Showing posts with label Pianist Magazine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pianist Magazine. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A revelation from Murray Perahia

A few months ago I interviewed Murray Perahia for PIANIST magazine.

Murray is much occupied long-term with preparing a new edition of the Beethoven piano sonatas. Here's an extract from my article, regarding the true nature of Op.27 No.2, the so-called 'Moonlight' Sonata, about which title we are usually very sniffy. seems we may have to think again.

...Beethoven scribbled some notes on an article from an important music journal concerning the Aeolian harp... “It says that the Aeolian harp is dedicated to the children of moonlight, who are not loved on this earth; those who have had blighted lives. In other words, not the people of the sun. 

“The sun was the symbol of the Enlightenment, but the Romantics came up with the idea of the moon to represent the disadvantaged, the hurt, the vulnerable. The idea was that they would sing their songs from the spirit world, it would transfer to the Aeolian harp and we’d hear their pain and learn from it. This is modern scholarship, it’s a point of view – but it is possible that the sonata suggests the Aeolian harp bringing out these people’s song of a tragic life." 
Get the current issue of PIANIST to read the whole thing.  

Meanwhile, just listen to that first movement afresh, with those images in mind. There had to be more to this piece and its inspiration that the old quip about moonlight on the surface of Lake Lucerne... Here is Murray himself playing it: the film is not great quality, but it's all I could find on Youtube (the comments at the beginning are those of the person posting the film, not me).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Piano questions, please!

Last night you may have heard Erica Worth, editor of Pianist Magazine, joining Sara Mohr-Pietsch and Richard Sisson live on BBC R3 for Piano Keys. It's a talk show in the interval of the Piano Season's Monday evening recital, answering listeners' phone-in questions about all matters pianistic. Last night's questions involved the relative merits of digital instruments versus acoustic ones, what goes on in pianists' minds while they play, some rarities of French repertoire and a wonderful story about Myra Hess in the Blitz.

Next Monday it is JD's turn to be the guest in the hotseat.

If there's a question with which you'd like to call in, please email the team at: and if you missed yesterday's, you can catch up on the iPlayer here.

Other BBC Piano Season treats are plentiful - the most interesting stuff didn't make the headline material! Composer of the Week is Chopin. Sunday Morning with Rob Cowan featured some of Ignace Friedman's greatest recordings. And the Radio 3 Piano Masterclass with David Owen Norris is available to watch online here. Onwards...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Federico Colli: the flower of Leeds?

The Italian pianist Federico Colli, 24, scooped first prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition last night. I tuned in on R3 in the middle of his Beethoven 'Emperor' Concerto, without remembering exactly who was due to play it, and was entranced. Seriously beautiful pianism with wonderful tone; very sensitive to nuances, voicing and atmosphere; intelligent, energetic and never heavy-handed: the sort of playing, indeed, that you don't really associate with the final of a piano competition.

Radio 3's announcer, Petroc Trelawny, seemed fixated, meanwhile, with the pianist's red cravat, and one of several friends who was in the audience remarks that Colli, who hails from Brescia, slightly resembled a cross between Casanova and Dracula, yet clearly had a lovely personality and superb stage presence.

Colli has also won the Salzburg International Mozart Competition (last year). He studies with Boris Petrushansky at Imola and Konstantin Bogino at Bergamo. Apparently he is "fascinated by the complex equations of quantum mechanics".

I'd take an educated guess, though, that it was a fairly close-run matter between Colli and the Swiss pianist Louis Schwizgebel, who played first on Friday evening. Of all the performances I've listened to so far, it is Schwizgebel's Haydn C major Sonata that has really stayed aboard.

Our doughty commentator Erica Worth, editor of Pianist Magazine, has just phoned us to report that she was very happy with the result. "The two top prizes went, I think, to the most interesting musicians, the ones who had the most personality and the most to say," she declares. "Personally I would have given first prize to Louis Schwizgebel and second to Colli, but I'm so glad they both came through at the top."

Third prize went to Jiayan Sun (China), fourth to Andrejs Osokins (Latvia), fifth to Andrew Tyson (USA) and sixth to Jayson Gillham (Australia). A special prize voted by the players of the Halle Orchestra and presented in memory of Terence Judd went to Andrew Tyson.

You can catch both final concerts and a selection of semi-final performances on BBC iPlayer (radio) this week. Today at 2pm there's a gala concert to be broadcast by Radio 3 involving all six finalists. And from 21 September the TV finally wakes up: BBC4 has a series of six hour-long programmes on successive Friday evenings devoted to the competition (though as we now know the results it seems a bit late to the party).

Bravo, then, Federico Colli. Keep wearing that cravat.

Here's a write-up from The Arts Desk. [UPDATE] Here are some more details about the prizes and their winners, from Pianist Magazine.

And here's Federico in the final of the Mozart Competition in Salzburg 2011:

Meanwhile, Louis has already had a Wigmore Hall debut. He seems to have dropped half his surname since then. It turns out that his father is a maker of animated films. Here's Louis himself, very animated indeed in a spot of Moszkowski.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Leeds Piano Competition Finals 1: the story so far

The lovely editor of Pianist Magazine, Erica Worth, is on location at the finals of the Leeds International Piano Competition. JD got her on the phone and asked what she thought of the first three finalists, who played their concerti last night. The second three - and the results - will follow tonight, and we'll hopefully get Erica's feedback for that as well, so stay tuned.

"The standard generally is astronomical," Erica says. "In my view, it's way higher than it was three years ago. Every pianist we've heard so far is a fully fledged musician - and any of them we'd happily buy a ticket to hear in a concert hall.

"I was deeply moved by the performance of the Beethoven Piano Concerto No.4, by Louis Schwizgebel [Switzerland] - a beautiful, sensitive account, very elegant - really someone to watch. Jiayan Sun [China] in Prokofiev's Second Concerto was technically very impressive, even if I wanted a bit more from it in terms of sheer hair-raising scariness. Jayson Gillham [Australia] in the Beethoven 'Emperor' Concerto seemed the least nervous and most at ease at the piano, sovreign in many ways, though in places the interpretation seemed a little too light and Mozartian for the piece."

Listen out for the final part 2 and the announcement of the prizes on BBC Radio 3 tonight. I'm still cross it's not live on TV, but will try to catch up with what there is on the iPlayer.