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Krystian Zimerman

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Well-Tempered Ear

August 12

Classical music: Why do we love Chopin? Ask pianist Jeremy Denk

The Well-Tempered EarBy Jacob Stockinger I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t like playing or hearing the music of Chopin (below). Can you? But just why the 19th-century Romantic composer has such universal appeal is hard to explain. One of the best explanations The Ear has read came recently from pianist Jeremy Denk , whose essay on “Chopin as a cat” appeared in The New York Times . Denk, who has performed two outstanding solo recitals in Madison, is clearly an important musical thinker as well as a great performer. You can also see that at once if you read his excellent blog “Think Denk.” The Ear suspects the current essay grew out of some remarks that Denk gave during a lecture on Chopin’s pedaling at the UW-Madison , and will be incorporated into the book he is working on that includes his previous acclaimed essays in The New Yorker magazine . Denk (below), who has lately been performing an intriguing survey concert that covers 600 years of music, thinks that Chopin’s uniqueness resides in how he consolidated and fused both conservative values and radical, even modern, innovations. To the Ear, it is the best modern analysis of Chopin that he has read since the major treatment that the acclaimed pianist-musicologist Charles Rosen wrote about the Polish “poet of the piano” in his terrific book “The Romantic Generation .” Moreover, the online web version of Denk’s essay is much more substantial and satisfying than the newspaper print edition. It has not only audio-visual performances of important Chopin works by major artists such as Arthur Rubinstein and Krystian Zimerman, it also suggests, analyzes and praises some “old-fashioned” historical recordings of Chopin by Ignaz Friedman , Alfred Cortot and Josef Hoffmann . Now if only Jeremy Denk would record an album of Chopin himself! Here is a link to the Chopin essay: Enjoy! Please listen to the wonderful clips that Denk suggests. Then tell us what pieces are your favorite Chopin works, big or small, and what performers are your favorite Chopin interpreters. The Ear wants to hear. Tagged: Alfred Cortot , analysis , Arthur Rubinstein , Arts , Bach , Ballade , barcarolle , Baroque , Beethoven , big , blog , cat , Chamber music , Charles Rosen , Chopin , Classical music , Compact Disc , composer , conservative , consolidate , essay , explanation , feline , Franz Schubert , fuse , harmony , hear , historic , Ignaz Friedman , important , innovation , interpreter , Jacob Stockinger , Jeremy Denk , Johannes Brahms , Josef Hofmann , Krystian Zimerman , lecture , Love , magazine , major , Martha Argerich , melody , modern , Music , musicologist , New York Times , Newspaper , online , pedal , pedaling , Piano , play , poet , Polish , Prelude , print , radical , read , record , recording , Romantic , small , SoundCloud , survey , The New York Times , The New Yorker , think , Think Denk , United States , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , values , web , Wisconsin , Wisconsin Union Theater , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , YouTube

Meeting in Music

February 3


Krystian Zimerman, piano; Boston Symphony Orchestra; Seiji Ozawa Classical | 2 CDs | EAC Rip | 434 MB (3% recovery) | FLAC+LOG+Cue | Complete scans DGG 0289 477 9697 8 2 Tracklist: CD 1: Piano Concerto No.1 in E flat, S.124 Piano Concerto No.2 in A, S.125 Totentanz, S. 525 CD 2: Piano Sonata in B minor, S.178 Nuages gris, S.199 La Notte, S.602 La Lugubre Gondola, S.200 no.2 Funérailles This is playing in the grand manner... Ozawa and the orchestra are behind the soloist in all this and the deciso element is fully realized. But don't let me imply a lack of finesse; not only do lyrical sections sing with subtlety, the big passages also are shapely... In the gorgeously grisly Totentanz, both music and playing should make your hair stand on end. C.H.; Gramophone It is to be expected that an artist who has made one of the outstanding recordings of the Liszt concertos (DG, 11/88) should also give us one of the finest ever B minor Sonatas. Whether you think it is the finest ever may depend on your priorities (and on whether you think it is sensible to venture such opinions). What can surely be said is that Zimerman brings to bear a combination of ardour, forcefulness, drive and sheer technical grasp which are tremendously exciting and for which I can think of no direct rival. D.J.F. Gramophone (Solo works)

Tribuna musical

December 1

Chopiniana presented promising Argentine and admirable Polish pianists

Chopiniana ended its season at the Palacio Paz with the impromptu presentation of the twenty-year-old Gastón Frydman (due to the illness of veteran Spanish pianist Guillermo González) and the Argentine debut of Szymon Nehring, a true revelation in an all-Chopin programme. Although the cancellation of González was a pity for he has a vast trajectory and would have premièred several recently discovered sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, it was worthwhile to meet Frydman´s art at a tender age, for he should have a good career. At such short notice, the decisive factor was that he had a varied programme ready for any occasion that might appear. He is a product of the serious training provided by the Beethoven Conservatory and the Colón Institute of Art, among others. He has had some European experience and currently has formed a duo with the accomplished violinist Rafael Gíntoli. His programme was eclectic and difficult. The Busoni arrangements of Bach aren´t trendy nowadays, but they are good of its kind, such as the one on the chorale prelude "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" ("I call to you, Lord jesus Christ"); Frydman showed continuity and fine timbre in his interpretation. Beethoven followed, with the wonderful Sonata Nº5, Op.10 Nº1, in C minor, the first one that leads to his maturity. Frydman had some memory errors but understood the forward-looking elements of the style. He was completely in charge of Ginastera´s First Sonata, with its strong Bartókian influence; I only question that the "Presto misterioso" wasn´t, well, mysterious enough. He proved comfortable in Liszt´s arduous music: expressive in the Petrarch Sonnet Nº 47 (not the most popular, but very beautiful), and up to the hurdles of the heavy "Vision", Transcendental Etude Nº 6. In the contrasting world of Debussy, he chose the last of each Book of Preludes: the humoristic "Minstrels" and the virtuosic "Fireworks", both well-managed. Finally, Chopin´s Scherzo Nº1, with its violent contrast between the opening lightning-fast music and the meditative central section well realized by the pianist, notwithstanding small smudges. His encores were interesting: a charming Barcarolle by Anton Liadov (hardly ever played, his abundant piano music should be explored), and one of the splendid arrangements by Earl Wild (the great American pianist who fascinated our city decades ago) of Gershwin songs: "Embraceable you", done with much charm by our young pianist. Wild called them "virtuoso etudes", and so they are. Nehring studied in Cracovia and Bydgoszcz, and won a Krystian Zimerman scholarship; also, he has gone through a gamut of competitions, with ever higher prizes. Although he keeps perfecting his studies, I find him not only fully formed, but in his twenties he must be one of the best Chopin interpreters in the world. As time went by, it became quite clear that he has an exquisite sense of style and powerful, practically flawless technical command. I have some complaints but they aren´t about the music or the playing: almost half-an-hour delay, apparently because the Polish Ambassador and other people hadn´t arrived yet; a change of order in a programme that already was felt as short measure.; and the repetition of two scores that were already heard in the subscription series: the Fantasia and the first Ballad. But what was included satisfied even the severest judges. I will comment the pieces in the order that they were really played (it was announced by Martha Noguera, the organizer of Chopiniana). The lovely Four Mazurkas Op.33 (curiously played in different order: 1,3,2,4, with the fourth having an internal cut because it´s long) were done with the particular empathy that only Poles can have with this rhythm. Followed the meditative Nocturne Op.37 Nº2, and the inimitable tracery of the Barcarolle, executed with astonishing observance of the tiniest detail. The Second Part started with the complex Fantasia Op.49, in which the disparate elements were cunningly integrated by the pianist. Then, the Nocturne Op.32 Nº2, one of the less dreamy and more fluent. A scintillating traversal of the Waltz Op.34 Nº 1, specifically named "Brilliant". And the challenge of the First Ballad, one of the most important scores in Chopin´s life, an enormously varied "narration" that taxes even the greatest pianists, heard in an astonishingly mature reading. The encore was a magisterial rendering of Etude op.25 Nº 11, great waves of sound perfectly controlled. For Buenos Aires Herald

ArtsJournal: music

June 21

Vice President, Artistic Programming and Executive Producer, Caramoor

ABOUT CARAMOOR Our mission is to enrich the lives of audiences through innovative and diverse musical performances of the highest quality, mentor young professional musicians, and engage children through interactive, educational experiences that deepen their relationship to and understanding of music. These three prongs – music performance, musician mentoring, and music education – infuse everything we do. Located on a 90-acre campus in Katonah, New York, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit arts center that has been in continuous operation since 1946. It presents approximately 70 live music performances throughout the year in a wide range of genres, culminating in a major summer festival starting in June through early August. Performances take place on four stages (indoors and outdoors) and throughout the gardens. Caramoor also trains the next generation of classical musicians and provides music-based arts education to local schoolchildren. Through its public programs and community events, Caramoor annually serves 50,000 people. Caramoor was the inspiring summer home of arts patrons Lucie and Walter Rosen who opened their estate in 1946 to welcome artists and audiences to be inspired by music in the context of their beautiful gardens, historic buildings, and art. They engaged Julius Rudel to mount operas, including a Benjamin Britten premiere. Subsequently, Caramoor has featured the leading artists of the 20th and 21st Century including Andre Previn, Beverly Sills, Alicia de Larrocha , Yo-Yo Ma, Kristian Zimerman, Itzhak Perlman, Roger Norrington, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Sonny Rollins, Joshua Bell, Chick Corea, Emmy Lou Harris, Audra McDonald, Emanuel Ax, Wynton Marsalis, and Alisa Weilerstein. POSITION OVERVIEW: VICE PRESIDENT, ARTISTIC PROGRAMMING AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Overview The VAPP is responsible for helping to develop, refine, and implement Caramoor’s artistic mission into a unified vision: performances, mentoring programs, education programs, lectures, and special programming projects. The VPP ensures that all programming meets Caramoor’s values of artistry, discovery, collaboration, friendliness, and integrity, as well as leverages the unique setting Caramoor offers. Reporting Relationships The VAPP reports directly to the CEO and is a key member of Caramoor’s Senior Staff team. The VAPP manages all key artistic relationships including the current directors for Opera, Roots, Rising Stars, Family programs; the VPP also manages existing collaborations with Jazz at Lincoln Center, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Katonah Museum of Arts. In addition, the VPP manages the Education Coordinator and Rosen House Manager and works with them to develop and implement programs that support Caramoor’s mission. Supporting the VPP are two full-time staff members (Manager of Artistic Planning & Opera Administrator and Artistic Coordinator), as well as a contract Executive Producer for the Jazz collaboration, along with Caramoor’s Technical Director and his team. Primary Responsibilities Programming Responsible for working with the CEO and artistic team in leading the development of all of Caramoor’s 70+ programs each year – Symphonic: work directly with the leadership of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and other ensembles in planning the orchestra series – Opera: work directly with the Opera Director to plan future titles and establish the scope of the program – Chamber: program the chamber music series throughout the year – Rising Stars: work with the Artistic Directors to program these various chamber music performances as well as to take the lead in selecting the Ernst Steifel Quartet-In-Residence each year – Jazz: work with the programming team at Jazz at Lincoln Center to develop each year’s festival and jazz series – American Roots: work with the Artistic Director to develop each year’s festival and Roots series – American Songbook: Program an appropriate artist each year and work with our cabaret advisor in programming the annual Cabaret Night – Family Programs: Work with our Artistic Director to select and develop appropriate programs to engage young children Ensure all programs are consistent with Caramoor’s values of artistry, discovery, collaboration, friendliness, and integrity Oversee Caramoor’s Education Coordinator and the Education Program to ensure quality, innovation, and integration with other elements of Caramoor and its mission Oversee Caramoor’s Rosen House Manager and the Rosen House public programs to ensure quality, innovation, and integration with other elements of Caramoor and its mission Assist other departments in their programming needs for private events Innovate additional programming ideas by staying in touch with other area arts institutions and their programs. Artist Relationship Management Manage and develop long-term relationships with our Artistic Directors, collaborators, alumni artists, and key artists Work with Caramoor’s staff to ensure that all visiting artists are well cared for during their experience Collaborate with Marketing and Development to facilitate communications with artists in order to engage our audiences and donors Foster good relationships with other related organizations and opinion leaders Maintain relationships with artists and attend area concerts Producing the Experience Experiences at Caramoor center on music, but are closely intertwined with all other facets of Caramoor including the gardens, food, social activities, lectures, the Rosen House. The goals is to ensure the integrity of the music experience but also seek opportunities to integrate the music experience into other non-performance elements of Caramoor Manage Caramoor’s Technical Director to ensure that each performance is properly produced in an effective and efficient manner and work with other departments to ensure non-artistic elements are appropriately integrated Oversee the recording of any of Caramoor’s performances when applicable and work closely with marketing on its production and distribution Communication Ensure that all program information is communicated effectively and timely to Caramoor staff, artists, and trustees Work closely with the artists and staff to ensure that all messaging appropriately expresses Caramoor’s artistic vision Serve as an external spokesperson about Caramoor’s programming to audiences, press, staff/volunteers, and with donors as needed Administration Work closely with the CEO, CFO, and artistic team on the programing budgets to ensure accurate and appropriate expenditures Maintain program development plans for three years out Attend and participate in volunteer leadership meetings as needed, including Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, and Advisory Council Oversee the management of Caramoor’s artistic archives CANDIDATE QUALIFICATIONS: Professional Deep musical background acquired through study or performance Master curator with eclectic taste in music combined with experience curating programs in a wide range of musical genres including chamber music, opera, symphonic, jazz, American folk and the American Songbook Knowledge of, or relationships with, musical artists, their repertoire and accomplishments Proven experience negotiating with artists’ agents Strategic, curious thinker who is inquisitive about new trends and anxious to keep up with the NY performing arts scene Understanding of production requirements and technical necessities Demonstrated effectiveness in budgeting Personal Poised, articulate and persuasive public speaker Ability to lead and inspire a talented in-house staff and outside collaborators Creative and collaborative nature with demonstrated history of inclusion of ideas from colleagues, subordinates and supporters and the ability to synthesize components into interesting projects and programs Self-starter who handles responsibilities and competing demands with tact, compassion and creativity Collaborator and excellent listener Exemplary communications skills Proven ability to work in a highly collaborative environment, be detail oriented and meet deadlines in a timely manner. For additional programming information please view the website at Compensation: Competitive with excellent benefits package. For consideration: Applicants and sources should call or send credentials immediately to: Our client is an equal opportunity employer.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer

April 15

Playing Against Type

Gravity defying dancer Haley Day channels baritone David Kravitz’s animated delivery ( Josh Kastrof photo) Imagine a Vitaphone all-singing, all-dancing program of satirical sermons given in a neo-Gothic church to 500 enthusiasts on a happening Saturday night. A staged contest between pagan gods, scored by one of Western music’s most devout Lutherans precedes a 1930s screed against capitalist values that takes an early Christian concept of sin as its chief metaphor. Is this a fever dream or a stroke of theatrical genius? Perhaps a little of both. The word “eclectic” doesn’t seem broad enough to encompass Emmanuel Music’s programming choices in its latest outing, “Bach Reinvented: Weill and Bach,” given on April 9th in at Emmanuel Church in Boston. The double-bill of J.S. Bach’s The Contest Between Phoebus and Pan, BWV 201 and Kurt Weill’s “ballet-chanté” The Seven Deadly Sins revealed a less-known sides of both composer’s personalities—“Papa” Bach as the arch, self-aware humorist engaged in cultural politics, with Weill as the would-be moralist. The addition of Urbanity Dance company, choreographed by company Director Betsi Graves, added a dimension of visual interest, resulting in a sometimes-thrilling, sometimes baffling evening of bold gestures and thought-provoking juxtapositions and sex reversals. Baritone David Kravitz stood-out comically as Pan, giving a cartoonishly gleeful rendering of the mischievous god’s ode to dancing and jumping, before stalwart Frank Kelly brightly and hilariously advocated much of a case for Pan’s beast pleasing strains. Baritone Dana Whiteside’s somewhat covered Phoebus might not have won the contest had I been the judge, though his character more pleased the gallery gods. The chorus and orchestra opened with great delight in the Magnificat-like “Retreat ye Whirling Winds.” If the overall effect was nothing like Zimerman’s coffee house where the work premiered in 1729, Emmanuel Music’s warm and modern approach to Bach as ever, placed its audience in a comfortable embrace which might have been equally gemütlich. In Seven Deadly Sins, mezzo-soprano Lynn Torgove made a striking figure as Anna I, clad, like her dancer counterpart and alter ego Anna II (Meghan Anderson), in a fire-engine red dress with a plunging neckline. Her dark vocals and animated facial expressions suggested a kinship with Brecht’s righteously indignant worldview, although we might have gotten more from her performance had she been able to project with brighter tone. Perhaps in an attempt to convey the portentous resonance of Weill’s music, she seemed to swallow her diction with the result that the sound got caught in the throat, making it all-but-impossible to understand anything her character was saying—whether in German or English. She was not alone in her unintelligibility, however—a combination of the orchestra’s place in the resonant nave of the cavernous Emmanuel Church and the sheer size of the ensemble seemed to win the battle against all the vocalists’ enunciations. It was only when the barbershop quartet (sung in watertight harmony by tenor Matthew Anderson, Kelley, Kravitz and Whiteside) moved to the balcony nearest my seat in the pews that I was able to consistently understand the text. This was a particular shame owing to the lack of supertitles. (In a recent interview with BMInt, Graves and Turner remarked that didn’t provide supertitles because the recitatives and spoken text would be in English, and the movement would explain the story. While this may have been true of the Bach, it was less applicable to Weill. It is difficult to choreograph the subtleties of irony, and the loss of Brecht’s text was deeply felt.) Urbanity Dancers on two of their several stages. (Dayla Arabella Santurri photo) The orchestra, conducted with finesse by Emmanuel Music Artistic Director Ryan Turner responded to the wildly divergent demands of Bach and Weill with ease. While their graceful, restrained interpretation did not lack variety and color, it was in the Weill that they seemed to enjoy themselves the most, though I would debate whether they developed the grittiness that more idiomatic readings convey. Only in the ghoulishly lighted male quartet with guitar accompaniment did the feeling of cabaret come across. Listen to Pabst’s 1931 movie version of the Three Penny Opera for an appreciation of a more decadent approach. Despite the logistical challenges inherent to creating an immersive, 360-degree theatrical experience in a space filled with raised platforms and perpendicular pews, Emmanuel Church provided an evocative, at times thrillingly transgressive space in which to stage these none-too-holy works. Chris Fournier’s lighting showcased and heightened the drama inherent to the church’s high-ecclesiastic structure. Though economical, it featured a few witty touches, such as shining a blue spotlight on the bas-relief of the Last Supper during the “Gluttony” movement in Seven Deadly Sins. Red lights shining on the church’s chandelier’s cast eerie shadows across the church’s stone walls suggesting the fire and brimstone surrounding such sanctified spaces. Kate Stringer (MM in musicology from BU) is Research and Public Information Administrator at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University. In addition to her scholarly activities, she is a veteran actress, writer and director as well as a versatile mezzo-soprano. The post Playing Against Type appeared first on The Boston Musical Intelligencer .

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