Pianist Georges Cziffra couldn’t believe his eyes when a young soldier delivered an upright piano to him on a military base in Hungary in 1942. The soldier called it “that little cupboard you tap on to make music – sorry, I don’t know the word for it.”
"[......] music-lovers watched the obituary columns to guess when new subscription seats might become available."
It’s a crowded field, but to my mind there are never too many variations of Franz Schubert’s late masterpiece, the Winterreise (Winter Journey) song cycle.
Pianist Alexander Paley’s new CD of Medtner and Rachmaninov couples the works of two great friends whose lives evolved in similar ways. Both enjoyed early success but Rachmaninov’s sense of melody won larger acclaim from the international public.
Pianist Alexander Paley brings together some rarely heard and nicely coherent pieces by Sergei Rachmaninov and Nikolai Medtner, close friends from their Moscow student days, in a new CD (La Musica LMU005).
One of the great innovators of new music, composer Julius Eastman, was born unlucky – both black and gay.
The perfumed prose of music criticism can sometimes be as annoying as it is unhelpful. For a lesson in turning music into words, however, there is better, as I have found in reading analyses and opinions on Johann Sebastian Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.
French-Armenian pianist Varduhi Yeritsyan has attracted international accolades from major critics for her vigorous interpretations of the ten Scriabin piano sonatas, a corpus that continues to intrigue pianophiles a hundred years after his death.
Alexander Scriabin’s ten piano sonatas serve as a guide to his journey from Romantic to atonal composition, 20 years in the making. His innovations took him into obscure, abstract territory but rescued him from being labeled a mere Chopin copycat, his starting point.
British pianist Paul Lewis delivered a silken, stormy and violent performance of the colossal Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-minor Op. 15 Thursday evening (Dec. 3), joined by the Orchestre Nationale Bordeaux Aquitaine in the city’s new Auditorium.
Pianist Arcadi Volodos, one of the most impressive virtuosos to emerge from the Russian School in the past few decades, captivated a Bordeaux audience last night (Wednesday, Nov. 25) with a program of Brahms and Schubert. The program climaxed with four sparkling encores and a standing ovation.
The Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang left his Bordeaux audience somewhat nonplussed Tuesday night (Nov. 17) by opening his recital with 45 minutes of shallow salon music, Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons”.
At what point did Pierre Boulez say his teacher’s music made him want to vomit? The teacher, of course, was the great French composer Olivier Messiaen, and Boulez was his ex-student. Scholars have been trying to track down that unkind cut for decades but details remain clouded.
The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra opened its season this week with rousing performances of two works that had never before been combined on a program for Boston audiences – Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” and Richard Strauss’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra”.
Morton Feldman’s delicate, will o’ the wisp compositions demand of the listener a special mental and spiritual investment, a belief in music’s potential to pervade human consciousness.
Boston is that most musical of American cities, so there is never a shortage of recital and concert to choose from. I visit Boston twice and year and partake freely of the offerings. Boston’s talented performers are the equal of New Yorkers, Parisians, even Berliners.