Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Until recently I did not know much about pianist Marina Yakhlakova. But I learn pretty fast, once I get interested… Russian pianist Marina Yakhlakova was born in 1991 in Moscow. She began playing the piano at the age of 5 under the guidance of Vitaly Mishchenko and in 2001 entered into the Moscow Gnessin School of Music for Gifted Children where she graduated under Natalia Zdobnova. In 2009, Marina was accepted to study at the Moscow State Conservatory where she has spent the past four years working with internationally renowned pianist, Alexander Strukov. In 2011, Marina was the first prizewinner of the prestigious, International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Weimar and Bayreuth, Germany. In addition, she received the Special Award for the best interpretation of a work by Franz Liszt. In April 2014, Marina began extensive tour of Australia with a performance of the Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2 under the baton of Maestro Vassilis Christopoulos and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Here is Ms. Yakhlakova at the Liszt piano competition:
Wigmore Hall, London Argerich’s uneasiness playing solo meant a programme of works for four hands that, due to her own exceptional skill and formidable technique, was unevenly balanced Every appearance by Martha Argerich is inescapably an event. She is such an exceptional pianist by any standard, and her visits anywhere were for many years such rarities that she long ago acquired a legendary status. But there is a problem.The problem with Argerich’s appearances is not, as it once was, whether she would actually turn up. These days, she plays in the UK a lot – steely Liszt at this summer’s Proms, the Schumann concerto a few weeks later, and this Wigmore Hall concert, only her third appearance at the venue in 40 years. Argerich is back in January too, playing Prokofiev. It’s a bumper period for her legions of admirers. Continue reading...
Barbican, London A recital that mixed Beethoven, Shostakovich and Lizst with Respighi and Tosti rareties saw both musicians at their bestAs Gerald Finley explained, with a Canadian bass-baritone of Scottish extraction and a pianist with Italian parents who was born in London but moved to the US when he was 13, the possibility of mixing national traditions was almost inevitable. And in fact, such blending proved highly rewarding.Finley exploited his vigorous, tensile tone in a Beethoven group including Italian as well as German settings, bringing an almost operatic subjectivity to Liszt’s Three Petrarch Sonnets, heard here in the composer’s own late version for baritone voice, and also allowing Antonio Pappano to revel in his virtuoso technique. Continue reading...
"The list of heavy-drinking composers is worthy of Monty Python’s ‘Philosophers’ Song’. It includes Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius. There are no reports of Bach getting drunk — but during a fortnight’s trip to Halle in 1713 his beer bill came to 18 grossen, which suggests that he got through eight gallons of the stuff (plus lashings of brandy). Berlioz and Wagner preferred opium, and it’s not fanciful to suggest that you can hear it in the Symphonie Fantastiqueand Tristan. Can you hear alcohol in the music of the boozers?"
Iván Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra want to play in every abandoned synagogue in Hungary. Daniel Barenboim joined them for a memorable fundraiser People crowded in out of the winter drizzle, stamping cold feet, whispering noisily. The only way to get 3,000 through three security gates in time for a prompt start was to open the doors early – even if the final rehearsal was still under way. Men in woolly hats, trilbies and kippot, women dressed for warmth, grabbed the best seats in readiness for this “give what you can” special event. The orchestra carried on, unfazed. So too did their conductor, Iván Fischer. Only the solo pianist, Daniel Barenboim, looked disconcerted, perhaps merely fascinated by these first arrivals, all ages and kinds, casting his owlish gaze out into the gilded darkness.The scene was the great Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest, one of the biggest in the world. Franz Liszt played the organ there in 1859, the year it opened. Tony Curtis and Estée Lauder, not commonly mentioned in the same breath as the great Hungarian virtuoso-composer, spearheaded its restoration in the 1990s in memory of their Jewish forebears. Candelabra, immaculate gold leaf, wood, marble and rich ornament, in Byzantine and Romanesque styles, now gleam. (Its contours may look familiar: the Central Synagogue in New York, built a few years later, is a near replica.) Despite periods of neglect and disrepair, this cavernous edifice has always survived in active use. Continue reading...
Falvai/Hungarian National PO/Kocsis (Celestial Harmonies)The release of these studio recordings, made in Hungary this summer, must have been planned well before Zoltan Kocsis’s death in November. Their appearance now, though, provides a fine memorial to a musician who was much better known, in Britain at least, as a superlative pianist than as a conductor.The pairing of works is a curious one. The sleeve notes – more on which later – offer no explanation as to why one of Brahms’s best known scores should be yoked in a two-disc set with three orchestral laments by Liszt from 1866 that are rarely heard in concerts. The two composers were hardly stylistic soul mates, and the works have little in common. 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