I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Lunch with Khatia Buniatishvili

Frédéric Chopin: Piano Sonata #2 in B Flat minor, Op. 35
Scherzo #2 in B Flat minor, Op. 31
Scherzo #3 in C Sharp minor, Op. 39
Maurice Ravel: La Valse

Khatia Buniatishvili, piano
London, Wigmore Hall, 11 February 2013

The weekly BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime concerts at London’s Wigmore Hall feature much-loved international artists and young, up-and-coming performers from the BBC New Generations scheme. The many portraits decorating the Green Room at Wigmore remind us that practically all the great soloists in the business have performed here at some point in their career. Yet lunch with Khatia Buniatishvili is not an easy thing. The program proposed by the Georgian pianist on February 11 for a sold-out Wigmore was anything but a rush lunch at your nearest fast-food joint. For its mere 60 minutes it was quite a copious meal, food for thought as it were, taking a while to digest but eventually paying off. In fact, with playing this focused, relentlessly intense and passionate, insightful and quite stunningly virtuosic to boast, it was sheer delight.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Rachmaninoff by Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (part 2)

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Dances from “Aleko”, Symphony #2, Op. 27
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko
EMI 915473-2 73:05 DDD

Vasily Petrenko

Rachmaninoff Symphony #2 by Vasily Petrenko

For the second installment of their Rachmaninoff symphonies cycle for EMI, Vasily Petrenko and his Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra cover the most popular and significant of the corpus, the Second Symphony in E minor. If anything, this release is a ready reminder of how difficult this work is by its length, complex thematic material and emotional content. Yet today’s major labels confidently invest in less than foremost ensembles to fulfill the task. And why wouldn’t they? The hype is doing the rest. Reviewers already promoted the Liverpool forces to convincing interpreters of the Russian Romantic repertory. Sure they are. Bizarre then that by comparison the Rachmaninoff from old-school Russian maestros sounds like coming from a different solar system. With Petrenko/Liverpool there is very little of the dramatic grip and even less of the soulful lyricism and sometimes savage epic imagery that a Evgeny Svetlanov or a Kirill Kondrashin conjured with Rachmaninoff’s symphonic work.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Tchaikovsky in Korea

Piotr Tchaikovsky: Symphony #6 “Pathétique”, Op. 74
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Vocalise, Op. 34 #14

Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra/Myung-Whun Chung
Deutsche Grammophon 476490-2 DDD

Chung

Tchaikovsky by the Seoul Philharmonic

The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1948 and has always played a key role in the development of the classical music scene in South Korea. The appointment of the respected Myung-Whun Chung as music director and principal conductor in 2005 heralded an artistic renaissance for the orchestra. And now that the famous German yellow label has, by way of maestro Chung, taken the Seoul Philharmonic under its wings, the ensemble also seems destined for brilliant horizons outside of the Korean border.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Little known opera’s by Rimsky-Korsakoff

The Tsar’s Bride
Galina Vishnevskaya
Vladimir Atlantov
Irina Arkhipova
Evgeny Nesterenko
Choir & Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre/Fuat Mansurov
Melodiya MELCD1001876 2CDs ADD

Mlada
Sinfonietta on Russian Themes in A minor *

Alexey Korolev
Tatiana Turaginova
Vladimir Makhov
Alexey Bolshakov
Great Choir of the All-Union Radio
Male Group of the Choir of the Bolshoi Theatre
Great Symphony Orchestra/Evgeny Svetlanov
* State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the USSR/Evgeny Svetlanov
Melodiya MELCD1001829 3CDs ADD

The Tsar's Bride

The Tsar’s Bride

Further exploration of the Russian Melodiya vaults gave us this reissue of two historical recordings of fascinating but little-known opera’s from Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakoff. The Tsar’s Bride dating from 1899 may be Rimsky-Korsakoff’s most popular opera in Russia, abroad it remains still very much a gem to discover. Even rarer is Mlada, a mythological opera-ballet extravaganza with a Wagnerian, Ring-influenced orchestration, premiered in St. Petersburg in 1892, wherein, curiously, the title role is taken by a dancer rather than a singer.
Read the full review on Classical Net