Showing posts from October, 2022

Hina Maeda from China studying in Tokyo has won the 16th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poznań, Western Poland.

Hina Maeda (PAP) I am in Darmstadt in Germany so I was unable to attend the finals of the Wieniawski Violin Competition. I was overwhelmed by the playing of the Brahms Violin Concerto by the winner Hina Maeda watched online. The young Johannes Brahms (seated) and Joseph Joachim Joseph Joachim (1831-1907) was an Austro-Hungarian child prodigy who became one of the great violinists of the 19th century. He played Beethoven's Violin Concerto at the age of 12 under the baton of Felix Mendelssohn. Brahms was only 14 when he first heard Joachim perform the then neglected concerto in 1848. Brahms remarked to Joachim: 'I reckoned the concerto to be your own… I was certainly your most enraptured listener.' They became friends some years a later, sharing a love of past masterpieces and the priority of music having a deeper meaning beyond virtuosity and cheap thrills. Brahms did not write his own violin concerto until 1878 during the summer while staying at picturesque Pörtschach am Wö

Aurelia Visovan plays Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Czerny and Liszt on various correct and evocative period keyboard instruments

“I began to discover pianos from many different eras and regions, and the idea of making a recording which shows a glimpse to their diversity was just the ultimate decision”  Aurelia Visovan. Photo by Wojciech Grzedzinski I first heard this remarkably individual and deeply musical Romanian pianist at the  1st International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments in Warsaw 2–14 September 2018. Of her playing of Chopin on that occasion I wrote as notes: Her wide and extensive experience playing the harpsichord and fortepiano was clear from the outset. Visovan understands the sound and colour palette of the  Pleyel instrument intimately [...] The transparency and colour she extracted from this instrument put me in mind of gazing in wonder at the radiant stained glass windows of Chartres Cathedral [...] The undamped overtones provided a magical sound landscape. Not for the first time I was reminded of Dinu Lipatti.  I suppose all Romanian pianists adore his Chopin. In the B-flat minor Ma

Dido and Aeneas - Premiere at the Warsaw Chamber Opera, Warsaw, Poland - 7 October 2022

The Death of Dido c.1775-81   SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS (1723-92) Italian opera tended to dominate the English stage when Henry Purcell (1659-1695), wrote the opera Dido & Aeneas (1688)   with a libretto astonishingly  in English by the Irish poet Nahum Tate who had often written for Purcell. The score was collected in the famed  Orpheus Britannicus and is   arguably the first English opera.   The plot is certainly  tragic but this does not exclude the presence of  lighter elements, possibly with ironical meaning.  The story is based on Book IV of Virgil's Aeneid . It tells, with various imaginative metaphysical interpolations, of the passionate  love of Dido, Queen of Carthage for the Trojan warrior and heroic figure Aeneas and depicts her formidable despair and death when he abandons her for a 'higher purpose' ordered by the Gods. When one is confronted in modern times with a great work of operatic art some 350 years old, it is irresistibly  tempting to stage it in a readi


  XII DARMSTADT INTERNATIONAL CHOPIN PIANO COMPETITION 21.10.2022 – 31.10.2022 I  drove to Darmstadt from Warsaw via beautiful  Potsdam to cover this important competition in detail as the official reviewer in the English language Please use this link to 'The Reviewer's Notepad'  (my daily evaluation of the competition and candidates) Reviews of the previous competition in October 2015 Official link to the competition / The Competition was in 3 rounds.  Works exclusively by Fryderyk Chopin: Works for piano solo Works for piano and orchestra (Concertos in E minor op. 11 and F minor op. 21, Krakowiak in F major op. 14, Fantasy on Polish Airs in A maj