1080p)
















Olga Scheps (b. 1986, Moscow) began playing her first melodies and pieces aged just five years and learned to play the piano in the same was as she did speaking, walking and reading. In 1992, her family moved from Moscow to Germany, Olga Scheps' new home.

The pianist is fluent in German, Russian and English. At the age of 16, she became a young student at the Cologne Academy of Music, graduating in 2013 with a distinction. Prof. Pavel Gililov and her parents – also both pianists and piano teachers – are still important advisers to this day. Olga Scheps also gained other important musical impulses from Arie Vardi, Dmitri Bashkirov, Andrei Gavrilov and Alfred Brendel. During her studies, she held a scholarship from the German foundation Musikleben.

Olga Scheps gave some of her first concerts as part of the "Jugend Musiziert" (Youngsters Make Music) prize winners' concert. She was then invited to perform at several concert series and festivals, such as the Rheingau Music Festival, and all of these concerts were sensational successes. Soon after, she debuted at the Ruhr Piano Festival, which she also still regularly attends and performs at.

Since 2009, Olga Scheps has been exclusively signed to Sony Classical and has recently recorded her seventh album. This solo album, featuring works by Erik Satie, was released in may 2016 and reached the No.1 in the official charts in Germany. For her album "Chopin", Olga Scheps received the ECHO award, in the category "Young artist of the Year". All the other albums have reached the top ten in the classical charts. Olga Scheps now lives in her adopted home of Cologne, traveling from there to classical music festivals and concert series in many different countries. She performs with worldwide leading orchestras and conductors.

Source: olgascheps.com































































More photos


See also


Olga Scheps | Melody – Modest Mussorgsky, Sven Helbig, Chilly Gonzales, Frédéric Chopin, Aphex Twin, Edvard Grieg, Johannes Brahms, Ludovico Einaudi, Christoph Willibald Gluck, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Download 88.2kHz/24bit & 44.1kHz/16bit)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The Seasons – Olga Scheps (HD 1080p)

Frédéric Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor – Olga Scheps, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio, Agnieszka Duczmal (HD 1080p)

Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No.7 in B flat major – Olga Scheps (HD 1080p)

Frédéric Chopin: Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor – Alexandеr Malofeev (HD 1080p)

Frédéric Chopin: Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor – Sergei Redkin (HD 1080p)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Border (2018) – A film by Ali Abbasi – Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Jörgen Thorsson, Sten Ljunggren, Ann Petrén (Download the movie)


















Just when you think you've seen it all, along comes Border. A thematically rich and deeply strange blend of romantic drama, magical-realist fantasy, and crime thriller, Sweden's official entry to this year's Academy Awards splits the difference between the highbrow cringe comedy of Toni Erdmann and the lowbrow cop fantasy Bright. The tone is more consistent with the former, or perhaps the banal surrealism of Quentin Dupieux's 2012 film, Wrong. The world-building undeniably evokes the latter, albeit a much better-written and more thoughtfully executed version. The title of Border not only refers to the literal checkpoint where the story begins, but also the boundaries between human and inhuman, right and wrong, and duty and desire...



Border (Swedish: Gräns) is a 2018 Swedish fantasy film directed by Ali Abbasi with a screenplay by Abbasi, Isabella Eklöf and John Ajvide Lindqvist based on the short story of the same name by Ajvide Lindqvist from his anthology Let the Old Dreams Die. It won the Un Certain Regard award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and was selected as the Swedish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, but it was not nominated. However, it was nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the 91st Academy Awards.
















Border / Gräns (2018)

A film by Ali Abbasi

Directed by Ali Abbasi
Produced by Nina Bisgaard, Peter Gustafsson, Petra Jonsson
Screenplay by Ali Abbasi, Isabella Eklöf, John Ajvide Lindqvist
Based on "Border" by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Starring
Eva Melander..........Tina
Eero Milonoff..........Vore
Jörgen Thorsson..........Roland
Sten Ljunggren..........Tina's father
Ann Petrén..........Agneta
Viktor Åkerblom..........Ulf
Rakel Wärmländer..........Therese
Kjell Wilhelmsen..........Daniel
Matti Boustedt..........Tomas

Cinematography: Nadim Carlsen
Edited: Olivia Neergaard-Holm, Anders Skov
Music: Christoffer Berg, Martin Derkov

Production companies: META Film, Black Spark Film & TV Karnfilm
Distributed: TriArt Film
Release date: 10 May 2018 (Cannes)
Country: Sweden
Language: Swedish
Running time: 108 minutes















...The script comes from John Ajvide Lindqvist, who brought a similar sense of tragic romance to the vampire tale Let The Right One In (2008); Isabella Eklöf, whose debut feature, Holiday (2018), is similarly unflinching in its themes; and Ali Abbasi, who wrote and directed the similarly understated pregnancy horror film Shelley in 2016. Abbasi, who also directs, keeps the tone steady and muted throughout the shifting genres, allowing the writing to shine. There's a sense of genuine surprise to be found in the unfolding of its plot – stop reading at the end of this paragraph if you want to go in fresh – and unexpected layers to the dilemma faced by our protagonist.

Eva Melander stars under heavy prosthetic makeup as Tina, a customs agent at an unnamed Swedish border crossing who has a seemingly supernatural ability to "sniff out" contraband and a perfect record of apprehending smugglers. She also has a genetic condition that gives her an unusual, heavy-browed appearance. Despite this, she lives a relatively normal life: She's well-respected at work and lives in a house inherited from her father with her dog-breeder boyfriend, Roland (Jörgen Thorsson), albeit with separate bedrooms. Tina's facial abnormality remains un-commented upon for the first half-hour or so of the film, a deadpan transgression of cinematic norms that builds a squirming discomfort in the audience – How does no one notice? Am I not supposed to notice? – by making us feel guilty for fixating on her looks in the first place.

This poker-faced approach also brings an alarming rush to our first glimpse of Vore (Eero Milonoff, also in prosthetic makeup), a man with the same rare condition as Tina. Vore passes through Tina's checkpoint one day in a scene reminiscent of latter-period David Lynch; it's not clear at first if he's an interdimensional twin, a hallucination, or a real human being. To Tina's astonishment, he appears to be the latter. Could she have gotten so lucky, to find the one person on Earth who understands what she's been through? Yes and no.

The tension between Vore and Tina is undeniable, and eventually explodes into a passionate affair when he comes to stay in her guest house. "There's no flaw in you", Vore tells Tina as she confides in him that she's always been ashamed of being "ugly". "If there is something different, it is because you are better". Then he makes a shattering claim: He and Tina are not human. They're part of an ancient and endangered species of trolls, and are not bound by the laws of humanity. Torn between the blissful kismet of finally finding another like her and the life she's built for herself – she's recently been promoted at work, and is assisting in a shocking investigation into a child pornography ring – Tina has to make a choice.

Border occasionally tiptoes up to the boundaries of good taste, particularly in its sex scenes, and the leads' performances are as nuanced as they can be under layers of latex. Luckily, the screenplay is thought-provoking enough to carry the story through to its end. The craft is also top notch: The spaces between the dialogue crackle with tension, the visual effects and makeup are realistic and convincing, and Abbasi offers subtle commentary by contrasting the buzzing fluorescent lights and sickly colors of the human world with the soft, gentle light and natural tones of the woods, the only place where Tina feels truly comfortable.

In less empathetic hands, Border could have easily become a Greasy Strangler-style freak show, or collapse under the quirkiness of its premise. Instead, it’s something strange, wild, and oddly beautiful – a testament to the sensitivity, and talent, of its creators.

Source: Katie Rife, 24 October 2018 (film.avclub.com)


Watch the trailer




Download the movie using torrent

Link


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More photos


See also


In the Name of (2013) – A film by Małgorzata Szumowska – Andrzej Chyra, Mateusz Kosciukiewicz, Maria Maj, Maja Ostaszewska, Lukasz Simlat, Tomasz Schuchardt (Download the movie)

1985 (2018) – A film by Yen Tan – Cory Michael Smith, Virginia Madsen, Michael Chiklis, Jamie Chung (Download the movie)

Eastern Boys (2013) – A film by Robin Campillo – Olivier Rabourdin, Kirill Emelyanov, Danil Vorobyev (Download the movie)

Die Wand / The Wall (2012) – A film by Julian Roman Pölsler – Starring Martina Gedeck (Download the movie)

Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance (2015) – A film by Tomer Heymann – Ohad Naharin and the Batsheva Dance Company (Download the movie)

Out in the Dark (2012) – A film by Michael Mayer – Nicholas Jacob, Michael Aloni, Jamil Khoury, Alon Pdut, Loai Nofi, Khawlah Hag-Debsy, Maysa Daw, Shimon Mimran (Download the movie)


Call Me by Your Name (2017) – A film by Luca Guadagnino – Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, Victoire Du Bois – James Ivory, Sayombhu Mukdeeprom (Download the movie)


Seashore (Beira-Mar), 2015 – A film by Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon – Mateus Almada, Maurício Barcellos, Elisa Brittes, Fernando Hart, Ariel Artur, Francisco Gick (Download the movie)


mother! (2017) – A film by Darren Aronofsky – Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer (Download the movie)


Okja (2017) – A film by Bong Joon-ho – Ahn Seo-hyun, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Jake Gyllenhaal, Giancarlo Esposito, Lily Collins, Shirley Henderson (Download the movie)


Im Keller / In the Basement (2014) – A film by Ulrich Seidl (Download the movie)


Maurice (1987) – A film by James Ivory – James Wilby, Hugh Grant, Rupert Graves (Download the movie)


Shostakovich Against Stalin: The War Symphonies – A Documentary by Larry Weinstein – Netherland Radio Philharmonic, Kirov Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (HD 1080p)


Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) – A film by Stephen Frears – Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg (Download the movie)


Son of Saul (2015) – A film by László Nemes – Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn (Download the movie)


Amour (2012) – A film by Michael Haneke – Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud (Download the movie)


Dmitri Shostakovich: Katerina Izmailova (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), 1966 – A film by Mikhail Shapiro – Galina Vishnevskaya, Konstantin Simeonov


The New Babylon (Novyy Vavilon), 1929 – A film by Grigori Kozintsev & Leonid Trauberg – Music by Dmitri Shostakovich (HD 1080p)


Farinelli (1994) – A film by Gérard Corbiau – Stefano Dionisi, Enrico Lo Verso, Elsa Zylberstein (Download the movie)


Eroica (The Movie, BBC 2003) by Simon Cellan Jones – Ian Hart, Leo Bill, Claire Skinner, Frank Finlay – John Eliot Gardiner (HD 1080p)


Tous les Matins du Monde / All the Mornings of the World / Όλα τα Πρωινά του Κόσμου (1991) – A film by Alain Corneau (Download the movie)


Death in Venice (1971) – A film by Luchino Visconti – Dirk Bogarde, Björn Andrésen, Silvana Mangano – Music by Gustav Mahler (Download the movie)



Eero Milonoff and Eva Melander at an event for Border (2018)
















Friday, February 22, 2019

Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor – Hélène Grimaud, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Thomas Hengelbrock














Accompanied the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester under the baton of the German violinist, musicologist, stage director and conductor Thomas Hengelbrock, the French classical pianist Hélène Grimaud plays Robert Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.54. Recorded at Music and Congress Centre of Lübeck, Germany, on July 7, 2013.



In September 1840 Clara and Robert finally married. After years of producing one masterpiece for solo piano after another (his first twenty-three opus numbers are solo piano works) he turned gloriously to song, and in the space of a single year wrote something like 168 of them. Alongside his composing, he was editor of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. This didn't bring in much income, and he knew the time had come to prove himself with a big symphonic work. His first success in that field came with his "Spring" Symphony, sketched in just four days and premiered at the Gewandhaus on 31 March 1841 with Mendelssohn conducting.

Just over a month later, he began work on a Phantasy for piano and orchestra, again working with great speed and completing it in ten days. The following week he orchestrated it, and a few months later made some revisions. It was first played through during a rehearsal for his "Spring" Symphony at the Gewandhaus on 13 August 1841. The orchestra's concertmaster, Ferdinand David, conducted, and Clara, two weeks away from giving birth to their first child, was of course at the piano. In her diary she wrote: "I also played the Fantasie in A minor; unfortunately, the performer herself had little pleasure (in the empty auditorium, that is), she heard neither herself nor the orchestra. But I played it twice and found it wonderful! When properly rehearsed, it is certain to give audiences the greatest pleasure. The piano is superbly woven together with the orchestra – you cannot conceive of one without the other".


It seems, however, that nobody much wanted a one-movement work. Despite many attempts, a publisher could not be found and the work was put aside. Another four years passed before Schumann worked on it again. He generally immsersed himself in one genre at a time, and 1842 was his year for chamber music. His Piano Quintet Op.44, with its virtuoso piano part, served as a pseudo-concerto for Clara, still awaiting the real thing. In 1843 Schumann devoted himself to large-scale choral works, and the following year Robert and Clara undertook a five-month tour of Russia. Robert was seriously ill for some time after his return from Russia, and at the end of 1844 they moved to Dresden in order to find more peace and quiet to work.


When Schumann did finally turn his attention to his piano concerto once more, he started by composing the third movement finale, calling it a Rondo. Only after completing that did he write the Intermezzo that connects this with the original first movement (which he then revised). It also seems that the bridge passage connecting the Intermezzo with the Rondo gave him particular trouble (there exist seven different versions). We are all so familiar with this music now that it seems so evident, but it wasn't arrived at easily.


John Worthen in his excellent biography of Schumann notes how ironic it was that Schumann finally gave Clara "her" concerto at a time in her life when she could hardly practise. By now she had three children and knew a fourth was on its way (she was pregnant ten times in fourteen years), and because Robert needed silence to compose she could only practise when he took his afternoon walk. Often she was too exhausted by that time to get much work done, and her performances were not frequent. But finally she had her concerto, and the first performance was given in the Hôtel de Saxe in Dresden on 4 December 1845. Ferdinand Hiller, to whom the concerto is dedicated, conducted the orchestra of the subscription concerts.


The Concerto was a success, as was confirmed by the review in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung: "We all have reason to hold this composition in very high esteem and place it among the best by this composer, primarily because the usual monotony of the genre is happily avoided and the entirely obbligato orchestra part, fashioned with great love and care, is given its full due without leaving the impression of impairing the piano's achievements, and both parts keep up their independence in a beautiful alliance". The second performance (although it is often referred to mistakenly as the premiere) was given in the Leipzig Gewandhaus on New Year's Day 1846. There seems to be some confusion over who conducted: some sources say Mendelssohn, others say Niels Wilhelm Gade, who shared the conductor's duties at the time with his illustrious colleague.


Few pieces attract the attention of the audience so quickly as this Concerto. As Michael Steinberg so vividly writes: "The orchestra fires the starting gun, a single eighth-note [quaver] E, and the piano moves out of the blocks with a powerful cascade of fully voiced chords". The soloist, in fact, hardly stops playing during the entire concerto. The winds are given the initial statement of the opening melody, one in which the "Clara" motif of descending notes – abundantly used throughout Schumann's piano works – is fully apparent. There is no change of tempo marking here, even if the "tradition" is to slow down. The subsequent piano entry of the theme is powerfully expressive but intimate at the same time. The dialogue between piano and orchestra is constant, each taking their turn to be soloist and accompanist. This is most striking in the slower passage, marked Andante espressivo, in the middle of the first movement – a magical moment of repose, where the clarinet and piano are the featured soloists. It is interesting to compare the piano part in the central Più animato with what remains of that early Phantasy in A minor, where the writing is a lot more difficult in the later version. Perhaps Clara complained that it wasn't showy enough? The written-out cadenza is perfectly paced, and gave Clara the chance to shine. It begins with counterpoint, goes through some recitative-like passages, gains huge momentum with a brilliant outburst of chords over descending octaves, and returns passionately to the opening theme. From there the cadenza dissolves into a trill, but ends not with the standard cadence but rather leads directly into the re-entry of the orchestra, now giving us the theme much faster but in hushed tones. The crescendo to the final, uncompromising chords is dramatic to say the least.


Having written the last movement next, it is understandable that Schumann didn't want anything too "meaty" for the "slow" movement, when he finally got round to composing it. After the drama and shifting moods of the first movement, a short Intermezzo seems just the thing. Here, the notes of the first movement's descending motif are turned upside down and now go upwards, but the chamber-music feeling continues and is even amplified. The clarinet again features strongly, but so does the cello section, called upon to give us a "big tune". So often this central section can become distorted, wallowing in sentiment rather than retaining its confidentiality.


The bridge that Schumann finally settled on to link the Intermezzo with the finale returns to the "Clara" motif, first in the major, then in the minor, before bursting into the theme of the Allegro vivace. Here the ascending notes create a sense of unbounded joy. All the passagework in the piano part must sing and be heard. All that scurrying about in different keys during the most difficult moment of the Concerto – where Schumann inserts a prime example of his beloved rhythmic games, terrifying every conductor, even Mendelssohn himself it seems – must sound easy and coherent. And danceable. But what an exhilarating piece of music it is. Clara waited a long time for it, but it was worth it in the end.


Source: Angela Hewitt, 2012 (hyperion-records.co.uk)




Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

♪ Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.54 (1841-1845)

i. Allegro affetuoso
ii. Intermezzo: Andantino grazioso
iii. Allegro vivace

Hélène Grimaud, piano

NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester
Conductor: Thomas Hengelbrock

Music and Congress Centre of Lübeck, July 7, 2013

(HD 720p)















Renaissance woman Hélène Grimaud is not just a deeply passionate and committed musical artist whose pianistic accomplishments play a central role in her life. She is a woman with multiple talents that extend far beyond the instrument she plays with such poetic expression and peerless technical control. The French artist has established herself as a committed wildlife conservationist, a compassionate human rights activist and as a writer.

Grimaud was born in 1969 in Aix-en-Provence and began her piano studies at the local conservatory with Jacqueline Courtin before going on to work with Pierre Barbizet in Marseille. She was accepted into the Paris Conservatoire at just 13 and won first prize in piano performance a mere three years later. She continued to study with György Sándor and Leon Fleisher until, in 1987, she gave her well-received debut recital in Tokyo. That same year, renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim invited her to perform with the Orchestre de Paris: this marked the launch of Grimaud's musical career, characterised ever since by concerts with most of the world's major orchestras and many celebrated conductors.

Between her debut in 1995 with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Claudio Abbado and her first performance with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur in 1999 – just two of many notable musical milestones – Grimaud made a wholly different kind of debut: in upper New York State she established the Wolf Conservation Center.

Her love for the endangered species was sparked by a chance encounter with a wolf in northern Florida; this led to her determination to open an environmental education centre. "To be involved in direct conservation and being able to put animals back where they belong", she says, "there's just nothing more fulfilling". But Grimaud's engagement doesn't end there: she is also a member of the organisation Musicians for Human Rights, a worldwide network of musicians and people working in the field of music to promote a culture of human rights and social change.

For most people, establishing and running an environmental organisation or having a flourishing career as a musician would be accomplishment enough. Yet, remarkably, Hélène Grimaud has also found time to pursue writing, publishing three books that have appeared in various languages. Her first, Variations Sauvages, appeared in 2003. It was followed in 2005 by Leçons particulières, and in 2013 by Retour à Salem, both semi-autobiographical novels.

Despite her divided dedication to these multiple passions, it is through Grimaud's thoughtful and tenderly expressive music-making that she most deeply touches the emotions of audiences. Fortunately, they have been able to enjoy her concerts worldwide, thanks to the extensive tours she undertakes as a soloist and recitalist. She is also an ardent and committed chamber musician who performs frequently at the most prestigious festivals and cultural events with a wide range of musical collaborators, including Sol Gabetta, Rolando Villazón, Jan Vogler, Truls Mørk, Clemens Hagen and the Capuçon brothers. Her prodigious contribution to and impact on the world of classical music were recognised by the French government when she was admitted into the Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur (France's highest decoration) at the rank of Chevalier (Knight).

Hélène Grimaud has been an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist since 2002. Her recordings have been critically acclaimed and awarded numerous accolades, among them the Cannes Classical Recording of the Year, Choc du Monde de la musique, Diapason d'or, Grand Prix du disque, Record Academy Prize (Tokyo), Midem Classic Award and the Echo Klassik Award.

Her early recordings include Credoand Reflection(both of which feature a number of thematically linked works); a Chopin and Rachmaninov Sonatas disc; a Bartók CD on which she plays the Third Piano Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra and Pierre Boulez; a Beethoven disc with the Staatskapelle Dresden and Vladimir Jurowski which was chosen as one of history's greatest classical music albums in the iTunes "Classical Essentials" series; a selection of Bach's solo and concerto works, in which she directed the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen from the piano; and a DVD release of Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Claudio Abbado.

In 2010 Grimaud recorded the solo recital album Resonances, showcasing music by Mozart, Berg, Liszt and Bartók. This was followed in 2011 by a disc featuring her readings of Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 19 and 23 as well as a collaboration with singer Mojca Erdmann in the same composer's Ch'io mi scordi di te?. Her next release, Duo, recorded with cellist Sol Gabetta, won the 2013 Echo Klassik Award for "chamber recording of the year", and her album of the two Brahms piano concertos, the First recorded with Andris Nelsons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Second with Nelsons and the Vienna Philharmonic, appeared in September 2013.

This was followed by Water (January 2016), a live recording of performances from tears become... streams become..., the critically-acclaimed large-scale immersive installation at New York's Park Avenue Armory created by Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon in collaboration with Grimaud. Waterfeatures works by nine composers: Berio, Takemitsu, Fauré, Ravel, Albéniz, Liszt, Janáček, Debussy and Nitin Sawhney, who wrote seven short Water Transitionsfor the album as well as producing it. April 2017 then saw the release of Perspectives, a two-disc personal selection of highlights from her DG catalogue, including two "encores" – Brahms's Waltz in A flat and Sgambati's arrangement of Gluck's "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" – previously unreleased on CD/via streaming.

Grimaud's latest album, Memory, was released in September 2018. Exploring music's ability to bring the past back to life, it comprises a selection of evanescent miniatures by Chopin, Debussy, Satie and Valentin Silvestrov which, in the pianist's own words, "conjure atmospheres of fragile reflection, a mirage of what was – or what could have been".

Having opened 2019 by giving a series of performances of the Schumann Piano Concerto with Andris Nelsons and the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig, Hamburg, Paris, Luxembourg, Munich and Vienna, in February she begins a recital tour of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium featuring repertoire from Memory. Further European dates will follow in May/June. In the meantime, her tour of the US in March/April will focus on performances of Beethoven's Fourth Concerto and Ravel's Concerto in G major at venues including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and New York's Carnegie Hall.

Highlights of last season include Grimaud's residency with the Gothenburg Symphony; this began with a chamber recital and performances of the Ravel Piano Concerto, which she also played in Zurich and Vienna in January. She performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.4 in Leipzig with Lionel Bringuier and the Gewandhausorchester, in Munich with Valery Gergiev and the Munich Philharmonic and on tour in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland with the Gothenburg Symphony. In addition, she gave performances in Lucerne, Ludwigshafen and Paris of multimedia concert project Woodlands and beyond..., premiered at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie in April 2017. The project combines piano works by Romantic and Impressionist composers with images from Woodlands, the latest publication by her partner, fine art photographer Mat Hennek.

Hélène Grimaud is undoubtedly a multi-faceted artist. Her deep dedication to her musical career, both in performances and recordings, is reflected and reciprocally amplified by the scope and depth of her environmental, literary and artistic interests.

Source: helenegrimaud.com (2019)







































More photos


See also


Maurice Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major – Hélène Grimaud, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Lionel Bringuier (HD 1080p)

Hélène Grimaud: Water – Nitin Sawhney, Luciano Berio, Toru Takemitsu, Gabriel Fauré, Maurice Ravel, Isaac Albeniz, Franz Liszt, Leoš Janáček, Claude Debussy (Audio video)

A Russian Night: Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov & Stravinsky – Hélène Grimaud, Claudio Abbado (Full HD 1080p)

Hélène Grimaud talks about Claudio Abbado

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No.23 in A major, ii. Adagio – Hélène Grimaud, Radoslaw Szulc

&

Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor – Jan Lisiecki, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor – Nelson Freire, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Claus Peter Flor

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Alexandеr Malofeev – All the posts















Alexander Malofeev is a young Russian pianist, who gained international recognition through his outstanding appearance at the 8th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians (2014), where he won the 1st Prize. Alexander was born in Moscow in October 2001. Currently the young pianist studies at the Gnessin Moscow Special School of Music with Elena Berezkina.

At his young age, Alexander Malofeev already performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Mariinsky Theatre, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Kurhaus Wiesbaden, Herkulessaal in Munich, Philharmonie de Paris, Theater of the Champs-Elysees, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, National Centre for the Performing Arts (China), Kaufman Music Center, and UNESCO House among others. He gave recitals in Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Finland, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Israel, China, Japan, Australia and the United States.


Alexander has appeared with numerous orchestras including the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, "New Russia" State Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, Baltic Sea Philharmonic, Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Spivakov, Alexander Sladkovsky, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Alondra de la Parra, Dmitry Liss, Eduard Topchjan, Myung-Whun Chung, Kazuki Yamada, Kristjan Järvi, Gábor Takács-Nagy and Alexander Soloviev to name only a few.


Alexander Malofeev performed at many renowned international festivals, such as La Roque d'Anthéron, Annecy Classic Festival, Chopin Festival (France), Rheingau Music Festival (Germany), Crescendo Festival (Denis Matsuev's festival), Mikkeli Music Festival (Valery Gergiev's festival), Mariinsky International Piano Festival, Denis Matsuev and friends Festival, International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival (Moscow, Baku, Orenburg), Stars of the White Nights International Music Festival, International Winter Festival Arts Square (directed by Yuri Temirkanov), Stars on Baikal International Music Festival, Vladimir Spivakov's International Moscow Meets Friends Festival, Festival of Larisa Gergieva (Vladikavkaz), International Piano Festival of Brescia and Bergamo, Merano Music Festival (Italy), Eilat Chamber Music Festival, Peregrinos Musica Festival (Spain) among others.


In 2016 Alexander Malofeev won the Grand Prix of the International Competition for Young Pianists «Grand Piano Competition».


In June, 2016 the company Master Performers released Alexander Malofeev's debut DVD. The record was made in Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium, Australia.


In February 2017 Malofeev received a warm response in the Italian media describing the debut concert at La Scala: He was described as the "Russian genius" (Corriere della Sera) who performed the first Tchaikovsky piano concerto with Maestro Valery Gergiev.


In March 2017 Alexander Malofeev opened the 30th anniversary concert season of the established Meesterpianisten Series in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and received a great critical acclaim: "In contrast to what could be expected of a young artist at age 15, he demonstrated not only high technical accuracy but also an incredible maturity. Crystal clear sound, perfectly balanced revealed the exceptional skill in his playing..." (Amadeus)


In April 2017 in Italy, at the opening of the festival "International Piano Festival of Brescia and Bergamo" Alexander Malofeev was awarded the "Premio Giovane Talento Musicale dell'anno 2017" – "Best Young Musician of 2017".


In December 2017 Alexander became the first "Young Yamaha Artist".


Alexander Malofeev is supported by New Names Charity Foundation, Vladimir Spivakov International Charity Foundation and Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation.


Source: alexander-malofeev.com


















Photos by Liudmila Malofeeva

More photos


Alexandеr Malofeev – All the posts

Francis Poulenc: Concerto for two pianos and orchestra in D minor – Alexandеr Malofeev, Sandro Nebieridze, State Academic Symphony Orchestra "Evgeny Svetlanov", Alexander Sladkovsky (HD 1080p)

Camille Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor – Alexandеr Malofeev, New Russia State Symphony Orchestra, Yuri Tkachenko

Frédéric Chopin: Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor – Alexandеr Malofeev (HD 1080p)


Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor – Alexandеr Malofeev


Sergei Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini – Alexandеr Malofeev, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI di Torino, Myung-Whun Chung


Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor – Alexandеr Malofeev, Russian National Youth Symphony Orchestra, Dimitris Botinis (HD 1080p)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Francis Poulenc: Concerto for two pianos and orchestra in D minor – Alexandеr Malofeev, Sandro Nebieridze, State Academic Symphony Orchestra "Evgeny Svetlanov", Alexander Sladkovsky (HD 1080p)
















Accompanied by the State Academic Symphony Orchestra "Evgeny Svetlanov" under the baton of the vibrant Russian conductor Alexander Sladkovsky, the young pianists Alexandеr Malofeev (Russia) and Sandro Nebieridze (Georgia) perform Francis Poulenc's Concerto for two pianos and orchestra in D minor. Recorded at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, on April 29, 2018.



Poulenc composed this music in 1932, and played the first performance with Jacques Fevrier on September 5 during the Fifth International Music Festival in Venice, with Désire Defauw conducting the La Scala Orchestra from Milan. It is scored for double winds and brass plus piccolo, English horn, tuba, assorted drums, and reduced strings.

While Poulenc was studying with Koechlin, Serge Diaghilev commissioned him to write Les biches (colloquially "The Girls") for his Ballets Russes. Produced in 1924, this made Poulenc famous. He solidified his reputation in 1928 with the delectable Concert champêtre for harpsichord. The saucy-sentimental Two-Piano Concerto followed in 1932, commissioned by the Princesse Edmond de Polignac (herself a composer, but more famous as a Parisian hostess and patron of the arts). Songs apart, the Two-Piano Concerto has proved to be the composer's hardiest work, clearly influenced by Ravel's G major Concerto, which was premiered at Paris in January 1932 – especially its instrumentation and "blues" passages (in their very French way). Each of the three movements has a slow central section, part-bittersweet, part-sentimental, amounting to ABA form in the first and second, but a rondo-component in the finale.

The opening Allegro ma non troppo has a sonata-form exposition and recapitulation along with bits of once-popular chansons (like croutons in salad) that complement the composer's own jaunty first and second subjects. The slow, sighing central section replaces a development group before Poulenc returns to the boulevards and boites.

The Larghetto pays homage to Mozart throughout, at one point to the slow movement of the C major Piano Concerto, K.467. Piano I leads in effect a musette, as if on a toy piano. The middle section becomes more impassioned, building to a sonorous climax before calm is restored.

Returning to the mood of the first movement, the Allegro molto finale begins with percussive flourishes before it takes off like an Alfa-Romeo in a Grand prix through the avenues and allées of day-and-night Paris, past marching bands and music halls. There is, however, an interlude lyrique et romantique when the Alfa stops for a bedroom tryst, where perfume and perspiration mix with the smoke from Gauloises, after which the race resumes, even more racily.

Source: Roger Dettmer (allmusic.com)



Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)

♪ Concerto en ré mineur pour deux pianos et orchestre / Concerto for two pianos and orchestra in D minor, FP 61 (1932)

i. Allegro ma non troppo
ii. Larghetto
iii. Allegro molto

Alexandеr Malofeev, piano
Sandro Nebieridze, piano

State Academic Symphony Orchestra "Evgeny Svetlanov"

Conductor: Alexander Sladkovsky

Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, April 29, 2018

(HD 1080p)















Alexander Malofeev is a young Russian pianist, who gained international recognition through his outstanding appearance at the 8th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians (2014), where he won the 1st Prize. Alexander was born in Moscow in October 2001. Currently the young pianist studies at the Gnessin Moscow Special School of Music with Elena Berezkina.

At his young age, Alexander Malofeev already performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Mariinsky Theatre, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Kurhaus Wiesbaden, Herkulessaal in Munich, Philharmonie de Paris, Theater of the Champs-Elysees, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, National Centre for the Performing Arts (China), Kaufman Music Center, and UNESCO House among others. He gave recitals in Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Finland, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Israel, China, Japan, Australia and the United States.


Alexander has appeared with numerous orchestras including the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, "New Russia" State Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, Baltic Sea Philharmonic, Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Spivakov, Alexander Sladkovsky, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Alondra de la Parra, Dmitry Liss, Eduard Topchjan, Myung-Whun Chung, Kazuki Yamada, Kristjan Järvi, Gábor Takács-Nagy and Alexander Soloviev to name only a few.


Alexander Malofeev performed at many renowned international festivals, such as La Roque d'Anthéron, Annecy Classic Festival, Chopin Festival (France), Rheingau Music Festival (Germany), Crescendo Festival (Denis Matsuev's festival), Mikkeli Music Festival (Valery Gergiev's festival), Mariinsky International Piano Festival, Denis Matsuev and friends Festival, International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival (Moscow, Baku, Orenburg), Stars of the White Nights International Music Festival, International Winter Festival Arts Square (directed by Yuri Temirkanov), Stars on Baikal International Music Festival, Vladimir Spivakov's International Moscow Meets Friends Festival, Festival of Larisa Gergieva (Vladikavkaz), International Piano Festival of Brescia and Bergamo, Merano Music Festival (Italy), Eilat Chamber Music Festival, Peregrinos Musica Festival (Spain) among others.


In 2016 Alexander Malofeev won the Grand Prix of the International Competition for Young Pianists «Grand Piano Competition».


In June, 2016 the company Master Performers released Alexander Malofeev's debut DVD. The record was made in Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium, Australia.


In February 2017 Malofeev received a warm response in the Italian media describing the debut concert at La Scala: He was described as the "Russian genius" (Corriere della Sera) who performed the first Tchaikovsky piano concerto with Maestro Valery Gergiev.


In March 2017 Alexander Malofeev opened the 30th anniversary concert season of the established Meesterpianisten Series in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and received a great critical acclaim: "In contrast to what could be expected of a young artist at age 15, he demonstrated not only high technical accuracy but also an incredible maturity. Crystal clear sound, perfectly balanced revealed the exceptional skill in his playing..." (Amadeus)


In April 2017 in Italy, at the opening of the festival "International Piano Festival of Brescia and Bergamo" Alexander Malofeev was awarded the "Premio Giovane Talento Musicale dell'anno 2017" – "Best Young Musician of 2017".


In December 2017 Alexander became the first "Young Yamaha Artist".


Alexander Malofeev is supported by New Names Charity Foundation, Vladimir Spivakov International Charity Foundation and Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation.


Source: alexander-malofeev.com
















Sandro Nebieridze was born on January 7, 2001, in Tbilisi, Georgia. He began studying music at the age of five piano with professor LaliSanikidze and composition at the age of nine, with professor Maka Virsaladze. In June 2018 graduated Music Seminary of Tbilisi State Conservatoire. From September 2018 is a student of Tbilisi State Conservatoire.

Sandro is the winner of several international piano competitions including "Musica Sepashvili Klavierwettbeweb", the B. Dvarionas Piano Competition, the International Piano Competition "Sberbank-Debut", the International Piano Competition "Astana Piano Passion", and Grand Prize winner of the First International Piano Competition "Grand Piano Competition".

At the age of 9, Sandro began studying composition. In addition to works for solo piano, he has composed "The Solar System" for quartet, the chamber opera "Once", a piano concerto with symphonic orchestra, two piano trios, a sonata for cello and symphony ballad. Sandro won the "Best composition of 2016" (Georgia) with his Piano Concerto Nο.1 in D minor, dedicated to Sergei Prokofiev; the "Best composition of year 2017" (Georgia) with  the trio "The Elements". With his Piano Toccata, Sandro won the "Golden Key Piano Composition Competition 2018" (Vienna, Austria). 

Sandro took piano master classes from Arie Vardi, Elisso Virsaladze, Hans-Jurg Strub; and composition master classes from Joseph Bardanashvili.

Sandro is performing in more and more international festivals, with many of his own compositions included on the programs. He has performed his own works in Denis Matsuev's festivals in Perm, Yekaterinburg, "Crescendo" – Pskov and Moscow, Irkutsk – "Stars on Baikal", Festival "White Lilac" in Kazan; International "Festival d'Auvers sur-Oise" in France; International festivals "Mozart-Augsburg" and "Festspiele der Mecklenburg-Vorpommern" in Germany; Liana Isakadze's Batumi International Festival "Night Serenades"; International Festival "Kurt Schmitt and Young Talents"; Sandro also has also offered his performances for charity concerts in Hamburg and Berlin.

Source: sandronebieridze.com







































More photos


See also

Alexandеr Malofeev – All the posts

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The best new classical albums: February 2019






















Recording of the Month

Franz Liszt: Mazeppa (Symphonic Poem No.6, S.100) & Sardanapalo (unfinished opera, S.687)

Joyce El-Khoury, soprano
Airam Hernández, tenor
Oleksandr Pushniak, baritone

Opera Chorus Nationaltheater Weimar
Staatskapelle Weimar
Conductor: Kirill Karabits

Recorded August 17-20, 2018, Congress Centrum Neue Weimarhalle
Released on February 8, 2019 by Audite

An immensely important issue, this is the first recording of the performing edition by British musicologist David Trippett of Sardanapalo, the only projected opera by the mature Liszt of which substantial material survives. Its genesis remains to some extent shrouded in mystery. Byron's 1821 play Sardanapalus, about the sensualist Assyrian king who immolated himself and his mistress after failing to quell an insurrection, was among the subjects that Liszt was contemplating, as early as 1842, to mark his return to opera, his only previous work in the genre being the juvenile Don Sanche of 1825. Why he chose Sardanapalo over, among others, Byron's Corsair and an opera about Spartacus, is seemingly unknown. We also have scant information about Sardanapalo's librettist, an unnamed Italian poet suggested by the Princess Cristina Belgiojoso after attempts failed to procure a text from the French playwright Félicien Mallefille. Nor has the full libretto survived: the only extant portions are those to be found in the manuscript.

Liszt seemingly began composition early in 1850 and was still working on the score in the winter of 1851-1852. At some point shortly afterwards, however, he abandoned the opera, probably because his librettist was either unable or unwilling to undertake revisions to the second and third acts. The manuscript itself, meanwhile, though familiar to Liszt scholars, was long deemed too fragmentary for reconstruction. Trippett's painstaking research, however, revealed that in essence what we possess is a draft piano-vocal score of the complete first act, albeit with some key signatures omitted and a handful of gaps in the accompaniment; there are also a number of cues for orchestration, which Liszt apparently intended to entrust to his assistant Joachim Raff. Trippett consequently decided there was "just sufficient" to undertake a performing version, and his edition caused something of a stir when it was first heard in Weimar last August, conducted by Kirill Karabits, with the cast we have here.

It is indeed extraordinary and in some respects unique. Commentators familiar with the manuscript have often dubbed it "Meyerbeerian". The opera might better, however, be described as through-composed bel canto, at times echoing Bellini, at others pre-empting 1860s Verdi (Forza in particular comes to mind), though the melodic contours and chromatic harmony are unmistakably Liszt's own. Dramatically straightforward and uncluttered, it falls into four distinct sections: an introductory chorus for Sardanapalo's many concubines; a colossal scena for Mirra, the king's slave-girl mistress; a love duet for the central couple; and a final trio in which Mirra and the Chaldean soothsayer Beleso attempt to persuade the unwilling king to go into battle after news of the insurrection breaks. Though the opening chorus repeats its material once too often, the rest of the act is beautifully shaped, while Liszt's fluid treatment of bel canto structures – blurring boundaries between recitative, aria and arioso in a quest for psychological veracity – reveals an assured musical dramatist at work.

He makes no concessions to his singers, though, and his vocal writing is taxing in the extreme. Joyce El Khoury is pushed almost to her limits in Mirra's scena, with its big declamatory recitatives, interrupted cavatina (it fragments as mounting desire for her captor obliterates memories of a life once lived in freedom) and vast closing cabaletta. Her dramatic commitment is never in doubt, though, and there's a ravishing passage later on when she pleads with the king to put aside his aversion to military conflict, her voice soaring sensually and ecstatically over rippling harp arpeggios. Airam Hernández sounds noble and ardent in the title-role, wooing El Khoury with fierce insistence and responding to Oleksandr Pushniak's stentorian Beleso with assertive dignity. The choral singing is consistently strong, the playing terrific, and Karabits conducts with extraordinary passion. Trippett has carefully modelled his orchestration on Liszt's works of the early 1850s, and it sounds unquestionably authentic when placed beside the exhilarating performance of Mazeppa that forms its companion piece. Throughout there's a real sense of excitement at the discovery and restoration of a fine work by one of the most inventive of composers. You end up wishing that Liszt had somehow incorporated operatic composition into his extraordinary career, and wondering what the course of musical history might have been if he had.

Source: Tim Ashley (Gramophone)


Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.3 in D minor

Sara Mingardo, contralto

Women's choir of Schola Heidelberg
Young singers of the Kölner Dom
Gürzenich-Orchester Köln
Conductor: François-Xavier Roth

Recorded October 2018, Kölner Philharmonie

Released on February 8, 2019 by Harmonia mundi

From the powerful opening statement salvo by 8 French horns, to the incisive declamations by the solo principal trombonist, to the seismic tremors induced by the ranks of percussion instruments in the first movement, to the graceful interplay between woodwinds and strings in the second, to the beautifully alluring and deceptive (turns out to be a hunting horn) solo horn passages in the third, to the appropriately grim and heartfelt singing by contralto Sara Mingardo in the fourth, to the joyous bimm bamms by the children's choir in the fifth, to the highly emotional, quasi-hymnic extended crescendo that builds to celestial proportions that is the final movement, all aspects of the "Mahler" sound are laid bare in this intense account, and presented with demonstration quality engineering. Add to all this the number of finer expressive details benefitting from conductor François-Xavier Roth's focus along the way and I could go on and on...

Source: Jean-Yves Duperron (classicalmusicsentinel.com)


Roth and the Cologne orchestra have a knack of making the most familiar Mahler sound new, with vivid extremes of colour and dynamics. Hearing the prodigious Third makes me marvel afresh at it, and at the stupidity of critics who were deaf to its greatness. — Sunday Times


Ottorino Respighi: Roman Trilogy (Roman Festivals – Fountains of Rome – Pines of Rome)

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: JoAnn Falletta

Recorded 30 May and 4 June 2018, at Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, New York, USA
Released on February 8, 2019 by Naxos

Along with The Planets by Gustav Holst, the Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss or the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé, amongst others, the Roman Trilogy by Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) certainly ranks as one of the top orchestral showpieces of the 20th century.

Conductor JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra may not quite convey the drunken revelry, vulgar frenzy, muscle and sonic savagery required during the final La Befana ("Epiphany") from the Roman Festivals, but they along with the Naxos sound engineers well capture and project many other facets of this work. The epic grandeur and barbaric brutality of the Circenses ("Circus Maximus"), the dark, sombre and stoic solitude of the Pini presso una catacomba ("Pines near a Catacomb") from the Pines of Rome. The delicate sparkle of the La fontana di Villa Medici al tramonto ("The Villa Medici Fountain at Sunset") from the Fountains of Rome, the paradisiacal portrayal of nature in the I pini del Gianicolo ("The Pines of the Janiculum") in which near the end, nightingale song and all, you can almost smell the fragrance of the evening. And last but not least, the relentless martial steps of the ancient Roman legion advancing in triumph in the I pini della via Appia ("The Pines of the Appian Way") where, starting at the 2:00 minute mark, you can't quite hear but you can feel the bottomless pipe organ pedal note driving them on to glory. Adrenaline rush achieved!

Source: Jean-Yves Duperron (classicalmusicsentinel.com)


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.4 in F minor, Op.36 | Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (orch Maurice Ravel 1922)

London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda

Recorded live in DSD 128fs, 29 October & 1 November 2017 (Symphony No.4), and in DSD 256fs, 3 June 2018 (Pictures at an Exhibition) at the Barbican, London
Released on February 8, 2019 by London Symphony Orchestra Ltd

Widely recognized as one of the leading conductors of his generation, LSO Principal Guest Conductor Gianandrea Noseda presents the first release in a new series exploring Tchaikovsky's final three symphonies. Urgent, supercharged and violent in places, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.4 is said to reflect the turmoil he found himself in while composing: a disastrous marriage, struggles with his sexuality and severe depression. Yet, despite the gloomy outlook, the symphony proves undoubtedly that Tchaikovsky knew how to fill his works with memorable melodies. Known for his mastery of Russian repertoire, for this album Noseda pairs Tchaikovsky with a masterpiece by his fellow countryman, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, performed here in Ravel's iconic orchestration.

Source: amazon.com


Vers l'ailleurs – Franz Schubert, Franz Liszt, Rodolphe Bruneau-Boulmier

Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Recorded November 2018 in Limoges
Released on February 1, 2019 by Collection 1001 Notes

Le pianiste Gaspard Dehaene confirme une sensibilité à part ; riche de filiations intimes. C'est un geste explorateur, qui ose des passerelles enivrantes entre Schubert, Liszt et la pièce contemporaine de Rodolphe Bruneau-Boulmier. Ce 2è cd est une belle réussite. Après son premier (Fantaisie – également édité par 1001 Notes), le pianiste français récidive dans la poésie et l'originalité. Il aime prendre son temps ; un temps intérieur pour concevoir chaque programme ; pour mesurer aussi dans quelle mesure chaque pièce choisie signifie autant que les autres, dans une continuité qui fait sens. La cohérence poétique de ce second cd éblouit immédiatement par sa justesse, sa sobre profondeur et dans l'éloquence du clavier maîtrisé, sa souple élégance. Les filiations inspirent son jeu allusif : la première relie ainsi Schubert célébré par Liszt. La seconde engage le pianiste lui-même dans le sillon qui le mène à son grand père, Henri Queffélec, écrivain de la mer, et figure inspirant ce cheminement entre terre et mer, « vers l'Ailleurs ». En somme, c'est le songe mobile de Schubert, – le wanderer / voyageur, dont l'errance est comme régénérée et superbement réinvestis, sous des doigts complices et fraternels...

Source: classiquenews.com


Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonatas Op.110 & Op.111, Bagatelles Op.126

Yevgeny Sudbin, piano

Recorded November 2014 at St George's, Bristol, England (Bagatelles) and July 2016 at Hallé St Peter's, Manchester, England (Sonatas)
Released on February 8, 2019 by BIS

BIS ecopak Yevgeny Sudbin has previously recorded Beethoven's piano concertos – releases which have received international acclaim, for instance on the website ClassicsToday.com: "A Beethoven experience you will not want to miss". For his first disc featuring solo works by Beethoven, Sudbin has chosen the two final sonatas and the Six Bagatelles, Op.126 – late works written between 1821 and 1824, just a couple of years before the composer's death. There are numerous anecdotes that testify to the fact that Beethoven was highly temperamental. But in his liner notes to this disc, Sudbin writes of another, contrasting side to the composer: "warmth, generosity and wisdom – with unexpected outbursts of cheeky humour – are also unmistakably among Beethoven's qualities and particularly evident in the works on this recording". If Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas form one of the most important collections of works in the history of music, then the final ones belong to his crowning achievements. Various musicians and musicologists have commented on them, hearing a hard-won triumph of the spirit in the great fugue of the final movement of Op.110, and interpreting Op.111 – and especially its second movement, the famous Arietta – as a last farewell. The set of Bagatelles was composed only months after Beethoven had completed his monumental Ninth Symphony. It became the last work for piano to be published in his lifetime, and together the six brief pieces form a distillate of a lifetime of writing for and playing the piano.

Source: naxosdirect.com


Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantatas BWV 33, 17, 99

Julia Sophie Wagner, soprano

Stefan Kahle, alto
Wolframm Lattke, tenor
Tobias Berndt, bass

Sächsisches Barockorchester

Thomanerchor Leipzig
Thomaskantor: Gotthold Schwarz

Recorded 2018 at St Thomas Church, Leipzig

Released on January 1, 2019 by Accentus Music

"Dealing with the Bach cantatas is a lifelong and wonderful task and challenge. Despite decades of experience with the works, new aspects are being discovered every day", says Gotthold Schwarz, 17th Thomaskantor after Johann Sebastian Bach. The cantatas on this first recording of the Thomanerchor Leipzig under the musical direction of Schwarz, speak about the human certainty of being secure in/with God (BWV 17: "How a father has mercy on his young children") and the confidence that God will deliver man from all trouble (BWV 33: "I call on thee in whom I trust"). There is no better credo that the Thomanerchor Leipzig and their Thomaskantor could base their joint path on.


Source: accentus.com



Ascent – York Bowen, Clarice Assad, Robert Schumann, Garth Knox, Dmitri Shostakovich, Franz Waxman

Matthew Lipman, viola
Henry Kramer, piano

Recorded American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY, October 1-3, 2017, and April 25-26, 2018 (Assad); July 7, 2018 at Oktaven Audio, Mount Vernon, NY (Shostakovich)
Released on February 8, 2019 by Cedille Records

Dmitri Shostakovich's long-lost Impromptu for Viola and Piano, Op.33, recently unearthed in the Moscow State Archives, receives its world-premiere recording on Matthew Lipman's Ascent, the acclaimed young American violist's solo debut album, featuring, in the artist's words, "music enraptured by flights of fantasy".

Recipient of a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Lipman has created an album of uplifting and spiritually transcendent works for viola and piano, dedicated to his late mother.

Hailed by The New York Times for his "rich tone and elegant phrasing", Lipman is heard in the world-premiere recording of Clarice Assad's fantasy piece, Metamorfose, which the violist commissioned. It's a poignant commentary on grief and acceptance. Robert Schumann's Fairy Tale Pictures is dreamlike and fanciful. York Bowen's richly expressive Phantasy draws on the Russian Romantic tradition. Garth Knox's free-flying Fuga libre transfigures Bach-like fugal fragments through modern, coloristic performance techniques. The album's finale is the first-ever recording on viola of Hollywood composer Franz Waxman's popular violin showpiece, Carmen Fantasie.

England's The Telegraph praised Lipman as "gifted with poise and a warmth of timbre" for his recording of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante with violinist Rachel Barton Pine, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and Sir Neville Marriner (Avie), which topped the Billboard classical chart.

Lipman's collaborator on Ascent is pianist Henry Kramer, winner of the Second Prize at the 2016 Queen Elisabeth competition and top prizes at the 2015 Honens International Piano Competition and 2011 Montreal International Music Competition. His first commercial recording, dedicated to Liszt oratorio transcriptions, was recently released on Naxos.

Source: cedillerecords.org


Franz Schubert: Impromptus (Op.142 D.935 & Op.90 D.899)

Kemal Cem Yilmaz, piano


Recorded 2018

Released on January 11, 2019 by Audite

Turkish-German pianist Kemal Cem Yilmaz instinctively throws into relief the vocal nature of these piano pieces (after all, Schubert was first and foremost a composer of lieder) and like a singer, knows when and where to slow down and breathe. Here and there, during the more passionate passages, you can even hear him hum along, à la Glenn Gould, when emotion takes over. But don't worry, it's so faint that at first I thought I was hearing things. He clearly "gets" the aforementioned shifts in mood and mode, and responds accordingly with warmth, tenderness or passion. And even though these are not technically challenging pieces, there are still quite a few passages that require clear and articulate phrasing, as well as proper dynamic balance between the left and right hand, all things that Kemal Cem Yilmaz does with natural ease. You most likely already have one or more recordings of the Schubert Impromptus in your music collection but should seriously consider this one as an alternative. And if not, don't hesitate.


In conclusion, we all know how many talented musicians or people with high degrees of education fail to make it and end up being taxi drivers. It turns out it's the other way around for Kemal Cem Yilmaz. He worked twelve years of his life as a taxi driver in Hannover, in order to support his musical studies and freelance recitals. This seems to be only his sophomore recording, the first being a release, on the same label, of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Let's hope there are many more.


Source: Jean-Yves Duperron (classicalmusicsentinel.com)



Franz Schubert: Symphonies, Vol. 1  Nos. 3, 5 & 8

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Edward Gardner

Recorded 9 and 10 July 2018 at Town Hall, Birmingham
Released on February 1, 2019 by Chandos

Following the highly successful series "Mendelssohn in Birmingham", the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and its former Principal Guest Conductor Edward Gardner here present the first volume in a new surround-sound series devoted to Schubert's symphonies.

This first volume comprises three works spanning Schubert's short but exceedingly productive composing life. Symphony No.3, of 1815, notable for its extensive and evolving slow introduction modelled on late Haydn, is followed by a work that represents a distillation of Schubertian classicism: the "little" Symphony No.5, composed in 1816. Scored for chamber orchestra, it shows a greater influence of Mozart, for whom Schubert seems to have felt a special affinity around this time. Completing the album is Schubert's much more intense Symphony No.8 "Unfinished" of 1822. Only the first two movements – a turbulent opening movement and serene second – and a skeleton sketch of a third, Scherzo, movement were completed.

Source: chandos.net


Songs of the Cello – Homage to Pablo Casals

Taeguk Mun, cello

Chi Ho Han, piano

Recorded 2018

Released on February 1, 2019 by Parlophone Records Limited

This debut album opens with cellist Taeguk Mun – winner of the 2014 Pablo Casals International Cello Competition and the 2016 János Starker Foundation Award – playing Bach's Suite for Solo Cello No.1. He is then joined by the pianist Chi Ho Han, another multi-award-winning musician from South Korea, for Beethoven's Sonata for Cello and Piano in A major and short pieces by Schumann, Schubert, Rubinstein and Pablo Casals.


Source: warnerclassics.com



The albums were chosen by the owner and blog editor of "Faces of Classical Music", Alexandros Arvanitakis.










More photos


See also


The best new classical albums: January 2020

The best new classical albums: December 2019

The best new classical albums: November 2019

The best new classical albums: October 2019

The best new classical albums: September 2019

The best new classical albums: August 2019

The best new classical albums: July 2019

The best new classical albums: June 2019

The best new classical albums: May 2019

The best new classical albums: April 2019

The best new classical albums: March 2019

The best new classical albums: January 2019

The Faces of Classical Music Choose the 20 Best Albums of 2019

The Faces of Classical Music Choose the 20 Best Albums of 2018