Classical Music online - News, events, bios, music & videos on the web.

Classical music and opera by Classissima

Edvard Grieg

Monday, May 1, 2017


Guardian

March 20

Norwegian Chamber Orchestra/Andsnes review – quicksilver musical rapport

GuardianCadogan Hall, London This captivating ensemble offered a life-enhancing account of Prokofiev and danced their way through Grieg in what felt like a get-together of old friendsI defy, I absolutely defy, anyone not to feel unalloyed pleasure when the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra are playing at their best. Traditionalists get annoyed by “all that emoting”, as James Galway once called the visible mutual encouragement that accompanies the playing of ensembles like this. For most of us, though, troubles slip away and the quicksilver musical rapport is captivating, especially when the NCO produces life-enhancing accounts of Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, with which this London visit started, or of Grieg’s Holberg Suite, which ended it. Conventional accounts of the Prokofiev tend to emphasise clockwork precision and surface sheen. But playing standing up, and entirely from memory, the Norwegians found something different and new. It became an improvisatory conversation piece, with the inspirational Terje Tønnesen and Daniel Bard leading the first and second violins in a high-spirited conversation. Yes, there was the occasional error of ensemble, but that really was not the point. It was like being at a jovial get-together of old friends who happened to have brought their instruments along. That impression became reality in the orchestra’s Grieg party piece, when the players started to dance – as much as a double bass or a cello allows – as they played the final Rigaudon. Continue reading...

Classical iconoclast

March 11

Benjamin Appl Heimat - ideas and identity

Benjamin Appl and James Baillieu Heimat new from Sony  In the booklet notes, Appl reflects on arriving in London in 2010 to study at the Guildhall School of Music "I felt", he writes in the booklet "not only a sense of freedom but also a sense of uncertainity"  He could have remained in Germany,  the"home"of Lieder, but chose to adapt to a new environment in which he had to find his bearings afresh   On graduation, Appl became part of the BBC Young Generation Artists Program whose extensive coverage has launched many careers.  The eclectic mix of Lieder and English Song on this disc reflects Appl's background, but there's a lot more to this programme, which is very well thought through and deeply satisfying. The songs are arranged in eight sections - Wurzeln (Roots), Räume (Locations), Menschen (People), Unterwegs (On the road), Sensucht (Yearning) and Grenzenlos (Without borders), framed by a Prologue (Schubert's Seligkeit D433  and an Epilogue (Grieg's An das Vaterland op58/2 and Ein Träum 0p 48/6.  This gives cohesive structure, and brings out the logic in the programme.  An individual Winterreise, a journey of self discovery.  Much more rewarding than a random selection !  Appl and Baillieu set out "alone" but traverse different, diverse threads of European art song. Thus the section Wurzeln starts with Max Reger Das Kindes Gebet op 76/22, where the piano tinkles, as,might a child's toy piano.and ends with Brahms' Wegenlied op 49/4., the world's most loved lullaby, which millions of children know even before they learn formal language. Appl mentions the death of two of his grandparents while he was away from home,which gives these familiar songs personal import, with which we can all identify.  Franz Schreker's  Waldeinsamkeit might not be quite so wellnown, but Appl might have included it because the text, a German translation of a Danish poem by Jens Peter Jacobsen, predicates on the phrase "Wir müssen, Geliebteste, leise hinschreiten, ich und du". On a beautiful moonlit night in the woods,the lovers cannot tarry but must move on. Schreker was 19 when he write this song, which may perhaps be significant. And thus, we move on. Romanticism was  forward-thinking, always concerned with wanderers, seeking  new horizons : the journey as important as the destination.  Appl and Baillieu hose two of Shubert's many "wanderer" songs, Drang in die Ferne D 770 and Der Wander an den Mond D870, but pointedly matched them with Adolf Strauss  Ich weiß bestimmt, ich werd' dich weidersehen.   Fate has torn the lovers apart, but the underlying mood is overlaid with deceptive optimism   "I am certain that I will see you again, and hold you in my arms". The song is laconic, a Werimar-infused  pop song. But this Strauss wasn't Richard or Johann but Adolf Strauss (1902-1944), imprisoned at Theresienstadt, killed in Auschwitz. Think on that  This is what happens when national pride turns to bigotry.  At least Germans  deal with such things in a way many Brits cannot.  This colours the Sensucht in Schubert's Das Heimweh D456 and DerWanderer D489 with poignant depth.  "Ich wandle still, bin wenig froh, und ier fragt der Seufzer wo  Im Gesiterhauch tönt's mir zurück; "Dort, wo du nicht bist, dort is ds Glück". Perhaps the very concept of unchanging Heimat is illusion.  Appl and Baillieu made the point still further with Hyde Park, by Francis Poulenc, never François, setting a poem by Guillaume Apollinaire which isn't  about London at all, followed by Benjamin Britten's mock Tudor version of Greensleeves. Another brilliant pairing: Ralph Vaughan Williams Silent Noon with Henry Bishop Home sweet Home, the former a masterpiece the latter sentimental tosh, but Appland Baillieu perform them with finesse.  I love hearing them done with a slight German accent, a reminder that the world is not all Anglo and that music is universal.  This proved an excellent introduction to Peter Warlock's My own country (1927) about an imaginary homeland, which once reached, is a place to lie down and dream "forever and all". John Ireland's If there were dreams to sell continued the dream meme.pointedly, though, dreams can't be "bought" like physical commodities.  Appl and Baillieu completed the set with two songs by Edvard Grieg, whose music shaped national identity and led to Norwegian independence.   Is Heimat a state of mind ? In the last Grieg song (to a poem by a German) "Dort ward die Wirklichkeit zumTraum, Dort ward der Traum zur Wirklichkeit !". Appl and Baillieu's Heimat follows on from their  Stunde, Tage, Ewigeieten, settings of Heine, from Champs Hill Records (reviewed here) which could become a sought after collector's item.  Appl's voice is a joy to listen to, but I hope he'll develop and take more risks. He's very good, and I think he can do it.  At times, he sounds too much like Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, with whom he studied briefly.  But no man can be a master until he finds himself first, and his own "Heimat". Especially in a genre like Lieder which celebrates freedom and individuality. 




My Classical Notes

February 13

Olga Kern: SF Concert Review, 02/12/2017

I attended a concert by pianist Olga Kern in San Francisco on Sunday afternoon, 02/12/2017. I had never heard her in a live performance before, and I knew that she shared the first prize at the Van Cliburn competition in 2001. As such, I knew that I was in for a treat. Ms. Kern has an amazing stage presence. She appeared in a gorgeous full-length gown, and she was welcomed by a large audience. Many of the attendees were members of San Francisco’s Russian community. Ms. Kern’s strong point is that she is what I call a “Bravura Pianist”. She is a powerful performer, and selections that feature a lot of Fortissimos are seemingly composed for her! Olga Kern’s program began with three sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti. I enjoyed the second of these best, because it was more contemplative, and it had fewer long runs. It was easier for me to listen for the spaces between the notes. The featured selection during the first half of the concert was Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata. While Ms. Kern’s playing was filled with the great emotion in this music, I missed hearing any genuine pianissimos. For me, the dynamics that I heard were mostly mezzo Forte and Fortissimo. Even in the second movement, I found the quiet passages to be too loud, and I sat upstairs, and not on the main floor. The second half of the concert started with a contemporary composition by Russian composer Boris Frenksteyn. I liked this piece a lot, particularly the homage to Grieg. The technical aspects of Schumann’s Kinderszenen were very good. Personally, I was looking for slightly longer pauses between the scenes, and also I would have enjoyed dynamics that were quieter. I admit that I am not a fan of the music of Franz Liszt, so I was not amused by the Reminiscences of Don Juan. I found this music to be really shallow, other than the familiar Mozart themes from his opera. I look forward to another concert by Ms. Kern, in particular if the next one contains more music by Russian composers.



Edvard Grieg
(1843 – 1907)

Edvard Grieg (15 June 1843 – 4 September 1907) was a Norwegian composer and pianist who composed in the Romantic period. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt (which includes Morning Mood and In the Hall of the Mountain King), and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.



[+] More news (Edvard Grieg)
Apr 29
Meeting in Music
Apr 14
Topix - Classical...
Apr 13
Wordpress Sphere
Apr 3
Wordpress Sphere
Mar 31
Wordpress Sphere
Mar 29
Wordpress Sphere
Mar 25
Wordpress Sphere
Mar 20
Guardian
Mar 20
The Well-Tempered...
Mar 16
The Well-Tempered...
Mar 15
The Well-Tempered...
Mar 11
Classical iconoclast
Mar 9
Guardian
Feb 28
Wordpress Sphere
Feb 18
The Well-Tempered...
Feb 13
My Classical Notes
Feb 13
Wordpress Sphere
Feb 5
Iron Tongue of Mi...
Jan 30
My Classical Notes
Jan 26
The Boston Musica...

Edvard Grieg




Grieg on the web...



Edvard Grieg »

Great composers of classical music

Piano Concerto In A Minor Morning Mood Peer Gynt In The Hall Of The Mountain King

Since January 2009, Classissima has simplified access to classical music and enlarged its audience.
With innovative sections, Classissima assists newbies and classical music lovers in their web experience.


Great conductors, Great performers, Great opera singers
 
Great composers of classical music
Bach
Beethoven
Brahms
Debussy
Dvorak
Handel
Mendelsohn
Mozart
Ravel
Schubert
Tchaikovsky
Verdi
Vivaldi
Wagner
[...]


Explore 10 centuries in classical music...