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Piano Street's Classical Piano News

- your guide to the classical piano world.
Igor Levit’s Eternal Transcendence: “Life”

Igor Levit’s acclaimed album “Life” has attracted a lot of attention and its selected works have also been included in Levit’s recent recital programs worldwide. This is a profound, versatile and firm reaction to the death and loss of his best friend reflecting inner calm elaborating on an existential level.

Bach/Brahms: Chaconne in d minor, piano score

The double CD album was recorded during spring 2018 in the famed Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin, well-known for its acoustics, on an excellent new Steinway D. The choice of venue rhymes well with Levit’s chosen works which are a mix between both the spiritual and the secular. The elaboration on life take different forms but will not offer an answer – rather a human contemplation and search for the eternal. Thus, Levit’s journey of styles and moods offers a wealth of discoveries.

Every piece Igor Levit has chosen travels a spiritual path from the earthly to the hereafter. Each work questions the ultimate realities in its own way. Some picks:

No one can arrange symphonic works like Liszt did and Wagner’s “Solemn March to the Holy Grail” from “Parsifal”, is both intense and sublime – the solemn ritual of the Good Friday Music and magically performed through Levit’s calm and transparent playing. The transcription of the “Liebestod” from the same composer’s “Tristan und Isolde”, suspends time and displays the quietly luminous with extraordinary sound control.

Bach’s church melodies in the hands of omni-genius Busoni turns into a sorrowful “Fantasia”, composed as a memorial to the composer’s father.

A discovery and also a marvelous musical experience is Busoni’s seldom heard Berceuse.

The longest work, and maybe the most adventurous, is Liszt’s colossal “Fantasia and Fugue” on the Chorale “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam”, transcribed by Busoni. A true marvel of masterly piano playing and artistic spirit.

The “Ghost” Variations by Schumann from the very end of his life, leaves us with the last variation speaking of possible consolation.

Brahms’ famous arrangement of Bach’s “Chaconne” for left hand only, entices us to hold on to life in spite of any possible limitations.

Bill Evans, a jazz pianist hero among classical pianists, has a clear alignment to both Debussy and Messiaen. “Peace Piece” was created in 1958 in a recording session. Levit stays true to the repetitious original yet with solemn and strong integrity.

Frederic Rawitzki’s “A Mensch”, composed in 2012, in memory of performance artist Ben Israel and his quote: “To be a mensch! That is the answer”, distills the spiritual essence of this whole album.

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/patrick

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Piano Street’s Top Picks of 2018

We wish you a Happy New Year with a list of highly recommended reading from Piano Street. These are the 12 most read, discussed or shared articles of 2018.

/The Piano Street Team


Yuja Wang Played Ravel to Commemorate Peace

The First World War showed no mercy to artists and many died or returned injured. The Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein lost his right arm on the battlefield and Maurice Ravel composed the “Piano Concerto for the Left Hand” for him. The piece was performed by Yuja Wang in a recent concert in Versailles, 100 years after the “Treaty of Versailles”, in which the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.
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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.
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The Pleyel Piano: A Key to Genuine Chopin Sound?

Hubert Rutkowski’s new CD is a portrait not only of Chopin, but of the composer’s favourite instrument: Rutkowski plays a Pleyel piano from 1847. In his search for a genuine Chopin/Pleyel sound he has also turned to historical recordings of Raul Koczalski and Moritz Rosenthal, students of Karol Mikuli, who was in turn a student of Chopin himself.
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The Art of Listening – Updated Notes from Berman’s Bench

Since the first edition of Boris Berman’s Notes from the Pianist’s Bench was published in 2000, it has been read by countless pianists, piano teachers, and piano students throughout the world. The book has been translated into several languages and adopted as a required text in universities and conservatories. Just recently, it was published in a second edition, available in both print and electronic formats. Piano Street’s David Wärn met Mr. Berman at the Cremona Musica Piano Experience, to talk about the contents of the book, and about the changes and updates of the new edition.
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Hands-on Piano Experiences in Cremona

Piano Street’s David Wärn was present in Cremona and interviews will follow on pianostreet.com 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.
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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.
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Zlata Chochieva: As an artist, you have to be unique

Zlata Chochieva is a unique pianist of the highest calibre. From Salzburg, where she lives and teaches at the Mozarteum, she enchants music-lovers all over the world with her exceptional artistry, combining natural musical expression with outstanding and self-evident technical ability.
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Comfort and Beauty – Rethinking the Piano Bench

Poised with a contemporary air and pure timeless beauty, the creations of piano bench designer and maker Mario Koch were conspicuously present at the Frankfurt Musikmesse 2018. Under the trademark MAKONI visitors were given a chance to indulge in a different world of the piano’s best friend and companion; the piano bench.
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NEW MAGAZINE: The World of Piano Competitions

As a collaborating partner, Piano Street is proud to present the first 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.
Contributing Editors: Gustav Alink (Alink-Argerich Foundation), Stuart Isacoff, Patrick Jovell (Piano Street), Mario-Felix Vogt, KaJeng Wong. Piano Street is happy to share this first issue with our readers free of charge!
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Paderewski Festival Celebrating Poland’s Past And Present

The annual international music festival celebrating the legacy of Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) opened in Warsaw in late October and is now running for almost a month. This year the event also marks the centennial of national independence, which Poland regained after World War I. Piano Street’s Patrick Jovell visited the festival in Warsaw and the Paderewski Birthday Celebration Concert.
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A Debussy 100 Tribute

The great French composer Achille-Claude Debussy died 100 years ago, on March 25 in Paris. Debussy is considered one of the fathers of modern music and the most influential of all French composers. From Debussy’s Suite bergamasque, Clair de lune has emerged as the most beloved and appreciated piece of the suite appreciated by pianists on all levels. From the beautiful interiors of Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia, Rome we hear Italian pianist Alessandra Ammara play the piece.
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Destination: Rachmaninov – Departure

Destination: Rachmaninov – Departure, the first installment of a two-part journey, explores Rachmaninov‘s Second and Fourth Piano Concertos. In his seventh title as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, Daniil Trifonov reunites with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the leadership of music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
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/nilsjohan

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A Jazz Piano Christmas 2018

The celebration of the holidays is not complete around NPR without the sounds of a jazz piano sprinkling joy and good cheer. This year’s intergenerational program of accomplished pianists reflects both the history of the music and its future.


Musician Booker T. Jones is an honest to goodness legend. His contributions to our collective musical culture here in the U.S. is evident in his work on the organ and in his band Booker T. and the MG’s. What isn’t so obvious is his behind the scenes contribution to countless classic hits from Stax Records recordings as a multi- instrumentalist. This year we feature him on a rare turn at the acoustic piano, and it’s not to be missed.

Jason Moran continues to move the music forward as the Kennedy Center’s Artististic Director for Jazz, and his turn at the piano gave us both Monk and Mariah (Carey, that is).

Dánae Olano and James Francies both represent the future of the music. All came with an armload of holiday songs that will no doubt inject a little swing in your holiday gatherings.


/nilsjohan

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NEW PIANO MAGAZINE: The World of Piano Competitions

As a collaborating partner Piano Street is proud to present the very first 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: Gustav Alink (Alink-Argerich Foundation), Stuart Isacoff, Patrick Jovell (Piano Street), Mario-Felix Vogt, KaJeng Wong

Free download!

Piano Street is happy to share this first issue with our readers free of charge: The-World-of-Piano-Competitions-issue-1-2019.pdf

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

Content

Gustav Alink reports
8 Edvard Grieg in Bergen
24 Concours de Genève
30 Chopin on Period Instruments, Warsaw
32 Bechstein Jazz, Berlin (report by Mario-Felix Vogt)
34 For Young Pianists, Ettlingen

Interviews
10 An organisor’s view: Franz-Xaver Ohnesorg
11 A teacher’s view: Barbara Szczepanska
15 A director’s view: Rob Hilberink
19 A jurors view: Leslie Howard
27 One to watch: Yaroslav Bykh

In Profile
7 Queen Elisabeth Competition, Brussels
32 International German Piano Award, Frankfurt
33 Merci Maestro, Brussels
37 Piano Val de Travers
37 Euregio Piano Award, Geilenkirchen
39 International Telekom Beethoven Competition, Bonn
42 Mozarteum University Salzburg
42 Piano Lovers over 40, Milan

6 Partners
12 A Historic moment: Van Cliburn
16 Competitions online
20 After the competition: Anna Vinnitskaya & Seong-JinCho
23 Column: KaJeng Wong
29 Steinway Prize Winner Concerts Network
40 Innovation: Maene Straight Strung Pianos


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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International Piano – Jan/Feb 2019

A new issue of the magazine International Piano is out!

Andalusian pianist Javier Perianes strikes the perfect balance between sweetness and objectivity as he prepares to tour Beethoven’s concertos; Alfred Cortot’s shocking wartime record as a ruthless cultural arbiter for the Nazi regime; Burkard Schliessmann explores Schumann’s dual nature; and the unique legacy of eccentric Soviet pedagogue Heinrich Neuhaus.

Plus, Israeli pianist and painter Roman Rabinovich introduces his new album of Haydn sonatas; Poland’s new competition for Chopin on historic instruments; achieving tonal variety through judicious pedalling; Italy’s leading international exhibition for musical instruments; Leeds winner Eric Lu; practical courses for pianophiles; spiritual seeker and jazz pioneer Alice Coltrane; Jerome Rose recalls his influences as a ‘grand-pupil’ of Artur Schnabel and protégé of Rudolf Serkin; guitar masterpieces for the piano; and sheet music to Amy Beach’s ‘Cradle Song of the Lonely Mother’.


Piano Street Gold members have instant online access to the digital version of the magazine.
For print subscription, visit rhinegold.co.uk


/nilsjohan

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