I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman

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The Rite of Spring 100 Years Young

Maurice Ravel: La Valse
Claude Debussy: La Mer
Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Brussels, Centre for Fine Arts, 15 May 2013

There is no way to escape it: on May 29 it will be exactly a hundred years ago that Igor Stravinsky’s seminal Rite of Spring was premiered in Paris, as part of the famous Ballets Russes seasons masterminded by Serge Diaghilev. While the fascination of dance-makers with the work has never diminished since its notorious creation at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées – very few scores have been so frequently choreographed throughout the years or triggered man’s boundless imagination – the centenary promises plenty of concerts and music-related events commemorating the Rite. For that matter, one of the most original renditions were to be found at London’s Royal Festival Hall where the complete Rite could be heard whistled in the lavatories – courtesy of Joao Penalva.
Read the full review on Classical Net

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Yundi is Back

Ludwig van Beethoven:
Piano Sonata #8 in C minor “Pathétique”, Op. 13
Piano Sonata #14 in C Sharp minor “Moonlight”, Op. 27 #2
Piano Sonata #23 in F minor “Appassionata”, Op. 57

Yundi Li, piano
Deutsche Grammophon 4765049 DDD 57m

cover of Yundi's Beethoven CD

Yundi – Beethoven

“YUNDI is back”. Some rock stars every now and then accomplish a comeback. So can classical pianists it seems. For the 30-year-old Chinese superstar Yundi Li the comeback might refer to a couple of things. First of all, a return to his first label, but also, one hopes, a return to his initial form and inspiration. This new Beethoven disc aims at both. Deutsche Grammophon was the label that originally signed him after his grand victory at the XIVth Chopin International Piano Competition in 2000 as a mere 18-year-old. Yet the road to massive international success, the rivalry with his flamboyant compatriot Lang Lang, also brought its setbacks and disappointments. From 2010 Yundi Li spent a couple of years with EMI Classics. He would henceforth go by the name of Yundi, yet the scheduled complete Chopin recordings never really took flight and he eventually retreated to China. But now he is back touring again, back with the yellow label and there is no way to miss it. DG publicity and the liner notes of the new CD spell his first name only in capital fonts, and of course YUNDI dwarfs little Beethoven on the cover of the disc.
Read the full review on Classical Net