It has become fashionable, once again, for concert pianists to release recital albums containing a mixed variety of music, brought together by a particular concept.
I personally welcome this approach, finding that it leads to releases which are generally more enjoyable than listening to the completist’s rendition of a huge raft of music by one composer. But it is certainly a challenge for pianists to put together a programme that is both fresh and familiar.
Where some have failed, Georgian pianist Catherine Gordeladze has brilliantly succeeded on her new release, called Dance Fantasies. And remarkably, about half of the music here was new to me, even though the programme strikes a fabulous balance between novelty and the comfort of the familiar.
Continue reading Catherine Gordeladze’s ‘Dance Fantasies’
Regular readers will know that for several years I have been sharing my recordings on the SoundCloud website, as well as enjoying the music that others share there.
One musician whose tracks have regularly impressed me is young Belgian composer Koen Janssen. Like many whose music I admire on SoundCloud, Koen does not come from a traditional background in music education – following piano lessons as a child he has largely taught himself, and his musical adventures have included stints as a DJ and playing in bands.
Having returned to more classical roots, his first EP of epic soundtrack and piano music is now available on iTunes. I was delighted to have a chance to discuss his musical journey with him …
As you read on, enjoy listening to this example of Koen’s music, ’Touch’:
Continue reading An Interview with Koen Janssen
Sheet Music Review & New Recording
Per Hartmann’s independent publishing house Edition HH have produced many fine scores, and brought into the spotlight some fine classical pieces which were unjustly overlooked elsewhere.
I have been uniformly impressed with the quality of Edition HH publications, such as Barbara Snow’s brilliant Animal Jazz which I reviewed last year, and many others (more reviews of Edition HH publications coming soon!)
In the meantime I was delighted to receive a small score containing two solo piano pieces composed by Per’s own father, Norwegian composer Christian Hartmann (1910-1985). Hartmann senior is apparently well known to Norwegian children for his song settings for Ole Brumm (Winnie-the-Pooh), as well as having success with his works for stage and screen.
According to Per:
“I thought it would be good to have something composed by him in our catalogue, so I decided upon these two short piano pieces, which I love to play myself.”
I was naturally touched by the affection of the publisher for his father, but as I sat down to play these pieces I was equally impressed by the charm of the pieces themselves. Finding no recordings of them elsewhere, I agreed with Per to record them myself, sharing them here, and on my SoundCloud page.
Continue reading Christian Hartmann: Two Pieces
2016 has been a pretty crazy year for many around the world… but how was it for you?
If you’ve had a good year, let’s hope for an even better one in 2017. And if 2016 wasn’t such a good vintage, well again I hope that the coming year will bring renewed hope, enthusiasm, energy and happiness to your life.
Here’s a recording of a short composition of mine which I made a couple of years back, and which has become one of the most popular pieces I have shared online, as well as a popular concert piece. I hope you enjoy it, and that it can be the soundtrack for your hopes as we enter the New Year together!
Andrew Eales: “Prelude to a Better Year”
Wishing all readers and friends around the world a peaceful and prosperous year in 2017 – HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Like many in the UK, I woke up to an early blast of freezing temperatures this morning. The frost is deep and crisp and even. The pond is starting to ice over. “The hose is froze”.
And while I live in a mild temperate climate, far from the extremes that many friends and colleagues around the world experience, there remains no doubt that winter is coming even here.
I always associate the different seasons and time of the year with different music. And like many composers that is also reflected in my writing.
With that in mind, here is something to listen to from the warmth of the indoors – a small composition of mine from a few seasons ago, called “Snow on Snow”. The words (which I read aloud) are from Christina Rosetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter”.
If you enjoy this, do feel free to explore my other original music on SoundCloud.
At my recent piano recital, I started with the very beautiful Chaconne in F major by the early French Baroque composer Louis Couperin (1626-61), uncle of the far better known François Couperin “Le Grand” (1668-1731).
For most who were in the audience, it will have been their first encounter with the music of Louis Couperin, and even those with an interest in the early French Baroque will perhaps never have heard this music performed on a modern piano before – it was written for the harpsichord (or clavecin as the French knew it) and while later Baroque music (for example the keyboard works of J.S.Bach and Domenico Scarlatti) has found its way into the piano repertoire, earlier Baroque keyboard music is rarely heard outside of specialist “Early Music” circles.
Continue reading Louis Couperin … on the Piano?
A few weeks ago I mentioned that Schott Music are holding an event at their London Store in celebration of the excellent “Relax with Piano” series of books, which I very positively reviewed here when they were published earlier in the year.
I was hoping to attend, but alas circumstances prevent me from doing so. However, I do think that the event will be an enjoyable evening for all who can attend, and I recommend doing so if you get the chance!
In the meantime, as I am unable to make it, I decided to post a recording of the Haydn Adagio in F major Hob.XVII:9, which I had intended to play at some point. I hope you enjoy this wonderful, truly relaxing piece!
And if you have taken up the opportunity to play at the event, all the best!
Ayako Fujiki is a Japanese classical pianist who lives in Barcelona, Spain, where she had the privilege of learning with the legendary Spanish concert pianist Alicia de Larrocha.
She has released three classical recordings, and now brings us Brightwater, a collection of her own original compositions. Already a success in Spain, Ayako now hopes to win more fans in the UK and beyond.
Continue reading Ayako Fujiki: “brightwater”