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The Harpsichord – Old, but Still Relevant

Sir Thomas Beecham once described the harpsichord as sounding like “…two skeletons copulating on a corrugated tin roof”. To harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, the famed British conductor who compared Beethoven’s music to frolicking yaks, couldn’t have been more wrong.

“If you buy only one record of harpsichord music in your life . . . buy this sensational album” wrote Richard Morrison, The Times (London). Although most of us don’t buy records anymore, this recently released album “Time Present and Time Past” including music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Francesco Geminiani, Henryk Górecki, Steve Reich and Alessandro Scarlatti could be worth checking out. Hear samples at deutschegrammophon.com

Esfahani sat down to talk with NPR about the new album. His sparring partner was All Things Considered host Robert Siegel:


/nilsjohan
 
     

Aimard’s Bach in Lights

Pierre-Laurent Aimard again conquers the iconic keyboard repertoire by Johann Sebastian Bach after his hugely successful The Art of Fugue recording 2008. A recently released double CD includes the entire The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1.

As part of a multimedia project that had never before been attempted, visual artist Alan Warburton created a virtual animation that highlighted not only Bach’s genius but also Warburton’s own creativity. He joined with French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard and a veritable army of computer and music experts to create a stunning visual portrait of one of Bach’s most iconic works. It took more than 10 weeks to bring the project to fruition because every frame of the video had to be perfectly synchronized with Aimard’s playing and also make visual sense. There could be no weird reflections of light that wouldn’t occur in nature, for example, and anything less than visual perfection wouldn’t do justice to the music.

Piano sheet music to download and print:

Hear samples from all tracks on the album and read more:
http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/en/cat/4792784

How do you like Aimard’s intrepretation of the Bach Preludes and Fugues? Please post a comment below!


/nilsjohan
 
     

Take Your Seat: A portrait of Menahem Pressler’s life and thoughts

Free tickets for Piano Street’s members

Thanks to a collaboration with the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall, all Piano Street members can enjoy free access for 48 hours to the Digital Concert Hall. Log in to your Piano Street account to get your free voucher code which gives you instant access to the Digital Concert Hall. Take the opportunity to see the film about pianist Menahem Pressler until June 15 and to access all concerts in the archive!

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Sign up for free here to get your concert ticket!


Everyone Should Hear Him Once! The World Celebrates Menahem Pressler

A phenomenal musician and iconic tutor, German born American-Israeli pianist Menahem Pressler was the heart of the magnificent Beaux Arts Trio since their start in 1955. In 2008 the trio separated but Pressler decided to embark on a solo career. At 85, a unique decision praised by the musical world. Pressler has since then been heard with the major orchestras around the globe. A chamber musician beyond comparison, with clear eyes and a prodigious mind, Pressler is a window to the past. Still, continuously curious and with a tablet PC under his arm, he embraces the 21st century while sharing his endless love for music.

In 2014, the 90-year-old maestro gave his long overdue debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker and film maker Grete Liffers decided to enrich the world with a portrait of the artist’s life and thoughts. Here the audience can gain deep insights into the life of Menahem Pressler including new recorded talks, excerpts from one of his Master Classes and interviews with artists like Daniel Harding, Leonidas Kavakos and Daniel Hope.

See the film with your Digital Concert Hall 48 hour ticket:
www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/film/231


The new DVD Release

The film THE LIFE I LOVE is a bonus coupled with the Berliner Philhrmoniker’s New Year’s Eve Concert 2014 and is now available on DVD. It opens with Sir Simon Rattle conducting music by Rameau and then Menahem Pressler chose W.A. Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A major, K. 488. Following the intermission, the musicians ring in the New Year in a lively way with Slavic strains: an orchestral suite from Zoltán Kodály’s charming folk opera Háry János as well as a selection from the popular Slavonic Dances by Antonín Dvorák.

Watch trailer:

Repertoire:

JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU Suite from Les Indes galantes
W. A. MOZART Piano Concerto in A major K. 488
FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN Nocturne in C-sharp minor Op. 27 No.1
ARAM KHATCHATURIAN Gayaneh Suite No. 1 Lezginka
ANTONÍN DVORÁK Slavonic Dances in E minor Op. 46 No.2 & in C major Op.72 No.7
ZOLTÁN KODÁLY Háry János Suite ·
JOHANNES BRAHMS Hungarian Dance No. 1 in G minor

BONUS:
The Life I Love – The Pianist Menahem Pressler

Buy the DVD with the 2014 New Year’s Concert and the film THE LIFE I LOVE


/nilsjohan
 
     

How About Building a Grand Piano?

Engineering and drafting students at a Virginia private school are pushing the envelope by attempting a project that no one else is currently doing in a school setting: building a piano from scratch. The two teachers in charge of the project have both said that not even colleges are taking on such an ambitious task. With the help of a 3-D printer, students are designing and creating all the parts themselves.

See the students in action:

WSET.com – ABC13

The project is called STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. The point is to teach the students to combine all the necessary skills and collaborate on the project with each other. They’re required to read blueprints and piano designs from other sources, use the printer to create scaled pieces of the piano and craft the pieces in their regular size by hand.

The teachers have stated that they want the instrument to be of exceptional quality instead of “just a piano.” To that end, they’re expecting exacting tolerances and precise measurements from the students. One of the teachers remarked that the pieces, as designed, would only fit together in one way and in a certain order. Both teachers consider the project to be an excellent starting point on the students’ journey toward different levels of education and later employment. The students keep track of their progress on an engineering blog and are also fundraising to support the project.
Read the project blog at draftengine.blogspot.com


/nilsjohan
 
     

International Piano – May/June 2015

A new issue of the magazine International Piano is out!


Contents:
Comment: In defence of Liszt
One to Watch: Célimène Daudet
Diary of an Accompanist: In which Michael Round samples the ‘Cor!’ factor
Competition report: The tenth International Franz Liszt Piano Competition
Helping Hands: How to select your first piano
Masterclass: Developing rhythmic awareness, by IP’s resident tutor Murray McLachlan
Sheet Music: Mozart’s Fantasy in D Minor, K397, Piano Street Instructive Edition
Symposium: Experts discuss the great pianist, writer and composer Ferruccio Busoni
Repertoire: The 150th anniversary of the birth of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius
Piano makers: Gaza’s grand piano
Take five: Jazz pianist Jason Moran
Reviews: The latest CDs, technology, films and sheet music, plus recital roundup
Music of my Life: Kirill Gerstein shares a peek into his record collection

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


/nilsjohan
 
     



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