HJ Lim signs to EMI
10 October 2011
EMI Classics has announced that pianist HJ Lim has joined its roster. The South Korean’s first project under the new agreement will be a recording of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas. The sonatas, which Lim has divided into eight themes, will be released as four 2-CD sets in January, April, July and October 2012. A complete boxed set with a bonus DVD will also be available from October 2012.
Twenty-four year old HJ Lim (Hyun- Jung) first performed the complete cycle over eight days in Paris during August 2010. ‘A theoretical analysis of Beethoven’s sonatas has been done many times; my own emphasises rather the emotional, human, spiritual and psychological,’ she said. ‘This is why I view these sonatas by Beethoven as the most intense diary, in which [the] genius expresses, or even illustrates, all the facets of a life that is sometimes sublimated, and idealised, and often deeply moving by its realism.’
Chopin sculpture unveiled in Manchester, UK
1 October 2011
A bronze monument celebrating the life of Chopin has been unveiled on Deansgate, in the centre of Manchester, in the presence of the Polish ambassador Barbara Tuge-Erecinska.
Commissioned by a local committee and the Polish Consulate, and sponsored by property company Bruntwood, the statue is the culmination of local celebrations of the bicentenary of Chopin’s birth. Created by Polish sculptor Robert Sobocinski, it commemorates the one occasion when Chopin performed in Manchester. It depicts him at the piano, gazing at his muse, Baroness Aurore Lucile Dupon, with an eagle in flight and a battle scene symbolising the Polish fight for freedom. It is 4m high and 2.5m wide, set on a sandstone plinth.
Chopin performed at the Gentlemen’s Concert Hall in Manchester on 28 August 1848, having escaped the revolution in Paris, along with Berlioz, Thalberg, Kalkbrenner, Hallé, Pixis, Osborne and others. The hall held 1,200 and may have provided the largest audience he ever saw. The Musical World compared his playing unfavourably with that of Meyer, Herz, Thalberg and Sterndale Bennett. However, Chopin was unwell at the time (the Manchester Guardian noted ‘an almost painful air of feebleness in his appearance and gait’). He died the following year.
Dame Myra Hess day at London's National Gallery
14 September 2011
London’s National Gallery is to host a Dame Myra Hess event, a day of music to celebrate the inspirational Second World War pianist.
On 4 October the National Gallery will invite music lovers to attend a series of lunchtime, afternoon and evening recitals to commemorate Dame Myra Hess. The annual concert programme, started in 2006 and supported by The Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation, takes its inspiration from Hess who initiated a series of concerts in the National Gallery to boost morale during the Second World War. The pianist introduced daily concerts held in the empty Gallery between October 1939 and April 1946. By the time the final performance came to a close, 1,698 concerts had been attended by a total of 824,152 people.
This year’s programme includes performances by 30-piece
chamber choir Ionian Singers, violinist Tasmin Little and pianist Piers Lane,
and features the world premiere of Benjamin Wallfisch’s An Eternal Window. Actress Patricia Routledge (Keeping up Appearances and Hetty
Wainthropp Investigates) and Lane will give a performance that includes excepts
from letters, books and interviews collated by Dame Myra’s great-nephew,
composer Nigel Hess.
A Royal Conservatoire for Scotland
1 September 2011
The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama has become the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), a name change to mark the culmination of its expansion into new disciplines in recent years.
Since 2009, the conservatoire has been offering training in dance, screen and production arts as well as music and drama. ‘The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland was chosen as the new name because it reflects who we are and positions us as Scotland’s national conservatoire,’ said John Wallace, principal of the RCS.
The conservatoire’s keyboard department had its own name change in the run-up to the rebrand, and is now known as the keyboard and collaborative piano department to reflect the opportunities for pianists to work with artists across different disciplines. These include a Pianist for Dance postgraduate programme as well as courses in classical improvisation. The name change was implemented by Aaron Shorr, head of keyboard and collaborative piano.
The RCS also acquired a new fleet of Yamaha and Steinway pianos in 2009. ‘Many of the dance and musical theatre students also play the piano,’ said Wallace. ‘The number of pianos we have has gone through the roof.
‘Pianists commune with artists across the divide,’ he said. ‘The piano department is incredibly important in a conservatoire, and many conservatoires were set up by pianists. If you don’t have a fabulous piano department you can’t really say you are a conservatoire.
‘The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a vibrant, multidisciplinary place. The name change is also about looking forwards to try and reinvent the concept of what a conservatoire is.’
Industry experts gather for the annual National Audio Show
17 August 2011
Is it ever possible to reproduce the sound of a live performance? Most people will assume that the more links there are in the reproductive chain then the more the final product will differ from the original. In September the annual National Audio Show takes place, where experts gather to debate this, and other audio-related topics.
When we sit down and listen to our favourite recordings we want our emotions to be stimulated, but just how good can a sound system be? Have we reached the limits of high-quality reproduction, and even if we have, just how good are the acoustics of the environment that it is playing in? It’s complicated, and that’s why we still have so many companies around the world dedicated to creating their interpretation of the perfect sound.
Today, the research and ambition for the ultimate sound extends to every component in the system, from the very fuse that protects the plug which powers the system to the quality of the power supply, the apparatus that supports of the equipment, the finest details of the turntable… It’s because of this search that despite the huge growth in portable audio that static systems, together with their aesthetic, continue to play a significant and now growing contribution to the world of high-end audio.
The National Audio show is a yearly event held at the Whittlebury Hall in Northants every September. Over 65 exhibitors take part and the event attracts thousands of visitors, keen to listen in comfort to the systems unlikely to be seen on the high street.
Show opening times: 24 September, 10am-6pm | 25 September, 10am-5pm
Industry Day: 26 September, 10am- 4pm