British pianist Christian Blackshaw performs Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Sonatas No.14 in C minor, K.457, and No.8 in A minor, K.310, as well as Franz Schubert's Piano Sonata No.21 in B flat major, D.960, and Moments Musicaux (No.1 in C major). The recital recorded at Mariinsky Theatre, Saint Petersburg, on October 14, 2017.
British pianist Christian Blackshaw answers 20 questions, including his signature meal, favourite concert hall, and his role models.
Name your favourite concert hall/venue anywhere
— Wigmore Hall, London and also, Mariinsky Concert Hall, St Petersburg
Your first three record store purchases
— Dinu Lipatti recital, Artur Schnabel Beethoven Sonatas, and Clifford Curzon Schubert D major Sonata, D.850
Three pieces, songs or arias that you could listen to on repeat for an hour?
— "Der Abschied" from Das Lied von der Erde of Mahler performed by Kathleen Ferrier, Vienna Philharmonic and Bruno Walter | "Trauere, mein Herz", Cavatina Act 3 from Oberon by Weber performed by Gundula Janowitz, Deutsche Oper Orchestra and Ferdinand Leitner | "An die Musik" of Franz Schubert performed by Fritz Wunderlich with Hubert Giesen, piano
The first album that made you love music?
— Age four, transfixed by The Hebrides Overture, (Fingal's Cave) by Mendelssohn
Your favourite word?
Your least favourite word?
What is the title and author of the book closest to you right now?
— A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles)
If you could board a plane this afternoon, where would it be taking you?
— A secret location in Greece
The three books that you read that made an impact on you in your formative years?
— The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame), Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie), Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (Leo Tolstoy)
Signature meal to cook at home?
— Slow cooked chicken, potatoes, good oil, lemon juice, fresh oregano, fresh thyme, and seasoning – in one pot
What did you major in as an undergraduate?
— As I left school at 16, I took three diplomas aged 19 in piano performance, teaching, and graduate studies
The different career path that you could have gone on?
— There was never any doubt of my direction, though if I failed, working with wood or stone would appeal
Your three favourite films?
— Fantasia, Some Like it Hot, and The Lady Vanishes (the black and white Hitchcock)
Your role models?
— Musicians I admire include, Sir Clifford Curzon, Maria Callas, and Herbert von Karajan
The historical personalities, both good and bad, that that fascinate you the most?
— There are many, naturally... However, my three have to be: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, and Robert Schumann
What is the best thing about your work?
— Being allowed to inhabit the musical language of composers of genius
What is the worst thing about your work?
— Failing in the above
What are you listening to as you answer these questions?
If you had a motto, what would it be?
— Forever simpler
Whose musical style do you covet?
— It's not a question to covet. Only to find truth and meaning and the freedom to express
About Christian Blackshaw
"The luminous tone he draws from the keys is a wonder in itself..." — Andrew Clark, Financial Times, September 2013
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
♪ Piano Sonata No.14 in C minor, K.457 (1784) [00:08:17]*
i. Molto allegro
iii. Allegro assai
♪ Piano Sonata No.8 in A minor, K.310 (1778) [00:31:59]
i. Allegro Maestoso
ii. Andante cantabile con espressione
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
♪ Piano Sonata No.21 in B flat major, D.960 (1828) [01:20:50]
i. Molto moderato
ii. Andante sostenuto
iii. Scherzo: Allegro vivace con delicatezza
iv. Allegro ma non troppo
♪ Moments musicaux, D.780 (1823-1928) [02:07:54]
i. Moderato in C major
Christian Blackshaw, piano
Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, October 14, 2017
* Start time of each movement
|Photo by Herbie Knott|
Following studies with Gordon Green at the Royal College Manchester and Royal Academy London, winning the gold medals at each, he was the first British pianist to study at the Leningrad Conservatoire with Moisei Halfin. He later worked closely with Sir Clifford Curzon in London.
He has performed worldwide and in festivals as recitalist and soloist with many renowned conductors including Valery Gergiev, Sir Simon Rattle, Gianandrea Noseda, Yuri Temirkanov and Sir Neville Marriner. He is also joint Artistic Director of the Hellensmusic Festival which was established in 2013.
His hugely acclaimed Wigmore Hall complete Mozart Piano Sonatas series was recorded for Wigmore Hall Live and released in four volumes. Critics have been unanimous in their praise, describing these "landmark" recordings as "captivating", "magical" and "masterful". Volume 4 was named as one of the Best Classical Recordings of 2015 in the New York Times in addition to Gramophone Magazine's Top 50 Greatest Mozart Recordings.
Recent notable performances include the Mozart cycle in Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing, a return to the Stars of the White Nights Festival, St Petersburg and debuts at the Schwetzingen and Edinburgh International Festivals.
During the 2018-2019 season he is an Artist in Residence at the Wigmore Hall. In 2019 he takes the Mozart cycle to Montreal and makes his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nezet-Seguin.
He has been appointed an MBE in the New Year 2019 Honours List.
Changyong Shin plays Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin & Enrique Granados (HD 1080p)
Alice Sara Ott plays Claude Debussy (Suite bergamasque, Rêverie), Frédéric Chopin (Nocturnes Nos. 1, 2, 13, Ballade No.1 in G minor), Erik Satie (Gnossiennes Nos. 1 & 3, Gymnopédie No.1), & Maurice Ravel (Gaspard de la nuit) (HD 1080p)
Johann Sebastian Bach: Partita No.2 in C minor, BWV 826 – Ivan Bessonov (HD 1080p)