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Prokofiev’s Piano Sonatas – A Guide for the Listener and the Performer

“This new book by Boris Berman is a must read for those who care about the music of Prokofiev. It is a very in-depth guide by someone who has obviously spent many years thinking about and playing the music of this great genius. Bravo to Boris Berman!”
– Yefim Bronfman

Boris Berman, renowned concert pianist and teacher, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on Sergei Prokofiev. In this book published by Yale University Press, he draws on his intimate knowledge of Prokofiev’s work to guide music lovers and pianists through the composer’s nine piano sonatas. These cherished works, composed between 1910 and 1951, are today considered an indispensable part of the repertoire of every serious concert pianist. The book, written with a deep appreciation of Prokofiev’s style and creativity, looks at the sonatas within the context of Prokofiev’s complete oeuvre. For each sonata, Berman provides general information about the work and a discussion of the composition’s details and features, and in a section entitled “Master Class” he offers suggestions for interpretation and specific advice for performing. Berman also corrects for the first time various misprints in published scores and includes a helpful glossary of musical terms.

Boris Berman is professor of piano, Yale University School of Music, and an internationally renowned concert pianist. He has recorded Prokofiev’s complete works for piano solo on the Chandos Records label. His book Notes from the Pianist’s Bench, published by Yale University Press, was selected by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Title in 2001.

This book on amazon.com
Berman’s complete Prokofiev Sonatas on the Chandos label


Schubert Live! – Pianist Imogen Cooper Continues the Series

Pianist Imogen Cooper continues her critically acclaimed Schubert Live series with the third 2-CD release of the composer’s late piano music, recorded live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

"Schubert has become even more necessary to my well-being, and I sense strongly that he is important for an audience’s well-being too."
- pianist Imogen Cooper

The highly respected and acclaimed pianist Imogen Cooper is enjoying something of a renaissance with her ongoing series of Schubert’s solo piano works on Avie. International accolades for the recordings abound, from NPR to the BBC, Gramophone to the New York Times.
Imogen continues her exploration of the composer’s late piano music with Volume 3, recorded live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in December 2009. Schubert was the ultimate romantic and Imogen brings out the full spectrum of his complex and colourful compositions, from the gentle German Dances, D790, and pearl-like Impromptus, D899, to the turbulent A minor Sonata, D 784, and mighty B flat Sonata, D960.

NEW! Click the album cover to listen to the complete album:

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Imogen says: “I’m not afraid of being described as a Schubert specialist,” even though her active repertoire ranges from Bach to Thomas Adès. “He has taken up a lot of my waking time for more than 30 years. In fact, you could say that his songs and his piano music have sometimes been close to an obsession for me.” It is more than 20 years since Cooper made a live and recorded survey of all the piano music Schubert composed from early 1823 until his death in 1828 at the age of 31. “One of the reasons I’ve taken it all up again is that I feel it ten times more strongly than I did 20 years ago: the message has become more direct to me. Schubert has become even more necessary to my well-being, and I sense strongly that he is important for an audience’s well-being too.”

“Cooper’s sensitivity to the new light shed by remote keys is unfailing, and above all she tells the strange adventure of Schubert’s most tormented A minor Sonata with unerring judgment. For this account alone, the latest instalment is indispensable.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2010

“the poise of Cooper’s playing holds one breathless…Cooper’s sense of rightness of colour and her exquisite balancing of textures fully justify her reputation as one of the great Schubertians of our time.”
Sunday Times, 16th May 2010

Listen to samples at amazon.com


Marathon Men – Two Complete Beethoven Sonatas Projects to Achieve Completion during 2009

Daniel Barenboim is not the only one to have successfully had the complete Beethoven sonatas on his agenda lately.

A Grammy nominee for “Best Classical Album (Without Orchestra)” for the second volume of his Complete Beethoven Sontata recordings for ECM, András Schiff began in 2004, a series of performances in Europe in which he explored the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas in chronological order – a project recorded live for ECM New Series, to be released in eight volumes in 2009. Garrick Ohlsson performed the whole cycle at eight concerts at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland in 2005 and at Tanglewood in 2006. He will release the last volume in his Beethoven series during 2009 on the Bridge label. Notably, volume three was awarded a Grammy for “Best Classical Instrumental Soloist (Without Orchestra )” in 2008.

András Schiff was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1953. He began piano lessons at the age of five with Elisabeth Vadász and continued his musical studies at the Ferenc Liszt Academy with Professor Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados; he also studied with George Malcolm in London. Recitals and special projects take him to all of the international music capitals and include cycles of the major keyboard works of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin and BartĂłk. Schiff has established a prolific discography, including recordings for Teldec (1994-1997), London/Decca (1981-1994) and, since 1997, ECM New Series. Recordings for ECM include the complete solo piano music of Beethoven and Janácek, a solo disc of Schumann piano pieces and his second recording of the Bach Goldberg Variations. He has received several international recording awards, including two Grammy Awards for “Best Classical Instrumental Soloist (Without Orchestra)” for the Bach English Suites, and “Best Vocal Recording” for Schubert’s Schwanengesang with tenor Peter Schreier.

Recital reviews – Schiff
The Independent: Beethoven Sonatas / Schiff, Wigmore Hall, London
The New York Times: Beethoven Sonatas, With Fire and Finesse

Schiff´s London lectures on Beethoven’s piano sonatas in May 2006 were exceptionally well received and sold out.
You can listen to them all here:
Introduction by Guardian
Schiff’s lectures on the 32 Sonatas by Beethoven

Since his triumph at the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, American pianist Garrick Ohlsson has become established worldwide as a musician of extraordinary interpretive power and prodigious technical facility.
Although he has long been regarded as one of the world´s leading exponents of the music of Chopin, Mr. Ohlsson has an enormous repertoire that encompasses virtually the entire piano literature. A student of the late Claudio Arrau, Mr. Ohlsson is noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. Mr. Ohlsson’s concerto repertoire alone is unusually wide and eclectic, ranging from Haydn and Mozart to 20th-century masters, and to date he has at his command some 80 works for piano and orchestra.

Recital reviews – Ohlsson:
The New York Times: One Pianist, Two Sounds and a Single Composer
The Boston Globe: Marathon man

The New York Times asked Garrick Ohlsson to share his insights into Beethoven’s sonatas. In this series of features recorded in the WQXR studios, Mr. Ohlsson takes listeners on a journey through each of the sonatas, playing excerpts and talking about the music and the composer:
Garrick Ohlsson on Beethoven’s Sonatas


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