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Showing posts from December, 2018

Evgeni Bozhanov and the NOSPR (Narodowa Orkiestra Symfoniczna Polskiego Radia - Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra) - Katowice - 14th December 2018

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Attending a concert in the famed relatively new NOSPR concert hall in Katowice (one of the finest in Europe) is always something exceptional to anticipate. The acoustic is perfectly tuned and sonically impressive. This evening was unique also in another way in containing compositions from Sweden and Latvia as well as Germany, the NOSPR directed by the Swedish conductor Ola Rudnor. Much of his career has been spent conducting in Australia  which was of personal interest to ma as an Australian. The most exciting aspect of the evening was that I was about to hear the brilliant Bulgarian pianist Evgeni Bozhanov once again as the soloist in the Concerto No 3 in C minor by Beethoven.
The first item was the Overture to the opera Estrella de Soria by a Swedish composer rather unfamiliar to me except by name, Franz Berwald (1796-1868). He composed this tragic opera (one of four in his oeuvre) in 1838. There was a private performance of it after completion in 1841 but it was not until 1862 it wa…

Grigory Sokolov - Warsaw - 2 December 2018

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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

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NASZ CHOPIN / OUR CHOPIN
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…