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Two XX. century piano milestones

Stockhausen’s Klavierstueck X and Messiaen’s ‘La fauvette des jardins’ are two of the most demanding and uncompromising works for piano in the 20th century. Here are two outstanding performances: Maurizio Pollini performing Stockhausen and Hyeonjun Jo Messiaen. Both pieces seem twins in a way and never has Messiaen sounded more radical than in this addition […]

Forgotten British composers part 1

I have a lifelong affinity for British composers and the works of Arnold Bax, George Dyson, Granville Bantock, Frederick Delius, Ernest John Moeran to name a few have become very familiar to me. It is very satisfying when one discovers from time to time a completely new name, and here is one: Sir John Blackwood […]

Karajan und J Strauss

There can be little doubt that Herbert von Karajan had a special feel for the Viennese repertoire. A particular delight is a recording from 1958 of “Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald “. The only conductor that might match this quality of music making in this particular repertoire was Carlos Kleiber, though even he didn’t have […]

The Coen Brothers meet Our Father

A highly surprising find during the very last 2 minutes of the running credits of the latest Coen Brother’s Film “Hail Caesar” ( far from their best unfortunately ): suddenly there was this mesmerising singing to be heard. I searched for the piece as such, but other ensembles didn’t come near this particular version. Finally […]

Opus 123

Beethoven’s difficult and often impenetrable late “Missa Solemnis” can be seen and heard here in a performance from the biggest and most splendid classical musical festival in the world, the BBC proms. This amazing concert was performed by the Monteverdi Choir, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and John Eliot Gardiner, conductor in 2014. Gardiner’s expertise […]

Gabriel Faure Les Barcarolles Les Nocturnes

There is hardly more sophisticated and understated music imaginable than Faure. And only very few pianists capture that special charm and elegance, the unique colour that his music possesses. Among his piano works the 13 Nocturnes and the 13 Barcarolles form the most exquisite group of piano pieces within his oeuvre. One can also follow […]

Schubert: “Im Freien”

“Im Freien” D 880  is one of the lesser known of Schubert’s songs. It is in many ways a model of what Schubert is about ( no need to elaborate here ). I have always considered Wolfgang Holzmair’s version the most natural and ‘Schubertian’ of all. Here is the link to this extraordinary  music:

Johann Baptist Cramer ( 1771-1858 )

I always held Johann Baptist Cramer in very high esteem, particularly his charming and musical Etudes Opus 50. Of course it is a pity that these pieces are often massacred by unimaginative playing and then the composer gets blamed for the shortfalls of the pianist. I personally owe these Etudes a great deal of my […]

Steuermann plays Schoenberg plus the future

Probably the greatest interpreter of Schoenberg’s piano works  was Eduard Steuermann . A luminous sound and a complete analytical understanding provide the rare combination needed for this music, which is often called “Expressionism”. And expressive it is… And of course there are – thank God – adventurous and enlightened young musicians around that continue such a great tradition: here […]

Final Schubert CD

My last part of that complete and grand Schubert puzzle for piano will be released later in February 2017 by Oehms Classics: the Impromptus Opus 90 and 142, plus some important and unusual shorter pieces such as the Allegretto c-Moll D 915 , Ungarische Melodie D 817 , Adagio A-Dur D 604 and the  Kupelwieser Walzer ( D […]