I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman

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Southern Fire Against Nordic Cool

Benjamin Britten: Simple Symphony
Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
Jean Sibelius: Symphony #1 in E minor, Op. 39

Khatia Buniatishvili, piano
Munich Philharmonic Orchestra/Paavo Järvi
Munich, Philharmonie im Gasteig, 28 April 2012

The German city of Munich boasts no less than three symphony orchestras of international stature. Next to the Bavarian State Orchestra (the former Bavarian Court Orchestra, now the opera ensemble) and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, it is however the Munich Philharmonic which is considered the true city orchestra. Founded in 1893, in recent times the Munich Philharmonic became mainly associated with Sergiu Celibidache, who was its influential general Music Director from 1979 until his death in 1996, and whose memory remains to this day very much alive – the legendary Romanian maestro even has a (smallish) square named after him next to the concert hall. As of 2012/13 Lorin Maazel will act as the orchestra’s Music Director.
Read the full review on Classical Net

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From Obscurity to Light

Robert Schumann: Symphony #3 “Rhenish”
Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 18
Richard Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks

Alice Sara Ott, piano
Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard
Aachen, Eurogress, April 14, 2012

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1925 as the national radio orchestra in conjunction with the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. Two legendary conductors played a key role in its formative years, the German Fritz Busch and the Russian Nikolai Malko. Over the years the orchestra has been working with several of the most acclaimed chefs, as well as composers as varied as Stravinsky, Prokofieff, Hindemith, Boulez and Henze when they came to premiere their work in Denmark. The Danish maestro Thomas Dausgaard acted as its principal conductor between 2004 and 2011 and while succeeded by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos in September 2012, Dausgaard remains the orchestra’s honorary conductor. Touring from Copenhagen to Germany, they brought to Aachen a program with works by Robert Schumann, Edvard Grieg and Richard Strauss.
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Blechacz pairs Debussy and Szymanowski

Claude Debussy:
Pour le piano
L’Isle joyeuse
Karol Szymanowski:
Prelude & Fugue in C Sharp minor
Sonata in C minor, Op. 8

Rafał Blechacz, piano
Deutsche Grammophon 4779548 DDD

Rafal Blechacz

Blechacz pairs Debussy and Szymanowski

2005 Warsaw Competition winner Rafał Blechacz is mainly thought of as an outstanding interpreter of Chopin and the Viennese Classical School, yet anybody familiar with the concert performances of the young Polish pianist may have noticed his predilection for two other composers: Claude Debussy and Karol Szymanowski. Blechacz’ new Deutsche Grammophon CD isn’t perhaps so much of a surprise, but with playing of such constant quality, it’s no less welcome.
Read the full review on Classical Net

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Two Souls from Mikhail Simonyan

Aram Khachaturian: Concerto for Violin
Samuel Barber: Concerto for Violin, Op. 15
Adagio for Strings, Op. 11

Mikhail Simonyan, violin
London Symphony Orchestra/Kristjan Järvi
Deutsche Grammophon 4779827 DDD

Mikhail Simonyan

Barber and Khatchaturian paired

Odd couplings of repertoire are not uncommon, especially with violinists (think of Hilary Hahn), and to our great pleasure young Mikhail Simonyan, too, newly signed by Deutsche Grammophon, comes out with the unusual pairing of Aram Khachaturian and Samuel Barber. “Two Souls”, as his debut concerto recording is dubbed, refers to Simonyan’s Armenian and American sides. Born in Novosibirsk in 1985 to mixed Armenian and Russian parentage, he spent his teens in the U.S. Playing the violin since he was five, he was already a multiple competition and prize winner before completing his studies at the Philadelphia Curtis Institute with Victor Danchenko, himself a pupil of none less than David Oistrakh’s. The choice of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto was in this respect not just an homage to his Armenian roots but also to the great Oistrakh who premiered the work. Interestingly, although worlds apart in style and spirit, both concertos are practically contemporary – 1939-1940.
Read the full review on Classical Net