I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Abbado turns to Schumann

Robert Schumann: Symphony #2 in C Major, Op. 61; Overture “Manfred”, Op. 115; Overture “Genoveva”, Op. 81
Orchestra Mozart/Claudio Abbado
Deutsche Grammophon 4791061 DDD 59m

Schumann

Claudio Abbado plays Schumann

In the autumn of his career Claudio Abbado turns to Robert Schumann’s Second Symphony. Interestingly, this is a first for the 80-year old Italian maestro in spite of his profuse recorded legacy. Although he focused on Schumann repeatedly (the Piano and Cello Concerto, as well as lesser-known pages like the Scenes from Goethe’s Faust and the complete incidental music to Manfred), until now he never committed any of the Symphonies to disc.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Abdel Rahman El Bacha Saves the Day

Francis Poulenc: Orchestral Suite “Les Biches”
Maurice Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major
Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Op. 71, Act II

Abdel Rahman El Bacha, piano
Belgian National Orchestra/Andrew Litton
Brussels, Centre for Fine Arts, 2 October 2013

With ballet music – Poulenc’s Les Biches and Act 2 from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker – framing the Piano concerto from Ravel, the Belgian National Orchestra under American guest conductor Andrew Litton promised an evening full of elegance, color and sophistication. Soloist for the Ravel was the Franco-Lebanese pianist Abdel Rahman El Bacha, laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in this very same place in 1978, then a mere 19-year old. The present concert was in aid of CAP 48, a fundraising initiative of the Belgian TV network working hard for the integration of disabled people – though sad to see in this respect that the concert hall was only two thirds filled this evening.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Heavenly Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven: Overture “Leonore” #2; Piano Concerto #2 in B Flat Major, Op. 19; Symphony #4 in B Flat Major, Op. 60
Maria João Pires, piano
Orchestra Mozart/Bernard Haitink
Brussels, Center for Fine Arts, 29 September 2013

Cancellations can go in every direction. An opportunity to see the legendary couple Claudio Abbado-Martha Argerich once more at work was abruptly shattered when the 80-year old Italian maestro had to annul his European tour with his Orchestra Mozart on doctor’s orders. It had been almost fifteen years since Abbado was last in Brussels, expectations were understandably high, but the “big comeback” was clearly not to be this time. And with Abbado out, so was Argerich, and the scheduled Haydn-Mozart program.
Read the full review on Classical Net