Chopin News, Reviews, and Passing Asides:

The Good Daughter

New York Times – United States

New York Times magazine Q & A with author Amy Tan, prompted by her first foray into opera — Tan wrote wrote the libretto for “The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” which will have its premiere at the San Francisco Opera next month and is based upon Tan’s novel of the same name.    Tan notes in the Q & A that her mother “wanted me to be a concert pianist, and that would be on weekends.  My day job would be a brain surgeon.”

Why do you play the tambourine instead of the piano after all your years of lessons? Chopin is not what you play when you’re in a rock band.

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Dutoit muscles perfection in stunning opening night

The Saratogian – Saratoga,NY,USA

Review No. 3 of the Philadelphia Orchestra/Charles Dutoit/Emanuel Ax in Saratoga Springs….

Soloist for Wednesday’s program was the stellar pianist Emanuel Ax, stepping in on a few days’ notice to substitute for scheduled guest André Watts. Ax played Chopin’s Concerto No. 2, rather than the programmed Grieg Concerto, and his choice reflected both his experience (he has recorded much of Chopin’s works) and his heritage.

Ax was born in Poland, and Chopin is an enduring and beloved symbol of that often war-torn country’s culture.

Ax handled Chopin’s music on this night as if it was a new discovery. His statement of the slow, second movement’s lyric message was fresh and alive with romance, appropriate to a piece written when the composer was barely 20.

Soft-edged and self-effacing, Ax lets his hands speak for his heart and head. In the few moments of this work that the piano had rests, Ax beat the rhythm into the air by his side as the orchestra played.

The fast third movement of the concerto is filled with handfuls of slippery passages, and Ax skated right through them while still keeping each note distinct. The music sparkled and sang.

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