On her new album, cello superstar Sol Gabetta teams up with one of the best young artists, French pianist Bertrand Chamayou. Gabetta and Chamayou have played together on many occasions and quickly became both friends and artistic partners. They collaborated on the album concept and will tour this repertoire in Europe throughout 2015. The Chopin Album contains a selection of pieces by well-loved composer Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) as well as music by his close friend, the composer and cellist Auguste-Joseph Franchomme (1808-1884).
Frédéric Chopin's songs, in Polish, certainly stand to one side of his piano repertory. The 19 songs presented here were composed for personal use, addressed either to friends and lovers or to emigrés who, like Chopin, sympathized with Polish nationalist causes. There was no market for Polish-language songs in Paris, and these were not published until after the composer's death. Yet they are recognizably products of his muse, and their specialized quality sheds the light of insight onto the composer's piano music.
Andris Nelsons is one of the most sought-after young conductors on the international scene today and once again served notice of his extraordinary talent in Summer 2011 when he conducted two concerts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam at the prestigious Lucerne Festival. This concert, available on DVD and Blu-ray features, amongst a programme of Rimsky-Korsakov, Beethoven and Dvořák, the Grammy Award-winning pianist Yefim Bronfman performing Beethoven’s majestic Fifth Piano Concerto and Chopin’s Etude in F major.
For the 100th anniversary of Sviatoslav Richter, Firma Melodiya presents its arguably biggest project in its semicentennial history: a 50-CD set of Sviatoslav Richters concert recordings! This collection is far from the complete phonographic legacy of the great musician. Nevertheless, the set includes plenty of exclusive, previously unreleased recordings that will make the hearts of even most erudite connoisseurs and collectors rejoice.
Passion rather than insouciance is Pires’s keynote. Here is no soft, moonlit option but an intensity and drama that scorn all complacent salon or drawing-room expectations. How she relishes Chopin’s central storms, creating a vivid and spectacular yet unhistrionic contrast with all surrounding serenity or ‘embalmed darkness’. The con fuoco of Op. 15 No. 1 erupts in a fine fury and in the first Nocturne, Op. 9 No. 1, Pires’s sharp observance of Chopin’s appassionato marking comes like a prophecy of the coda’s sudden blaze. Such resolution and psychological awareness make you realize that Chopin, like D. H. Lawrence, may well have thought that “there must be a bit of fear, and a bit of horror in your life”. Chopin, Pires informs us in no uncertain terms, was no sentimentalist.