Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Russian winners of the Queen Elisabeth competition play Grieg on Spotify

…is a less fabricated topic for a playlist than you might think at first. Actually, when browsing Spotify for past winners of this prestigious piano and violin competition in Brussels, many fine interpretations of music by Edvard Grieg could be found. Dennis Kozukhin’s (winner, 2010) CD with piano concertos by Tchaikovsky and Grieg was universally praised for the Grieg concerto. It even made it to editor’s choice in the Gramophone magazine. Boris Giltburg (winner, 2013) excels in the often overlooked piano sonata in e minor op 7 by the same composer. Violinist Vadim Repin (winner, 1989) concludes this playlist with a glowing and warm performance of Grieg’s 2nd violin sonata in G major, showing Russian passion in this Nordic composer…

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907):

-Piano concerto op 16 in a minor 
Dennis Kozukhin, piano
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
Vassily Sinaisky, conductor

-Piano sonata op 7 in e minor
Boris Giltburg, piano

-Edvard Grieg: Violin sonata no 2 op 13 in G major
Vadim Repin, violin
Nikolai Lugansky, piano

(Link for if you want to use the Spotify web player)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Scandal at the Queen Elisabeth competition Vladimir Sverdlov on Spotify

Queen Elisabethcompetition 1999 and a young brat called Vladimir Sverdlov played the Schubert of his lifetime. Awesome, inspiring, poetic. Everybody was convinced he would win or, at least, be in the top three of the competition. When his *sixth* place was announced (see the video here) he was so upset that the handshakes and flowers were tossed away…

Sverdlov, nephew of pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy, by the way, sort of apologized and went on with his career. The very individualistic approach continued as well, working very well in Chopin’s mazurkas and nocturnes, rather less in the sonata, but what stays is the inheritance of the magnificent Schubert sonata D784 Sverdlov played in 1999, luckily preserved on Spotify!

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
-Piano sonata in a minor D784
(live, Brussels, 1999)

Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)
-Mazurkas op 68 no 2 and op 33 no 4
-Nocturnes op 27 no 2 and op 48 no 1
-Preludes op 28 no 15 to 24
-Ballade no 1 op 23
-Sonata no 2 op 35
-Prelude op posthume

Vladimir Sverdlov, piano

(HTTP link, if you want to play the list on the Spotify Webplayer)

One angry young man...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Easy Sunday Sextettes on Spotify

Your Sunday snooze button on Spotify…

Instruction manual:
Get up, put activate list, go back to bed and enjoy a

Dreamy Boccherini
Playful Mendelssohn
Catchy Janacek and turn up the volume for a really
Awesome Korngold Sextet!!

Luigi Boccherini  (1743-1805)
Sextet No.4 for 2 violins, 2 violas & 2 cellos in F major Op 23 No 4 (1776) 'Opera Grande’
Europa Galante
Fabio Biondi

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Sextet for violin, two violas, cello, double bass and piano in D Major op 110 (1824)
Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society

Leoš Janáček (1854-1928)
Mlàdì (Youth) for flute, oboe, 2 clarinets, horn and bassoon (1924)
Prague wind quintet

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957)
Sextet for 2 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos in D Major op 10 (1914-16)
Flesch Quartet with Ian Humphries, viola and David Bucknell, cello

(HTTP link)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Queen Elisabeth competition Elisabethwedstrijd 75 years on Spotify

And yes, sooner than I expected the circus of the Queen Elisabeth competition ( #kew2016 on Twitter) has started again! For me, in 1983, it was the first time I ever came across classical music. If you think the Eurovision song contest is alienating, try the full week of piano madness when you are in your early teens ;-) 

Especially the winner of that year, Pierre-Alain Volondat, with his robot-slow-bows is for ever imprinted in my memory… 
The nice thing about the 75 years of QEC CD box is that not only the winners are on it, but also some fine 2nd or 4th place performances, just like on the CD box with the violin performances.

Hope you will enjoy the list, also notable for the inclusion of conductor Belgian conductor Franz André, who’s LP’s are often well sought after collectors item. 
All recordings are live recordings from the competition!

-Pjotr Iljitsj Tsjaikovski
Piano concerto no 1 in Bb major
Valery Afanassiev, Russia, 1st prize 1972
Orchestre National de Belgique
Rene Defossez, conductor

-Franz Liszt
Piano concerto no 1 in Eb major
Vladimir Ashkenazy, Russia, 1st prize 1956
Orchestre National de Belgique
Franz Andrér, conductor

-Franz Liszt
Piano concerto no 2 in A major
Pierre-Alain Volondat, France, 1st prize 1983
Orchestre National de Belgique
Georges-Elie Octors, conductor

-Sergei Rachmaninov
Piano concerto no 2 in c minor op 18
Wolfgang Manz, Germany, 2nd prize 1983
Orchestre National de Belgique
Georges-Elie Octors, conductor

-Sergei Rachmaninov
Piano concerto no 3 in d minor op 30
Andrei Nikolsky, Russia, 1st prize 1987
Orchestre National de Belgique
Georges-Elie Octors, conductor

-Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano concerto no 4 in G major op 58
Frank Braley, France, 1st prize 1991
Orchestre National de Belgique
Ronald Zollman, conductor

-Johannes Brahms
Piano concerto no 1 in d minor op 15
Leon Fleisher, USA, 1st prize 1952
Orchestre National de Belgique
Franz André, conductor

-Johannes Brahms
Piano concerto no 2 in Bb major op 83
Denis Kozhukhin, Russia, 1st prize 2010
de Filhamonie
Edo de Waart, conductor

-Sergei Prokofiev
Piano concerto no 2 in g minor op 16
Anna Vinnitskaya, Russia, 1st prize 2007
Orchestre National de Belgique
Georges-Elie Octors, conductor

-Sergei Prokofiev
Piano concerto no 1 in Db major op 10
Malcolm Frager, USA, 1st prize 1960
Orchestre National de Belgique
Franz André, conductor

-Frédéric Chopin
Piano concerto no 1 in e minor op 11
Jeffrey Swann, USA, 2nd prize 1972
Orchestre National de Belgique
Rene Defossez, conductor

-Frédéric Chopin
Piano concerto no 2 in f minor op 21
Cécile Ousset, France, 4th prize 1956
Orchestre National de Belgique
Franz André, conductor

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Discover weekly Classical Music and Jazz on Spotify

If you use Spotify, you probably will see endorsements for “Discover Weekly”, a list of suggestions based on your personal listening behavior. But, as you can read in the comments here, it works quite wel if you’re a hip hop, house or indie fan, but the suggestions almost never include Classical Music or Jazz! Even if you play them those tracks than popmusic. So, as an antidote, here are a couple of Classical and Jazz tracks:

April 12th this year violinist Alan Loveday died, 88 years old. For me, his 1970, playful (recorded under the influence of alcohol!) version of Vivaldi’s 4 seasons with Neville Marriner as conductor is still the best version around. In 1967, Leonard Bernstein recorded George Gershwin’s cross-over with Jazz Rhapsody in Blue with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra which make a nice bridge to John Coltrane’s finest album Giant Steps from 1959. Last on the list is the Polish Jazz violinist Zbigniew Seifert. searching for Jazz violinists a couple of months ago I stumbled on this name and his 1976 album Man of light has been on my playlist many times since. Zappaesque Jazz with some of the finest musicians of that period. Sad to find out Seifert died very young in 1979
Wonderful though to have his legacy on Spotify. 

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Four Seasons Quattro Stagioni
Violin concerto’s op 8 1 to 4
-Spring in E major
-Summer in g minor
-Autumn in F Major
-Winter in f minor
Alan Loveday, violin
Academy Of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Neville Marriner, conductor

George Gershwin (1898-1937)
-Rhapsody in Blue
Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein, piano and conductor

John Coltrane (1926-1967) - Giant Steps
-Giant Steps
-Cousin Mary
-Syeeda’s Song Flute
-Mr. P. C.
Saxophone - John Coltrane
Bass - Paul Chambers
Drums - Art Taylor, Jimmy Cobb
Piano - Tommy Flanagan, Wynton Kelly

Zbigniew Seifert (1946-1979) - Man of Light
-City Of Spring
-Man Of The Light
-Turbulent Plover
-Love In The Garden
Violin - Zbigniew Seifert 
Bass - Cecil McBee
Drums - Billy Hart
Jasper van 't Hoff - Electric Piano, Organ
Piano - Joachim Kühn

(HTTP link)

(Martine Mussies)