Browsing: Piano

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…

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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,…

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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…

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Shostakovich, Auerbach: Piano Trios Delta Piano Trio As the last releases of the year drop through the door, this is an instant ear grabber. Debate has raged for three decades as to whether Dmitri Shostakovich was a limp Soviet puppet or a secret resistant. The first view was advanced by US musicologists, who would not be satisfied until they had a signed document saying ‘I hate Stalin.’ Russian friends and fans of the composer heard his dissidence expressed in the music. Thankfully, the dispute is being resolved by a new generation of musicians who come fresh to the music. The…

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In these diminished times, any year that yields a couple of releases that can rank with, and perhaps displace, the legends of recording history must be counted a good one. On these terms, 2017 was a pretty good vintage. There was an impressive Berlioz Requiem from Erato, a Hänssler retrieval of the last known recital of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, the first in a promising Chandos series of the orchestral works of Richard Rodney Bennett and, at the opposite end of the scale, a Jonas Kaufmann assault on both tenor and mezzo parts of Das Lied von der Erde – a Sony…

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Lucas Debargue, the enigmatic pianist whose career took off after he was placed fourth at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2015, performs in Quebec for the first time in two highly-anticipated concerts. The young pianist appears on December 4 at Quebec City’s Palais Montcalm and on December 9 at Montreal’s Place des Arts. Who is he? Lucas Debargue is a French pianist who has had an unusual career. In 2006, at age 16, he quit formal studies, preferring improvisation and sight-reading. In 2008 he entered Paris Diderot University to study literature. This “break” certainly influenced his playing, but he admits…

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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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Originally from Sherbrooke, pianist Tristan Longval-Gagné, fell into the “musical pot” early. In fact, his parents were both musicians and ran a music school in their home. He is now proudly a co-owner and teaches at the school. His first memories are therefore inevitably related to music and to his piano-teaching father, Tristan’s first teacher. After attending McGill University where Tristan studied with Sara Laimon whom he describes as his real mentor, he continued his studies at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York. In 2009, he won first prize at the OSM Standard Life Competition and in 2010 the…

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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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