Monday, January 16, 2017
The Russian-Israeli US-based virtuoso, in a candid video interview with Zsolt Bognar, confesses to constant attacks of nerves, accompanied by the need for approbation by other pianists. ‘I get very nervous… before a concert it’s a struggle to go on stage…. you have many fears,’ he confesses. ‘But then (you find that) everybody is in the same boat.’ ‘I always wanted to have advice from others. I played a lot for Barenboim. I played for Radu Lupu, Murray Perahia… I always have the necessity to learn more.’ ‘It’s a fascinating life, but achievement is not something I am proud of.’ Watch. photo: Todd Rosenberg from Philip Roth’s novel The Human Stain, pp. 209-210: Then Bronfman appears. Bronfman the brontosaur! Mr. Fortissimo! Enter Bronfman to play Prokofiev at such a pace and with such bravado as to knock my morbidity clear out of the ring. He is conspicuously massive through the upper torso, a force of nature camouflaged in a sweatshirt, somebody who has strolled into the music shed out of a circus where he is the strongman and who takes on the piano as a ridiculous challenge to the gargantuan strength he revels in. Yefim Bronfman looks less like the person who is going to play the piano than like the guy who should be moving it. I had never before seen anybody go at a piano like this sturdy little barrel of an unshaven Russian Jew. When he’s finished, I thought, They’ll have to throw the thing out. He crushes it. He doesn’t let that piano conceal a thing. Whatever’s in there is going to come out, and come out with its hands in the air. And when it does, everything there out in the open, the last of the last pulsation, he himself gets up and goes, leaving behind him our redemption. With a jaunty wave, he is suddenly gone, and though he takes all his fire off with him like no less a force than Prometheus, our own lives now seem inextinguishable. Nobody is dying, NOBODY — not if Bronfman has anything to say about it!
We report with regret the death of Vico Chamla, a photographer who chronicled classical music in Milan for three decades, especially early music. He was a close friend of many artists, among them Gustav Leonhardt. Ton Koopman, Philippe Herreweghe, Radu Lupu, Yuri Bashmet, Jordi Savall and Andras Schiff. Of French and Greek origin, he would invest huge amounts of time in capturing the moment. He once spent two days with Riccardo Muti and came away without a single exposure. He was about 66 years old.
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.