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Grigory Sokolov live in Warsaw 27 October 1992 - A glorious memory revived by Polskie Radio Dwojka

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Grigory Sokolov This afternoon I was busy writing as usual researching the life of my  great-uncle the brilliant pianist Edward Cahill. I was exploring his friendship in Switzerland after WWII with the great German conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler. They met whilst having cell regeneration therapy in October 1945 at Dr. Niehans'  Clinque La Prairie at Clarens on the shores of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva). I was reading a written apologia given personally to Cahill wherein Furtwängler justifies and explains his notorious decision to remain in Germany conducting concerts under the Nazis. I was listening to his  April 1953 Berlin recording of Beethoven's Symphony No.7 in A major with the Vienna Philharmonic. A green glow and I noticed the radio tuner was on as I had been listening to the wonderful Radio Dwojka  earlier in the morning. I decided to switch it off by remote control   and pushed the 'Tuner' button which unexpectedly switched off the Beethoven and reconnected m

Paderewski Piano Competition, Bydgoszcz, Poland 3 - 17 November 2013

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Ignacy Jan Paderewski (18 November 1860 - 29 June 1941) If you have strayed onto this page in error details for the 2013 competition are at:  http://www.michael-moran.com/2013/10/ix-international-paderewski-piano.html Click on photographs to enlarge - a far superior image results Kazimiersz 'The Great' University Bydgoszcz, Poland  The Aula (Assembly Hall) of the Kazimiersz 'The Great' University Bydoszcz, Poland I have neglected this blog recently simply because of the pressure of finishing the biography of my great-uncle the Australian pianist Edward Cahill which is still ongoing after two and a half years of solid work. The reason it is taking so long and is such an arduous task is because it is being written entirely from primary source material - unsorted letters, clippings, photographs, private recordings, journals and  essays inherited by me in a huge cabin trunk. I have reached the year 1947. He died at Monaco in 1975 so I have yet to cov

The South Pacific comes to Warsaw

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Click on photographs to enlarge - far superior   Sailing in a Melanesian proa o n Lake Zegrzyński near Warsaw, Poland   I have often thought I could write another book simply exploring the exotic correspondence I have received over the last few years concerning my book on the island provinces of Papua New Guinea called  Beyond the Coral Sea : Travels in the Old Empires of the South-West Pacific.  I had a number of rather primitive hand-written letters from a lady who had been possessed by 'a bird of prey' - a spirit possession facilitated by a malicious relative. She would awake each morning with deep scratches all over her body, her sleep disturbed by the fluttering of wings. Did I know a 'witch doctor' in Papua New Guinea who could arrange an exorcism by email? I referred her to sorcerer I know in Port Moresby who managed to extort some money but failed miserably to exorcise the spirit of the bird  by electronic means. Correspondence cease

Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea

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 Click on photographs to enlarge - far superior Joyful children saying good-bye to me on the Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea At the opening ceremony of a General Store on the remote island of Tsoi, New Ireland, Papua New Guinea  You know there is an entire other side to my nature that never gets an airing living in Europe what with my serious writing and covering all these classical music festivals and competitions. That of the adventurer and explorer of remote destinations. How domesticated I have become! I was looking by internet chance recently at the marvellous pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visiting the Solomon Islands in Melanesia some years ago. These snaps have put me in a state of frightful and aching nostalgia for my own youth spent wandering the islands of the South Pacific. I wrote a literary travel book about the island provinces of Papua New Guinea which was well received everywhere - even by the Prince of Wales who wrote to me.

2012 Leeds International Piano Competition

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Leeds Town Hall where the Finals take place tonight (14 September) and tomorrow night (15th September) I have not had the time to follow this competition in detail unfortunately except on the internet which is not ideal but I have certainly watched the results with the greatest interest. Australians should take note that the fine Australian pianist Jayson Gillham reached the Finals and is playing this evening. He was also highly regarded in the 2010 Chopin International Competition in Warsaw.  He really is achieving extraordinary things. Competition Website: http://www.leedspiano.com/competition/Competition.aspx?MID=292 Friday 14th September Louis Schwizgebel, Beethoven: Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 Jiayan Sun, Prokofiev: Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16 INTERVAL Jayson Gillham, Beethoven: Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 Saturday 15th September Andrejs Osokins, Prokofiev: Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26 Federico Colli, Beethoven: Concerto N

Daniil Trifonov with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra CD

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SACD  MAR0530   www.mariinskylabel.com It was one of those wonderful Warsaw September evenings. May, September and if we are fortunate a golden October are really the most beautiful months in Poland - balmy still and sun-kissed, autumn just brushing the trees with gold, the softest of air as the day draws to a close. Zosia had prepared  a kurki (chanterelle) dish with potatoes, onion and boczek (bacon). We sat on the terrace overlooking the lake and watched the gliders drifting in the blue above Bemowo among high feathery clouds sipping an excellent claret as dusk settled over the land. At the conclusion of the meal and the mint chocolate ice-cream, I had a black Sumatran coffee, a balloon of armagnac and a  Cuban cigar. It was only then, properly prepared and after I had lit the storm lantern, that I put on the recording above. I am speechless with admiration. I will only say this about Trifonov - buy this recording as soon as you are able. Anyone who reads my blog

8th Chopin and his Europe Festival 2012 (Chopin i jego Europa Festiwal 2012) From Bach to Debussy and Kilar

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An exquisite set of miniature enamelled furniture in the museum of the magnificent Bishop's Castle, Lidzbark Warminski, Poland Click on photographs to enlarge Some opening remarks Owing to family committments in Mazury I was unable to attend the first two concerts of the Festival. Perhaps the recent 'evenements'   and upheaval at the Chopin Institute also led to the relative brevity of this particular festival and the difficulty in obtaining tickets (most concerts sold out ages ago). I am afraid my coverage of the festival will be rather fitful and inadequate - however I have managed to obtain a few tickets for outstanding concerts and will cover them in the usual manner. I am so pleased the great entrepreneur Mr. Stanislaw Leszczynski is back as Artistic Director of the Festival. Thank heavens for the radio station Dwojka (Polish Radio 2) that maintains the highest standards in academically informed commentary, uncompromising discrimination and heart-felt