Franz Liszt: Piano Concerto no. 1 in Eb

performed by The London Symphony Orchestra under Claudio Abbado Martha Argerich, piano (from the Great Pianists of the 20th Century collection by Philips) I couldn’t find the above recording on YouTube, but this is Ms. Argerich with the Berlin Radio Symphony (this version is almost as good as the one I have become accustomed to listening to) “Das versteht ihr alle nicht, haha!” (None of you understand this, haha!)  Or at least how some say begins the opening of the first movement of this concerto. (It fits rhythmically). Regardless, this twenty-minute piece in four movements is one hell of a ride.  … Continue reading Franz Liszt: Piano Concerto no. 1 in Eb

Alan Hovhaness: Symphony no. 2, op. 132, ‘Mysterious Mountain’

performed by the London Symphony Orchestra under John Williams (A playlist for the recordings of the three movements of this particular performance can be found here) I’m learning that generally speaking, I don’t care much for subtitles of works. ‘Symphony number … Continue reading Alan Hovhaness: Symphony no. 2, op. 132, ‘Mysterious Mountain’

Prokofiev Piano Concerto no. 2, op. 16

performed by the London Symphony Orchestra under Andre PrevinVladimir Ashkenazy, piano This was kind of Ashkenazy’s warhorse for a while I’m told. The Interwebs told me. This piece comes up often in the “hardest piano concerto ever” discussions that many an amateur like to have. I believe that comes from summing up the scope of the greatest challenge possible and putting things into perspective against it. Maybe. Anyway, Prok 2, Rach 2 and 3, Brahms 2, and Bartok 1 and 2 seem to be the ones that are most often agreed upon as being frighteningly, intensely difficult (obviously in different … Continue reading Prokofiev Piano Concerto no. 2, op. 16

Sergei Prokofiev: symphony no. 4 (op. 47)

performed by the London Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev (I think) (This piece has been ‘revisited’ since I felt the article below to be inadequate. The updated articles are here here for the original op. 47 , and here for the revised op. 112.) It’s Prokofiev. The recording I have happens to be the earlier, unrevised version; that’s the only reason I chose this one. I may address op. 112 separately. The first movement is generally “eroico” in nature, heavy and big, but also kind of menacing in places. The second theme is contrastingly lyrical and nice, and the middle section is … Continue reading Sergei Prokofiev: symphony no. 4 (op. 47)