Showing posts from November, 2021

Grigory Sokolov Recital - The Chiaroscuro of Age - Warsaw, 21 November 2021

A youthful Robert Schumann and Sergei Rachmaninoff The first precocious recording of the young Grigory Sokolov Grigory Sokolov Initially I was surprisingly disappointed by this recital but in the words of the great English poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850) from his Preface to the Lyrical Ballads of 1802 :     ‘Poetry takes its origin from emotions recollected in tranquility...' During this pause for thinking, my often tumultuous emotions when listening to Sokolov matured somewhat and I wrote the following appraisal of his programme.  With any great artist of this stature, one must never succumb to superficial assessments. This predisposition is all too common in our social media dominated world of trite generalizations, infantile cartoon figures and adoration of sensation at the expense of serious analytical thought - the all too common present retreat from the intellect.  Robert Schumann (1810-1856)       Kreisleriana   Op.16 Phantasien für das Pianoforte     Äusserst b

King's Day Belgium, 15th November 2021 - A celebratory concert on 17 November 2021, Holy Trinity Church, Warsaw (Kościół Ewangelicko-Augsburski Świętej Trójcy)

The monumental dome of the Holy Trinity Church, Warsaw (Kościół Ewangelicko-Augsburski Świętej Trójcy) I have many fond memories of this now magnificently restored historic Warsaw Lutheran church and am quite taken by the connections with Chopin here as a young boy of 15. The king's banker, Piotr Tepper, made frustrating efforts to build this church but in 1777 he finally obtained the appropriate privilege from King Stanisław August Poniatowski. The king, however, reserved for himself the right of choosing the design of the building. The church was designed by Szymon Bogumił Zug and constructed from 1777–1782 with a monumental dome and lantern. On 30 December 1781 the congregation's pastor Gottlieb Ringeltaube [de] celebrated the inauguration of the church. It is a Classical rotunda based partly on the Roman Pantheon. The Lutheran church was the highest and at the same time one of the biggest buildings of 18th century Warsaw. The diameter of the dome is 33.4 meters and the

The passing of Nelson Freire, modest and refined titan of the piano, 1 November 2021, All Saints Day

The unexpected passing of Nelson Freire on November 1st, All Saints Day 2021, was deeply shocking for all who loved this immeasurably modest and refined titan of the piano.  Last night I listened to his 2017 recording of the Brahms Intermezzi which were profoundly and movingly affecting in the circumstances. This was especially true of that in A-major Op.118 No.2 Andante teneramente which had me in tears.  An intense and poignant musical farewell to life.  All I can do as a tribute is offer my reviews of his playing heard in Duszniki Zdroj and at the Warsaw Chopin i jego Europa Festival  together with the intimate companion of his soul, Martha Argerich. This filmed informal meeting between two close friends, Nelson Freire and Martha Argerich, is intensely moving in view of the terrible occurrence of his sudden death. 9th CHOPIN AND HIS EUROPE FESTIVAL ( Chopin i jego Europa ) from Chopin to Lutosławski 15th August - 1st September 2013 Nelso