Argentinian-American pianist Mirian Conti has built a career on the music of non-canonical composers. That’s not to say she’s ill-versed in the classics—far from it, in fact, as countless glowing reviews can attest. But even though Conti is equally at home in Chopin as she is in Halffter, she is first and foremost a champion of lesser-known pieces, both old and new.
Conti’s passion for new music found voice most recently in a recording of fellow Argentinian Lalo Schifrin’s complete works for solo piano. Continue reading
Grand Piano is delighted to report that Hayk Melikyan’s recording of the complete piano works of Alexander Arutiunian [GP718] has been recognised as Best Classical Album of the Year by Armenia’s Ministry of Culture.
Arutiunian, an accomplished pianist who was much admired by Shostakovich, created virtuoso piano works that are rooted in Armenian folk traditions while expressing, in the words of Hayk Melikyan, “a rich palette of emotions reflecting both his time and the history of his nation.”
“Strength and imagination are the hallmarks of this disc.” (MusicWeb International)
“This is an exemplary introduction to the music of Babadjanian.” (Fanfare)
Goran Filipec’s January, 2018 release of music for solo piano by the Croatian composer Blagoje Bersa (GP767) has received a Gramophone Editor’s Choice award in the magazine’s March issue. Jed Distler’s review is a recital in itself and well worth reading in full. In addition to the 1897 Second Sonata, which is the release’s most substantial work, the 11-item programme includes Bersa’s Fantaisie-Impromptu (“Liszt on steroids”), the melodically intriguing Po načinu starih (“pinches of mint in a vanilla pudding”) and Marcia trionfale (“a relentless invasion of octaves in all directions”).
“Although Bersa was the most influential Croatian composer at the turn from the 19th to the 20th century,” says Filipec, “his music stayed pretty much unknown to international audiences. Remarkable in his musical intentions, Bersa is a composer who will surely be appreciated by music lovers.”
Jed Distler has the final word in support: “I cannot recommend this release highly enough and, needless to say, I look forward to Vol 2.”
On Sunday April 9th 2017, as part of Estonian Music Days, the oldest and biggest contemporary classical music festival in Estonia (www.eestimuusikapaevad.ee/en/), the French pianist Nicolas Horvath gave a solo concert dedicated to the renowned Estonian composer Jaan Rääts, who is celebrating his 85th birthday this year. In addition to various works by Rääts, including Sonatas Nos. 9 and 10, Radio 4 and the world première of Prelude (2017), Horvath performed pieces dedicated to the composer, written by other composers who studied with Rääts: Avi Benjamin, Raimo Kangro, Tõnis Kaumann, Mihkel Kerem, Kerri Kotta, Tõnu Kõrvits, Vsevolod Pozdejev, Timo Steiner and Erkki-Sven Tüür. The concert, organised in collaboration with the French Institute in Estonia, took place in Radio Studio 1 of Estonian Public Broadcasting. After the concert Naxos Head of Production Peter Bromley, on behalf of Grand Piano, and Nicolas Horvath, presented Mr Rääts with a copy of the pianist’s newly released Grand Piano recording of Volume 1 of the 10 Piano Sonatas [GP765: Nos. 1–4, 9 and 10].
New Zealand fortepianist and Grand Piano recording artist Dr Kemp English has just returned from a residency at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth. He gave a concert on their new fortepiano (built by renowned instrument maker Paul McNulty) and presented workshops and papers devoted to the music of Leopold Koželuch. Kemp’s world premiere recordings of the complete cycle of keyboard sonatas by Leopold Koželuch are being released on the Grand Piano label, with Volume 9 (of 12) scheduled for release shortly.
The series has garnered excellent reviews from around the world. The UK’s Early Music magazine commented: “This is entertaining music, especially when played with English’s panache and vitality”. MusicWeb International and Klassik.com described Kemp’s performances as both “superlative” and “awesome”. Volume 5 received a five-star review from BBC Music Magazine