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Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky

Friday, March 24, 2017


My Classical Notes

March 8

Mikhail Pletnev’s Magic

My Classical NotesI confess that I do not listen to pianist Mikhail Pletnev all that often. However, whenever I do hear him play I am always impressed by his excellence. On this recording we get to enjoy the following: BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata in A Major, Op. 2, No. 2; BACH (arr. Busoni): Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in d minor; CHOPIN (arr. Liszt): The Maiden’s Wish, Op. 74, No. 1; TCHAIKOVSKY: Nocturne in c-sharp minor, Op. 19, No. 4; SCHUBERT: Impromptu No. 2 in E-flat Major; Impromptu No. 3 in G-flat Major, D. 899 All performed by Mikhail Pletnev, piano Here is Mr. Pletnev in a recording of the Beethoven Moonlight Sonata:

Guardian

Yesterday

Johannes Moser: Elgar and Tchaikovsky CD review – mercurial and impulsive

Moser/Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Manze (Pentatone)The two major cello works paired up here by Johannes Moser deal with nostalgia in ways that are poles apart. It’s Tchaikovsky’s sunny Variations on a Rococo Theme that comes off best. Moser plays the composer’s original version, and sets off at a brisk trot – rococo is not going to be a byword for prissy. But the lightness is balanced by a gently yearning lyricism, and he shapes the minor-key variation into one long, seamless line. The playful exchanges between cello and orchestra in the next variation are beautifully handled; throughout, Andrew Manze and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande are supportive at every turn. They and Moser also do a lovely job of the three short Tchaikovsky pieces that fill up the disc. Elgar’s dark Cello Concerto brings a performance from Moser that is mercurial, imaginative and, unsurprisingly, more obviously heart-on-sleeve, but the finale feels too impulsive to knit the whole thing together. Continue reading...






Royal Opera House

March 13

'You could call it perfection': The Royal Ballet on what makes The Sleeping Beauty so enchanting

‘If you can dance The Sleeping Beauty really classically and really well, you can dance anything', says Director of The Royal Ballet Monica Mason of the enchanting fairy-tale. The production holds a special place in the history of The Royal Ballet: it was the first production the Company performed when Covent Garden re-opened its doors after World War II . In this film, the cast and crew explain why the production has remained such a staple in the repertory. ‘With Tchaikovsky you hear it once and you know it for the rest of your life,’ reveals Koen Kessels , Music Director of The Royal Ballet. ‘You could call it perfection.' Mason enlisted the help of Former Artistic Coordinator Christopher Newton , when she set about updating the original production in 2006. ‘We really wanted to recreate the 1946 production, but bring it up to date for today’s audiences', he explains. The work includes some of the most technically demanding steps in all of ballet – including the ultimate challenge for a ballerina – The Rose Adage . Marianela Nuñez as Princess Aurora and Thiago Soares as Prince Florimund in The Royal Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty © ROH / Johan Persson 2013 ‘It’s a fantastic display of classical technique – all within a fairy-tale', explains Marianela Nuñez who danced the role of Princess Aurora when the production was relayed live to cinemas. 'It’s a lovely story but what goes with it is one of the hardest roles for a ballerina: it’s like climbing Mount Everest!’, reveals the Argentine Principal. ‘We do a lot of spinning a lot of jumping and I do think – “Oh my goodness I’m about to die!”’ laughs fellow Principal Vadim Muntagirov who danced the role of Prince Florimund. Several other cast members are also featured to discuss the ballet’s opposing forces of good and evil. ‘It’s always more fun to play a baddie!’ reveals Soloist of The Royal Ballet Kristen McNally who performs the role of Carabosse, who casts a spell on the baby Princess Aurora. To counter the curse, the Lilac Fairy (danced by Claire Calvert) famously sends the beauty to sleep until she is woken by true love’s kiss. The film captures the ballet from side-of-stage, taking audiences closer to the beautiful costumes, magical effects and intricate footwork required. ‘It’s the coming together of excellence in every department’, smiles Mason. ‘It’s what we hope for.’ Watch more films like this by subscribing to the Royal Opera House YouTube channel: The Sleeping Beauty runs until 14 March 2017. Tickets are sold out, but returns may become available. Further tickets are released every Friday for performances in the following week in Friday Rush . The production is staged with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Hans and Julia Rausing, Lindsay and Sarah Tomlinson and The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund and is sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels, with the original production (2006) made possible by The Linbury Trust, Sir Simon and Lady Robertson and Marina Hobson OBE.

Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky
(1840 – 1893)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (May 7, 1840 - November 6, 1893) was a Russian composer of the Romantic era. His wide ranging output includes symphonies, operas, ballets, instrumental and chamber music and songs. He wrote some of the most popular concert and theatrical music in the classical repertoire, including the ballets Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, the 1812 Overture, his First Piano Concerto, his last three numbered symphonies, and the opera Eugene Onegin. Born into a middle-class family, Tchaikovsky was educated for a career as a civil servant, despite his obvious musical precocity. He pursued a musical career against the wishes of his family, entering the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1862 and graduating in 1865. This formal, Western-oriented training set him apart from the contemporary nationalistic movement embodied by the influential group of young Russian composers known as The Five, with whom Tchaikovsky's professional relationship was mixed.



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