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This beloved pianist - possibly the most recorded pianist of the last century - is known for his nearly "non-virtuosic" style, where he plays in a lyric manner, emphasizing the composer over technique.

 

He also led the acceptance of the performance of J.S. Bach on the piano - once a controversial artistic statement. 

 

This collection features over 4 hours of glorious solo Bach, played with the touch of one of the great lyric pianists who ever recorded.

 

"THE BEST AVAILABLE RECORDING OF THESE WORKS ON PIANO." --GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE

 

CLASSICAL STARS

CLASSICAL STARS

DAWN UPSHAW, soprano & MARGO GARRETT, piano
STEPHEN HOUGH, piano
CAROL WINCENC, flute & ANDRAS SCHIFF, piano
COLIN CARR, cello & FRANCIS GRIER, piano
NADJA SALERNO-SONNENBERG, violin & SANDRA RIVERS, piano
CHARLES NEIDITCH, clarinet & THE MENDELSSOHN STRING QUARTET
JORGE CABALLERO, guitar

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EXPLORING MUSIC: CLASSICAL STAR LITE 

CLASSICAL STAR LITE by David White

Truly, if we think about classical music, you could make a rational argument that if there was ever a genre of music that you didn’t need star performers, it might be classical music. 

 

After all, the stars are REALLY guys (sorry, really, guys) like Beethoven, Bach and Mozart. What difference does a STAR really make anyway? Of course, this is a bit of a question posed simply to prompt an essay. In some cases, there are just people who possess innate or learned talent that far exceeds the norm - and they possess an ability to interpret in a way that reveals the deepest emotional resources of the composer. 

 

The names are familiar to a generation - Rubinstein playing Chopin, Pavarotti singing Puccini, Dinu Lipatti’s last recital, Maria Callas singing Tosca - are just a few examples. And the recording of these performances have actually called into question whether we even need new generations of artists since we have perfectly preserved performances that are almost impossible to surpass. (Don’t worry, it’s not just classical - heard of any good rock and roll bands under 40? Any jazz performers under 60?) But the real difference makers in all of this is actually us! Our ability to listen defines what we take away from the music.

 

And add this to the mix - to create a category of “great performers” and “good performers” is often blurred. I experienced this effect at a concert in Cambridge, MA with the late pianist Miecyslaw Horszowski when he was 95 years old - it was a December night, it was unbearably hot in the small room at Sanders Theater and the pianist was 15 minutes late when all of a sudden he was screaming at the top of his lungs...and then he walked out and performed Bach in an utterly magnificent manner. But yet few would place him in a “star” category.

 

I realize that we live by this - the faith that a great performance can come out of nowhere is why we listen, why we tolerate 64 performances of the same work. Because if we plow through all 64, we are probably likely to find a diamond in that collection. And it might not be the world-famous pianist or violinist, it might also be a less-travelled but respected college professor.

 

So in listening to this collection of “classical stars” we do acknowledge that the real star is the music, but that we rely on the interpreter to be an element of us, outside of us, hoping to show us something we hadn’t seen before. If they do, they are stars. They may not get the spotlight, but for a moment, they are stars.

TRACK LISTING

CAROL WINCENC & ANDRAS SCHIFF

PHILIPPE GAUBERT: Flute Sonata No. 1

 

COLIN CARR & FRANCIS GRIER
CESAR FRANCK: Violin Sonata in A Major (arr. for cello)

 

JORGE CABALLERO
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH: Cello Suite No. 4 In E-Flat Major (C Major), BWV 1010 (arr. for guitar)

 

DAWN UPSHAW & MARGO GARRETT
HUGO WOLF
Goethe-Lieder (selections)

 

CHARLES NEIDITCH & THE MENDELSSOHN STRING QUARTET
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART: Clarinet Quintet In A Major, K. 581 
(Reconstruction Of The Original Version For Basset Clarinet by Charles Neidich)

 

DAWN UPSHAW & MARGO GARRETT

RICHARD STRAUSS
Drei Lieder der Ophelia, op.67a

 

CAROL WINCENC & ANDRAS SCHIFF

GABRIEL FAURE: Fantaisie, Op.79

 

STEPHEN HOUGH

SERGEI LIAPUNOV
12 Études d'exécution transcendante, Op. 11 (3 SELECTIONS)

 

CAROL WINCENC

CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Syrinx, L. 129    02:44

 

NADJA SALERNO-SONNENBERG & SANDRA RIVERS
GABRIEL FAURE: Violin Sonata No. 1 In A Major, Op. 13

 

STEPHEN HOUGH
ALEXANDER SCRIABIN
Sonata No. 9, Op. 68 "Messe noire"

 

COLIN CARR & FRANCIS GRIER

CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Cello Sonata, L. 135

 

 

 

LISTEN: FRANCK - VIOLIN SONATA, arr. for cello & piano - COLIN CARR 

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LISTEN: R. STRAUSS - DREI LIEDER DER OPHELIA - DAWN UPSHAW  

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LISTEN: LIAPUNOV - 12 ETUDES D'EXECUTION TRANSCENDANTE, OP. 11 I. ETUDE IN F-SHARP MAJOR 'BERCEUSE' - STEPHEN HOUGH

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OUR REVIEW

This collection, chosen from the vast archive of recordings from MHS's long standing relationship with the Naumberg Foundation, does a fine job of showcasing the early days of some of the world's finest classical musicians. You get a glimpse of greatness with the performances from Dawn Upshaw and Stephen Hough. Some others give fine performances, with some rough edges (Salerno-Sonnenberg's performance sound a bit harsh), and others make you wonder why we never heard more from them (Jorge Caballero's Bach arrangements are tasteful and precise).   -- David White