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.
Chamber music has always formed the heart of Maria João Pires’s musicianship. Indeed, she has often commented that she is happier working with others than performing on her own. “Not sharing a stage is very difficult for me,” she once remarked (in an interview for ArtsJournal in 2012) “You are apart from the group, apart from community, apart from everything. You become different and special. And, if you become different and special, you’re alone.”
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.
Before Perlemuter recorded his powerful Phantasie he’d visited Wyastone to set down his Kreisleriana and Etudes symphoniques. He was 78 when he recorded the former, his technique still strong, the playing direct, powerfully conceived and conceived moreover in a concentrated arch. Never one for easy emoting, this is not necessarily the most pliant cycle one will hear, but that was never his aim.
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.
Berman’s first teacher was his mother, herself a pupil of Isabella Vengerova, but at an early age he had lessons from Savshinsky of the Leningrad Conservatory. Berman first played in public at the age of four, and at the age of seven he took part in a concert at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, subsequently being asked to record Mozart’s Fantasy in D minor K. 397, and a composition of his own…
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