Grigory Sokolov - Warsaw - 2 December 2018

As the Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov walks onto Warsaw Philharmonic stage, the suffused lighting of the chandeliers softens his approach and creates space for reflection. I recalled the first time I heard this artist in Warsaw in 1992. I have never forgotten it. The experience has remained with me undimmed ever since. In my literary travel book on Poland much was cut editorially. My account of this particularly memorable Warsaw night elicited this comment from my editor: 'Not famous enough Michael. No-one will know who he is!' Rather a different view now in December 2018 as Grigory Sokolov is widely considered to be the greatest living pianist, a living legend.
I wonder what it is that creates the undoubted magnetism of this modest figure considering his apparently diffident attitude to the audience as he bows and seats himself unceremoniously at the instrument. His supreme mastery of the piano is never in doubt, his profound musicianship acknowledged by all, professional an…

NASZ CHOPIN / Our Chopin / Notre Chopin - Polish National Ballet - 18 November 2018

Ballet evening in two parts
Celebrating 100 Years of Poland’s Regained Independence 

CHOREOGRAPHY CONCERTO IN E MINOR Liam Scarlett CHOREOGRAPHY CONCERTO IN F MINOR Krzysztof Pastor MUSIC Fryderyk Chopin ORCHESTRA Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera CONDUCTOR Grzegorz Nowak PIANO Krzysztof Jabłoński SET AND COSTUME DESIGNER Tatyana van Walsum LIGHTING DESIGNER Yaron Abulafia DRAMATURGY CONCERTO IN F MINOR Daniel Przastek
Photographs by Ewa Krasucka
The association of Chopin and dance seems almost an inevitable and aesthetically creative combination. A predominant proportion of his compositions are dance music or at the very least contain embedded Polish dances - waltzes, mazurkas, regional dances and polonaises.
I have noted two general ways that I feel pianists approach these piano pieces. One may approach them as if composed in the glow of romantic nostalgia for the missing past joys of the dance. The great Russian pianist Dimitri Alexeev brings this warm affect…

Sydney Symphony Orchestra - Warsaw - 29 November 2018

Sydney Symphony Orchestra
David Robertson conductor Renaud Capuçon -violin
The Warsaw Filharmonia was absolutely packed for this concert. Hardly a spare seat in the entire auditorium and a buzz of anticipation enlivened the atmosphere. A rare sight. With temperatures at -5C during the day accompanied by jet lag it must have required great stamina and energy to perform.
Paderewski was extremely popular in Australia on his tours in the 1920s and loved the enthusiasm of Australian audiences. This was also partly because of his friendship in Europe with the famous soprano Dame Nellie Melba. Paderewski and his wife often dined with her in Paris and Monte-Carlo.
The Brisbane Courier described a Paderewski concert at His Majesty's Theatre in April 1927
Paderewski, the world famous pianist, was accorded a royal reception on Saturday night when he gave the first of two concerts at His Majesty's Theatre. The house was filled to overflowing and additional seats were arranged in tile stage a…