Concert Review: Taipei Philharmonic 30th Anniversary Concert

台北愛樂管弦樂團 This concert was the day after the previous concert review, the one with Mo. Antoni Wit, and if you look at the two programs, it could also tenuously be called “Paganini Variations Part 2.” I don’t seem to have recalled hearing the Taipei Philharmonic before. For clarification’s sake, the previous day’s ensemble is the Taiwan Philharmonic, but only in English. Their Chinese name (國家交響樂團) translates to English as the National Symphony Orchestra. You can see how that may be confusing, but in any case, they’re different. I expressed in that article my continued and growing adoration for the NSO, … Continue reading Concert Review: Taipei Philharmonic 30th Anniversary Concert

Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 in C, op. 26

performed by the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, Yefim Bronfman, piano (while I mention Wang below, and Argerich many times, I do quite enjoy Bronfman’s performance here. It’s a new album for me and I was pleased enough to listen to it instead of the other Argerich recordings and Wang’s with Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra; they’re all great) https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/KDfGBmbNbMw&source=uds The above is of the wonderful Yuja Wang and the Concertgebouw, under their (soon-to-be) new maestro, Daniele Gatti.  https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/NOybfjTRCdo&source=uds The above is of Ms. Martha Argerich herself. The first recording I had of this piece was of her and … Continue reading Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 in C, op. 26

The favorite symphonies list

A musical scavenger hunt of sorts. “He’s making a list… he’s checking it…” oh, only about half a billion times.  I got this idea from this thread at Talk Classical which you may not be able to read without logging in.  This is essentially an exercise in musical sudoku. There is ZERO inherent quality that a first symphonies of multiple composers would have in common, save it being the first one they wrote. Prokofiev’s first as a kind of musical caricature is so different from the ambitious first symphonies of Brahms or Mahler or Rott (his only, as I know, thanks … Continue reading The favorite symphonies list

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)