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Bach with New Ears

The recent discovery of a new portrait of J. S. Bach opens up to the question: if we can see Bach with new eyes, how can we listen to Bach with new ears?
One of the most remarkable contributions to the idea that there is a world of Bach on the piano after Glenn Gould is the recording of three Bach concertos by French pianist David Fray in 2008. Enjoy the performance of the A major concerto and also take the chance to discover Fray’s world and work with Bach in Bruno Monsaignon’s film.

J. S. Bach – Concerto A major, BWV 1055

1st mvt: Allegro
2nd mvt: Larghetto
3rd mvt: Allegro ma non tanto

Swing, Sing, Think

Bruno Monsaingeon’s unique film “Swing, Sing, Think” takes us into the private world of David Fray and his work “recreating” three concertos for keyboard and orchestra by Johann Sebastian Bach. Although major musical figures such as Gould, Richter, Menuhin or Sokolov are part of Monsaingeon’s musical world, the filmmaker also likes to share his discoveries of young artists. David Fray, born in 1981, isn’t afraid of being in the limelight. He lets Monsaingeon film the recording of his first record for Virgin Classics in 2008 with Die Deutsche Kammerphilarmonie Bremen, which he also directs from the piano. The question is: How can one play Bach after Gould? We follow David Fray at home, in Paris, working on the score and explaining the different interpretational options open to him.

During rehearsals with the orchestra, he shares with the musicians his vision of the works with astonishing passion, spontaneity and imagination. Just like the title of the film “Swing, Sing and Think” suggests, this transmits the inspiration that Fray breathes into three Bach Concertos; in A Major BWV 1055, in F Minor BWV 1056 and in G Minor BWV 1058.

By retracing the musical gesture that leads to the interpretation of the work, or rather to its “re-creation”, the film also immerses us in the creative everlasting world of J. S. Bach.

“True baroque style could never be confined within the limits of the quest for an illusory instrumental authenticity. It resides, beyond philology, in the spirit, and it is at that level that David Fray has captured it with such moving eloquence.”
– Bruno Monsaingeon

See the entire Bruno Monsaingeon film “Swing, Sing, Think” about Fray´s recording of J. S. Bach concertos with Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (From French Television ARTE, French subtitles only):

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


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Piano Street Introduces New Concept: Urtext & Instructive Edition

On the recent Music Education Expo in London, Piano Street presented a new concept for sheet music publication: The Piano Street Urtext & Instructive Edition

Scores for all stages of learning

Thanks to the possibilities of digital technology we are no longer limited to just one specific edition of a piano composition when going through the various stages of learning. Depending on your own level of experience and where you are in the learning process of a particular piece, you may need fingering, pedal markings, practice and performance tips, or perhaps the right opposite – a clean Urtext score.

Marking the start of the Piano Street’s series of Rachmaninoff Editions with the famous Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op. 3 No. 2, all these aspects are taken into account in one single publication containing:

1. Introduction to the piece: History and a brief analysis of the composition.

2. Practice tips: Preparatory exercises which greatly facilitates the learning of the piece.

3. PS Instructive Edition: An educational edition covering all the information a teacher would give you during your first couple of lessons with the piece, including:

  • Detailed fingering with alternatives for small hands
  • Pedal instructions including Piano Street’s unique half-pedal marking
  • Technical advice
  • Artistic advice

4. PS Urtext: The clean score. Exactly what the composer wrote, no more, no less.

Special introductory offer:

Download and print the new four-part publication of Rachmaninoff’s C-sharp minor Prelude for free!
(Offer valid through April 30)

If this piece is far above your level of playing, we invite you to instead try out the Instructive Edition of Chopin’s Prelude in E minor for free.

Stay tuned! More Instructive Editions are coming soon to pianostreet.com…


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How will You Sound on Horowitz’s CD 503?

Steinway & Sons recently announced that Vladimir Horowitz’s legendary Steinway Model D continues its tour through 2014. This is a unique chance for the public to see, hear and even play the master’s favorite instrument – the Steinway CD 503 – used on his tours during his last years 1985-89.

The CD 503 has a very light and extremely touch-sensitive action. It has a crashing, thunderous bass and a transparent treble. While many pianists who have tried the piano agree that the action is even and it is a pleasure to play the instrument, it is clearly not the only magic bullet required to reach Horowitz’s level of artistic mastery.
Hear the master and his instrument in this legendary recital:

Recital: Horowitz in Vienna (1987)

Mozart Rondo in D, K. 485
Mozart – Sonata in B-flat, K. 333:
Mvt. 1: Allegro
Mvt. 2: Andante cantabile
Mvt. 3: Allegretto grazioso

Schubert – Impromptu in G-flat, op. 90 no. 3
Schubert/Liszt – Soirées de Vienne, no. 6

SCHUMANN – Kinderszenen, op. 15
1. Von fremden Ländern und Menschen
2. Kuriose Geschichte
3. Hasche-Mann
4. Bittendes Kind
5. Glückes genug
6. Wichtige Begebenheit
7. Träumerei
8. Am Kamin
9. Ritter vom Steckenpferd
10. Fast zu ernst
11. Fürchtenmachen
12. Kind im Einschlummern
13. Der Dichter spricht

Chopin – Mazurka, op. 33 no. 4
Chopin – Polonaise in A-flat, op. 53
Liszt – Consolation no.3 in D-flat,
Schubert – Moment Musical in F minor, op. 94 no. 3
Moszkowski – Etincelles, op.26 no. 6

Documentary from 1985:

The Last Romantic (82 min.)

The long career of the last romantic

Described as the greatest pianist since Franz Liszt, Horowitz’s world wide career spanned nearly 70 years since his debut in 1920. Horowitz evidently suffered from anxiety and depression which led to long career breaks, especially from 1953-65 and from 1969-74.
In 1985, Horowitz returned to concertizing and recording. His first post-retirement appearance was not on stage, but in the documentary film Vladimir Horowitz: The Last Romantic. In 1986 and as a consequence of the new relation between the USA and the USSR, Horowitz returned for the first time since 1925 for concerts in Moscow and Leningrad. Following the Russian concerts, Horowitz toured several European cities including Berlin, Amsterdam, and London. The final tour took place in Europe in 1987 and his legendary recital at the Musikverein in Vienna was documented on a video which was released by Deutsche Grammophone in 1991. His final recital, in Hamburg, Germany, took place on June 21, 1987.

Reader questions

  • What, besides the unique instrument, makes Horowitz’s playing so exceptional?
  • Which is your favourite Horowitz recording?
  • If you have played the CD 503, what was your impression?


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The Van Cliburn Memorial Concert 2014

To mark the one-year anniversary of the death of legendary pianist Van Cliburn, the Fort Worth-based foundation that bears his name hosted The Van Cliburn Memorial Concert in Sundance Square Plaza on February 27. In the first event of its kind, eight former Cliburn Competition award winners performed short solo recitals on the outdoor stage of the plaza in downtown Fort Worth.

The free concert was live-streamed through Cliburn.org. The participating pianists covered a competition history ranging from 1985 until 2013. Hear the full concert below.

Van Cliburn Memorial Concert – February 27, 2014 – Program:

Yakov Kasman, 1997 silver medalist (18:15)

RACHMANINOV – Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, op. 36 (1913)
Allegro agitato
Non allegro – Lento
L’istesso tempo – Allegro molto

Simone Pedroni, 1993 gold medalist (44:23)

Suite from Lincoln

Steven Lin, 2013 jury discretionary award winner (1:17:30)

DEBUSSY – Selections from Suite bergamasque
Clair de lune

Fantasy in F-sharp Minor, op. 28

Maxim Philippov, 2001 silver medalist (1:41:42)

SCHUMANN – Sonata in F-sharp Minor, op. 28
Introduzione: Un poco Adagio – Allegro vivace
Scherzo: Allegrissimo – intermezzo: Lento
Finale: Allegro, un poco maestoso

Alexey Koltakov, 2001 finalist (2:11:35)

Après une Lecture du Dante

José Feghali, 1985 gold medalist (2:30:09)

SCHUMANN – Kinderszenen, op. 15
1. Von fremden Ländern und Menschen
2. Kuriose Geschichte
3. Hasche-Mann
4. Bittendes Kind
5. Glückes genug
6. Wichtige Begebenheit
7. Träumerei
8. Am Kamin
9. Ritter vom Steckenpferd
10. Fast zu ernst
11. Fürchtenmachen
12. Kind im Einschlummern
13. Der Dichter spricht

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Antonio Pompa-Baldi, 2001 silver medalist (2:59:07)

Ballade No. 2 in B Minor
Les chemins de l’amour
Paraphrase on Verdi’s “Ernani”

Alexander Kobrin, 2005 gold medalist (3:29:04)

TCHAIKOVSKY – Selections from The Seasons, op. 37b

More on The Van Cliburn Competition:

The 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and a 50th Anniversary

The 14th Van Cliburn – Merging High Quality Performance with Hi-End Technology


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International Piano – Mar/Apr 2014

A new issue of International Piano is out!
Content highlights:

  • The Yamaha CFX comes to Abbey Road
  • CPE Bach tercentenary – Marking the great composer’s 300th anniversary
  • Festivals around the globe
  • Austria-bound – View from Grafenegg
  • Street life: Unstoppable rise of the public piano
  • Piano makers: What’s next for Pleyel?
  • Contemporary music: John McCabe at 75
  • Adolf von Henselt – A potted biography

Piano Street Gold members have instant online access to the digital version of the magazine.


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