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

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Chopin Currency - April 16, 2008

Chopin News, Reviews, Previews, and Broadcasts:

BBC dedicates weekend to Chopin
BBC News - UK

BBC Radio 3 announces a blockbuster weekend dedicated to Chopin (May 17-18, 2008, including the launch of "a dedicated website, launched as part of the Chopin weekend, will feature video piano lessons by pianist David Owen Norris, for those who want to try their hand at some of Chopin's more approachable pieces."

BBC Radio 3 is to broadcast every note written by Frederic Chopin during a weekend dedicated to the Polish composer, who died in 1849 aged 39.

The Chopin Experience, which runs on 17-18 May, follows similiar tributes by the station to Beethoven, Bach, Mozart and Tchaikovsky.

The weekend will explore how Chopin revolutionised piano music, as well as his troubled personal life.

The weekend will also include the most famous recordings of Chopin's work.

His set of 24 Etudes will be aired in unbroken sequence featuring 24 different pianists.

Piano lessons

Dedicated programmes will look at the influence of Polish folk music on the composer - and how the composer continues to influence the Polish music scene....

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Radio 3 announces weekend of Chopin

The Press Association -
Every note written by Polish composer Frederic Chopin is to be broadcast in a single weekend on Radio 3. The Chopin Experience follows a Beethoven week, ...
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Washington Post - United States

Review of a DC recital by thirtysomething protege of Martha Argerich....critic finds his passion praiseworthy, the technical slips less so...

Sergio Tiempo, the immensely talented Venezuelan-born pianist, uses his colossal technique to produce a spectrum of colors and dynamic nuance from the piano. His program at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater on Saturday afternoon included Haydn's delightful Sonata in D, Hob. XVI: 37; Chopin's Sonata No. 3 in B Minor; Ravel's suite "Gaspard de la Nuit"; and the "Consolation" No. 3 and "Mephisto" Waltz No. 1 of Liszt....

Tiempo also possesses a golden singing sound, ravishingly displayed in the Chopin and Liszt pieces.... The same lyrical impulse pervaded the Haydn sonata, in an interpretation perhaps more operatic than symphonic.

Tiempo's great strength is his white-hot intensity. When combined with his cultivated musical intelligence, it achieves strikingly original results. Yet his passionate exuberance occasionally overflows into impetuousness. Hyperkinetic momentum resulted in memory slips in movements of the Haydn and Chopin sonatas. And structural integrity in the Chopin finale and the "Mephisto" Waltz was undermined by unchecked fortissimo power surges. But these missteps could not diminish the visceral excitement of the program.

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Alexander Kobrin, Skillful Pianist
Baltimore Sun - United States

Kobrin, The reigning Van Cliburn champ, comes to Bahlmore and gets a mixed review....

Alexander Kobrin, the Russian pianist who took the gold at the 2005 Van Cliburn Competition, breezed through Baltimore - and a Beethoven-Chopin program - Sunday at a packed Har Sinai Congregation in Owings Mills. The free recital, another generous gift to the music community from the Peggy and Yale Gordon Trust, reaffirmed the great technical fluency I observed from Kobrin during the Cliburn finals, but left me somewhat less impressed when it came to his stylistic and interpretive matters. (I wasn't too keen on the many restless and cell phone-ridden members of the audience, either.)


Kobrin, who is not yet out of his 20s, maintained a dry-eyed demeanor when he turned to Chopin, avoiding anything strikingly individualistic in the shaping of line or rhythmic pulse, and he continued to push things along when given half a chance. Still, there were elegant touches along the way, especially in a group of Impromptus. It will be interesting to see, and hear, how Kobrin's career unfolds.

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Cellist Jan Vogler finds voices
Philadelphia Inquirer - Philadelphia,PA,USA

A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance by the East German-born cellist in Philly, featuring boring Beethoven, but captivating Chopin....

He seemed, at first, like one kind of cellist, and then another. Until the end of his Sunday afternoon recital at Independence Seaport Museum, when you realized that Jan Vogler was intent on crafting stylistic approaches so different to each composer, you might have been left searching for the musician's core personality.

With sturdy and accommodating pianist Louis Lortie as his partner, the cellist with a sweet smile and a straight mop of sandy hair limited his range of colors in Beethoven's Sonata in A major (Op. 69), and even in Schumann's Opus 73 Fantasiestücke.

So much so that a certain monotony set in. Vogler's tone is rather nasal, which to these ears made him a considerably less interesting cellist than one usually hears at these Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concerts.

It made him less interesting, too, than the cellist he became after intermission, in Takemitsu's Orion (from 1984), Chopin's Sonata in G minor (Op. 65), and an encore of the Falla Ritual Fire Dance.

Who was that playing those beefy pizzicato notes in the Falla? In the Takemitsu, where Debussy was never too far harmonically, microtones and slides granted Vogler permission to become almost vocally expressive. And where had that cellist been who was now intensely searching each phrase for emotional meaning in the Chopin?

Beethoven can withstand that kind of treatment, too - happily so, though not on this day.

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Award gave Argentine's career a lift
Fort Worth Star Telegram - Fort Worth,TX,USA

Texas-sized profile and Q & A with Gilmore Award winner Ingrid Fliter, who reveals that literally owes her life to Chopin...

Why did you choose to feature pieces by Chopin on your new CD?

My father used to play the piano. That's the way my parents met at a party -- my mother noticed my father while he was playing on the piano some Chopin waltzes. So I have to say that I exist thanks to Chopin.

What do you love about Chopin's Sonata No. 3, which you'll play Tuesday at the Kimbell?

I think it is one of the most important and one of the most beautiful pieces Chopin wrote. That sonata gives you a very huge spectrum of Chopin's sound world. I have the feeling that all the human experiences are put in that sonata. It is very touching to me

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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.