fri 28/04/2017

piano

Janina Fialkowska, Wigmore Hall

You wouldn’t guess it from her name, but Janina Fialkowska isn’t actually Polish. You wouldn’t guess from her Chopin either, which is sensitive and supple, always emotive and deeply idiomatic. The Canadian pianist (her father was Polish) has...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Horn-player Alec Frank-Gemmill

Traditional musical formats rarely suit the individual talent, but the highly-motivated player always finds a way. I first got to talk to Alec Frank-Gemmill in the very sociable surroundings of the Pärnu Festival in Estonia, a gathering most...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Chopin, Glass, Alec Frank-Gemmill

 Chopin: Mazurkas Ivana Gavric (Edition Classics)Ivana Gavric suggests that Chopin’s Mazurkas are “short, poignant, diary entries”, and her performances remind us how the greatest composers are never constrained when writing miniatures. As with...

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Debussy Préludes, Alexander Melnikov, Wigmore Hall

Who needs hallucinogenic drugs when we have Debussy's two books of Préludes? In the hands, that is, of a pianist magician who holds the key to this wild parade, demi-real wonderland, call it what you will. I've only heard two wizards equal to the...

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Jonathan Biss, Milton Court

"Late Style", the theme and title of pianist Jonathan Biss's three-concert miniseries, need not be synonymous with terminal thoughts of death. This recital ranged from introspection (Brahms), radiant simplicity (Schumann) and aphoristic minimalism (...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Alnæs, Granados, Kelly, Mompou

Eyvind Alnæs: Piano Concerto & Symphony Håvard Gimse (piano), Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra/Eivind Aadland (Lawo Classics)Eyvind Alnæs’s C Minor Symphony, written in 1897 after his return to Norway from studying in Leipzig, hints at great things,...

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Buchbinder, Philharmonia, Hrůša, RFH

It's a rare concert when nothing need be questioned about the orchestral playing. The usual nagging doubts – about whether any of the London orchestras has a recognisable sound-identity, or whether Rattle's swipe agains the two main London concert...

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Maurizio Pollini, RFH

Age is finally catching up with Maurizio Pollini. This recital was one of a series to mark the pianist’s 75th birthday, presenting Beethoven piano sonatas, music at the core of his repertoire. His legendary status was justified by these readings,...

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Bavouzet, Manchester Camerata, Takács-Nagy, RNCM, Manchester

Manchester Camerata give relatively few old-fashioned concerts these days – I mean the sort that are done in purpose-built concert halls, with a conductor, soloist and conventional orchestra strength – because they’re busy crossing boundaries and...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Beethoven, Rasmussen, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky

 Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Op.110 and Op.111, with music by András Szöllösy and Gyula Csapó Gábor Csalog (piano) (BMC)Two Beethoven sonatas coupled with shorter pieces by a pair of contemporary Hungarian composers makes for an engaging mixture....

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Mirjam Mesak, Kristiina Rokashevich, St Bartholomew the Great

Treasure our young continental European musicians in London while you can. Only last week I learned that so many of the overseas students at London's Guildhall School had stories to tell about being questioned in public (usually "are you Polish?"...

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Grosvenor, BBCPO, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Two young guys called Ben graced the BBC Philharmonic platform at the Bridgewater Hall – looking almost like Ant and Dec if you let your imagination wander. Ben Gernon, 27, had just been announced as the orchestra’s new Principal Guest Conductor (...

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