Tuesday, September 27, 2016
I read an article today about several excellent Viola players. What totally surprised me was that German-born Tabea Zimmermann was not mentioned. As such, I feel the obligation to tell you about her. One of her recent recordings features the following: Zimmermann & Gerstein: Sonatas for Viola & Piano Vol. 1 Brahms: Viola Sonata No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 120 No. 2 Clarke, Rebecca: Viola Sonata Vieuxtemps: Viola Sonata in B flat, Op. 36 All performed by Tabea Zimmermann (viola) and Kirill Gerstein (piano). Tabea Zimmermann is an extraordinary musician, with a profound understanding of music and a natural way of playing. She is one of the leading contemporary viola players worldwide and last year was awarded the prestigious Echo Klassic as “Instrumentalist of the Year”. Her previous CD of Bach and Reger Solo Suites received excellent reviews and was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice. Gramophone Magazine wrote: “Zimmermann’s performance is masterly, strongly characterised in the positive first movement and the witty Scherzo [of the Clarke]…[In the Vieuxtemps] too Zimmermann and Gerstein give an ideal performance. Recording of all three works is excellent, a credit to this new label.” Here is Tabea Zimmermann in the wonderful music of Robert Schumann:
Hewitt's 'Bach Odyssey' offered rarities, including the Capriccio 'on the departure of his beloved brother', a theme and variations 'alla maniera Italiana', a Fantasia and Fugue in A minor, plus the complete sets of Two-part Inventions and Sinfonias
Rachel Podger (violin), Brecon Baroque (Channel Classics)Among the works of Bach’s last decade, The Art of Fugue is completely open in its instrumentation: on a scale from a single keyboard to the multicoloured orchestrations of yore, this new realisation is at the purist end – just four string players with the occasional (and often inaudible) harpsichord. No case is made in the notes for this approach, yet with playing of this sophistication, the restricted sound palette works wonderfully, supporting a calm, ruminative exploration of the many fugal devices. Rachel Podger’s group manages drama too in the French-style fugue, driven by the bite of the bow on the strings. The end is achingly incomplete, as is Bach’s text. Continue reading...
Wigmore Hall, London The pianist’s two-hour journey charting the development of musical language was fascinating, although uneven in quality Piquant, meaningful programmes have always been a hallmark of Jeremy Denk’s recitals, and a welcome antidote to the endlessly recycled selections of mainstream repertory that too many top-flight pianists insist on touring. But even by Denk’s standards, this latest sequence was enormously ambitious and unprecedentedly wide-ranging. It was nothing less than a history of western music from medieval to modern, a two-hour journey through 24 short pieces that began with Machaut and Binchois and ended with Glass and Ligeti. Denk’s history was very much a survey of the way in which musical language has evolved over the last seven centuries, and not simply a chronicle of the development of keyboard music. In fact it was not until he reached the 16th century and the seventh piece in his recital, a voluntary from William Byrd’s My Ladye Nevells Booke, that he included anything specifically composed for a keyboard instrument at all. Up to that point his sequence had consisted of piano transcriptions (his own presumably) of vocal music – songs by Machaut, Binchois, Dufay and Janequin, even Kyries from masses by Ockeghem and Josquin.There was no doubt there was something didactic in the way in which it had all been put together, and the lines of development it traced were certainly revealing. What was less clear was how well such a scheme worked as an evening of satisfying music making. For the Wigmore audience, who gave Denk a standing ovation, it was a triumph, but there were moments when pieces seemed to have been included more because they filled a gap in the chronology than for any more pressing musical reason, especially in the concert’s first half, which took the journey as far as the 1720s and Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue. Continue reading...
From Bach to Beethoven, the Beatles to Billie Holiday – the violinist shares her musical loves on and off the stageWhat is your musical guilty pleasure?Should pleasure be guilty? Perhaps then something that people may be snobbish about... surely the Beatles wouldn’t count, so how about Abba? Continue reading...
Johann Sebastian Bach (21 March 1685, - 28 July 1750) was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity. Although J.S. Bach did not introduce new forms, he enriched the prevailing German style with a robust contrapuntal technique, an unrivalled control of harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected throughout Europe during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the main composers of the Baroque style, and as one of the greatest composers of all time. Revered for their intellectual depth, technical command and artistic beauty, Bach's works include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Partitas, The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Mass in B minor, the St Matthew Passion, the St John Passion, the Magnificat, A Musical Offering, The Art of Fugue, the English and French Suites, the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, the Cello Suites, more than 200 surviving cantatas, and a similar number of organ works, including the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, as well as the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes and Organ Mass.
Great composers of classical music