Over four decades since securing worldwide recognition as one of the finest musicians of her generation, Maria João Pires continues to transfix audiences with the spotless integrity, eloquence and vitality of her art. This recital, recorded live in the splendid Wigmore Hall acoustics, is clearly a red-letter event for chamber music connoisseurs. Pires is partnered by Antonio Meneses, cellist with the Beaux Arts Trio and artist of great wisdom and imagination.
The performances on this 2-CD set were recorded during Piano Masterworks, a series of six concerts given by Nikolai Demidenko in Wigmore Hall, London, between January and June 1993. Devised by Ates Orga, under the patronage of The Lord Birkett, sponsored by Lloyds Private Banking, these recitals ranged across 250 years of keyboard music, instrumental technique and the development of modern piano resource - from Scarlatti to Gubaidulina. As a concept the series was modelled on nineteenth-century Romantic practice. In Paris, between 1873 and 1877, Charles-Valentin Alkan gave regular 'Petits Concerts de Musique Classique' -six recitals each, surveying the repear rtoire from Couperin, Bach, Handel and Scarlatti to Weber, Chopin, Schumann and Mendelssohn. Later, the Russian Anton Rubinstein created a cycle of seven Historical Recitals with which he took his farewell of Europe in the mid-1880s. At over three hours individually, these embraced a repertoire from Byrd and John Bull to Balakirev and Tchaikovsky. Like Franz Liszt, Ferruccio Busoni, too, was historically aware, his programming ranging from Bach to Liapunov.
Within a framework selectively subjective, Piano Masterworks sought to present an historical overview, offering a panorama of changing styles, aesthetic values and imaginative responses. The series was launched in Northern Ireland during 1991/92, opening at the Belfast Festival and continuing under the auspices of Queen's University, Belfast, and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Opinions differ on whether he is the heir of Horowitz, Richter or Kissin but in that line of giants, critical opinion is unanimous: Daniil Trifonov is THE great Russian pianist for the 21st Century. In the past thirty years, the honour of a live Carnegie Hall recital recording has been bestowed by DG upon only two other pianists: Mikhail Pletnev and Lang Lang. Daniil Trifonov now joins this elite company for his very first recording on the Yellow Label.
From the notes: Rosita Renard was born in Santiago, Chile, on February 8, 1894, the daughter of a building contractor; she showed extraordinary gifts as a child, and made her pianistic debut at the age of fourteen playing the Grieg Concerto with the Chilean Symphony Orchestra. A year later the government awarded her a scholarship to study in Berlin at the Stern Conservatory. Arriving there in 1910, Rosita was put in the master class of Martin Krause, a Liszt pupil today remembered as the teacher of Edwin Fischer, who was Renard's classmate and friend, and Claudio Arrau, her countryman, who was seven years Renard's junior. The two families were friendly and when it came time for the nine-year-old Arrau to audition fro Krause in 1912, it was Rosita Renard who actually took the young boy by the hand to the audition" Notes by Edward Blickstein
Maria João Pires “shapes and colours every phrase, and with immaculate taste, and she makes sure the phrases end as eloquently as they begin,” wrote Gramophone in 1974. “She conveys not just the details but the relevance of every note to the whole … Best of all, she communicates everything she has discovered about the music, and it is worth having.” This Portuguese pupil of Wilhelm Kempff, Pires was one of the artists who defined the Erato label in the 1970s and 1980s. This 5-CD box gathers together the recordings she made over the period from 1976 to 1985 and it reflects the consistent focus of her repertoire, with its special emphasis on Austro-German composers of the Classical and early-Romantic periods. Embracing solo works, piano duets and concertos, it contains works by Mozart, Schumann, Beethoven, but also by Bach and Chopin.
Maria-Joào Pires has recorded these concertos before, for Erato, and this experience shows in assured playing. In K449 I find the sound of the Vienna Philharmonic, recorded in Vienna's Musikverein, too big: the string section seems large and the hall over-reverberant. Furthermore, the piano sounds plummy, and even those who dislike the fortepiano may question its suitability. With these reservations, one can enjoy Pires's deft and sensitive performance, without strong individuality but offering consistent intelligence, and the brisk finale shows her and Abbado at their best. Even so, this is a romanticized slow movement; the gooey orchestral sound does not help, but the pianist is also partly responsible in a way that I have sometimes noted in her performances of Mozart's sonatas.