I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Pictures from Alice Sara Ott

Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
Franz Schubert: Piano Sonata in D Major, D. 850 (Op. 53)

Alice Sara Ott, piano
Deutsche Grammophon 4790088 DDD

Alice Sara Ott

Pictures from Alice Sara Ott

For Alice Sara Ott playing Mussorgsky’s Pictures of an Exhibition is like visiting an old friend. In the liner notes of her new CD called “Pictures”, she recalls how she was able to familiarize herself with the work during her student years at the Salzburg Mozarteum. I have heard her perform the Pictures on a couple of occasions in concert and there is no doubt she inhabits Mussorgsky’s various tableaux with confidence as well as insight. The current CD was recorded live during the White Night’s Festival in St. Petersburg in July 2012, where the sense of occasion was undoubtedly enhanced by the challenge to perform this quintessential Russian work before a Russian audience.
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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Wang and Abbado team up for Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff:
Concerto for Piano #2, Op. 18
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43

Yuja Wang, piano
Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Claudio Abbado
Deutsche Grammophon 4779308 DDD 56:11

Yuja Wang

Yuja Wang plays Rachmaninoff

On paper this looked pretty much like the ideal match: a young and gifted pianist taken under the wings of a revered old maestro to perform two of the most popular Rachmaninoff pieces in the repertory. 23-year-old Beijing-born and Curtis Institute graduate Yuja Wang already recorded two solo albums for Deutsche Grammophon, both marking her admirable technique as well as hinting at a certain promise of musical insight. To team Wang for her first concert album with veteran Claudio Abbado undoubtedly makes a most alluring lineup. And in case some of us were at a loss about the origins of this music, the budding star poses sweetly in a phony Siberian outfit – surely, this has to be a smash?
Read the full review on Classical Net