Chopin News, Reviews, and Previews:

Marin Alsop

Marin Alsop To Lead Philharmonic in Four Concerts

Broadway World – New York,NY,USA

The charismatic Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Music Director lands a prestigious guest-conducting slot in the Big Apple, with a Chopin wunderkind in tow…

Marin Alsop will lead the New York Philharmonic in four concerts, each featuring Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World, October 7, 10, and 11, 2008. The programs on October 7 at 7:30 p.m. and October 11 at 8:00 p.m. will comprise Bartók’s The Wooden Prince Suite; Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with Rafał Blechacz making his New York Philharmonic debut.

Pianist Rafał Blechacz was born on June 30, 1985, in Nakło nad Notecią, Poland. He began studying the piano at the age of five and completed his formal education in 2007 at the Feliks Nowowiejski Music Academy in Bydgoszcz, studying with Professor Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron. He won second prize at the Arthur Rubinstein Young Pianist Competition in Bydgoszcz in 2002 and at the Fifth International Young Pianist Competition in Hamamatsu, Japan, in 2003. In 2004 he garnered first prize at the Fourth International Piano Competition in Morocco. In 2005 Mr. Blechacz won first prize at the 15th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw; in special recognition of his achievement, the jury decided, for the first time in the competition’s history, not to award a second prize. He also won four special prizes, including the Polish Radio Award for best performance of the mazurkas, the Polish Chopin Society Award for best performance of the Polonaise, the Warsaw Philharmonic Award for best performance of a concerto, and the award founded by Krystian Zimerman for best sonata performance.

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Chopin: Préludes (Music Review) –

From the NYC GLBT online journal, quoting the Bay Area Reporter: “Even though his recordings for Harmonia Mundi have ranged from Couperin and Rameau to Kodaly and Ravel, it’s tempting to think of Alexandre Tharaud as a Chopin pianist, so regularly has the Frenchman returned to the music of the quintessential composer for his instrument. His new CD of the Opus 28 Preludes, that seminal work in which all of Chopin is on display, has caused a considerable stir…..”

Pianist Alexandre Tharaud.
Pianist Alexandre Tharaud.    (Source:Courtesy Harmonia Mundi)

Though Tharaud’s interpretations of the extraordinary miniatures are nothing if not individual, the extent to which they hew to the contemporary French inclination toward rowdy, big-boned, take-no-prisoners Chopin comes almost as a surprise. What gives them such high definition is Tharaud’s conviction, spelled out in the disc’s fascinating accompanying notes, that these extraordinarily familiar, listener-friendly pieces are “shot through with violence and death,” mortality-obsessed works conceived during the composer’s trip to Majorca in a futile attempt to deal with his tuberculosis.

So from the agitated arpeggiations of the first, C Major prelude until the railing defiance of the last, in D minor, darkness prevails. Even in the lacey textures of the vivace G Major, there’s a sense of febrile looking over the shoulder. It’s not a view of the work I’d want for everyday, but its integrity is beyond question…..

Chopin on the Web:

Buenos Aires Celebrates the Great Composer Chopin

By Gwen E. Kirby

From the “Online Guidebook to Argentina,” information on Festival Chopiniana 2008:

Chopiniana 2008 is a major classical music festival organized by the Fundación Chopiniana de Buenos Aires to recognize the works of that famous composer, Frederic Chopin. Chopin, born in Poland, composed in the 19th century is known throughout the world as a famous Romantic. He wrote pieces primarily for the piano, and the piano will be the focus of the festival. According to My Buenos Aires Travel Guide, the festival consists of eight recitals in total, each happening on Wednesday night at 8, from August until October. Tonight will be the first of these recitals at the Teatro Santa Maria. The festival is supported by several embassies, including the Polish embassy, and tickets can be purchased for 30 pesos from the theater itself.

Argentina’s Travel Guide –