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Showing posts from November, 2010

Edward Cahill (1885-1975) - the brilliant but forgotten Australian pianist - plays Chopin

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A few of Edward Cahill's ('Uncle Eddie') private recordings of Chopin made in 1935 miraculously survived his glamorous career of travel and royal engagements. They also somehow survived a disastrous fire at his home in 1932.

I have recently had them all sensitively re-mastered by Selene records in Poland who specialise in this type of thing for all the great Polish Chopin pianists of the past - Michalowski, Koczalski, Turczynski, Zurawlew.....
You will realise on hearing these remarkable interpretations that Cahill lies on the cusp of the the great nineteenth century Chopin pianistic 'individualistic' tradition of de Pachmann, Friedman, Lehvinne, Godowsky and Rosenthal and the advent of the more 'modern' less overtly 'personality' based approach of say ArturRubinstein. 
Please consult the numerous posts on Edward Cahill on this blog to fill in the gaps if you are interested further in this astonishing story and have not already done so.
Free do…

VIII International Paderewski Piano Competition Bydgoszcz, Poland

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It is the 150th anniversay of the birth of Ignacy Paderewski - a very remarkable man indeed. The historian Adam Zamoyski wrote an excellent biography of the man entitled  Paderewski (London 1982) as well as his most recent brilliant biography of Chopin: Chopin: Prince of the Romantics (London 2010)


Not as much as I expected seems to be happening in Poland concerning this 150th anniversary which surprises me. All I can do at present is to refer you to the official competition website and radio link as there is little publicity concerning the event in Poland.

Perhaps people are suffering a musical hangover after the marathon International Chopin Competition. This is a rather different type of event with chamber music sections and a variety of piano concertos the competitors can choose from - pianists are able to display a more rounded talent than the narrow focus on a sole composer Chopin.
This is an interesting Polish Radio 2 (Dwojka) link of  interviews with the jury and prizewi…

The Fragility of Fame - Edward Cahill and the sculptor Felix de Weldon (Felix Weiss)

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For many years I have had a bust of the pianist Edward Cahill in my study (my current biographical project - see multiple postings).
The bust is in plaster painted to appear like bronze. It has suffered many vicissitudes over the last 75 years. The fragile bust had an interesting history as it survived the bombing of Central London during World War II in a hatbox under the bed of 'a certain  lady'. Her house was severely damaged, almost completely destroyed, but the head survived. Eddie always referred to it as 'The Royal Head'. It is rather a beautiful and artistic production but the name of the sculptor inscribed on the base - Felix Weiss 1936 (1907-2003) - meant little to me.


As a result of my ongoing researches I discovered that his full name was Felix Weiss de Weldon and was considered in his day to be  'the Michelangelo of American sculpture'. Quite an appellation. On a journey to Rome he was inspired by this immortal sculptor. Despite this fame…

Polish Independence Day, Paderewski's 150th Anniversary and Kevin Kenner

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A wonderful concert tonight in Bialystok. Kevin Kenner at his very best.


The Orchestra of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic


Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski – conductor


Kevin Kenner – piano (Great Britain)


Programme:


I.J. Paderewski – „Polish Fantasy on Original Themes”  for piano and orchestra, Op. 19


* * *


I.J. Paderewski – Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 17




November 11 is a day of profound symbolic significance in Poland rather than the actual date when independence was formally declared - modern Polish history evolves over time rather than happens in discrete events - if you see what I mean. Six 'minor' wars were fought concurrently following that day but this is not the place nor am I the person to examine this - consult your Norman Davies or Adam Zamoyski.
Many people consider the emergence of the present independent sovereign state of Poland within the EU community as a type of 'miracle'. I am among them. Certainly if one is familiar with the fraught history of the country …