....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, May 27, 2008

The Chopin Currency - May 27th, 2008

Vaguely Chopin-connected News, Previews, and Reviews:

At Piano Showdown, Hard Choices
Washington Post - United States

"Year after year, standards of piano playing seem to improve, subtly yet perceptibly. The latest demonstration was Sunday afternoon in the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, where a half-dozen spectacularly talented young pianists performed before a distinguished jury and a large, enthusiastic audience."....and, it appears, a rather disinterested critic....

Esther Park, a 23-year-old American, was extraordinarily polished, with deft balances and voice-leading. Yet the sultry perfume of Granados and drama of a Chopin sonata seemed to elude her. [...]

At age 28, the Russian Sofya Gulyak was the oldest of the finalists. Her Mozart Rondo in A-Minor was the most satisfying classical playing of the afternoon. In her sensational performance of Liszt's evocation of little bells in "La Campanella," fierce technical demands took the back seat to flights of aural imagination and exquisite musicality. Gulyak was last year's first-prize winner in the Kappell International Piano Competition. [...]

The Takemitsu was the only piece written since World War II, and it seemed almost an anomaly. It is in the romantic (Chopin, Schumann, Liszt) and early modern (Ravel, Prokofiev) repertoires in which these young players are most at home. After an hour's deliberation by the judges, competition chairman Immanuela Gruenberg read the results, including the tally of audience ballots.

First prize: none awarded. Second prize: Gulyak. Third prize: none awarded. Audience prize: Wayne Weng.

See all stories on this topic

Concert to aid quake victims
Independent Community Newspaper - Bay of Plenty,New Zealand

Kiwis call on Chopin and other composers to aid Chinese quake victims...

A charity concert for victims of the devastating earthquake in China will be held in the Concert Chamber on Saturday.

The concert is being organised by the Rotorua Music Federation and will raise funds to aid the victims.

Well-known Rotorua musicians taking part include baritone John Bond, soprano Charlotte Christmas, and pianists Jim McGregor and Li Can Wei.

The programme ranges from Mozart, Chopin and Debussy to songs from the shows. Entry is by donation at the door.

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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.