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Trifonov and Lang Lang Celebrate DG 120 Years in C Minor

“The Yellow Label”, Deutsche Grammophon celebrates its 120th anniversary this year with events all around the globe. Today,  November 6, pianist Lang Lang performs Mozart’s C Minor Concerto in a live streamed gala concert in the Berlin Philharmonie.

Among festivities marking the anniversary of Deutsche Grammophon, a spectacular concert was held on October 10 in the Forbidden City in Beijing, where soloist Daniil Trifonov and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra under Long Yu, delighted classical music fans in a worldwide livestream of Rachmaninoff’s second Piano Concerto.

10 October: Daniil Trifonov

The festivities now continue on November 6 in Berlin, when Lang Lang and Anne-Sophie Mutter together with the Staatskapelle Berlin under the direction of Manfred Honeck perform on the stage of the Berlin Philharmonie. This is an occasion to celebrate the history and the future of the world’s oldest record company, founded in 1898 by Emil Berliner as ”Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft”.
The concert program includes Beethoven’s Overture to Fidelio, Romance for Violin and Orchestra in F Major, Leonore Overture No. 3 in C Major, Mozart’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in C Minor K. 491 and John Williams’ Markings for violin, strings and harp.

TODAY 6 November: Lang Lang

The festival concert will be on the Arte livestream at 8 PM Berlin time (3 pm EST):

If you are in Germany or France, watch it here instead >>

Read more about Deutsche Grammophon’s twelve decades.


Hands-on Piano Experiences in Cremona

During the last weekend of September, Piano Experience – the Italian meeting point for the world of black and white keys – reached its 8th edition. Piano Street‘s David Wärn was present in Cremona, where piano brands such as Steinway, Fazioli, Yamaha, Bösendorfer, and Steingraeber met with international pianists and representatives of the music media.

A prestigious meeting point for the piano sector

Piano Experience prides itself of being the only exhibition in Europe dedicated to pianos and keyboards. On the other hand, as a visitor to Cremona – birthplace of Antonio Stradivari and a number of other legendary musicians and violin makers – you don’t have to limit yourself to pianos. Piano Experience is held simultaneously with Cremona Musica, a gigantic trade fair for the entire music sector, with a traditional emphasis on string instruments.

Piano experiences on all levels

Piano Experience has been created in response to instrument makers, distributors, buyers and musicians, as a meeting point to exchange ideas and develop new business. As the name suggests, it offers hands-on piano experiences on a number of levels. Visitors have a chance to try out a large selection of high quality instruments, and a rich events programme organized by Cremona Musica in cooperation with the exhibitors offers many musical performances by Italian and international artists. Among the 160 events of the 2018 edition were recitals and book presentations with Boris Berman, Jura Margulis, Louis Lortie, Vanessa Benelli Mosell, Sandro Ivo Bartoli, Stuart Isacoff, and many others.

Interviews and articles to follow

Watch this space to get more reports from Cremona. Interviews will follow with, among others, Boris Berman — about the new multimedia edition of his Notes from the Pianist’s Bench — and Jura Margulis, about his collaboration with Steingraeber & Söhne, reinventing the sordino pedal and incorporating it into a modern grand piano.


An Epic Narrative: Boris Giltburg plays Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no. 3

Named the Mount Everest of piano concertos, Rachmaninoff’s third has enjoyed an increasing popularity among performers, piano competition contestants and in concert halls during the last twenty years. Also among recording labels where the long list of recordings now is expanded by contributions by a younger generation of top artists.

Since Horowitz’s recordings of the concerto set a standard for its overall interpretational conception, many claim that renditions today overlook Rachmaninoff’s original intentions which we all can listen to in his own recordings from 1935 and 1940. Not least, the composer’s tempi and ideas on dramatic culminations.

A Touching Attitude

The story tells that Gustav Mahler, who conducted the second performance of the concerto with Rachmaninoff himself in New York City, touched the composer’s heart straight away by devoting himself to the concerto until the complicated accompaniment had been practiced to the point of perfection, although he had already gone through a long rehearsal.

According to Mahler, every detail of the score was important which was an an attitude which was rare among conductors. Rachmaninoff found this very touching.

A Sensitive New Release

One of the latest Rach 3 releases – and our recommendation – is by the Queen Elisabeth Competition winner, pianist Boris Giltburg with Royal Scottich National Orchestra under Carlos Miguel Pietro on the Naxos label (2018).  As opposed to the strong formal structure of composition which the second concerto displays, the third is much more a “give and take” game which reminds us of the marvels of chamber music and with sharing motifs, melodies and sections between the movements. Thus, Giltburg’s reading is a sensitive and attending one, where the soloist shares material with the orchestra leaning on a strong communicative base rather than muscular bombasm. The lyrical passages are beautifully shaped and exquisitely articulated with the aid of the sonorous sound of the Fazioli grand used in this recording.

“… a narrative tapestry of such richness and variety that it seems to me to rival that of a great novel. The concerto’s length and scope allow it to explore a broad musical terrain, with many digressions and subplots woven into the main narrative.”
— Boris Giltburg on Rachmaninoff’s 3rd piano concerto

The album is coupled with the composer’s Corelli Variations Op. 42. Rachmaninoff himself had doubts about this composition and he often left out variations during his own performances according to the audiences’ reactions. However, it displays the ingenious composer’s handicraft in turning a simple baroque melody into a richly woven pattern of original ideas reflecting the composer’s compound compositional world. Arguably a study work as these variations were followed in a few years by another set of variations – the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43.

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Giltburg plays Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto 3| Play album >> | Download CD cover >> |

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View the album on Amazon >>

Related discussions in Piano Forum

Sheet music to download and print

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto 3 Op. 30 in D Minor

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto 3


The Final Countdown: Leeds International Piano Competition – Finals Start Tonight

In the new edition of the Leeds International Piano Competition we have now enjoyed the diversity of the ten Semi-Finalists. Just in “the middle of the battle” Piano Street’s Patrick Jovell had the chance to ask the competition’s Co-Artistic Director, Adam Gatehouse a few questions.

Patrick Jovell: The friendly ”piano festival” feeling is evident for the audience as well as for the contestants. Which are your impressions so far?

Adam Gatehouse: We could not be more delighted with the atmosphere of a friendly festival that is being created around the competition. Many different communities in Leeds have really become involved through playing the pianos on the Piano Trail, and visiting the World’s Smallest Concert Hall in the Shipping Container. There is already a much more inclusive feeling around the city regarding the Competition that is being held.

PJ: The offered Master-classes and lectures are something we usually don’t see at the most prominent piano competitions. How were these received by the participants and competition goers?

AG: Both competitors and competition audiences have responded very favourably to the masterclasses – these have been quite an attraction for the very keen members of the audience and many competitors have thrown themselves into it with huge enthusiasm. One competitor was even dancing during his masterclass!

PJ: You have connected the competition to the international world and auditions were earlier held in Berlin, New York and Singapore. Has this effected the width of participation?

AG: We had 27 countries represented among the 68 pianists chosen for the First Round. This was a fantastic breadth of representation from across the world and surely illustrates huge global reputation of the Leeds International Piano Competition. we know no boundaries!

PJ: The five finalists now face the momentum with the jury’s choice of a concerto with orchestra. What would you say is the most important quality to communicate as a contestant in this specific and crucial moment of the competition?

AG: I think the most important thing is to communicate how they feel in their souls about the music and to bring across to all the listeners their joy in making music with this wonderful orchestra. That is what it is all about isn’t it?

PJ: We will leave you to your busy schedule now, but we know that the Leeds Competition is not closing up when Mr. Lang Lang has given out the prizes. Which Leeds projects are coming up after the competition for us to keep our eyes open for?

AG: Leeds Piano Festival in March/April 2019 in Leeds and London, and then again in 2020. And of course there will be the many appearances worldwide of our winner(s) including Liverpool next week, Eindhoven in October, Bristol in November, and then in 2019 appearances with the Halle Orchestra, at Wigmore Hall and tours of Europe (Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and Denmark) and South Korea in 2019.

The Final Round

After the semifinals the Leeds International Piano Competition has now announced the five finalists who will play concertos chosen by the jury as follows:

Final 1: Friday 14 September

7.00 pm (GMT): Aljoša Jurinić (Croatia)
Mozart – Concerto in C minor K491

7.50 pm: Anna Geniushene (Russia)
Prokofiev – Concerto No. 3 in C major Op.26

9.00 pm: Mario Häring (Germany)
Beethoven – Concerto No. 1 in C major Op. 15

Final 2: Saturday 15 September

7.00 pm: Xinyuan Wang (China)
Schumann – Piano Concerto in A minor Op.54

7.50 pm: Eric Lu (USA)
Beethoven – Concerto No. 4 in G major Op.58

9.00 pm: Results and Presentations

Follow the live stream at leedspiano2018.medici.tv

Read more about the Leeds Piano Competition 2018


Another International Chopin Competition — on Period Instruments

On the 100th anniversary of Poland’s regaining of independence, the Fryderyk Chopin Institute organizes the first International Chopin Competition on period instruments in Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. Subsequent editions will follow every five years.

The event started on 2 September, and thirty pianists aged 18 to 34 have played in the first round. They are playing on pianos from the collections of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute (Erards, Pleyels, and Broadwoods from the mid 19th century), as well as originals and copies of period instruments brought in by European restorers and collectors.

The aim of the organizers is to revive the authentic sound of Chopin, by popularizing performance on period instruments. Through collaborations with Polish Television, the event is being streamed in high quality. Each performance is also available to watch afterward, providing an opportunity for music lovers all over the world to follow the competition in its entirety.

Competition Schedule

2-6 September: Stage I – recitals
8-10 September: Stage II – recitals
12-13 September: Final – concerto performances
14 September: Prize-Winners Concert
Detailed schedule >>

Follow the live stream on YouTube.

Read more at www.iccpi.pl

More Recommended Weekend Listening:

LIVE NOW: The Leeds International Piano Competition:
Read more:
Follow The Leeds International Piano Competition Online


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