Bösendorfer’s Schönbrunn pianos sell out at NAMM
6 February 2015
The Schönbrunn is the second in the limited edition Marquetry Series and follows on from Bösendorfer’s popular Hummingbird design. The sell-out success will no doubt boost the boutique piano manufacturer’s confidence, as the industry continues to suffer from wider economic challenges.
‘We saw how well the Hummingbird sold and were keen to continue the series,’ said Bösendorfer’s managing director Brian Kemble. ‘Schönbrunn epitomises what we do well – a beautiful looking, hand-built instrument with our inspiring sound and 186-year heritage.’
The orders for the instrument came from the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan and China.
The Schönbrunn is a tribute to the magnificent gardens and murals of Vienna’s famed baroque Schönbrunn Palace. Schönbrunn played host to many leading figures from the arts, including the six-year old Mozart, who performed there in 1762.
Lang Lang premieres a new perfume
26 January 2015
He’s collaborated with some of the world’s leading brands including MontBlanc, Adidas, and Bombardier, and now Lang Lang has launched a new perfume, in tandem with Barbara Le Portz, founder of Fragrance Inspirations (Art in a bottle).
The new fragrance entitled ‘Amazing Lang Lang’ was ‘premiered’ at a VIP event at Berlin’s Galeries Lafayette. The scent – available in ‘his’ and ‘hers’ – was inspired by ‘a range of emotions selected by Lang Lang’. The range was developed by perfumer Nathalie Lorson.
‘Amazing Lang Lang for Her’ is said to feature kumquat, grapefruit, red pepper, jasmine, gardenia, tuberose, patchouli, musk and kyara wood; while ‘Amazing Lang Lang for Him’ includes bergamot, lavender, black pepper, jasmine, geranium, rock rose, cedarwood, vetiver and kyara wood.
Guests were treated to cocktails inspired by the new fragrances and goodie bags that contained samples of the new perfume, plus a copy of ‘The Mozart Album’ (Sony). Galeries Lafayette will donate €5 per bottle sold in the first few weeks to the Lang Lang International Music Foundation.
Federico Colli selected to step in for Yevgeny Sudbin
15 January 2015
The up-and-coming Italian pianist Federico Colli will perform with the BBC Symphony Orchestra tomorrow, in place of Yevgeny Sudbin. Sudbin was due to play Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 3 at the Barbican, but has had to pull out due to illness.
The programme remains unchanged and Rachmaninov’s totemic work will be paired with Nielsen’s Third, 'Sinfonia espansiva ', FS60, Op 27. The Dryad, by Sibelius, opens the event.
Federico Colli is IP’s One to Watch in the current edition. (January/February 15, issue 29, available here.)
Beyond the grave: Rachmaninov ‘gives recital’ in Italy
14 January 2015
Notes from the afterlife: Sergei Rachmaninov© Tully Potter Collection
Rachmaninov has given a ‘live’ recital at Italy’s Teatro Mediterraneo – curiously overcoming his death in 1943.
The event, dubbed a ‘Ghost Concert’ by organisers, was the brainchild of Italian pianist Roberto Prosseda, in collaboration with Julius Tuomisto, CEO of the Finnish software company Delicode. Tuomisto and Prosseda converted piano rolls of works recorded by Rachmaninov into MIDI format. The files were then played by a Yamaha Disklavier Piano at the opening of Piano City Napoli, a festival that presented 200 piano recitals – performed by living pianists – in Napoli during 5-7 December.
An animated 3D image of Rachmaninov’s ghost playing the piano was also projected on to the stage. During the recital, Prosseda ‘interviewed’ Rachmaninonv – thanks to computer trickery by Italian computer graphic artist Adriano Mestichella.
‘The project was conceived to bring classical music to people beyond the traditional audience,’ explained Prosseda. ‘Only two or three per cent of the population normally attends piano recitals, and our goal is to reach the other 98 percent, using an innovative and attractive format, but still focusing on great music.’
Yamaha’s Disklavier technology is opening doors for pianists who are willing to experiment with new formats. In 2013 Jim Aitchison’s Portraits for a Study was performed on four pianos, in four different venues – by one pianist.
Notes from Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf)
7 January 2015
Nicolas Hodges performed as part of the Trio Accanto, to great acclaim© Marco Borggreve
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf)
Huddersfield, Various Venues
21-30 November 2014
The big pianistic event at this year’s hcmf was the performance of James Dillon’s Piano Concerto ‘Andromeda’ from 2006, by Noriko Kawai with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Steven Schick. Dillon has a dramatic style that invokes the elemental, and he’s never shied away from big themes – here he’s inspired by the Andromeda galaxy, the most distant object in space visible to the naked eye, named after the nymph chained to a rock as a sacrifice to Poseidon, and rescued by Perseus. His brilliant colour-sense allied to formidable musical intelligence, it’s rightly been commented that he now creates music less dauntingly dense that in his earlier career. It’s not unprecedented for an avantgardist to re-explore classical tradition in their later career, and in this engrossing work the echoes of concerto form, with its solo and concertante roles, is apparent, with Kawai informing them with fire and warmth.
Singaporean pianist Mei Yi Foo’s excellent contemporary recital was notable for Richard Baker’s organically unified Breaking The Ground (2003). Written for any keyboard instrument, Jukka Tiensuu’s Fantango (1984) was richly entertaining, but Kurtág’s modern classic Játékok (Games) was the most substantial offering. Dai Fujikura’s Piano Etudes, in contrast, was underwhelming. But the pianistic highlight, for me, was the Trio Accanto concert, featuring Nicolas Hodges (piano), Marcus Weiss (saxophones) and Christian Dierstein (percussion). Andreas Dohmen’s recent work Versi Rapportati featured incendiary effects; Jo Kondo’s A Shrub (2000) was almost anti-expressive. Toshio Hosokawa’s Vertical Time Study II and Hans Thomalla’s Lied completed a programme notable for some spectacular interpretations.