Saturday, March 25, 2017
I was quite surprised today when I learned that the late pianist Sviatoslav Richter had recorded music by George Gershwin. Yet, as I contemplated further, I recalled that Maurice Ravel was influenced by the music of Gershwin, as we can see in Ravel’s Piano Concerto. So… not all that strange after all. Here are details about the Richter recording: Svjatoslav Richter Plays: Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F major Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major, Op. 103 ‘Egyptian’ Performed by Svjatoslav Richter (piano), with the Stuttgart SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra, Christoph Eschenbach conducting. This recording apparently has already achieved cult status. The then, 78 year old Sviatoslav Richter plays for the first and last time in public Gershwin’s jazzy Concerto in F-sharp. Gershwin’s works had always been suspect under the Soviet regime. All the more surprising was Richter’s decision to perform this work in his maturity. Needless to say, Richter never made a formal, studio recording of this work. It is not only a unique recording, but also a document of Richter’s expansive interest in all musical repertoires than came under his purview. The Fifth Piano Concerto by Camille Saint-Saëns was eclipsed by the same composer’s more popular “Second” Concerto throughout Richter’s performing career. With the exception of one album, he never again recorded this work and there is no record that he ever again performed it internationally. Here is a recording of the Gershwin concerto in F:
Danny Driver/BBCSSO/Miller (Hyperion)When Amy Beach (1867-1944) was a child in New England, her mother banned her from playing the piano in public until she turned 16. Strict Calvinism didn’t smile on girl prodigies. When she married at 18, her husband allowed her a concert per year, so instead she composed. Her Piano Concerto has the heft and torrent of music that needs to be written and Danny Driver plays it with clarity and steel, absolutely unsentimental but flecked through with empathy. The second movement might have revealed some more delicate orchestral shimmer – it sounds here like a chastely buttoned Ravel – but the sturdy weft Rebecca Miller gets from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra generally suits Beach’s broad-stitch writing. This release (volume 70 of Hyperion’s whopping Romantic Piano Concerto series) is timed for International Women’s Day on 8 March and also includes Dorothy Howell’s D Minor Concerto, a gracious throwback written in 1923, and the concertstuck by Cécile Chaminade. Ambroise Thomas liked her music: “This is not a woman who composes,” he declared, “but a composer who is a woman.” Continue reading...
Gerhardt/Becker (Hyperion)Cellists are lining up to pay tribute to Mstislav Rostropovich in what would have been his 90th year, but Alban Gerhardt’s is an especially apt homage, showcasing the Russian master’s commitment to expanding his instrument’s repertoire and popularity, at the same time as celebrating his sense of fun. It’s not a bad vehicle for the sparky Gerhardt and pianist Markus Becker, either. Rostropovich, with his knack for making the cello seem to sing, would surely have approved of their seamless playing of Glazunov’s arrangement of Chopin’s C sharp minor Etude, Op 25 No 7, in which the German cellist’s dark timbre engenders a very Russian sense of yearning. Amid miniatures by Scriabin, Stravinsky, Popper and Ravel, there are Rostropovich’s own arrangements, including a riotous March by Prokofiev and a slidy, twangy version of Debussy’s Minstrels. The disc is bookended by two rare pieces by Rostropovich himself, a scurrying Humoresque and an intricate Moderato for cello alone. Continue reading...
Dates: Friday, Feb. 24 at 11:00 AM, and Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8:00 PM Venue: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California ARTISTS: Los Angeles Philharmonic, James Gaffigan, conductor Hélène Grimaud, piano PROGRAM: BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 2 MATHESON: ‘UNCHAINED’ (LA Phil commission; world premiere) RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2 Here is Helene Grimaud, performing the Piano Concerto number 2 by Johannes Brahms:
From the BSO: Due to the severe weather conditions forecasted for the greater Boston area tomorrow, the Thursday, February 9 Boston Symphony Orchestra concert, featuring BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons, countertenor Bejun Mehta, and the Lorelei Ensemble, has been postponed. Programme: RAVEL Le Tombeau de Couperin (February 9 & 11) BENJAMIN Dream of the Song (BSO co-commission) BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique
Last year the government of the town where the museum (in the composer's former house) is located forbade France-TV to film there; last month a local official called the police on Charles Dutoit and Martha Argerich while they were visiting; last week the custodian, on the job for 30 years, was fired; there are concerns that objects and archives are missing. Sanjoy Roy looks into the situation and explains why losing the museum permanently would be a tragedy.
Maurice Ravel (March 7, 1875 December 28, 1937) was a French composer of Impressionist music known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music has entered the standard concert repertoire. Ravel's piano compositions, such as Jeux d'eau, Miroirs, Le tombeau de Couperin and Gaspard de la nuit, demand considerable virtuosity from the performer, and his orchestral music, including Daphnis et Chloé and his arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, uses a variety of sound and instrumentation. Ravel is perhaps known best for his orchestral work Boléro (1928), which he considered trivial and once described as "a piece for orchestra without music."
Great composers of classical music