I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Mikhaïl Rudy Plays Tchaikovsky

Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto #1, Op. 23
Serge Prokofieff: Cinderella, Op. 87 (fragments)

Mikhaïl Rudy, piano
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France/Alexander Vedernikov
Paris, Salle Pleyel, January 6, 2012

Led by the Russian guest conductor Alexander Vedernikov, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France inaugurated the year with an attractive all-Russian program, pairing Piotr Tchaikovsky’s 1st Piano concerto, featuring Mikhaïl Rudy as soloist, with a suite from Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet Cinderella. Founded in 1937 and directed since 2000 by Myung-Whun Chung, the orchestra has acquired a reputation as one of the finest European formations. If this concert was in any way representative for the standard of the orchestra, then this is indeed an ensemble that demands our attention.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Buniatishvili in Paris

Franz Liszt: Piano Sonata in B minor, Mephisto Waltz #1
Frédéric Chopin: Scherzi #1, 2 & 3
Igor Stravinsky: Three Movements from Petrushka

Khatia Buniatishvili, piano
Paris, Cité de la Musique, 5 January 2012

While most pianists would conclude their recital with the Sonata from Franz Liszt, Khatia Buniatishvili, at the Cité de la Musique in Paris, choose to open with it. She is a fearless performer. Focused and intense – this mysterious sotto voce opening seems even more daunting when it has to form the first sound to resonate in the hall – she is sure to grab your attention from the very first bars and never really let go. You may first notice the speed, the vehemence, the electrifying energy, the occasional risk-taking, too, but pretty soon she also wins you over with her thorough control of sound and color (in spite of a none too flattering instrument provided by the Cité de la Musique), her unerring ability to really nail the key notes during the hardest passages, her dramatic presentation and the utterly romantic sweep that kicks Liszt back to life. In any case, Khatia Buniatishvili doesn’t take any prisoners, but I guess most in the audience would have been willing to give their lives. She possesses the freedom to shape this music at will, yet the good news is she has a clear idea of how to use that freedom and while she may occasionally throw in a few flashes to reinforce the message, musicality prevails over empty rhetoric and circus display.
Read the full review on Classical Net