Monday, October 8, 2007

Grand Piano 005 - Music for Students

Sometimes composers' easy music for students represents some of their best efforts. This program is made up of music that may be easy to play but obviously wasn't easy to write, played by first-class pianists.

JS Bach - 2 Part Inventions (3/4/5) - Glenn Gould
D. Shostakovich - 3 Fantastic Dances - Dmitri Shostakovich (1956 broadcast)
F. Mendelssohn - 6 Children's Pieces, Op. 72 - Daniel Barenboim
B. Bartok - For Children (Volume 1) - Lili Kraus
S. Prokofiev - 6 pieces from "Children's Music" - Igor Zhukov

Why would a great pianist perform music written for beginners? Because sometimes it's some of the composer's best music. In this program, five major pianists (including a major composer-pianist, Shostakovich) play music that was written for students, but despite the technical simplicity of the works their musical content is still first-rate.

Download The Grand Piano Podcast 005 - "Music for Students" here (128 kbps mp3 , 49.2 Mb, 53 min 44 sec)

Subscribeto The Grand Piano podcast here

Monday, October 1, 2007

Grand Piano 004 - Sviatoslav Richter in Recital

Richter at his greatest, including Schumann and Beethoven performances which seem to go beyond the limits of possibility. Also an example of Richter's Chopin--not the composer he was best known for, but outstanding playing.

  • Schumann: Toccata op7 (Moscow - April 1958)

  • Chopin: Andante Spianato + Grand Polonaise - Op. 22 (London 1961, Kondrashin LSO)

  • Beethoven: Piano Sonata #23 in f minor - Op. 57 "Appassionata" - (Moscow 1960)

For this program I selected three of my favorite Richter recordings that would fit into the available time. The Schumann Toccata, from a Parnassus CD, was the single performance that convinced me to start our "Richter in the 1950s" series, simply amazing playing from every aspect. The Chopin is idiomatic and lovely playing of a real showpiece; Richter didn't have a great reputation as a Chopin player but this shows he could play Chopin most convincingly. Finally, the "Appassionata" is one of the supreme moments in all of recorded pianism. Richter plays with power and concentration on the highest level, and his playing of the finale is simply the greatest I've ever heard. Sometimes this performance seems to go beyond what is humanly possible.

Download Grand Piano Podcast GP 004 here (53 minutes, 49Mb, 128k mp3)

Subscribe to the Grand Piano Podcast here