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Piano Street's Classical Piano News

- your guide to the classical piano world.
200+ Pieces Added to Piano Street’s Sheet Music Library

As you all know, the classical piano repertoire is endless. As a consequence, there is no end to our efforts to render the Piano Street sheet music library more and more complete. In recent months, we’ve added a large number of pieces by some of the greatest composers – Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Debussy, and Grieg. Some of these pieces are well-known masterpieces, others may be new acquaintances.

In our quest for completeness, an obvious place to start is the various collections belonging to the core repertoire. For example, it can be hard to know the exact point when you’ve published Chopin’s complete works – how many sketches, variants, or unpublished manuscripts should this include? But important milestones can be reached on the way – after adding several posthumous waltzes, mazurkas and polonaises, as well as the “Three New Etudes” and a number of other pieces, our Chopin library is, for all practical purposes, complete. (Although we would be happy to hear from knowledgeable readers about suggested further additions!)

Other significant new scores on Piano Street include Beethoven’s popular showpiece The Rage Over a Lost Penny, Mozart’s beautiful Adagio in B minor K. 540, Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto, many of Grieg’s Norwegian folk tunes and dances, and several Debussy works, composed or arranged for two pianos (En blanc et noir, Lindaraja, La mer etc).

See all 202 recently added pieces >>

Two free scores to download

Today we are making two of these newly published scores available to download for free (with Silver membership).

A song by Chopin
Wiosna (Spring) is Chopin’s arrangement of one of his own songs, a setting of a poem by the composer’s friend Stefan Witwicki. This is one of our PS Instructive Editions, with extensive instructions, a “Practice Guide” and “Practice Score”.

Debussy’s very last piano piece
The other piece we would like to share with you is Debussy’s very last work for piano, Les soirs illuminés par l’ardeur du charbon, discovered as late as in 2001. During the harsh wartime winter of 1916-17, Debussy’s coal merchant managed to divert scarce supplies of fuel to the Debussy household. As thanks, he received the beautifully written manuscript of this piece.


/david

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Nelson Goerner – Exploring the depths

Nelson Goerner is a sort of ‘rare bird’ on the concert platform. Each of his concerts is a unique experience. His most recent CDs featuring major works by Brahms, Godowsky and Paderewski are simply breathtaking. Eric Schoones met him in Groningen to discuss his recordings, his views on his artistry and about Maria Tipo, with whom he studied.

Goerner grew up in San Pedro, a small town near Buenos Aires. He was a prodigy who taught himself to read and write before he was three years old. When he was seventeen he played for Martha Argerich and, with her help, gained a scholarship in Europe. On her advice he went to Maria Tipo, by then already a legend, for further instruction. He won the Concours de Genève and eventually even took over Maria Tipo’s class at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève. At the invitation of Daniel Barenboim he recently also taught for two years at the Barenboim-Said-Akademie in Berlin. But Nelson Goerner’s focus is primarily on giving concerts – much to the delight of his audiences.

– Maria Tipo wasn’t unknown in Argentina.
– No, she was an icon, and played everywhere – not just in Buenos Aires. When I took my entrance exam in Geneva, I immediately felt that something incredible awaited me.

– She was a very demanding teacher.
– (laughs) Very much so; all of her students were reduced to tears at some point. She was enormously critical, also of herself, and was rarely satisfied with her playing. She really liked teaching, and never forgot an appointment. We spent a lot of time together, and she really took care of her pupils. After teaching for hours she would then go and practise herself. Generous as she was; she let me play one of her concerts because, despite winning the prestigious Geneva competition, I had very few opportunities to perform at first. My career was slow to get started. She knew it would take a while before I got a proper engagement in Italy, and that’s why she let me take her place.

Nelson Goerner and Martha Argerich

– Quite unlike the teachers who alienate their pupils from concerts.
– Yes, I’d like to stress that. She put in an appearance at the concert, and also made the arranger aware that she hadn’t cancelled because she’s received a better offer or because she wanted to be rid of it. It was a most unusual thing to do. I played Beethoven’s ‘Hammerklavier’ Sonata. She was very exact about the structure, the context and the dynamic construction of the fugue. Above all it shouldn’t sound like a stunt. She was a very natural pianist; just watching her play was a lesson in itself. She had an incredible legato, like a great singer, and her use of the pedal was quite extraordinary – all the critics wrote about it. She combined sonorities in a magical, very unorthodox way. ‘You have to stroke the keys’, as her mother Ersilia Cavallo always said, who had studied first with a pupil of Rubinstein and later under Busoni. Her sound was never hard or aggressive, the way you often hear today, and that’s insufferable. Listen to her Scarlatti recordings, which made her famous at a stroke in 1955. So refined – they’re really dances, and she doesn’t imitate the harpsichord, but uses all the potential of the piano, with taste, character and imagination. Every sonata has its own character.

– When I listened in on your rehearsals yesterday, I was struck by the way you work with sound relationships within a chord, between melody, bass and middle parts.
– Yes, it’s hard to make a chord sing; the balance between the various voices is so important; you train your fingers, but you train your ears even more. Ultimately you can achieve unbelievable things even on a mediocre piano, and I try to develop this sensitivity to sonority in my pupils as well.

– Your most recent CD include music by Paderewski, Godowsky and Brahms. Can you discern the pianist behind the composer?
– Always, and especially in the case of pianists like Godowsky who had such an all-encompassing technique. Paderewski was a fabulous pianist as well. His recording of his own Nocturne, Op. 16 No. 4 – which I have recorded too – is incredible, but I also admire La leggierezza by Liszt and the F minor Variations by Haydn greatly. Likewise, for instance, Grieg’s Ballade and Chopin’s Études played by Godowsky.

– You say that Godowsky was always nervous at recordings.
– Yes, unfortunately there aren’t any recordings of him in large-scale works, but that applies to many artists. I never heard Arthur Rubinstein in person, but some of his live recordings give an idea of what he sounded like in real life, and I find this immediacy slightly lacking in his studio recordings.

– Therefore the recently discovered recording by Rachmaninov is also so stunning.
– Exactly, he wasn’t aware that he was being recorded. The idea that something was being set down for all eternity made him nervous too. But a recording is just a snapshot in your development.

‘I’ve already been living with Brahms’s
Third Sonata for 25 years.’

– Is that why you perform the programme of your CDs in concert first?
– Absolutely, it’s essential – not the other way around in order to sell more CDs! A CD is the result of a long process of study, searching for the meaning of every note – a process that continues in concerts too – where, if you feel at ease on stage, you find out a lot that doesn’t become apparent when practising at home. It’s the only way. I’ve already been living with Brahms’s Third Sonata for 25 years – half my life. It’s such an incredible piece; it contains everything – power, drama, youthful optimism. Brahms was still young, but already in possession of all his faculties. Moreover it’s also very original for its time.

– And still – not every recording is the result of such a long process.
– No; I played Paderewski’s Variations and Fugue on an Original Theme at the request of the Chopin Institute, where I’m a member of the advisory board, and it was love at first sight. I love playing Paderewski’s Piano Concerto, but the Variations are more profound, in a certain sense enigmatic, psychologically very multi-faceted, and the fugue is grandiose. People see Paderewski as a miniaturist, but this is something wholly different. I hope that in a modest way I can contribute to the fame of these Variations.’

– And the feeling of freedom during a concert?
– Yes, I try to achieve that in the studio too, but it’s very difficult, because at a concert you’re sharing the music with hundreds of people. That’s a very special feeling. For that reason I make as many live recordings as possible. In the studio you’re searching more for an ideal.

– Is there such a thing?
– At a specific moment, yes, but the concept keeps on developing, and that’s why I don’t like listening to my own recordings.

– At the rehearsal yesterday I noticed how a single note can clarify the structure of a piece, so that unexpected dimensions arise.
– I learned that from the great pianists such as Josef Hofmann and Ignaz Friedman. They reveal the psychological content of the music in such an immediately recognizable way, without losing their personalities and without placing their own egos in the foreground. Just recently I heard Josef Hofmann in Chopin’s Fourth Ballade. So extreme, individual and overwhelming, with a demonic power, intense lyricism, and completely in Chopin’s spirit. His pupil Shura Cherkassky was recently a role model for me in this respect.

– Many would regard it as a gamble to play Brahms’s Paganini Variations in concert.
– (laughs) And so it is. They’re notoriously difficult, but their virtuosity is not that of Liszt, who was also a performer in the best sense of the word. He makes some concessions to the taste of his time, when the piano gained its place as the king of instruments. I am totally against the view – often still encountered today – that Liszt was superficial; but unfortunately many pianists still go for superficial virtuosity.

– The same is actually true of Rachmaninov.
– You shouldn’t play the Third Concerto like a big show. Listen to Rachmaninov himself; he has so much grandeur, and it’s so noble, so rich and also so emotional. He never displays his technique for its own sake. It’s impossible to deny the truth of this role model.

– You have no time for great extravagance.
– I have learned to avoid it completely – a very important point, because it keeps you away from the real meaning of the music. You can see with the really great pianists: they don’t try to seduce the audience with grand gestures, for example. If you do that, you’re more concerned with yourself, and less with the music. Consciously or unconsciously – both are bad. I also see it as one of my duties as a teacher to make genuine talents aware of this. You must approach the music from within, I don’t decide anything from the externals. It remains an eternal quest – otherwise you just turn into a copy of yourself.

Recent Albums

Brahms: Sonata, Op. 5; Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 39. Alpha Classics 557

Paderewski: Variations and Fugue; Godowsky: Künstlerleben. Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina, NIFCCD 061


Author: Eric Schoones

More about Nelson Goerner: www.nelsongoerner.com

This article is a contribution from the German and Dutch magazine Pianist through Piano Street’s International Media Exchange Initiative and the Cremona Media Lounge.


Pianist_FC_LPianist Magazine is published in seven countries, in two different editions: in German (for Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxemburg and Liechtenstein) and in Dutch (for Holland and Belgium).
The magazine is for the amateur and professional alike, and offers a wide range of topics connected to the piano, with interviews, articles on piano manufacturers, music, technique, competitions, sheetmusic, cd’s, books, news on festivals, competitions, etc.
For a preview please check: www.pianist-magazin.de or www.pianistmagazine.nl


/nilsjohan

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Resonance Piano – Recreating Piano Sound

We are living in times when acoustical and digital soundworlds merge in a multiplicity of ways. This year’s Cremona Musica exhibition offered a chance to experience some of the latest innovations in piano sound.

The 98 kilograms Resonance Piano is not an instrument in the traditional sense, but a grand piano designed soundboard functioning as a digital piano’s ”amplifier”. Its creators, the Italian company Ciresa, have played an important role as manufacturers of loudspeakers and piano soundboards since the 1970s – their clients include giants like Bechstein, Blüthner, Förster, and Fazioli. The company aims to optimize the digital sound experience by enhancing the sound spectrum by means of natural materials.

Resonance Piano actually consists of two suspended soundboards, one for the whole frequency range and the other for the mid-bass. These, along with the necessary electronics, come in a grand piano-shaped case with legs. The output of the digital piano is plugged into Resonance Piano and fed to transducers positioned across the soundboard, which then transmits the sound from across its entire surface, as opposed to a loudspeaker, which projects the sound from a single point.

Nord Piano 4 connected to Resonance Piano

The idea of merging a digital signal with natural soundboard amplification is not new and can be found in Yamaha TransAcoustic, Kawai Aures, and Steingraeber Transducer Grands. Resonance Piano, which sells for 15 000 euros, allows you to use the digital instrument of your choice.

Piano Street’s Patrick Jovell met with CEO and inventor Fabio Ognibeni for a short interview.

Resonance Piano Interview Ognibeni Jovell

Piano Street: When reading about Resonance Piano we were surprised by the fact that this is an instrument without strings, yet in a Grand Piano design. How did you come up with the idea?

Fabio Ognibeni: Well, it comes from the fact that I have been talking and discussing with piano builders for thirty years. Working with producers of pianos, harps, and violins, we could discuss sound in all these fields and gather information and experiences. We understood that in whichever instrument we produced, we had to target the wood creating the best sound frequency in each kind of instrument.

PS: You also manufacture loudspeakers and
I had the joy hearing Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto from a CD on your device an hour ago – the sound was marvelous! How do you measure a digital sound source to be placed in a natural material? Is it possible to anticipate that in your soundboard construction?

FO: Each soundboard is designed to create the best possible acoustic sound. Even if you exchange digital instruments (sound source), the sound is quite the same. Of course it cannot be 100% exactly the same because the soundboard is a natural element, but all the soundboards are designed to produce the best acoustic sound possible, regardless of which digital instrumental source.

PS: Yes, the soundboard enhances the sound so to speak. In the ”normal” world we go from a vibration to a tone. With a digital sound it is not a vibrating tone, is it?

FO: In digital pianos, the speakers vibrate – but we should remember that traditional speaker membranes are made of polyamide which is not a natural element. In origin, the sound is born in the tone of wood, not in plastic. My system offers the piano a way of reproducing and returning back the original sound through the natural wooden soundboard.

PS: I understand you use very special wood?

FO: Yes, the wood comes from Femme Valley – it’s the best in the world! Stradivari and Guarneri used the same wood. We also use it for our loudspeakers, and it’s used for harpsichords, harps, and violin instruments as well.

PS: How many instruments do you manufacture?

FO: We produce 3600 traditional soundboards every year. Resonance Piano is new and we have so far made only 8 of this model.

PS: Which kind of customers are you focusing on?

FO: I think the medium level pianist, schools and the pop/jazz pianist also. This system is very quick and easy to transport. The piano manufacturing industry is a world of very conservative thinking. Yesterday we had a renowned international performer here who found this instrument good for young people, but I think it’s still too early to satisfy high-level performers.

Read more at resonancepiano.com


/patrick

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The Piano Experience Fest

Now an established and important annual event, Cremona Musica once again opened its doors and welcomed a huge number of visitors to experience an extraordinary 180 events program of concerts, lectures, manufacturers exhibits, round-table discussions along with lovely touristic venues in beautiful Cremona – city of violins.

The rich mix of the program offers something for everybody and gives the chance for hobbyists to meet with professionals as well as the market to meet with their customers and inspiration-seekers.
Piano Experience was created and developed in response to instrument makers, distributors, buyers and musicians, as a meeting point to exchange ideas and thus develop new business and forums for discussion and development. It is now the only exhibition in Europe dedicated to pianos and keyboards. Visitors have a chance to try out a vast selection of high quality instruments, and in cooperation with the exhibitors a large number of musical performances are offered with Italian and international artists. International performing artists this year were among others; Maurizio Baglini, Eliane Reyes, Inna Faliks, Ivan Krpan, Ramin Bahrami, Roland Pöntinen, Jed Distler, Konstantin Scherbakov and Ingolf Wunder.

The Media Lounge of Cremona Musica: a one-of-a-kind event

In 2019, as during the last editions, Cremona Musica is hosting not only the most important international artists and producers of musical instruments, but also the best of music dissemination.
The International Media Lounge hosted 31 Italian and foreign journalists, representing both specialized and general outlets. These journalists, writers, disseminators, covering Cremona Musica, guarantees an internerational media coverage for artists and exhibitors, and will also be protagonists of two round-tables, to talk about the future of music. The topic of the first session was: the relation between music and social media and the second: about classical music in video. The participating journalists discussed the various ways in which classical music can be presented through video, and shared examples of projects carried out by their respective newspapers or channels, or proposing new ideas on the subject.

Konstantin Scherbakov

Stay tuned for more reports from Cremona. Interviews will follow with, among others, Konstantin Scherbakov, about his Beethoven 250 — Ingolf Wunder, and his pedagogical Internet project APPASSIO.com, Roberto Prosseda and Alessandra Ammara’s new Mendelssohn CD release, Jed Distler on his Thelonious Monk project and CD and Ramin Bahrami on Bach. We will also publish an interview with the innovator of RESONANCE PIANO, a piano without strings.


/patrick

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The World of Piano Competitions – New Issue

As a collaborating partner Piano Street is proud to present the second issue of The World of Piano Competitions, a new magazine initiated by PIANIST Magazine (Netherlands and Germany) and its Editor-in-Chief Eric Schoones. Here we get a rich insight into the world of international piano competitions through the eyes of its producers and participants.

Click cover to download:

Contributing Editors: Akemi Alink, Gustav Alink (Alink-Argerich Foundation), Stuart Isacoff, Ken Iisaka, Jeremy Nicholas, David Warn (Piano Street)

Free download!

Piano Street is happy to share the second issue of WOPC with our readers free of charge: The-World-of-Piano-Competitions-issue-2-2019.pdf

Content

Gustav Alink reports
14 Tchaikovsky International Music Competition, Moscow
36 First China International Music Competition, Beijing
38 Top of the World Competition, Tromsø
41 Piano Talents Competition in Milano
43 The Nordic Piano Competition, Arvika

Interviews
21 A directors view: Henryk Martenka
25 A teachers view: Julia Mustonen-Dahlkvist
35 One to watch: Aristo Sham

In Profile
7 The ARD International Music Competition
17 Queen Elisabeth Competition, Brussels
17 Rencontres Internationales de Jeunes Pianistes
31 International German Piano Award
45 International Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn
45 The International Schubert Competition Dortmund

Behind the Scenes
10 WFIMC – The Ecosystem of Classical Music
22 Alink-Argerich Foundation Jubilee
26 Confessions of a Piano Juror
32 Sight vs. Sound
48 Room for improvement

The Instrument
13 C. Bechstein and competitions
19 Steinway @ Competitions
29 Fazioli Pianos on Stage
47 The Chris Maene Straight Strung Grand Piano


Background

The piano enjoys a tremendous popularity worldwide and has the universal quality to be able to communicate through cultures, history and geographical borders. The value of piano competitions cannot be overestimated in terms of focus on the piano as an instrument and piano playing. The competition industry engages a multiplicity of concerns including hi-end piano manufacturing, media coverage and broadcast, repertoire spotlight and pedagogy, concert and lecture production and not least, career opportunity and exposure for laureates and non-laureates. All this contributes to a richer cultural life and can powerfully promote the aim we all share: to spread the joy and riches of the art of piano playing.

”Piano music, especially live, is incomparable and can be a great source of joy for players and listeners. We all should strive to allow as many people benefit from it as possible. For that, this edition of The World of Piano Competition is an excellent form of encouragement. I hope its message spreads widely! I wish everyone much joy reading it and, later on, attending a concert!”
— Guido Zimmermann, President Steinway & Sons Europe

THE WORLD OF PIANO COMPETITIONS
is published twice a year by PIANIST, as a part of the regular edition, and also worldwide as a separate magazine.

PIANIST (regular edition) is published four times a year in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands and Belgium.
www.pianist-magazin.de
www.pianistmagazine.nl


/nilsjohan

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