....a roundup of Chopiniana: current news, views, reviews, recordings and performances in the runup to the 200th birthday of the matchless Polish keyboard composer.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Chopin Currency - July 9th, 2008

Chopin Broadcasts:

Waltz in A-flat, Op. 69, no. 1 "L'Adieu"
Performance Today - American Public Media

Today's edition of Performance Today - the most popular classical-music show in the USA - will feature a performance from The Chopin Project: Chih-Long Hu's live interpretation of Chopin's Waltz in A-flat, Op. 69, no. 1 "L'Adieu"

Produced and distributed by American Public Media, Performance Today is broadcast on 245 public radio stations across the country and is heard by about 1.1 million people each week. Each station individually decides what time to air the program. To find out where and when to hear Performance Today, check out publicradiofan, an independent website that is an excellent guide to online streaming of US public radio stations. You'll also be able to hear the show on the Performance Today website for up to seven days after the broadcast.

Chopin News, Views, and Reviews:

Rudolf Firkusny, piano = SCHUBERT: Three Pieces, D. 946; MARTINU ...
Audiophile Audition - USA

Review of a BBC Legends CD featuring the renowned Czech pianist in a 1980 London recital at Queen Elizabeth Hall: "If Firkusny wanted to be Vladimir Horowitz, he could be."

The Chopin and Smetana offerings play as encores. The Op. 63 Mazurka is the pearl of the set of three--what Cortot called an exquisite, aristocratic dream--Firkusny’s touch is a mite pesant, but the natural lilt and grace of the shifting accents retain their innate, mesmeric charm.
See all stories on this topic

Monday, July 7, 2008

the Chopin Currency - July 7th, 2008



Chopin News, Reviews, and Previews:


A Souvenir From Vladimir Horowitz
New York Sun - United States

A just-released "souvenir" CD from "one of the great uneven performers in all history" Vladimir Horowitz's very last recital (from June of 1987) hits its highest points with Chopin: "The event took place in Hamburg, allowing the record label, Deutsche Grammophon, to call the album "Horowitz in Hamburg." A little alliteration is always appreciated."

We then have a Chopin mazurka, the one in B minor, Op. 33, No. 4 — and Horowitz plays it with perfect rhythmic sense. The bend and snap of that thing are amazing. He plays it very purely, too, with complete refinement.

In this piece — on this track — Horowitz is in total control of his fingers. There is no old-man faltering.

He ends the printed program with Chopin's "Heroic" Polonaise — so often associated with Rubinstein, but played for decades by Horowitz, too.

Does Horowitz have enough technique — in 1987 — to get through it? Yes. And he summons up plenty of charisma. Or rather, he doesn't summon it up: It simply flows from him, naturally.

See all stories on this topic

Discovering Poland’s heritage at St James Cavalier
Malta Independent Online - Malta

If there's Polish culture on display in Malta, Chopin cannot be far from the picture....

A piano recital by the pianist Pawel Mazurkiewicz from Poland preceded the opening of the exhibition. He performed works by Bach, Chopin, Scriabin, Grieg, Gershwin and Debussy.

Prizewinner of the prestigious Swiss music prize, Prix Credit Suisse – Jeunes Solistes 2003, Pawel Mazurkiewicz was born in Warsaw and graduated with distinction from the Frederic Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw in 2000. In 2004 he graduated also with distinction and with Eduard Tschumi Music Prize from the University of Arts in Bern. He is currently assistant professor of the Piano class at the University of Arts in Bern, Switzerland. He has started composing, arranging and performing jazz music as an addition to his classical repertoire...

See all stories on this topic


Chopin in the Blogosphere:


My favourite Chopin recordings
By Stephanie Delacey

A nice post that's both entertaining, and well-researched, with audio to boot: "Here are my top ten Chopin recordings (all, interestingly enough, historical recordings made more than fifty years ago…):" In the Top 10: Dinu Lipatti, Solomon, Alfred Cortot, and even Percy Grainger...

...
Stephanie's Pillowbook - http://pillowbook.co.uk

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Chopin Currency - July 6, 2008


Chopin News, Reviews, and Previews:

‘The Year of Sembrich’ features pianist Simon Mulligan as part of ...
Schenectady Gazette - Schenectady,NY,USA


News of a series of events marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Polish-American soprano and vocal instructor Marcella Sembrich, (1858-1935) sponsored by the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum on the shores of Lake George, NY. "Programs will include works by composers she either knew personally or whose arias she sang — she took walks with Brahms and discussed the fine points of vocal production with Puccini."


A Frederic Chopin Festival will be held from July 23 to 27. “It’s an apt time,” said Richard Wargo, the museum’s artistic director and opera composer. “Sembrich was born 10 years after Chopin’s death. She was very particular to end her solo recitals with his ‘A Maiden’s Wish’, in which she sang and played piano. Because he was her compatriot, we thought him a likely composer to celebrate.” Both she and Chopin were Polish.

Pianist Simon Mulligan will set the tone of the season at his recital on Saturday, July 12, with a program that includes Liszt’s “Reminiscences of Lucia”, Chopin’s Ballade in G minor and his “Raindrop” Prelude and Mulligan’s own transcription of Offenbach’s Barcarolle from “The Tales of Hoffman.”

[...]

The Chopin Festival (July 23 to 27) begins at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday with Ruth Albert Spencer’s talk on the liaison between the writer George Sand and Chopin. Pianist Christopher Johnson will also play.

“It’s the scholarly approach as opposed to the Hollywood fanfare of the film ‘Impromptu,’ ” Wargo said.

The 1991 movie will be shown at no charge that night at 7:30 p.m. in the Bolton Town Hall.

On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, pianist Diana Fanning will play several solo Chopin works and with cellist Dieuke Davydov will play Chopin’s Cello Sonata and his Polonaise Brilliante. Johnson returns at 7:30 p.m. Friday with narrator Lindsay Gates, who will give a dramatic reading about Chopin’s affair with the singer Jenny Lind, known as the Swedish Nightingale.

In 1848, Chopin was broken in health and spirit after his breakup with Sand and took a trip to England and Scotland, where he met Lind.

“She wanted to marry him, but Chopin felt it was too late,” Wargo said.

See all stories on this topic



Chopin Videos:

F.Chopin "Valse a moll" "Chopin-Pragnienie milosci"
By Daria(Daria)

From the Famous Polka Dancers and Musicians blogsite, Chopin on the Squeezebox...


Frederic Chopin`s "Waltz in a minor", romantic music from the movie "Chopin: The need for love". Solo accordion Miroslaw Marks.


Famous Polka Dancers and Musicians - http://famouspolkadancers.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Chopin Currency - June 24th, 2008


Chopin News, Reviews, & Previews:

Flying bison and half a cup of coffee

Three out of four stars in this review in the UK Spectator of Michael Moran's much-discussed new book A Country in the Moon: Travels in the Heart of Poland.


The author’s uncle was a concert pianist who harboured a passion for Chopin. He extracted a deathbed promise from his nephew to ‘visit those places Chopin frequented as a young man . . . to better understand the patriotic roots of Chopin’s music’ and implored him ‘to scatter his ashes over the Mazovia plain near Chopin’s birthplace’. This was the genesis of the author’s engagement with Poland. [...]

There is so much to admire in this well-researched and hugely entertaining book, and so much to learn. Certainly, I did not know that Poles regard their country as ‘the reincarnation of the suffering Christ’. That Schumann described Chopin’s music as ‘cannons hidden among flowers’. That the national composer of Poland left Poland at the age of 20, never to return. That Polish aristocrats once claimed descent from nomadic archers of Iranian stock related to the Scythians. That under communism, Poles could buy half a cup of coffee if they were too poor to afford a full cup. That many Poles hold that entry into the European Union was ‘the onset of moral decay’.
Spectator - The Magazine - http://www.spectator.co.uk

Chopin Videos:
Alfred Cortot - Great Interpreter of Chopin
By Issykitty

(http://issykitty.videosift.com)

From a new video-sharing site called Videosift: "He looked for the opium in music"

http://vintage.videosift.com/unsifted

Chopin in the Blogosphere:


Frédéric Chopin 1810-1849

By Administrator
Great Composers and their Lives... - http://ferrisguitar.com/blog

Blog entry from a guitarist-turned-webucator regarding our man Chopin...


The first concerts that he gave abroad were in Vienna, Austria. He was charmed by life outside his country and eventually ended up leaving Poland for good, settling in France in 1831. His father was originally a Frenchman, hence the name he was given Frédéric Chopin.
(*His name is pronounced by correctly reading the following in English accenting the bold print: fre der eek – shou pa)

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Chopin Currency - June 23, 2008


Chopin News, Reviews, and Previews:


In Poland, Chopin's heart may hold secret of his death AFP -

"Leading Polish medical experts are betting that DNA tests on his heart -- perfectly preserved in what appears to be cognac -- could prove he suffered from cystic fibrosis." But will they be successful in opening up to prove it?

Their request to Poland's culture ministry for tissue samples to check for the CFTR gene marking cystic fibrosis sufferers has, however, sparked mixed feelings over the prospect of picking over a national icon.

There, inside a crystal urn filled with alcohol lies Chopin's heart, brought home in 1849 -- as he had wished -- by his elder sister Ludwika from Paris, where the rest of his remains lie in the Pere Lachaise cemetery.

Leading Polish cystic fibrosis specialist Wojciech Cichy said the symptoms Chopin suffered throughout his life were typical of cystic fibrosis, a genetic illness which clogs the lungs with excess thick and sticky mucus.

"From early childhood he was weak, prone to chest infections, wheezing, coughing," Cichy said.

Records show that as an adult weighing 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds) at a height of 1.70 metres (five foot seven inches), Chopin was chronically underweight -- another telltale symptom of cystic fibrosis.

Cichy also pointed out that despite a passionate romance with flamboyant French writer George Sand, Chopin had no known children, suggesting infertility -- another telling clue. And few cystic fibrosis sufferers live past 40.

"If we can prove Chopin suffered from cystic fibrosis, it would be a huge inspiration for our patients, especially children, to know they can accomplish a great deal like he did," Cichy told AFP.

See all stories on this topic

Promising pianists
The Union of Grass Valley - Grass Valley,CA,USA

Panning for the next generation of gold-medal pianists in an old mining town. Is there any connection between Chopin's death and the California Gold Rush happening the same year (1849?)

Komendera is a Polish student attending the annual piano workshop offered by the Gold Country Piano Institute, a Nevada City non-profit.

"It's great," Komendera said about the workshop. "It's another culture, another climate, beautiful instruments and great teachers."

She also likes the charm of historic Nevada City.

For the past nine years, the Piano Institute's workshop at the Miners Foundry has attracted piano students and instructors from across the globe.

This is Komendera's second visit to Nevada City. She's a third-year student at The Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw.

A $1,600 full-scholarship from Susan Costello, a patron of the Piano Institute, helped Komendera attend the workshop this year. A music group from Warsaw paid her airplane fare.

See all stories on this topic

Gwilym Simcock: The prodigious pianist reveals the music that gets ...
Independent - London,England,UK

27-year-old genre-busting pianist Simcock submits to a free-association session with UK paper: "The New Review has decided to challenge him to take us to the heart of That Simcock Thing: to name, and discuss while listening, six favourite pieces of piano music that have served to shape the multi-talented renaissance musician that he is today." In the Pick Six Mix: Grieg, John Taylor, (English jazz pianist, not the former Duran Duran bassist) Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Take 6, and our man Chopin....

Chopin: "Fantasie Impromptu"

"A few months ago I got asked to do a concert entirely based on the music of Chopin, and for once I said no, because I didn't know what to do with the music. It is so complete in itself as piano music. There's nowhere you can take it. In the past, I've worked on Shostakovich and Ravel projects because the elements of the music can be separated – you can remove the harmony or the melody or the ostinato [repeated musical motif] from a piece and do something else with it.

Chopin and Rachmaninov are the guys who wrote completely idiomatically for the instrument. All of Chopin is fantastic. I listened to it in the car when I was little, on a cassette, and before I knew anything about music I loved it. A year or so ago I went somewhere with my parents and I found all these old cassettes of music I used to listen to when I was nine or 10, and we listened to them again. I hear them in a completely different way now... There is beauty in Chopin, but there is also something else. It is profoundly impressive."


See all stories on this topic

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Chopin Currency - June 22nd, 2008

Chopin Videos:

Reilly, Chopin And Strayhorn
By Rifftides

From jazz journalist Doug Ramsey's Rifftides blog on Artsjournal.com, a fascinating performance by jazz pianist Jack Reilly...

That led to a search that turned up video of Reilly in a performance that melds Chopin and Strayhorn. His subtle key changes are central to the fun and fascination. .

Rifftides - http://www.artsjournal.com/rifftides/








Horowitz - Chopin
By David Berner(David Berner)

Vancouver BC talk show host/nascent politician posts video of Vladimir Horowitz playing a movment from Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2 at the White House in 1986. For No. Apparent. Reason....











David Talks/The Berner Monologues - http://thebernermonologues.blogspot.com/

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Chopin Currency - June 21st, 2008


Chopin News, Reviews, and Previews:

Joe Jackson @ Bridgewater Hall
Manchester Evening News - Manchester,England,UK

Raves for a live show - and new CD - by the "musically literate former Angry Young Man...: "Rain captures all that singular brew of bile and beauty which drove Jackson’s best work." - and apparently helps him find his inner Fryderyk...

The centrepiece was the new song Solo (So Low), introduced by its creator as “a bit of a wrist-slasher, but it does have its funny side..or maybe that’s just me”. Yes it is just you, Joe, for what the hushed crowd heard was one of the most striking hymns to loneliness ever sung, Jackson’s grand piano underpinning his bleak poetry with something akin to a Chopin piano study.


See all stories on this topic

Sixteen-year-old Fremont grad goes on to Julliard
Fremont Bulletin - California, United States

Local girl Ashley Hsu is packing her bags for the big city, wich help from the Chopin Foundation...

A talented pianist, Hsu has won multiple awards and scholarships, including a 2006-2007 scholarship from the Chopin Foundation of the United States for her performances of the works of Chopin. She is also the silver medalist in the 2008 Schimmel International Piano Competition where she competed against young artists from China, South Korea, Israel, Canada and other countries.

See all stories on this topic


Chopin in the Blogosphere:

Could it be the start of a trend? Playing the Eternal Sonata video game is sparking interest in Chopin's compositions?

oddly enough playing eternal sonata has got me into Chopin (3)
By ♪ ☆ Anonymous Popstar ☆ ♪
can anyone recommend some more songs from that stand out.

Music @4-ch - http://4-ch.net/music/index.html

What's the story, morning glory? What's the word, humming bird?
By Mew(Mew)
As much fun as the battle system was and how freakin' pretty Chopin is was, the game was...a little lacking. I didn't feel too attached to the characters, the story seemed a bit rushed, and the plot was a bit boring. ...
Mew - http://amewsed.livejournal.com/



Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Chopin Currency - June 12th, 2008


Chopin News, Views, and Reviews:

Maurizio Pollini: when inspiration flows through to the third encore
Telegraph.co.uk - United Kingdom

London critic finds the essence of the Italian artist's mastery in a brief Chopin etude:


When everything clicks in a Maurizio Pollini recital, as it did here, it can be an absorbing, revelatory experience. This was a vintage example of his fascinating pianism, combining as it does a focused intellect with poetic sensibility, and a passion tempered by reason.

You do not expect, nor do you get, anything gratuitously extrovert with Pollini, and there was no more acute example of his essential poise and stylistic awareness than in his second encore, Chopin's famous Revolutionary Study.

Where some might launch headlong into it with barnstorming bravura, Pollini was more circumspect, not to the detriment of the music's drama but with a care for colour that went way beyond mere technical virtuosity. [...]

Thoroughly in his element, Pollini played Chopin's Four Mazurkas Op 33 with a breathtaking mix of wistful melancholy and rhythmic impetus. In the B minor Scherzo, as in the G minor Ballade given as the third encore, his inspiration flowed seamlessly.


Pollini's rare artistry is restricted
This is London - London,England,UK

Same recital, entirely different view from the Evening Standard critic....

Undoubtedly one of the pianistic giants of his generation, Maurizio Pollini offers an increasingly frustrating experience in recital. Now in his mid-60s, he can still pack them in to the Festival Hall and bring them to their feet after three rousing encores. But a disengaged quality in his playing mars too much of what he does.

[...]

It has to be said, though, that Pollini’s technical mastery is no longer unassailable. That insecurity may well account for the scrambled, vertiginous nature of virtuoso passages, such as those of Chopin’s Scherzo No 1 in B minor. There was some impressive playing here, too: Pollini’s tone is always ingratiating and there were many wonderfully nuanced moments.

But once again expansive gestures were shunned, with the result that too much was flattened out and under-characterised


See all stories on this topic

Chopin in the Blogosphere:

Chopin is the Only Ring Tone for You
By Evan

I have a custom ring tone setup on my cell phone when my bride Amanda calls. Yesterday at work I thought I heard her calling … but it was just the internet radio?! How could she call me through the internet radio?
My guess is that my cell phone’s built in melody #7 is actually a version of Chopin’s Étude No. 5 in G-Flat Major “Black Keys.”

Wild.er - http://blog.evanwilder.com

Chopin in the YouTubeoSphere:

YouTube - Yundi Li - Chopin "Fantasie" Impromptu, Op. 66

Professionally shot and released DG video of the Fantasie-Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op. 66 No. 1...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Chopin Currency - June 11th, 2008

[Robbins ballet photo]Chopin News, Views, and Reviews:

A Comedic Ballet With Legs
Wall Street Journal - USA


WSJ critic marvels at the staying power of Jerome Robbins' Chopinistic comedic creation....

"Death," one showbiz quip has it, "is easy; comedy is hard." However savvy Jerome Robbins might have been in the mid-1950s as a still-budding master of both musical-theater dances and of classical ballet, he could hardly have predicted the staying power of "The Concert," the comedic ballet he created to Chopin in 1956 and called "A Charade in One Act" and subtitled "The Perils of Everybody."

Once his hilarious take on would-be concertgoers hit its stride with a 1971 restaging for his home-base company, the New York City Ballet, "The Concert" showed itself to be a deathless ballet comedy. In recent years, over a dozen ballet companies nationally and internationally, including one in Perm, Russia, have eagerly performed the work....





See all stories on this topic


Google Blogs Alert for: chopin


Robbins & Chopin at NYC Ballet
By oberon481

Dance-focused blogger's taken on the Chopin/Robbins night at the NYC Ballet:

I'm not sure an all-Chopin evening is a great idea; surely the most effective programmes are those that offer musical contrasts. But THE CONCERT was fun tonight with Sterling Hyltin showing a nice flair for comedy (and dancing very well) and several amusing character players including Andrew Veyette's henpecked, vengeful husband and Gwyneth Muller's priceless wife with her droll efforts to maintain a sense of decorum.

Oberon's Grove - http://oberon481.typepad.com/oberons_grove/

Chopin in the Newsgroups:

Kobrins 2005 Chopin Preludes

From the rec.music.classical newsgroup, a discussion on the merits of Alexander Kobrin's Chopin interpretations...

Sure emphasizes the dark side, but very effective,original conceptions
seemingly not just for effect. He seems to empathize better with this more complex,subtle music than with the more
extroverted, emotional Rachmaninoff Etudes,IMHO. But this is
2005......

newsgroups.derkeiler.com: rec.music.c... - http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Rec/rec.music.classical.recordings

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Chopin Currency - June 10th, 2008


Chopin News, Reviews, and Previews:

Rafael Viñoly's Musical Refuge
New York Sun - United States

The world-famous concert-hall architect somehow finds time to practice, practice, practice...


The Uruguayan-born Mr. Viñoly is no mere collector. He is a bona fide musician who once contemplated a career as a pianist; he attended a music conservatory before switching fields, and knows how to finger those 88 ivories.

"Amazingly, I should confess that I still do consider sitting down to work out something as it deserves to work out," he said. Scores by Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Schumann clutter his pianos.
See all stories on this topic

Chopin in the Blogosphere:

All Robbins
By Philippe Boucher

Ballet-loving blogger goes to the Pacific Northwest Ballet program and finds more fulsome praise for Our Man Jerome and his unique take on Chopin...

In the Night was stunning set to the Nocturnes of Frederic Chopin, my favorite composer. Nocturne in F minor Op. 55 was played (a piece that I know how to play). What the program said about In the Night: Jerome Robbins' rapturous In the Night features three couples, in varying stages of relationships, who eventually meet in a dance for six. Each couple's pas de deux possesses a distinct character and in the end, all drift offstage in each others' arms like stars fading at dawn. Mesmerizing.
Last, but definetly not least The Concert (or, The Perils of Everybody): A Charade in One Act.It was just hilarious and gorgeous. The curtain lifts up and we see another curtain with a drawing by Edward Gorey. It lifts again. An empty stage with a grand piano to the left. From the right comes the pianist....

Le blog d'Anne - http://blogsofbainbridge.typepad.com/leblogdanne/


Celebrities and Depression
By Alicia Sparks, NAMI Affiliation Leader

It's "Celebrity Health Week" on the Mental Health Notes blogstie, and Fryderyk finds himself A-listed on the Celebrity Depression List amongs Buzz Aldrin and Abe Lincoln...though what is this composition called "Nocturne" she speaks of?

Frederic Chopin, often regarded as the greatest Polish composer (I absolutely love Nocturne and am, as a matter of fact, listening to it right now) battled depression before his death 1849.

Mental Health Notes - http://www.mentalhealthnotes.com



Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Chopin Currency - June 8th, 2008


Chopin News, Views, and Reviews:

'The Spies of Warsaw' by Alan Furst
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA

"Furst's books are like Chopin's nocturnes: timeless, transcendent, universal. One does not so much read them as fall under their spell and to fall in love with those Romantic impulses that compel men and women to act beyond their self-interests."

And, like Chopin, Furst is a Romantic. Regardless of their gender or nationalities, his characters share one immutable trait: a heroic belief in the transformative power of love, whether for a nation, an ideal or another human being.

"The Spies of Warsaw" is Furst's 10th novel. Like the others, it involves the work of European spies in the 1930s and '40s. Few writers tread such a narrow path so often. Fewer still do it without repeating themselves. Furst's genius is to revisit the same era and character types while making each journey new and fascinating.
See all stories on this topic


Author Q&A
Wall Street Journal - USA

No reference to Chopin, but a fascinating Q & A with author Alan Furst...

In Alan Furst's newly published espionage novel, "The Spies of Warsaw," he paints a convincing portrait of Europe in 1937, told in part through the eyes of a French military attaché. That Mr. Furst's book is atmospheric, convincing and filled with twists and turns will hardly surprise readers of his nine earlier spy books such as "Night Soldiers" and "Kingdom of Shadows."

Mr. Furst, 67 years old, turned to espionage after writing four earlier novels that didn't sell. A Manhattan native, Mr. Furst lives in Sag Harbor, N.Y., and periodically in Paris. He estimates he has lived in France for roughly 10 years of his life.


See all stories on this topic



A Night for Robbins to Give Chopin a Twirl or Three
New York Times - United States

This seems to be shaping up as the Year of Jerome Robbins...

Jerome Robbins would remain one of the most diverse, successful and appealing choreographers of all time if he had never set anything to the music of Chopin. Yet to imagine ballet without Robbins’s Chopin works is to imagine a painful diminution. Though the current Robbins retrospective from New York City Ballet has been successfully under way for over a month, its “Definitive Chopin” program, which opened on Wednesday night at the State Theater, brings us closer to the choreographer’s heart than any other evening this season.

The program contains just three ballets. (Robbins’s “In the Night,” to Chopin nocturnes, was part of a separate bill that went out of repertory Thursday night.) It begins with a film clip of Robbins in 1990 rehearsing Darci Kistler in his first Chopin work, “The Concert” (1956). She’s really good, but he’s much better, wonderfully funny in the way the music makes him go weak at the knees: not an immediate collapse, but a rich, rippling-through-the-body plunge...

See all stories on this topic

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Chopin Currency - June 6th, 2008


Chopin in the blogosphere:

Robbins’s Definitive Chopin at the NYC Ballet
By nahnopenotquite

The Jerome Robbins Celebration for the 2008 spring season at the New York City Ballet is on now. I saw a program last night called Definitive Chopin that consisted of three pieces set to the music of, uh, Frederic Chopin (who else?).

It is hard to me to overstate how much I loved this performance. Dance is the highest expression of human physicality, the absolute apotheosis of human grace and beauty. You can see why men were always falling in love with prima ballerinas in 19th century novels. Ballet is pure elevation of the female form, so feminine, so seductive, so… The dance exults in the human body, and the dancers perform with such strength and skill that I left the theater amazed and elated. I kid you not. It was genuinely sublime.

Nah, Nope, Not Quite - http://nahnopenotquite.wordpress.com

Chopin Videos:

Prelude in C Minor, Frédéric Chopin
By Hari Ram Narayanan(Hari Ram Narayanan)

From a blog called "Chronicle of a Student Pianist..."


Frédéric Chopin referred to as "the poet of the piano", is a polish composer. He composed almost exclusively for the piano. This piece is from his set of 24 preludes, each of which is composed in a different key. ...

The Chronicles of a Student Pianist - http://thechroniclesofastudentpianist.blogspot.com/


Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Chopin Currency - June 5th, 2008

Chopin News, Reviews, and Previews:


Preview: Playing a fugue of his favourite things
New Zealand Herald - New Zealand

Aussie pianist Piers Lane prepares to play a "friendly" in neighboring New Zealand...Chopin friends and colleagues Charles Alkan and Liszt, not to mention Liszt's student Eugene d'Albert are represented in the first half; Chopin after intermission....

The second half of Tuesday's programme will be the complete cycle of Chopin Preludes, a rare privilege in this part of the world. "Everybody knows certain of the Preludes, but there are others that people won't recognise, as you don't get to hear them apart from as part of the whole set," Lane says. "They are a wonderful kaleidoscope of ideas and emotions and it's extraordinary to hear how Chopin feels about each major and minor key on the piano because he goes through all 24 just as Bach did in his Well-Tempered Clavier."

Lane says he likes stories about the composers he plays and has thought about how Chopin might have played his own music. "Later in his life, he was frail. When he played in England towards the end, they complained they couldn't hear him at the back of the concert hall. In fact, his main criticism of other pianists was that they made the piano bark like dogs. He didn't like big-scale playing. His style was an intimate one; he drew people in rather than going out to meet them."


See all stories on this topic

Glasgow team piped into Paris to bid for role as City of Music
The Herald - Glasgow,Scotland,UK

More on the Glaswegan's bid to become a UNESCO City of Music...

... only nationally but internationally - Mendelsohn visited and was inspired by Scotland's landscapes, and Chopin took his first train ride in the city. ...

See all stories on this topic





Audible.com Wins Audiobook of the Year: The Chopin Manuscript ...
Business Wire (press release) - San Francisco,CA,USA

Multiple articles abound...

The Audie Award judges heralded the many innovative and collaborative aspects of The Chopin Manuscript, an original work that has continued to win praise ...

See all stories on this topic


Audible.com Wins Audiobook of the Year: The Chopin Manuscript ...
NEWARK, NJ----The leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment, Audible, Inc., an Amazon.com, Inc. subsidiary , today announced the groundbreaking, original novel The Chopin Manuscript has been named ...
eCocoma Web Consultant - Web... - http://www.ecocoma.com

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Chopin Currency: June 4th, 2008


Chopin News, Views, Reveiws and Previews:

Musical home of Chopin, Mendelssohn and Lou Reed? It's Glasgow, of Course!
Times Online - UK

"Glasgow civic officials are in Paris on a mission to convince UNESCO that the city deserves world City of Music status..."

Making his city's case, Mr Winter himself pointed out that Frédéric Chopin, the great composer, is said to have taken his first train ride in Glasgow, while his contemporary, Felix Mendelssohn, had been inspired by the countryside nearby - or to be more precise, Fingal's Cave on the Island of Staffa, more than 100 miles to the northwest.

The bid document itself employed an unashamedly broad and colourful brush to the city's musical heritage. Vienna had Mozart and Beethoven; New Orleans had jazz; but Glasgow cites artists ancient and modern including Simple Minds, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Clare Grogan and (to the confusion of any Austrians at the Unesco reception) Franz Ferdinand. Some of those name-checked were only visitors to the city, including the Move (from Birmingham), Oasis (Manchester) and Lou Reed (New York)

See all stories on this topic

Thus Far, PS3 Eternal Sonata Exclusive to Japan
Game Reviews - Phoenix,AZ,USA

Want to play the acclaimed Chopin-flavored video game on something besides an xBox? Rotsa ruck...

PS3 owners/lovers of eccentric RPGs based on the delusions of a dying composer are out of luck, unless you live in the Land of the Rising Sun that is. A Namco Bandai US spokesperson has stated that the PS3 version of Eternal Sonata, the RPG based on the fictional world dreamed up by a fever-wracked Chopin on his deathbed, "is only announced for... Japan right now."

See all stories on this topic


Chopin-related podcasts:


Chopin to Dr. Dre: The Sounds of the Carillon
By webhelp@kuow.org (KUOW 94.9 Public Radio)


Seattle public radio profile of "Carillonist" Charlotte Dyke, and her choice of music for the University of Washington's set of bells...

If you walk the UW campus on a weekday morning, you'll hear a tradition that is nearly 100 years old. There are tuned bells called the carillon. We meet a student who plays everything from Mozart to hip hop. ...
Sound Focus Podcast - /programs/sound_focus.asp


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Chopin Currency - Forensics Edition: June 3rd, 2008


Chopin CSI News:

Chopin did not die of TB
Polish Radio External Service - Poland

It was Cystic Fibrosis (not classified as a disease until 1932) that felled him, according to professor Wojciech Cichy of the Medical University in Poznan ...

According to Professor Cichy, the presence of nodules on the surface of the composer’s heart, cited in the autopsy report, could be a symptom of the disease, which is a genetic disorder affecting primarily the lungs. Also, the medical history of members of Chopin's immediate family supports this theory: two of his three sisters died of lung diseases, and the youngest one, who was of very fragile health, died at the age of 15. Chopin died at 39.

Cystic fibrosis and its genetic ramifications were not fully described until 1932, 83 years after his death. Professor Cichy’s team hopes to be able to carry out further genetic research on the basis of the material taken from the remains of Emilia Chopin, who was buried at Warsaw’s Powazki Cemetery.

See all stories on this topic


Polish professor: Chopin had cystic fibrosis
By Patricia Bauer

Fuller account of the story from a blogsite devoted to disability Issues...

A review article in the Journal of Applied Genetics in 2003 concluded that CF was a “probable cause” of Chopin’s death. The authors called for more research on the subject:

Is it justifiable to deepen our knowledge about the great Polish composer, but foremost to give hope and meaning to those who nowadays suffer from genetically inherited disorders? Is it not right to make an attempt to prove to many suffering people that many things count in life much more than a weak physical body, and that they are not predestined to vanish without leaving something that will influence, inspire and enrich the generations to come?


Disability News | PatriciaEBauer.com - http://www.patriciaebauer.com

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Chopin Currency - June 2nd, 2008





Chopin News, Views, Reviews, and Previews:

'Chopin Manuscript' wins top Audie
Arizona Daily Star - Tucson,AZ,USA

And the winner is... The Audie Awards (the so-called "Oscars of the Audiobook Industry") hand out the top prize to The Chopin Manuscript -- a "serial thriller" named Audiobook of the Yearat the 13th annual Audie Awards banquet Friday in Los Angeles.

But don't go looking for "The Chopin Manuscript" on the bookshelf.

There is no print version.

For the first time ever, the top audio production is available only as a download from its producer, Audible Inc. Read by Alfred Molina, this World War II-era thriller revolves around the search for a document that may or may not have been connected to composer Frederic Chopin.

It is reported to have been hidden by the Nazis in Kosova. Nine best-selling mystery-thriller writers, headed by Jeffery Deaver, wrote "The Chopin Manuscript," which came out in serial form starting last September. This is very much the way Stephen King's "The Green Mile" debuted in 1996.
See all stories on this topic


Eternal Sonata Review
Game Reviews - Phoenix,AZ,USA

The Chopin-based video game gets high praise from the major game-review site TGM (8.5/10 overall)

Eternal Sonata, developed by Japanese studio tri-Crescendo and published by Namco, is a JRPG with a difference. It takes you on the final journey of famed Polish classical pianist Frederic Chopin through his final dream when lying in his bed just before dying in his house in Paris in 1849. It won’t come as a surprise to learn that the design team behind this captivating game are all musicians. Hiroya Hatsushiba is an audio programmer who has worked with fellow tri-Crescendo founder Motoi Sakuraba, who is in fact a composer, on many other JRPG’s including the likes off Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile for parent studio tri-Ace.

Eternal Sonata is one of those rare and wonderful games completely based on musical history. Throughout the game you will hear wonderful music from the famed pianist that the game is based on. In addition, there are some original songs that round off an amazing soundtrack....

See all stories on this topic

All-Robbins program doesn't miss a step
Seattle Post Intelligencer - USA

Another rave review for the Pacific Northwest Ballet production of two Chopin-based Jerome Robbins creations: "Into the Night, and "The Concert:"


One of the opening gambits of Peter Boal, as PNB artistic director, was "In the Night." It is among Robbins' most memorable ballets for its limpid moodiness and subtle shifts of tone. Three couples dance to Chopin's evanescent nocturnes, played with nuance by pianist Dianne Chilgren. The first is young and perfect; the second more formal and restrained, and the third restless and troubled. Pantastico and Olivier Wevers, who danced in the original cast, repeated their performances. They were a perfect realization of idealized love. The second couple, Ariana Lallone and Stanko Milov, were new to the roles, at least to me. They are a distinctive couple, and they offered distinctive dancing. The action of the third couple is realized more with the woman than the man. Nadeau, who danced in the original cast, was turbulent yet appealing. Karol Cruz was her able partner.

"The Concert" was given its PNB premiere at the fall gala. It was a sensation then and is so now. There is so much that is amusing or outright hilarious. It is supposed to be a parody of a concert, thus the name, but goes so far beyond those perimeters that one easily forgets the premise....

See all stories on this topic, including

All Robbins Showcases PNB's Acting Chops
Seattlest - Seattle,USA


Chopin in the Blogosphere:

Best Audio Book Of The Year
By M.J. Rose

Amazement at the Chopin Manuscript victory: "As one of our esteemed authors said - beating God and Harry Potter is one thing -- but beating Colbert? Now that's impressive."

The Chopin Manuscript is an original serialized thriller created exclusively for audio by a stellar list of thriller writers -- for a joint project between Audible.com and ITW - a project that Steve Feldber and I only imagined would ...
Buzz, Balls & Hype - http://mjroseblog.typepad.com/buzz_balls_hype/


About Chopin2010

My photo
....is a roundup of all things Chopin leading up to the 200th anniversary of the matchless Polish composer for the piano in March 2010.