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Live Streamed Piano Recitals at The Academy of Arts in Stockholm

A new piano recital series has been launched in Stockholm this fall. The first recital, with pianist Peter Jablonski took place on September 15 and today, October 20 at 17.00 GMT it’s time for pianist Murray McLachlan to enter the stage.

The series is run by the organisation Piano Visions. One of the sponsors and collaborators is Piano Street, which will support the series in many interesting and exciting ways, for example by arranging an online piano composition competition from which the winning pieces will be performed in the series.

Piano Street is also involved in developing and supplying the artistic and technical platform for live streaming the recitals on the Internet. The first four recitals we be test streamed in order to work out the concept and to receive feedback.
We welcome you to watch the test broadcast of today’s recital with British pianist Murray McLachlan, starting at 17.00 GMT.

Visit this link to view the broadcast or watch in the embedded player below (The recital is over, replay available):

Bach: Prelude and Fugue i C-sharp minor, book 1
Beethoven: Sonata in E major, op 109
Chopin: Berceuse
Chopin: Scherzo no 3
John McLeod: Sonata no 5
Stenhammar: Impromptu in G-flat major
Liszt: Sonata in B-minor

Read more about the recital series:

Please post your comments and feedback below!

While waiting for the recital to begin, watch a clip from the previous recital. Peter Jablonski performs Schubert’s Moment Musical no 2:


Noriko Ogawa asks Beethoven to Leave her Alone

Noriko Ogawa seems to be comfortable in the same pea pod as Claude Debussy; she displays a similar maverick streak to the French composer. They both lament the “rules” in roughly the same way. Debussy didn’t like the composition rules of his teachers at the Paris Conservatory, while Ogawa keeps away from what she sees as the restrictive, emotional tradition of European Romanticism.      

In this video Nogawa makes her point by discussing the different aspects of Debussy’s Prelude No. 12, Book 2, Feux D’Artifice (Fireworks). As she explains the sonic meaning behind separate motives and sound clusters that simulate everything from a lit fuse to “La Marseillaise” sounding faintly in the distance, she does reinforce the lack of emotional spirit in Debussy’s music in his quest to depict his subjects as accurately as possible.

Deconstructed: Noriko Ogawa – Debussy’s Feux D’Artifice (Fireworks)’
Ogawa performs Debussy’s Feux D’Artifice

Sheet music to download and print:


A Major Mozart Discovery

Four pages from Mozart’s original manuscript for the Piano Sonata in A major, K 331 (whose last movement is the well-known “Turkish March”) has been found in Budapest. Hungarian music expert Balazs Mikusi was looking through hundreds of pages of handwritten copies of sheet music from Mozart’s time, when he suddenly recognized Mozart’s unique handwriting.

The major discovery starts in minor

In modern times, only the last page of the original manuscript of the work has been known. But now, we also have access to a large section consisting of variation 3 (in A minor) from the first movement until bar 10 in the second movement’s Trio section.

There are many interesting new details to consider in terms of slurs, dynamics and even some occasional notes that differs from the first published edition.

- It won’t change our view on Mozart, and it doesn’t change the character of the music, but we get a lot better sense of what Mozart wanted to achieve, said Mikusi.

Piano Sonata in A major, K 331 – piano sheet music


Kissin Breathing Fresh Air

Striking a very special chord for many world class performers the Verbier festival just completed its 21st edition. A regular guest artist there, pianist Evgeny Kissin believes it’s crucial to combine rest with work because it helps the performer to regain lost focus. After remarking that it was too bad that “… there were only 25 (sic) hours in a day and only 365 days in a year …,” Kissin made the point that he preferred the solitude of working on solo repertoire to that of working in a group. It allowed him to apply the energy and focus he achieved during his rest more effectively. Now that he’s turned his energy towards Jewish musicians like Bloch and Krein, Kissin hopes that this hard work boosts their popularity and garners them the respect they deserve.


Moonlight Trapped in the Sonata Form?

Sonatas come in many shapes throughout the history of music. The name Sonata is derived from the Italian word “suonare” (to sound) as opposed to “Cantata” (to sing). Although we find many single movement pieces from the Baroque period and mid-18th century named sonatas, it is not until Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven develop a 3 (or 4) movement disposition that we can talk about the term ”sonata form”. They all added extra movements in order to create what Leonard Bernstein later explained: “… perfect three-part balance, and second, the excitement of its contrasting elements. Balance and contrast — in these two words we have the main secrets of the sonata form.”

The popular classical form

For both Haydn, Mozart and early Beethoven it is still the first movement in the sonata which stands paramount in the construction. Additionally a slow movement and a fast movement could be added, each having a specific function in the musical argument of the complete piece. Beethoven eventually develops the form and strengthens each movement’s own specific character and even re-disposes the number of movements and alters the fast-slow-fast disposition of the Classial era.

How can we explain this immense popularity of the sonata for over two hundred years? What makes it so satisfying, so complete?
In Beethoven’s hands the piano sonata underwent a drastic development from his early works inspired by Haydn and Mozart until his late experimental and bold works with a much freer concept of form and drama. The term “sonata form” appears in the mid-19th century and Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas were the basis for the analysis.

The Moonlight Sonata is different

There are no specific reasons why Beethoven decided to title both the Op. 27 works as Sonata quasi una fantasia (”sonata in the manner of a fantasy”), but the layout of no. 2 (the Moonlight Sonata) does not follow the traditional fast–slow–fast. Instead, the sonata proposes an end-weighted journey, with the rapid music held off until the third movement. The sonata consists of three movements:
Adagio sostenuto-Allegretto-Presto agitato
The name “Moonlight Sonata” comes from the German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab, five years after Beethoven’s death.

Beethoven: Sonata Sonata Op. 27 no. 2, piano sheet music:
Moonlight Sonata piano sheet music

Two distinctly different interpretations

Here we listen to a recent performance of the Moonlight Sonata by pianist Yundi Li from a popular TV-show in Japan. His interpetation is quite traditional with a slow and beautiful rendition of the first movement while his last movement is very clean and polished – indeed not one of the more wild and stormy versions we have heard. But that is perhaps what to expect by Yundi Li, who is a former International Chopin Competition winner (2000).

On the other hand we have Andras Schiff who, in recent years, has proposed a completely different interpretation of the first movement for three resons:
1. The nickname “Monlight Sonata” is nonsense.
2. Since the meter is “Alla breve” we should count two beats (half notes) per bar, calling for a quite light and quick tempo.
3. Beethoven writes in the beginning of the piece “Si deve suonare tutto questo pezzo delicatissimamente e senza sordino” which means “This whole movement must be played with the utmost delicacy and without dampers. (i.e. with right pedal down). If that means that we should keep the right pedal constantly down throughout the piece or to change pedal in a traditional way when harmony changes is the big question for debate.
Listen to Schiff’s lecture below for a more detailed description.

Yundi Li plays Beethoven Sonata Op. 27 no. 2 (from Japanese TV 2014)
1. Adagio sostenuto
2. Allegretto
3. Presto agitato

Andras Schiff:
Lecture about the Moonlight Sonata (Wigmore hall, London)

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