Browsing: Romantic

Did you catch Herbert Blomstedt and Maria João Pires with the Berlin Philharmonic on Saturday? All it took was a smartphone, a subscription to the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall and, optionally, a better-than-average pair of earbuds. I did it the old-fashioned way and do not regret the decision. Hearing one of the world’s most famous orchestras led by one of the world’s most venerable conductors in one of the world’s most illustrious concert halls added up to one of the best concert experiences imaginable. To risk another one-of qualification, the symphony on the program was one of my favorites,…

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Schubert: Trout quintet (DG) Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin), Daniel Trifonov (piano). Hwayoon Lee (viola), Maximilian Hornung (cello) and Roman Patkolo (bass). There are five trouts on the cover of DG’s new release and it’s clear from the photo that some are more pouty than others. Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) takes up the most space, reclining on a divan. Sitting on the bare floor is Daniel Trifonov (piano). In the dark background are Hwayoon Lee (viola), Maximilian Hornung (cello) and Roman Patkolo (bass). If this were just a ranking of record industry hierarchies it would hardly be worth a mention, but the recording…

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PARIS – Ever seen a conductor cry on stage? I mean, other than Leonard Bernstein? We can add to this exclusive list the name of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who was seen wiping his eyes discreetly on Sunday after Elgar’s Enigma Variations, a performance that marked the official conclusion of a six-city, seven-concert European tour by the Orchestre Métropolitain. There would be an encore: Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte, done in the supplest tones imaginable. We must resist the temptation to deem the last thing heard as the best. But goodness, what a sound. And what an ovation from the Parisians, who packed…

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HAMBURG – “Suche Karte.” Seeking ticket. This is always a good sign, quite literally, in German-speaking lands, where it is common to advertise your unhappy condition with two words writ large on a piece of cardboard. Sure enough, a visit to the box office of the Elbphilharmonie confirmed that the fifth installment  of the Orchestre Métropolitain’s tour of Europe was quite sold out. Eight thousand requests, 2,100 seats. Suche Karte. The huge demand cannot be reconciled with the usual explanations. Soloists Marie-Nicole Lemieux and Jean-Guihen Queyras are reputable enough, but hardly the stuff of a sellout. Yannick Nézet-Séguin is recognized everywhere.…

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Brahms: An English Requiem (Delphian) Mary Bevan, soprano Marcus Farnsworth, baritone James Baillieu and Richard Uttley, piano Choir of Kings College London, conductor Joseph Fort This has to be the least expected record of the year – a performance of Ein deutsches Requiem in the original English, at least in the texts of the original English Bible. The work was so popular on reception, at a time when Bismarck was planting German boots all over Denmark, Austria and France, that London impresarios felt it might be prudent to produce it in a less contentious language. Since Victorian concertgoers knew their…

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Schubert: Sonatas D959, D960 (DG) Some records grab you by the ears, others take longer to impress. It is in no sense to Krystian Zimerman’s discredit that his first attempt at late Schubert took three spins on my deck before I grasped the originality of his interpretation. Rather, it is a mark of Zimerman’s thoughtfulness that the heart of the music is revealed layer by layer in a manner that makes you want to listen again and again. Winner of the 1975 Chopin competition, the Polish pianist has been playing these pieces for half his life before he was ready…

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Canadian violinist Alexandre Da Costa is a man on a mission. Soloist, educator and artistic director, Da Costa is shouldering his new Strad to reach the general public with his “Stradivarius at the Opera” project, the first of several new initiatives. He’s already added to his résumé a prestigious TED Talk in Australia, where he teaches six months of the year. LSM: What do you value the most? My family is now the absolute centre of my life. Of course, becoming a father changes life and my three-and-a-half-year old makes me realize the essence of it. I also believe that…

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On October 17 the OSM gave a much-anticipated concert with celebrated violinist Maxim Vengerov. Together they performed a masterwork of the repertoire, Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major. Also on the program were Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Samy Moussa’s A Globe itself infolding, for organ and orchestra. Notably, the following evening the same musicians played the same program at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Happily for the Montreal performance the Maison symphonique was packed and the audience fully engaged. One of the best artistic decisions of the night was taken before the concert even began: the order of the…

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Daniil Trifonov: Chopin Evocations (DG) FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 (Arr. By Mikhail Pletnev), Variations on “Là ci darem la mano” Works by Barber, Grieg, Mompou, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Daniil Trifonov, piano; Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Mikhail Pletnev, conductor 2 CDs, 0289 479 7518 2 The 2011 Tchaikovsky winner has lost none of his capacity to surprise. Daniil Trifonov thinks nothing of coming on stage with one wrist in a bandage, no explanation offered, or of asking the audience not to applaud at any time through a 90-minute recital. His powers of concentration are phenomenal and he expects no less from his listeners.…

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Musica Camerata kicked off its 48th season with an evening of quartets for piano, violin, viola, and cello. Respected as a premiere Canadian chamber ensemble, Musica Camerata is justifiably proud of its longevity. The concert was held in the resplendent Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur where the parterre seating area is usually hydraulically raised to provide theatre style seating. The roughly 100 attendees filled this venue. From this reviewer’s vantage point in the balcony, the acoustics were a little dry for a chamber string ensemble. The instrumentalists on this program were Luis Grinhauz (violin), Victor Fournelle-Blain (viola), Bruno Tobon (cello), and…

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