Showing posts with label Alexander Goldenweiser. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alexander Goldenweiser. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The trouble with sparkles

T'other day I was out shopping when the girl behind the counter, returning my credit card, handed me a gift of a Christmas cracker covered in sparkles. I think our neighbours must have got one too, because they put through our door a cracker joke that runs: "Which players can't you trust in an orchestra? The fiddlers."

The trouble with the sparkles is that they're fairy dust and they fall off. Next thing you know, they're on the kitchen floor, in the cat food, under the piano, on the train and, by now, probably all over the Royal Festival Hall.

And they've got into JDCMB. We all sometimes need to get our sparkle back, so here are five favourite bits of musical glitter and winter snow to light the long evenings, aided and abetted by some great dancing. And they're not all Russian. Don't forget that this Friday it's the Winter Solstice and time for the JDCMB Ginger Stripe Awards!

Prokofiev: The Winter Fairy, from Cinderella - Frederick Ashton's choreography, with Zenaida Yanowsky

Schubert: Der Winterabend, sung by Werner Gura with pianist Christoph Berner. The gentler sparkle of moonlight on snowy stillness...

Tchaikovsky: The Silver Fairy variation from Act III of The Sleeping Beauty (look! No Nutcracker!). Danced by the Royal Ballet's Laura Morera.

Brahms: Es tönt ein voller Harfenklang. (Yes, there are sparkles in Brahms. Just listen to this...) Abbado conducts members of the Berlin Phil and the Swedish Radio Choir.

Rachmaninov: Suite No.2 for two pianos, second movement - Waltz. Alexander Goldenweiser and Grigory Ginzburg don't play it as fast as Argerich and Freire, but there's time to wallow in the glitter.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Friday Historical: Rachmaninov from Goldenweiser & Ginzburg

This is a huge favourite of mine: Alexander Goldenweiser and Grigory Ginzburg play the Valse from Rachmaninov's Suite No.2 for two pianos. I love the laid-back tempo, the subtle rubati, the wealth of detail, the sultry tenor tone when the big tune comes through - and no histrionics or thumping. Just a perfectly-measured mix of musical haute couture with the poetry of partnership.

Goldenweiser, besides being a famous pedagogue and one of the central figures of the fabled 'Russian School' of pianism, was a great friend of Tolstoy's, played to him frequently and kept a notebook about his meetings with the great writer which was eventually published as Close to Tolstoy (if I can track down a copy of this by hook or crook, we'll come back to that later). More about Goldenweiser at the Toccata Classics site, here.