Saturday, August 19, 2017
Today My Classical Notes features a new recording by pianist Shai Wosner. It is titled “Impromptu” The selections we hear are as follows: Beethoven: Fantasia in G minor, Op. 77 Chopin: Impromptu No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 29 Impromptu No. 2 in F sharp major, Op. 36 Impromptu No. 3 in G flat major, Op. 51 Dvorak: Impromptu in D minor, B129 Gershwin: Impromptu in two Keys Ives, C: Three Improvisation, Nos 1 & 3 Liszt: Impromptu S191 1872 Schubert: 4 Impromptus, D935 All performed by Shai Wosner (piano) After his highly praised Haydn and Ligeti album, Shai Wosner returns to solo piano repertoire for his next project. As always with this artist, there is something very different on offer – Impromptus by Chopin, Dvorak, Liszt, Gershwin, and Schubert rub shoulders with Beethoven’s Fantasy Op.77 – the nearest thing we have to a Beethoven ‘improvisation’. The composer did indeed improvise this work at a private house performance, then went home and wrote it down from memory! The pianist said: “There is a rush that comes with losing yourself in an improvisation – the liberating feeling you get when that thing you are making up on the spot seems to take on a life of its own while you are just tagging along (there is also the thrill in the risk that whole thing might fall flat at any moment). I have loved it ever since” Here is Mr. Wosner in the Impromptu Opus 36 by Chopin:
Last week´s Buenos Aires Philharmonic´s concert was outside the norm, for symphonic repertoire was left aside and the orchestra, under our seasoned operatic conductor Mario Perusso, accompanied the brilliant debut of German soprano Diana Damrau and her husband, French bass baritone Nicolas Testé. She has a splendid twenty-year career and is a rarity: a soprano of enormous range (strong lows, stratospheric perfect highs), histrionic at all times, equally convincing in drama and comedy. She was imaginative as Rossini´s Rosina, florid and light in Meyerbeer (so rarely heard here), dramatic as Gounod´s Juliet, heart-rending in Bellini´s mad scene from "I Puritani". Testé was a surprise for many; not as famous as his wife, he is certainly one the best bass baritones nowadays, with a firm beautiful voice capable of fine shading but also of stark drama: from the cunning of Basilio´s "La Calunnia" (Rossini), to the comic bravado of "Pif, paf" (Meyerbeer´s "The huguenots"), the noble line from the French version of Verdi´s "Don Carlos"(clumsily not announced), the intense aria from Antonio Gomes´ interesting "Salvator Rosa" and the sinister Alvise in Ponchielli´s "La Gioconda". As contained as his wife is adrenalic, nevertheless the two combined admirably in the closing "Bess, you is my woman now" (Gershwin). In the encores, Puccini arias from both and a lovely duet from Bernstein´s "West Side Story". Perusso and the orchestra shone in orchestral pieces of Rossini, Gounod, Saint-Saëns and Bernstein. For Buenos Aires Herald
From the Lebrecht Album of the Week: …This is what makes Shai Wosner’s new release so frustrating. A fabulous pianist, incapable of touching an ugly note, Wosner interleaves miniatures of Schubert with matching — at times, surprising — snips by Dvorak, Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Gershwin and Charles Ives. I enjoyed the record first time round. I revelled in the connections, especially Ives, on second hearing. But now I am poleaxed by the question of where to put this record once it leaves my desk. Seriously, it’s a problem. How will I ever find ‘Impromptu’ again when I need it to compare with some other release? If you have a solution, do let me know…. Full review here. And here. And here.
The arts assessment measured students' knowledge based on their ability to understand and interpret historical pieces of art and music. One question, for example, asked eighth graders to identify the instrument at the beginning of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." (It's a clarinet.) The report also looked at their creative abilities. In one exercise, students were asked to draw a self-portrait, which was then scored for attention to detail, composition and use of materials.
A long time has passed since I heard violinist Anne Akiko Meyers perform. Then I came across this new recording called “The Love Album” The selections are: Leonard Bernstein: Serenade (after Plato’s ‘Symposium’) Somewhere (from West Side Story) Colombian: Emmanuel Fain: I’ll Be Seeing You Gade, J: Tango Jalousie Gershwin: Someone to Watch over Me Summertime (from Porgy and Bess) Harline: When You Wish upon a Star (from Pinocchio) Morricone, E: Cinema Paradiso: love theme Gabriel’s Oboe Piazzólla: Oblivion Raksin: Laura All performed by Anne Akiko Meyers (violin), with the London Symphony Orchestra, Keith Lockhart conducting. Anne Akiko Meyers’ sixth album for eOne Music, ‘Serenade: The Love Album’, is an exploration of all the facets of love, featuring Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Serenade’ and ten world premieres from seven living composer-arrangers. ‘Serenade’ is Bernstein’s masterpiece for solo violin and orchestra, and was recorded in anticipation of the composer’s upcoming 100th birthday celebration. Rounding out the album are ten newly -commissioned arrangements for violin and orchestra from love-inspired music from stage and film. The London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Keith Lockhart join Anne in this recording, which is being released in celebration of Anne’s own parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.
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:
George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 July 11, 1937) was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. Among his best known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), as well as the opera, Porgy and Bess (1935). He wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works, including more than a dozen Broadway shows, in collaboration with his elder brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin. George Gershwin composed music for both Broadway and the classical concert hall, as well as popular songs that brought his work to an even wider public. His compositions have been used in numerous films and on television, and many became jazz standards recorded in numerous variations. Countless singers and musicians have recorded Gershwin songs.
Great composers of classical music