mon 11/12/2017

Rachmaninov

'Their DNA is forever ingrained in the keys' - Roman Rabinovich on playing composers' own pianos

I was recently in the UK for some solo recitals and to make my debut with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. One of the highlights of the trip was playing a similar programme in two very different settings: first on some magnificent period...

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London Piano Festival, Kings Place review - feasts of fearless fingerwork

What has 12 hands, 18 legs, 176 keys and two page-turners? Party night at the London Piano Festival, of course. The six-pianist, two-piano marathon on Saturday evening was a high point of this delectable four-day event – though far from the only one...

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Roman Rabinovich, Hatchlands review - poetry from Chopin's very own Pleyel piano

What pianist wouldn't long to lay fingers on keyboards impregnated, as Roman Rabinovich put it in his introduction yesterday afternoon, with the DNAs of Haydn and Chopin? To take three of the 31 instruments in the astonishing Cobbe Collection at...

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Prom 63 review: Gerstein, BBCSO, Bychkov - total mastery of orchestral sound

No-one, least of all the players, will forget Semyon Bychkov’s 2009 Proms appearance with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a poleaxing interpretation of Shostakovich’s Eleventh Symphony. They had already made the history books this Proms season with a...

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Proms 37 / 38 review: Latvian Radio Choir, Gavrylyuk, BBCSSO, Dausgaard - numinous Rachmaninov triptych

So it was Rachmaninov night at the Proms, but with a difference: a trinity of works sacred and profane, the first two introduced by the Latvian choir due to perform the third singing harmonised Russian Orthodox chants of the kind on which the...

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Pick of the 2017 BBC Proms: from Orthodox chant to Oklahoma!

It’s the best-looking Proms season on paper for quite a few years. That might just be a different way of saying we like it, but no-one could reproach Director David Pickard for lack of original programming or diversity (look at the whole, bigger...

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Jonathan Miles: St Petersburg review - culture and calamity

Talk about survival: St Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad, now again St Petersburg, all the same city, has it nailed down. It was founded through the mad enthusiasm, intelligence, determination and just off-the-scale energy of Peter the Great in 1703...

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Evgeny Kissin: Memoirs and Reflections review - Russian education, European conviction, Jewish heritage

"Generally speaking," writes Evgeny Kissin in one of the many generous tributes to those whose artistry he most admires, "the mastery of [Carlo Maria] Giulini is exactly what is dearest of all to me in art: simplicity, depth and spirituality". The...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Kleiberg, Legrand, Aida Garifullina

 Ståle Kleiberg: Mass for Modern Man Trondheim Symphony Orchestra and Choir/Eivind Gulberg Jensen (2L)There's a reference in the sleeve notes to Norwegian composer Ståle Kleiberg’s use of “a highly distinctive form of extended tonality.”...

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Symphonic Dances, Royal Ballet review - a truly interesting creation

Liam Scarlett must be worked off his feet. Just at the Royal Ballet, he made a full-length work, Frankenstein, last year and is currently working on a new Swan Lake; and now last night he has premiered a new abstract work, Symphonic Dances at the...

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Kempf, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Simonov, Cadogan Hall

It could have been your standard Russian touring programme: Tchaikovsky ballet music as hors d'oeuvre, Rachmaninov piano concerto, Shostakovich symphony. But the symphony was hardly the usual (Sixth rather than Fifth or Tenth). And any chance should...

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Gerstein, BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, Bychkov, Barbican

What a relief to find Semyon Bychkov back on romantic terra firma after his slow-motion Mozart at the Royal Opera (performances speeded up somewhat, I'm told, after a sticky first night). On his own, dark-earth terms, there's no-one to touch him for...

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