Archive for the Piano solo Category

On the art of variation: why Paganini’s theme is so popular | Music | The Guardian

Posted in Music journalism, Piano solo, Soloists and artists with tags , , on July 6, 2013 by orinococds

On the art of variation: why Paganini’s theme is so popular | Music | The Guardian.


Brahms: Handel variations | Sonata No. 3 | Jonathan Plowright pno.

Posted in Instrumental, Piano solo with tags , , , , on March 11, 2013 by orinococds

Brahms: Handel variations | Sonata No. 3 | Jonathan Plowright pno. | $NZ 33 | BIS-2047 1 cd, 73 min

It was in October 1853 that the 20-year-old Johannes Brahms completed his Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, while staying with Robert and Clara Schumann in Düsseldorf. The work had occupied him for some months – at least since the summer of the same year, when he had encountered Franz Liszt, and had heard his recently completed B minor Sonata. Strictly speaking, he may only have heard parts of it: according to some reports, Brahms fell asleep during the performance… It is tempting to see the younger man’s sonata as a response to Liszt’s work, but whatever the case may be, its hero­ic scale, unconventional layout and high quality made it one of the most impressive sonatas since those of Beethoven and Schubert. Signifi­cantly, Brahms never wrote another piano sonata, as if he had said as much as he wanted to say in that genre. Instead he would go on to compose in more concentrated formats, but he also wrote a series of large-scale sets of variations, among which the Handel Variations must be considered his crowning achievement. Completed in September 1861 and dedicated to Clara Schumann, the work shows Brahms at the height of his powers

British pianist Jonathan Plowright makes his début recording on BIS. Hailed by Gramophone as ‘one of the finest living pianists’, Plowright is recognised worldwide as a truly exceptional artist.

Plowright’s cd of the Piano Sonata No. 3 and the Handel variations on BIS2047 heralds something completely special, despite the eminent competition.

These are performances of superb technical command which never draws attention to itself but simply serves the music. And this is combined with an intense musical understanding which makes these weighty pieces seem fleet and logical. The Handel Variations fairly rip along, delighting the listener with their textural variety exploited to the full by this fine artist. The Andante Expressivo of the sonata is certainly that – full of poetry poetry and played with great delicacy and warmth. Let us hope that this cd is indeed the first of Plowright’s Brahms series. Peter Shaw, North and South magazine.

Hybrid SACD format.

Yevgeny Sudbin plays Chopin

Posted in Instrumental, Piano solo with tags , , , , on October 8, 2012 by orinococds

Sudbin plays Chopin | BIS SACD1838
|$NZ 33 | 69 min

Critically acclaimed London-based pianist Yevgeny Sudbin here presents a recital of music from Fryderyk Chopin.

Sudbin opens this disc with the expansive Fantaisie in F minor – sometimes described as the composer’s ‘grandest work’ – continuing with a selection of pieces from three genres that are strongly associated with Chopin: Mazurkas, Nocturnes and the Ballades Nos 3 and 4.
Sudbin’s approach to Chopin’s music has been influenced by the composer’s own words regarding interpretation: ‘Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties.”

Follows a series of highly successful solo recital disks on the Swedish BIS label featuring Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Scarlatti, and concertos by Medtner, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven.

“Sudbin is at his most convincing in those larger musical canvases, whose sense of theatricality, emotional range and formal complexities he projects very vividly; the haunted, dark-hued account of the Fantasy is particularly impressive.” The Guardian, 24th November 2011 ***

“This glorious disc confirms Yevgeny Sudbin as one of the most searching and inspired of today’s pianists…The playing is so beautiful, so full of life and so rich in imagination that all one really wants to do is sit back and listen to it over and over again without necessarily analysing what it is that makes it feel so “right” and so stimulating…This is a disc not to be missed. It is a triumph.” The Telegraph, 26th November 2011 *****

“Sudbin gets my vote right at the start here by opening his Chopin recital with the Fantasy in F minor, one of the pinnacles of the composer’s art…Sudbin captures its improvisatory qualities and unexpected shifts of texture. It’s a satisfying start to this disc by a thoughtful pianist. But he loses my vote in some of the Nocturnes and Mazurkas…He redeems himself with powerful, poetic performances of the Third and Fourth Ballades” BBC Music Magazine, December 2011 ***

Tracks: Listen on BIS/Naxos website – full tracks hi fi
Fantasia in F minor, Op. 49

Nocturne No. 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 1

Nocturne No. 13 in C minor, Op. 48 No. 1

Mazurka No. 7 in F minor, Op. 7 No. 3

Mazurka No. 23 in D major, Op. 33 No. 2

Mazurka No. 25 in B minor, Op. 33 No. 4

Ballade No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47

Mazurka No. 17 in B flat minor, Op. 24 No. 4

Mazurka No. 32 in C sharp minor, Op. 50 No. 3

Nocturne No. 16 in E flat major, Op. 55 No. 2

Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52

À la minute (a paraphrase on Chopin’s Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64, No. 1)

Anna Vinnitskaya plays Ravel

Posted in Instrumental, Piano solo with tags , , on June 28, 2012 by orinococds

Anna Vinnitskaya plays Ravel piano works V5284  NZ $33

Up and coming Russian pianist Anna Vinnitskaya (previously recorded on Naive label playing Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto and the Ravel G major concerto), excels in these solo pieces. With a tremendous insight into Ravel’s complex soundscapes, she is a worthy successor to Gieseking and Michelangeli.

New, refreshing and played with fabulous technique – click here to listen to tracks on the Naive website.

Said John Button in the Dominion Post (Wellington, NZ, 28 June 2012):  “With biting finger work and magnificent control of dynamics this a masterly display, and with very fine recording quality, this is a significant release…” ****½ stars

CD Contents: Pavane pour une infante défunte | Miroirs (Noctuelles, Oiseaux tristes, Une Barque sur l’océan) | Alborada del gracioso | La Vallée des cloches | Gaspard de la nuit  (Ondine,  Le Gibet, Scarbo)

Playing time: 57 min

Biography (Wikipedia):

Anna Vinnitskaya was born in Novorossiysk. She displayed musical talent from an early age, following her first piano lessons at age 6. From 1995 to 2001, she studied at the Rachmaninoff Conservatory in Rostov-on-Don with Sergei Ossipenko, after which she was admitted to the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, where she studied with Ralf Nattkemper and Evgeni Koroliov. As a soloist, she has played with major orchestras, including the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the Dortmunder Philharmoniker, the Milan Symphony Orchestra and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Madrid, and has given recitals all around Europe.

She entered the competition circuit at age 13, winning first prize at the International Junoshenki competition. In 2000 she achieved a third place at the Monza Competition and two years later first place at the Jaèn Competition, where she also won the Audience Award. This was followed with a first prize at the Elise Meyer Competition in Hamburg in 2004, and the fourth prize in the Ferruccio Busoni International Competition in Bolzano in 2005.

On 2 June 2007, she won first prize in the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels. After a memorable Gaspard de la nuit (Ravel) in the first rounds, she impressed the audience and jury in the final round with Beethoven’s Sonata No.13 in E flat “Quasi una fantasia”, Op. 27 No.1; the compulsory work La Luna y la Muerte by Miguel Gálvez-Taroncher; and the Piano Concerto No.2 by Sergei Prokofiev. Vinnitskaya was only the second woman in the history of the competition for piano to win the first prize, after Ekaterina Novitskaya in 1968