Wednesday, 18 September 2002

On 15 September in University of Kentucky Music School heard a recital by Greek pianist Vassilis Varvaresos who is around 16-17 years old. His Prokofiev sixth sonata was remarkable, and he played a very fine Islamey. The Beethoven "Moonlight" I found too slow and reverential, ditto the two Chopin pieces. However, the two Ravel pieces -- Jeux d'eau and Alborada de Gracioso -- were well done. Nothing wrong with enjoying a real virtuoso recital! The audience was a bit amateur: lots of coughing, leaving at the interval, leaving towards the end, as people fitted Varvaresos into their busy Sunday schedules.
As usual these days, did not buy any CDs in America (except a Django Reinhardt disc to play in the Xantia).

Sunday, 15 September 2002

Sitting in the lounge in Kentucky playing with Steve Arnold's wireless-link laptop. No mouse. Quite fun, really. Unlikely to buy any new CDs in America; it ain't the treasure trove of recordings unavailable in Europe that it was 20-30 years ago. Bought an interesting book on Prokofiev, which has really spurred me to do some more investigative listening. I really don't think I need any more recordings of the major violin concertos or symphonies. I really should make an immediate New Year's Resolution concerning my future CD buying.
Scheduled to hear a 15 year old Greek playing "mainly Russian music" this afternoon, followed by an Indian meal. That will be nice. More details in due course. Major storm here at the moment. Dramatic thunder and lightning à la Johann Strauss.

Saturday, 14 September 2002

Had a good evening listening to the Furtwängler recording of Bruckner’s fourth symphony with the VPO (1951, Munich radio broadcast). Those were the days! The symphony sounded like a flowing river of molten gold. Orchestras don’t play like this any more. And there are no more conductors of the stature of Furtwängler. Andrew Litton conducting Bruckner’s fourth with the RPO?
Before I left for Kentucky, a frustrating recording experience Batiashvili playing the first Prokofiev violin concerto at the Proms on 11 September. I nearly forgot to make the recording! And when I remembered (just in time) I found that with my new installation of WaveRepair 4.8, the “Input New Wave File” function had been moved from the “File” toolbar to somewhere else. In trying to find it, I lost around 90 seconds of the beginning of the Prokofiev piece. Rage!

Tuesday, 3 September 2002

Listened to the Beethoven Violin Concerto played by Erich Röhn with Furtwängler (January 1944). This is probably the best Beethoven vc ever recorded. For a change, the orchestra sounds a complete equal to the violin. Röhn’s playing here is completely on a par with Kreisler or Menuhin in this work. A really enthralling performance (and I have always considered that the Beethoven concerto really is one of those works I have just heard once too often).
If only someone could find a way to remove coughs from recorded concerts! The constant coughing is the (only) drawback to this performance.