Monday, September 26, 2016
Here is a new recording by pianist Valentina Lisitsa: Love Story: Piano Themes From Cinema’s Golden Age The tracks on this CD are as follows: Addinsell: Warsaw Concerto Invocation Bath: Cornish Rhapsody Beaver: Portrait of Isla Bennett, R R: Murder on the Orient Express: Overture Bridgewater: Legend of Lancelot Davis, C: Pride and Prejudice: theme Farnon: Seashore Grusin: On Golden Pond: New Hampshire Hornpipe Leslie-Smith: The Mansell Concerto Lucas, L: Stage Fright Rhapsody from Stage Fright Rota, N: The Legend of the Glass Mountain Shostakovich: The Unforgettable Year 1919 – suite Op. 89a: The Storming Of Red Hill (Assault On Beautiful Gorky) Williams, Charles: Jealous Lover (The Apartment) The Dream of Olwen All are performed by Valentina Lisitsa (piano), with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Christopher Warren-Green, and Gavin Sutherland conducting. Valentina Lisitsa explores the glorious music of cinema’s unparalleled golden era. Valentina looks back to the cinematic glory days of the big screen, performing the finest piano concerto music composed especially for film. A genre originally influenced by Rachmaninov’s popular piano concertos, these pieces are arresting original scores for piano and orchestra composed for movies of the 1940s and 1950s including Dangerous Moonlight, Stagefright, and The Apartment. The album also brings us up-to-date with captivating music from Murder on the Orient Express, On Golden Pond and Pride & Prejudice. This is a feast of original works by well-known composers such as Nino Rota, Richard Addinsell, Carl Davies, Richard Rodney-Bennett and Dimitri Shostakovich, set alongside scores from Charles Williams, Hubert Bath, Robert Farnon and others. These pieces feature in films by legends such as Alfred Hitchcock, Leslie Arliss and Mark Rydell, accompanied by the great actors of the time such as Lauren Bacall, Katherine Hepburn, Jane Fonda, Albert Finney, Jack Lemmon, Ingrid Bergman and many more. Here is Valentina Lisitsa in music of Liszt:
Daniil Trifonov (Deutsche Grammophon, 2 CDs)Daniil Trifonov has climbed to the top of the pianistic tree so effortlessly that it’s sometimes hard to remember he is still only 25 and has the time and potential to develop even more. As this collection of Liszt’s studies shows, Trifonov is already an exceptionally thoughtful interpreter, with musicianship that more than matches his technical gifts. It would be easy for such a young pianist to use these pieces to showcase his own technique. But while there is never any doubting the brilliance of Trifonov’s playing, that is only the starting point; the delicacy and transparency of his performances are often more striking than their moments of rampaging virtuosity.The Transcendental Studies dominate this set, and take up the first of the two discs. While these 12 pieces no longer seem as daunting as they once did, and new recordings come along relatively frequently – Kirill Gerstein’s was released by Naxos a couple of months ago, for instance – they are still formidable to play. In the sleeve notes, Trifonov makes the point that they are not really studies, pieces that focus on technical or musical issues, but wider-ranging poems – “existential meditations” he calls them – that trace a spiritual journey, a pianistic hero’s life, and just happen to be phenomenally hard to play. Continue reading...
Kenneth Hamilton (Prima Facie)Ronald Stevenson died in April last year. Two years earlier, his 85th birthday had been marked by a couple of significant collections of his piano music – Murray McLachlan’s three-disc set for Divine Art concentrated on Stevenson’s myriad arrangements, transcriptions and paraphrases, while James Wilshire’s set for Delphian was built around his performance of the huge Passacaglia on DSCH. There’s been nothing so significant since, but the beginning of Kenneth Hamilton’s series now promises a more systematic survey of Stevenson’s vast keyboard output .Hamilton’s first selection avoids the most monumental pieces. There’s a scattering of arrangements and transcriptions, but the most substantial works here are Stevenson’s Peter Grimes Fantasy, a fantastical weaving of themes from Britten’s opera; the Symphonic Elegy for Liszt, effectively a dark, extended barcarolle, and the gloriously extrovert Beltane Bonfire, composed as a competition test piece. That contains quotations from Chopin and Mozart, and allusions abound in Stevenson’s music, just as his own musical language gathers in a range of composers from Liszt and Alkan onwards. Hamilton, who studied with the composer, brings exactly the right degree of control to the unstoppable streams of musical ideas, without ever compromising their energy or technical brilliance. Continue reading...
I like to follow new artists as they emerge into the music scene. Ms. Pacini has excellent credentials and training, so let me tell you about her new recording which features the following music: Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 ‘Waldstein’ Liszt: Consolation, S. 172 No. 1 in E major Consolation, S. 172 No. 2 in E major Ouvertüre zu R Wagners Tannhäuser S442 Réminiscences de “Don Juan” (after Mozart), S. 418 Liebestraum, S541 No. 3 (Nocturne in A flat major) Hungarian Rhapsody, S244 No. 6 in D flat major All performed by Sophie Pacini (piano) Gramophone wrote the following: “Sophie Pacini is a protégée of Martha Argerich and it shows…There’s a similar air of in-the-moment rhapsodising and no fear of giving the performance a boot up the backside.” Born in Munich in 1991, Pacini began her studies at the age of ten at the Salzburg Mozarteum, where she was accepted two years later by the newly founded Institute for Highly Gifted Students. From 2007 she continued her studies in master classes given by Pavel Gililov, completing her diploma in 2011 with honors. In 2010 she met Martha Argerich, who invited her the following year to give a recital as part of the Martha Argerich Project in Lugano, and who has since become an important figure in the young pianist’s career. Here is Ms. Pacini in Liszt’s Liebestraum #3:
The Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra has chosen Miranda Liu, a Liszt Academy graduate, as its new concertmaster. Miranda, a US citizen, is just 19. She says: ‘Izgatottan jelentem be, hogy múlt kedden a Concerto Budapest Szimfonikus Zenekar koncertmesterévé neveztek ki! Büszke vagyok arra, hogy ilyen nagy kaliberű muzsikusokkal dolgozhatok együtt, és várom a csodálatos zenét, a jövőbeli közös koncerteket Magyarországon és külföldön. Még egy álmom vált valóra! (I’m elated to announce that last Tuesday, I was appointed Concertmaster of the Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra!!! I’m very excited to work and perform together in Hungary and abroad with some of the most respected and accomplished musicians around! Another dream come true.)’
From Barenboim to Blomstedt, Reich to Rossini and Argerich to Alsop, our music writers pick their highlights from the 2016 proms. Do you agree? Tell us what yours were in the comments section For me, the best concert was the one given by Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim, friends since childhood and two of the greatest musicians of our age. They were dazzling together for Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and in the Schubert four-hand duet as an encore, all followed by extracts from Tannhäuser, Götterdämmerung and Die Meistersinger that showed that Barenboim has no peers today as a Wagner interpreter. Continue reading...
Franz Liszt (October 22, 1811 July 31, 1886) was a 19th century Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist and teacher. Liszt became renowned throughout Europe during the 19th century for his great skill as a performer. Liszt was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age and perhaps the greatest pianist of all time. Liszt was also an important and influential composer, a notable piano teacher, a conductor who contributed significantly to the modern development of the art, and a benefactor to other composers and performers, notably Richard Wagner, Hector Berlioz, Camille Saint-Saëns, Edvard Grieg and Alexander Borodin. As a composer, Franz Liszt was one of the most prominent representatives of the New German School. He left behind an extensive and diverse body of work, in which he influenced his forward-looking contemporaries and anticipated some 20th-century ideas and trends. Some of Liszt's most notable contributions were the invention of the symphonic poem, developing the concept of thematic transformation as part of his experiments in musical form and making radical departures in harmony.
Great composers of classical music