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Opus 92 and interpretation

The difference between real Beethoven interpretation and merely efficient, instrumentally accomplished playing can be studied by listening to Carlos Kleiber and the Concertgebouw Orchestra when compared with the WDR orchestra and Jukka Pekka Saraste. Although the WDR orchestra is a good band, the energy and rhetoric that comes from this concert is over vast stretches […]

D 566 and Nasedkin

Franz Schubert’s piano sonata D 566 in e-minor is virtually unknown. It is an unfinished 2 movement work, but contains some of Schubert’s most special music within his sonata output. And there is one exceptional recording with beautiful LP sound by Russian pianist Alexei Nasdekin which I have held in highest esteem since I heard […]

Benedictus

This is a repost, but it had to be done. I was lucky in the 80ies to be able to listen to many of Sergiu Celibidache’s rehearsals and concerts. And there were a few that stuck out, and Bruckner’s f-minor mass was one of them. I remember I sat here through half a dozen rehearsals […]

Bartok

Bela Bartok was an extraordinary pianist, and there is a wealth of recordings out there. Here are just 2 examples: 4 Scarlatti sonatas played with fantasy and imagination. A real discovery: some fragments of his 2nd piano concerto. Quite an eye opener: no hacking, no brutality or ugly sound, but very inspired rhythmic playing. This […]

Silent Noon

If I ever had to choose one singer above everybody else I would not hesitate to pick Kathleen Ferrier. Ever since I have heard her first over 30 years ago I have been captivated by her mesmerising artistry. There is an intensity and honesty in her singing that is unparalleled. She particularly excels in English […]

In memoriam

Arnold Bax is one of the unsung heroes of British music. When I recorded his 5 piano sonatas a few years ago I was totally absorbed by his style. Particularly his 7 symphonies and their dark dramatic and often haunting gestures were very inspiring. One of the lesser known works is the symphonic poem “In […]

Stygmatas

Quite a discovery at a piano competition taking at the HfM in Zurich this week : “Stygmatas” Five Miniatures For Piano ( 1990 ) by Lithuanian composer Alvidas Remesa. Alvidas Remesa (b.1951) composed over 100 works in genres ranging from songs to symphonies and stage works; however, sacral music occupies the main part of his […]

NRK Virtuos 2018

That is the the premier classical music competition in Norway. In the finals were 4 candidates, all from the precollege of Barratt Due Music Institute which calls itself “Unge Talenter”. All 4 candidates are highly gifted and performed superbly. But the jury had to choose a winner to go on to the European finals in […]

Seminal recordings 6

Ravel’s style is quite unique: under a rhythmical strictness lingers some of the most fiery and emotional music. It’s neither impressionistic nor romantic. That interplay between discipline and harmonic poetry was interpreted in an exemplary way by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. Among his most prized achievements is the recording with the London Symphony orchestra and Sergiu […]