A dacha is a summer home for Russians, away from the hurly-burly of the city, and can be as primitive as a cabin or as elaborate as a palace. A much-favored place for gatherings of intellectuals, dachas are a favored literary setting. In this film, adapted by Nikita Mikhailkov from Anton Chekhov's first play and some of his other works, the schoolteacher Platonov (Alexander Kalyagin) has come with his wife to spend a summer weekend at a friend's dacha. Among the other guests there, he meets his former lady-love Sophia (Elena Solovei), who is now married to another. Even though he thought he had recovered from his disappointed affection for her, he finds that this is not so for at least two reasons. First, she only recently got married; secondly, she is married to an idiot. Nostalgia spurs them to investigate their affection for one another, but eventually, as they remember their stations in life, their old love does not seem so important.
In 1832 Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47) wrote to his sister Fanny that is what about time he wrote some ‘good trios’. He had already started but left unfinished a trio for piano, violin and viola, and started the D minor trio shortly after, completing it in 1839. Mendelssohn’s friend the composer-pianist Ferdinand Hiller advised him after the completion to make several revisions to make the work sound as up to date as possible – Hiller, was a pupil of Hummel was a keen supporter of Berlioz and Liszt. The result is a work of perfect proportions, with a brilliant piano part, skilful counterpoint and a wonderful blend of classical poise and romantic passion. Schumann reviewing the Leipzig premiere on 1840 commented that the trio was a masterpiece that would ‘bring joy to our children and grandchildren’. The 2nd trio is dedicated to the great German violinist and composer Louis Spohr.
Marie Jaëll probably represents the most authoritative and accomplished expression of the nineteenth-century woman musician. In spite of her coming from the provinces and despite the heavy social restrictions imposed on artists of her gender, she nonetheless succeeded in being recognized as a virtuoso, a composer and as a teacher. Support from her husband – the Austrian pianist Alfred Jaëll – greatly contributed to the positive reception of her initial works for the piano, but it was by herself, armed with her talent and her resolve in the latter part of her life, that she faced up to the Parisian hurly-burly in which she proved herself to be one of its distinctive figures. While her learning method is still taught in various different countries, little interest thus far has been shown in her music, which in the greater part is held in the Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire in Strasbourg. Formidable and ambitious symphonic works are revealed on this book-cd as well as a significant facet of her compositions for the piano.
Captured in the Maly Hall of the Moscow Conservatory where much of Prokofiev's work was first heard, it's surprising to find so many aspects of the composer's style represented, from the Romanticism of the early Ballade through the spiky dissonances of Chout to the elegiac, unfinished Solo Sonata. Aided by characterful piano-playing by Tatyana Lazareva, Ivashkin's recital compares most favourably with his similar programme on Ode for which he was accompanied by a more reticent pianist; although the earlier disc includes the Concertino movement in the guise of Rostropovich's cello quintet arrangement, the absence of the Chout transmogrification makes the Chandos collection appear better value.
Great late 70s work from Jimmy Smith – two albums back to back on a single CD! One of our favorite later albums from organist Jimmy Smith – and a set that cooks heavily in a wicked blend of jazz, funk, and soul! The style's a bit like the groove that Johnny Hammond hit during his Gears period – arranged by Eugene McDaniels and Alan Silvestri, with an approach that's somewhere between Larry Mizell and Skip Scarborough – tight grooves, bits of vocals, yet plenty of room for Smith's keyboard solos to take off over the top! Players include Herbie Hancock on piano, Alan Silvestri on guitar, and Lenny White on drums – but the main star is Jimmy – who's grooving massively over the top of the album, with soaring solos that are some of his best work from the late 70s.
Hilding Rosenberg's two-movement first concerto was written for Sven Brandel and given to him (probably for appraisal). The work seems never to have been performed until 1992 shortly after it was discovered amongst Brandel's papers. The first movement is rhythmically active - torrentially so! There is, for me more than a touch of the convulsive martellato of Shostakovich's Piano Concertos 1 and 2 and the Khachaturyan Concerto-Rhapsody in this steam-hammer blizzard. There is some relief in the middle of the movement and here and there a reassuring ………Rob Barnett @ Musicweb-international.com