Pianists corner

Dinu Lipatti : Prince of pianists

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Dinu Lipatti is one of the most mystical of pianists, yet over a half century after his premature death, most pianophiles know little more than the sketchy biographical information published with the frequent reissues of his critically lauded recordings. Before his death, Lipatti was already considered one of the greatest pianists and musicians to have graced the concert stage.

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Jorge Bolet Chopin-Godowsky BBC 1988

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Jorge Bolet BBC 1988

This is the most fascinating programme of Bolet as teacher and performer. Made in the BBC Studios with a small audience, the interviewer gets Bolet to talk about Godowsky then demonstrate the difference between Chopin and Godowsky’s version of the three pieces to be played

Josef Hofmann’s Golden Jubilee Concert

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Josef Hofmann’s Golden Jubilee Concert

Born in 1876 near Cracow (Poland), Josef Hofmann gave his Golden Jubilee concert on November 28, 1937 at the Metropolitn Opera House., it was recorded and on the LP Columbia Masterworks  ML 4929 we can read :

“The MET filled with an audience of 4,000 assembled to pay tribute to Josef Hofmann, who appeared on the same stage where, as a boy of 11, he made his American debut on Nov.29, 1887”

Josef Hofmann  gave his first private concert in New York on November 28, 1887 at the Wallack Theater in New York City, and it was followed by a series of concerts at the Metropolitn Opera House which impresses us with the variety of works played : he was only 11 years old.

 The program of the first Metropolitn Opera House was :

Metropolitn Opera House : November 29, 1887

Berlioz  : Overture , “Carneval Romaine”

Beethoven : Concerto in C (No1)

SAINT-SAENS : “Phaeton” Symphonic Poem

Rameau : Variations

Mendelssohn : Overture, “Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Hofmann : Berceuse

Chopin : Nocturne, Waltz

Weber-Liszt : Polacca for piano and orchestra

More on this Golden Jubilee Concert by Marc Ainley.

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Remembering Joseph Villa

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Remembering Joseph Villa

On the 25th anniversary of the death of the great American pianist Joseph Villa who was one of the greatest Liszt pianists ever.

“My own introduction to Villa – both as a pianist and as a person – had a huge impact on me at a formative time in my exploration of great piano playing.” Mark Ainley

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Tatiana Nikolayeva talks about Shostakovich

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The Russian pianist Tatiana Nikolayeva (1924-1993) was close to the great composer Dmitri Shostakovich and recorded his complete Preludes and Fugues opus 87 in homage to Johann Sebastian Bach – which was dedicated to her – four times: in 1962, 1987, 1990 and in 1992 as a filmed performance.

“Aside from the Shostakovich, though, Tatiana Nikolayeva will be remembered as a Bach player who flung stylistic considerations to the winds and played the music with an irrepressible musical intelligence and knowledge of the resources of her chosen instrument” James Methuen Campbell

Alfred Cortot and the Chopin Etudes

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Alfred Cortot was a supreme interpreter of Chopin – he studied with the composer’s pupil Émile Descombes – and fortunately he left us many recordings made over the course of several decades.

Among his most significant contributions to recorded music are his stupendous accounts of Chopin’s Etudes, his expansive, creative interpretations taking these works well beyond the realm of technical studies to reveal their rich musical content.

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Basic Principles in Piano Playing as Taught by Josef & Rosina Lhévinne. Explained by John Browning

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Outtakes from the documentary “Memories of John Browning: The Lhevinne Legacy Continues” (2006). The American pianist John Browning (1933-2003) explains and demonstrates some principles in piano playing as they were taught by Josef & Rosina Lhévinne.

At the end he plays Chopin‘s Nocturne In D flat major, Opus 27 no. 2.

Compare Chopin Nocturnes Opus 27 (1836) 2. Lento sostenuto (D-flat major)

Bernstein on Debussy

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Bernstein delineates the architecture of misdirection as expressed in Debussy‘s Afternoon of a Faun .

“The Last ditch effort to diatonically contain the ever increassing chromatic density of the last decade of the 19th Century”. Excerpt from lecture 4 “The Delights and Dangers of Ambiguity”

from the 1973 Harvard Lectures

The video is in 2 parts :