Archive | July, 2014


Alina Ibragimova and pianist Steven Osborne Play Prokofiev Violin Sonatas Nos.1 & 2

Posted on 31 July 2014 by admin

Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas Nos.1 & 2, Five Melodies

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The new recording of Prokofiev’s violin sonatas by violinist Alina Ibragimova and pianist Steven Osborne has been named Recording of the Month in the August issue of Gramophone. Reviewing the album, Geoffrey Norris wrote, ‘it is the personality and voice of Prokofiev that shine through in Ibragimova and Osborne’s playing, with the traits that lend both sonatas their individuality of expression securely enshrined, defined and projected.’
Ibragimova’s recordings have been consistently well-received since her debut release dedicated to the music of KA Hartmann in 2007. In June 2011, Duncan Druce chose Ibragimova’s recording of Bach’s Six Sonatas and Partitas. Her Beethoven violin sonatas series from Wigmore Hall Live with pianist Cédric Tiberghien is also highly recommended.

Last year, Steven Osborne won the Gramophone Instrumental Award for his recording of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. He won his first Gramophone Award in 2009 for his recording of Britten’s Piano Concerto. Several of his recordings have been named Gramophone Editor’s Choice from Rachmaninov and Debussy, to Messiaen and Alkan.

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Technology on Classical Music, Google Glass to be used in Puccini opera

Posted on 30 July 2014 by admin

An Italian opera company is experimenting with the wearable technology of Google Glass to broadcast a performance of Puccini’s Turandot live online.

Singers, orchestra members, and backstage technicians from the Cagliari Opera will perform wearing Google Glass, capturing what they see and transmitting it online. Unlike a traditional opera performance, which limits audience members to a single viewpoint during the performance, the public will be able to experience an insider’s view of the opera from multiple points of view thanks to the head-mounted HD camera.

Mauro Meli, general manager of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, explained the experience in an interview with the New York Times . “We want to communicate the art of opera hoping that it will engage and interest people who normally don’t go to see performances,” he said.
The opera runs from from July 30 – August 16 2014. The interactive performance will be streamed on the Cagliari Opera website and on their social media pages.

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Ingolf Wunder’s Tchaikovsky & Chopin on Deutsche Grammophon

Posted on 29 July 2014 by admin

Tchaikovsky & Chopin

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Virtuoso dash and daredevil virtuosity come leaping out of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 as soon as this performance at Russia’s most famous music festival gets under way. The young soloist is Ingolf Wunder, winner of the second prize at the Chopin International Piano Competition 2010 and lucky enough to have been snapped up by Deutsche Grammophon afterwards. The conductor is the veteran maestro and pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy, whose feel for tempo is unerring, giving the Tchaikovsky’s great opening melody plenty of swing and swagger.

He and Wunder admittedly do not seem to be in perfect agreement at all times, but that slight sense of edgy tension is part of the fun of live recordings; and the freshness of Wunder’s playing is well-nigh irresistible. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, he seems to say, zipping through Tchaikovsky’s pyrotechnics as if this is the easiest thing in the world.

The Chopin concerto, though, is a fine counterbalance – especially the slow movement, a perfect nocturnal song without words from the youthful Polish composer, who adored bel canto opera. Wunder’s legato tone and gorgeous feel for phrasing make the piano’s melodic line sound, quite simply, like a singer. This quality is Chopin’s ultimate challenge, far beyond all that fingerwork, and he meets it marvellously. The orchestra’s style is rather full-on in this concerto, which could use subtler playing; Russian-sounding Chopin is a tad paradoxical. But the thrill of the live concert, and those special moments of magic, make this a must-hear disc.

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The famous Verdi Tenor Carlo Bergonzi dies aged 90

Posted on 28 July 2014 by admin

The Verdi Tenor [17 CD]

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Bergonzi, born in Vidalenzo, near Parma in 1924, was initially held up in his progress towards becoming the stellar Italian tenor of his generation.

First of all, he spent three years in a Nazi concentration camp during the second world war. Then, in 1948, Bergonzi made his operatic debut – but as a baritone. He soon realised his voice was more suited to the tenor range and in his mid-20s he retrained. By 1953 he had caused a stir at Milan’s La Scala and world fame followed.

Bergonzi was best known for his performances in Verdi operas. Favourite roles included Manrico in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca, and Canio in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. A poor-ish actor, he was nonetheless an intelligent musician and supported his essentially lyrical voice with legendary breath control.

Bergonzi was aware of his own limitations, telling the New York Times in 1981: “I know I don’t look like Rudolph Valentino. I know what a proper physique should be for the parts I sing, but I have tried to learn to act through the voice. The proper, pure expression of the line is the most important thing.”

But it is the large catalogue of recordings from his earlier days for which Bergonzi will deservedly be remembered. Bergonzi was always interested in unusual repertoire: his first radio recital, in 1951, concentrated on rare Verdi arias. In 1976, he made a recording of every major Verdi aria.

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