Browsing: Piano

Domenico Scarlatti: Sonatas, volume 1 (Chandos) It feels dangerously transgressive, and thus all the more enjoyable, to listen to Scarlatti’s keyboard pieces on a full-throated Steinway D piano set up in an English country barn. Why musicians submit so readily to the tyranny of political correctness – composers to the imposition of serialism, performers to the doctrines of period practice – is a mystery to me. So to find a young pianist at the start of his path who is prepared to defy the professorial rule makers and play a Bach contemporary on a modern big banger of a concert…

Share:

Montréal, May 9, 2018 – The Canadian International Organ Competition (CIOC) presents the program of its annual Festival, from October 7 to 30, 2018, with a flurry of activities involving the king of instruments, around the theme “History and Modernity.” “The organ is one of the oldest instruments with more than 2,000 years of history, but it is also an instrument of the future,” states Jean-Willy Kunz, Artistic Director of the CIOC. Some 15 events will make up the CIOC program, including a musical for fans of history, music, and photography (Organ Trip, October 20, 10 am), a concert featuring…

Share:

Grazyna Bacewicz: Quintets, quartets (Chandos) How many times have I told you not to buy a record for its cover? Well, this one justifies the purchase. The image shows the central square of a small town in Poland in the 1960s, a place where nothing ever happens yet everything is closely watched. The image has been colourised for added artificiality. It is stifling, cloying, vividly reminiscent of the oppressive dullness of Communism. The music is made to match. Bacewicz, who lived from 1909 to 1969, was a busy violinist who kept her head down and played well within the rules.…

Share:

I’m no different than anybody else, except that I am,” Dmitri Kanovich chuckles over coffee on King Street East in Toronto. In one way he is quite individual: In 2015 he founded Looking at the Stars, a charity that brings world-class classical music performances into correctional facilities across Ontario. A former refugee who moved to Canada in 1983, Lithuanian-born Kanovich arrived with two kids and $300 in his pocket. He also came with his work ethic. After a short stint of odd jobs, he was hired by the “compassionate” owner of a small IT company he met at his synagogue.…

Share:

World-renowned pianist Angela Hewitt says she is “on the mend” after having fallen down a set of stairs on Jan. 24 at a church in Oxford, England, 90 minutes before she was to perform Book 1 of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier for the first time in 10 years. Though the pain was “terrible,” she went on stage just the same, with the help of two strong men, ice and a wheelchair. She couldn’t use the left pedal or put any weight on her left foot, which she later learned was broken. “I don’t like to disappoint people,” Hewitt explained. By then, the crowd…

Share:

William Sterndale Bennett: piano concertos (Hyperion) In half a century of listening to music, I have never attended a work by the foremost English composer of the Victorian era, a man who lived and died a few streets from my London house. Bennett (1816-1875) was acclaimed in his teens as the next Mendelssohn for a D minor piano concerto that Mendelssohn himself, sitting in the audience, found promising. Two more concertos followed before the lad was twenty, the third being praised in Leipzig by no less a contender than Robert Schumann. Bennett, on the strength of these successes, became the…

Share:

Deux (Alpha-Classics) I can’t remember when I last heard a violin-piano recital that was as ingenious and exhilarating as this. On the sleeve, the Franco-Hungarian programme looks a bit odd – the Poulenc sonata written for Ginette Neveu in 1943, a Dohnanyi setting of a waltz from Delibes’ Coppélia, the full-on Bartok sonata of 1922 and Ravel’s Tzigane to close. What do these pieces have in common? Check this: On April 8, 1922, Bela Bartok gave a recital in Paris with his compatriot Jelly d’Aranyi. Ravel was the page turner for Bartok and Poulenc for d’Aranyi. In the audience were…

Share:

The Mirror with Three Faces Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 2. Lera Auerbach: Piano Trios No. 1 and No. 2. Delta Piano Trio. Odradek Records ODRCD350. Total Time: 63:40. The Delta Piano Trio call their new disc The Mirror with Three Faces. Their account of Shostakovich’s second piano trio, dated 1944, leaves no doubt as to the composer’s state of mind in the closing stages of World War II. Ostensibly a tribute to a late friend, Ivan Sollertinsky, the work ripples with anger and frustration at pointless deaths and ruined lives – the appalling legacy of the Stalin-Hitler era. The last…

Share:

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1 Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3. Forsyth: Piano Concerto. Jane Coop, piano. Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra/Mario Bernardi. Skylark Music Sky1703. Total Time: 67:01. Born in New Brunswick and raised in Calgary, Jane Coop studied with Anton Kuerti in Toronto and went on to teach at the University of British Columbia from 1980 to 2012. In an era of limited recording, Coop has done the next best thing in re-issuing recordings from the 1980s, originally produced by the now defunct CBC Records. Her collaborations with the late Mario Bernardi (1930-2013) invariably produced excellent results. Short at 16 minutes,…

Share:

Justyna Gabzdyl has come a long way. After graduating from the Fryderyk Chopin Academy (now University) of Music in Warsaw in 2005, this Polish pianist continued her studies at the École Normale de Musique Alfred Cortot in Paris. Her determination to hone her skills brought her to the Université de Montréal, where she earned a doctorate in 2012. This month she releases a double CD that brings together Chopin’s Ballades with Szymanowski’s Métopes Op. 29 and Masques Op. 38. “I wanted my first album to be dedicated to Polish composers because of my origins,” Gabzdyl says. The Ballades are particularly…

Share:
1 2 3 29