New record label for lesser-known piano music
30 January 2012
Grand Piano, a new label dedicated to classical piano recordings, will launch this March. The group will focus on rare works and lesser-known piano cycles that might otherwise have remained unrecorded.
Early releases will include the first in a series of five discs covering the complete piano works of Saint-Saëns performed by New York-based Geoffrey Burleson, and a volume of pieces by Joachim Raff, not previously recorded, by Vietnamese pianist Tra Nguyen. Piano fans can also look forward to a series of Moisey Samuilovich Vaynberg works, set to disc by Allison Brewster Franzetti, and a CD featuring Caroline Weichert performing repertoire by Erwin Schulhoff.
Long-term plans include the release of world premiere recordings of the complete piano sonatas by Christian Gottlob Neefe – famous as Beethoven’s teacher – played by Susan Kagan; Beethoven’s complete four-handed works for one piano by duo Amy and Sara Hamann; Gerhard Frommel’s piano sonatas with soloist Tatjana Blome; 100 Etudes by Johann Baptist Cramer performed by Gianluca Luisi, and the complete piano music of Alexander Tcherepnin, recorded by Giorgio Koukl.
During 2012 Grand Piano releases will feature artwork by Gro Thorsen, a London-based graduate of Wimbledon School of Fine Art, on its CD covers (pictured). The label will be distributed worldwide by the Naxos Group.
Lang Lang to perform Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle in London
10 January 2012
Superstar pianist Lang Lang returns to the UK in March to
perform his complete Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle. It will be the first time
the 27-year-old has performed the repertoire in London, and the series will
take place over three evenings at the Royal Albert Hall.
Lang Lang will be joined by conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra. The series opens on 20 March with the Namensfeier overture, Op 115 and concertos Nos 1 and 4. It continues the following night with the Leonore overture, No 2, Op 72a and concertos Nos 2 & 3, and concludes on 23 March with the King Stephen overture, fifth concerto and fourth symphony.
Tickets cost £10-67.50 (plus booking fee) and are available via the box office on 0845 401 5005 or online here
Superstar line up for Southbank Centre’s 2011-12 International Piano Series
27 November 2011
Legendary pianists Mitsuko Uchida, Arcadi Volodos and Maurizio Pollini (pictured) will perform at London’s Southbank Centre as part of the venue’s 2011-12 International Piano series.
The series has already featured several stellar performances by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who played music by Pierre Boulez in October and Franz Liszt earlier this month. Aimard’s second Liszt recital takes place on 7 December, and was discussed in the Nov/Dec edition of International Piano magazine (IP). The Liszt Forum that took place on 15 October will be reviewed in the Jan/Feb edition of IP.
Following the success of Alice Sara Ott’s recital in November, Alexei Volodin will perform on 13 June and Yuja Wang returns on 1 May. Continuing the legacy of this spring’s Lang Lang Inspires project that saw 100 young UK pianists playing alongside Lang Lang on the Royal Festival Hall stage, Southbank Centre has invited a number of young pianists to curate their own concerts at the Purcell Room (18 February 2012) – propagating the pianist’s personal mission to broaden the reach of classical music around the world and inspire the next generation of musicians.
The Royal Festival Hall will host some of the biggest names in the piano world in 2012: Maurizio Pollini (6 March); Mitsuko Uchida (23 April), playing the last three Schubert sonatas; and a rare London recital by the Russian super-virtuoso Arcadi Volodos (22 May). Richard Goode returns to Southbank Centre following his sabbatical with his Royal Festival Hall recital debut (12 February) playing Chopin and Schumann. The Series also welcomes the return of Leif Ove Andsnes (29 March), Lars Vogt (15 May), Peter Donohoe (28 February), Jonathan Biss (17 January), François-Frédéric Guy (20 March) and Peter Jablonski (31 January).
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.