Showing posts from June 30, 2019

Dimitry Shishkin during the 2015 International Fryderyk Chopin Competition, Warsaw

Dimitry Shishkin  2015 International Fryderyk Chopin Competition, Warsaw I found re-reading my competition review notes of Dimitry Shishkin, winner of the 6th prize during the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Competition in 2015, rather interesting. It is always instructive to look back at the written record of his performance, particularly in light of his recent magnificent 2nd prize in the 16th International Pyotr Tchaikovsky Competition 2019.  In such an ephemeral art as musical performance, it is always constructive to glance back at past performance impressions when present victories emerge. Possibly the unique value of my modest efforts is at least the preservation of an historical record.  Reflections on Stage II       9-12 October 2015 Dimitry Shishkin (Russia) Next to Eric Lu and Kate Liu by far the most astonishing pianist so far in this competition . He is genuinely in the Richter, Gilels mould of fertile imagination, unique reading of the scor

The Last Day of the Round Reading Room at the British Museum - A Memory from 1997

Another wave of nostalgia breaks over me as I pick up a forgotten book that influenced my past thinking in many ways, Colin Wilson's remarkable and increasingly relevant 'The Outsider' , written in the Round Reading Room of the British Museum. Too poor to rent a room, he slept at night in a sleeping bag on Hampstead Heath in London. He spent his days reading and writing in that intellectual domain, searching for the nature of a more permanent heightened reality above the banality of everyday life.  N ostalgia has been sweeping over me recently fro past excitements, well submerging me really, as I contemplate republishing a few of my books in foreign language editions.     I have such fond memories of the old Round Reading Room at the British Museum which have come flooding back. Two of my books on travelling in the seductive South Pacific, the island provinces of Papua New Guinea ( Beyond the Coral Sea : Travels in the Old Kingdoms of the South-West Pacific)  and an hi

Andreas Staier (as J.S.Bach) and Ton Koopman (as Louis Marchand) 16th June 2019 Leipzig

Stadtbad, Leipzig Bach and Dresden Bach versus Marchand L. Marchand: Prélude – Gigue – Chaconne J. S. Bach: Fantasie a-Moll, BWV 922 J. S. Bach: Fuga, aus: Konzert C-Dur, BWV 1061a   Movements from the Suit in G minor by L. Marchand   Suite in G Major, BWV 816, J. S. Bach   Andreas Staier (harpsichord − J. S. Bach), Ton Koopman (harpsichord − L. Marchand), PD Dr. Michael Maul (presentation) This was a highly entertaining late night concert idea with two of the finest harpsichordists playing in the world today 'fighting it out note for note, phrase for phrase'. Although this Bach - Marchand confrontation at the Dresden court never actually took place (Marchand fled in fear under cover of darkness back to Paris) the idea of a keyboard duel has had a long and distinguished history. 16th century St Mark’s in Venice witnessed the ‘Duel of Two Organs’  between Andrea Gabrieli and Claudio Merulo in an improvisation comp

Sir András Schiff piano recital of the complete Bach Partitas, Leipzig 19th June 2019 17.00

Haus Leipzig Bach and Köthen Bach Dances J. S. Bach: Partita G-Dur, BWV 829 J. S. Bach: Partita a-Moll, BWV 827 J. S. Bach: Partita B-Dur, BWV 825 J. S. Bach: Partita c-Moll, BWV 826 J. S. Bach: Partita D-Dur, BWV 828 J. S. Bach: Partita e-Moll, BWV 830 Sir András Schiff (piano) This was one of the highlights of the festival for me. First of all a few words about the gestation of the incomparable Bach Partitas. Clearly, Bach had been influenced by French music in his composition of the French and English Suites (all begin with a  prelude ) and  all of which conventionally contain an allemande, courante and sarabande . However, in the orchestral suites there are various combinations of familiar movements but a smattering of unique inventions such as the  forlane, badinerie  and  rejouissance. In the partitas , published as the Clavierübung  Op.1, the introductory pieces are all different and possibly experimental - prelude, sinfonia, fantasia, over