Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Brief Audio List For the Holiday...

Last week I offered a short list of videos of historical import for you to pursue and peruse in order (hopefully!) to help enhance the holiday spirit. This time, I will add a few really wonderful audios containing performances of stunning impact and uniqueness I hope  you may also have interest in:
Imagine being bathed by the collective genius and attendant beauty of two giants performing  in the very same room at the very same time - it's the recording in 1976 of Schumann's masterful "Dichterliebe,"  sung by the legend Dietrich Fischer-Diskau, with, believe it or not, Vladimir Horowitz at the piano. And so -  just listen...
Jacqueline du Pre, at age seventeen, in her introduction to the history of music, had already given to the world in her first public performance a sound emanating from her 'cello that was already world-class. Later on, her recording of that same masterpiece, the Elgar Concerto, was given us and to posterity.
What a tragedy - a career of  just a  handful of years; and then, the deadly disease that took her from us at age 42-  where would this phenomenon have taken herself had she lived on?
Mikhail Pletnev is one of Mother Russia's piano titans of our day, and has thrilled audiences throughout the world with his wondrous color vocabulary and pyrotechnique. A truly welcome contribution to the holiday is his luminous and scholarly adherence to the   Tchaikovsky orchestration, in a piano transcription of "The Nutcracker."  Pletnev's brilliance in his creation makes it sound, veritably, as if Tchaikovsky could very well have written every note that you hear as a keyboard entity, rather than for the orchestra.
In 1928, after hearing the 24 year  old  Horowitz perform his 3rd Piano Concerto, Rachmaninoff asserted that he would never perform this work again in public. It was as if Rachmaninoff had been cast into the same mode of  regarding the sensational young pianist as was the author Hilton, who once remarked that "if a person were born deaf. and later given one hour of hearing, that person would have been well advised to spend that hour listening to Horowitz."
And yet, there is a recording that Rachmaninoff made of the 3rd Concerto many years later, just a few years before he passed away. During that period, the great Russian composer/pianist recorded his other works for piano and orchestra with the Philadelphia Symphony. We are indeed blessed to be able to hear these recordings. They are easily available.
So; do enjoy these little contributions during the holiday!

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