Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Grand-scale Faurée, the intimacy of the Kurtágs, du Pré’s Elgar and Radu Lupu’s Schubert - the cellist on his musical passionsHow do you mostly listen to music?I find myself listening to recorded music most often through the tiny speakers of my clapped-out computer. The quality of recorded sound doesn’t really bother me that much; actually, I think that for many musicians, hifi is not that important – we can eke out the sounds in our heads. Continue reading...
The Romania-born pianist was named Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the honours list of the UK, where he lives. There are OBEs for the pianist Malcolm Martineau and conductor Steuart Bedford, as well as David Joseph, chair and chief executive of Universal Music. Others honoured include Catherine Arlidge, a violinist in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra who devotes her free time to engaging children in classical music. Catherine created The Stringcredibles , a string quartet formed of fellow-CBSO musicians which runs creative workshops, performances and other events for young people. She receives the MBE, as do Michael McCarthy and Michael Rafferty, founders and joint Artistic Directors of contemporary opera company Music Theatre Wales. Also in the MBE list are the violinist Alina Ibragimova and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic supporter Milena Lady Grenfell-Baines
Kirill Gerstein: “Lupu’s playing, especially when experienced live, resists my professional habit of analyzing the elements of interpretation and performance – exactly how he achieves the results that he does. … The instrument, the craftsmanship, even the compositions themselves recede into the background, and there remains a lone figure communicating not just music, but something deeply humane. As Lupu plays, the experience of the composers, earlier encoded into sounds and preserved on paper, seems to be revived from the deep freeze of notation.”
The Romanian pianist, who turned 70 yesterday, has observed media silence for more than 20 years. Kirill Gerstein, in a review for New York Review of Books, argues the decision has added an extra dimension to his performances: For the past two decades, the Romanian pianist Radu Lupu has chosen not to record any music. He does not allow radio broadcasts of his playing, he does not give press interviews, and he has almost no social media presence. This had made his performances all the more prized. Lupu, who turns seventy on November 30, is far more than a great pianist; listening to him, my attention slips away from the beauty and mastery of his piano playing, deeply impressive though it is, with a rich palette of sound and resonance, control over chordal voicing fueled by an exceptionally refined harmonic sense, and a muscular apparatus that accurately plots into reality his imagination of the shape and timing of musical events. Soon, I find I am taken deep below and far above the surface. Read Kirill’s full review here.
From Ligeti to Lupu and Liszt – the pianist on the music and performers that inspire himHow do you mostly listen to music? Listening to music while driving the car is an interesting test. As the brain hopefully concentrates on the road, the performance reaches me through other channels. The experience is certainly less detailed but much more emotional, and if the performance still catches me the artist managed to tell me a story. At home I usually listen via computer and high-quality loudspeakers. Lately I’ve found myself using Spotify and iTunes more and more. Continue reading...
Leon Fleisher, Katherine Jacobson (Sony)Can there be a more perfect work for four hands than Schubert’s Fantasia in F Minor? The beauty, logic and lyricism of its four interconnecting movements never fail to move and amaze, particularly when played by pianists of the stature of Leon Fleisher and his wife, Katherine Jacobson. Their reading is quite the equal of Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia’s celebrated 1985 recording and completely overshadows the other, more florid works on the disc: Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op 52A, Ravel’s La Valse and Graceful Ghost Rag by the Pulitzer prize-winning US composer William Bolcom. Continue reading...