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

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Chopin Currency - March 6, 2008

Chopin News, Reviews, and Previews:

Live: Yundi Li

The budding Chinese superstar plays Orange County, but leaves the LA Times reviewer cold: "A set of four Chopin mazurkas, Nos. 22 through 25, played without break, showed little elasticity in phrasing, rhythmic rubato or architectural contrast. Again, slower pieces such as the C-major Mazurka (No. 24) or Chopin's Nocturne in E flat, which followed the set, revealed a far more interesting poet of the keyboard..."

Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
But almost everything on the program, be it Mozart, Chopin, Schumann or Mussorgsky, turned out to be mainly a vehicle for keyboard-slamming, ...
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Pianist Yundi Li makes it quick in Costa Mesa

Yes, he's a young pianist in a hurry, ripostes the OC Register, but that's not necessarily a bad thing: "Li, the youngest winner of the International Chopin Piano Competition, is an astonishing pianist. Tuesday, he revealed the chops of a true virtuoso and the brains of an intellectual. There seemed little that escaped his notice in pieces by Mozart, Chopin, Schumann and Mussorgsky. But he never gilded the lily. Unlike Lang Lang, he showed himself to be remarkably free from virtuoso mannerisms, too, both physically and musically. If he was in a rush, he also took care of business along the way.

"So, too, in the Mazurkas, Op. 33, and the Nocturne, Op. 9, No. 2, did clarity of texture rule the day. He made phrases cogent and harmonic shifts logical rather than mystical. Everything made sense, beautifully. You may have wanted him to stop occasionally and smell the roses, but he actually managed to do that in transit. A listener had to keep pace.

"In Schumann's "Widmung" (as arranged by Liszt) and Chopin's Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise he gave the first indications of his roaring abilities, but he remained crisp, never vulgar."

OCRegister - Santa Ana,CA,USA
Even Chopin nocturnes. Even slow movements. Even rests. Too fast? Maybe, maybe not. In classical music, we often tend to want our performers to sound old ...
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Child prodigy to perform at Stanley Hotel

9-year old Helen Nebeker to play at the Estes Park Music Festival Winter Series on March 9, and Chopin is on the program...

Estes Park Trail Gazette - Estes Park,CO,USA
Some of Nebeker’s awards since she began competing a few years ago at the age of five have included First Place wins at: the International Chopin ...
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LETTER FROM POLAND: Chopin The Warsaw Boy

A hometown perspective on Chopin's early years, courtesy of Polish Radio:

"Poland has always had a bit of a problem with the fact that the majority of the world thinks that Chopin was French. Many people don’t realise that the world’s greatest pianist was a Pole (a Varsovian, to be precise), which is crucial to understanding his work. It is here, in and around the Old town of Warsaw, that the musical genius grew up, went to school, composed his first pieces, gave his first concerts and soaked up his first inspirations."

Polish Radio External Service - Poland
We take a look at the little-known facts about Chopin in his early years. The 1st March marked the 198th birthday of probably the most famous Pole in the ...
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Rooster Struts Opens March With Preludes By Chopin And Soldiers' Mass

Toronto-based National Ballet of Canada puts Chopin on the program with the Rolling Stones and Bohuslav Martinu..."

Renowned Quebec choreographer Marie Chouinard makes her debut with The National Ballet of Canada with her celebrated 1999 work 24 Preludes by Chopin. Ms. Chouinard is one of contemporary dance's most exciting internationally acclaimed artists, renowned for her passionate, groundbreaking choreography.

Set to Frederic Chopin's famous piano Preludes, this short work reflects the structure of the Preludes themselves, evoking such emotions as chastity, passion, introspection, ardour and rebellion, all articulated in Ms. Chouinard's strikingly contemporary dance style."

HULIQ - Hickory,NC,USA
Renowned Quebec choreographer Marie Chouinard makes her debut with The National Ballet of Canada with her celebrated 1999 work 24 Preludes by Chopin. ...
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What can a non-musician learn from a master class in piano?

University of Minnesota piano professor Alexander Braginsky leads a master class in Minnesota; a non-playing columnist learns some important lesssons....

Twin Cities Planet - Minneapolis,Minnesota,USA
He asked; “What emotion do you feel this Chopin Nocturne is communicating? “ For half an hour they went back and forth on their pianos, searching for the ...
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....is a roundup of all things Chopin leading up to the 200th anniversary of the matchless Polish composer for the piano in March 2010.