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London lawyer plays Alkan's Concerto for solo piano
#2911812 11/14/19 06:29 AM
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqeB6lfvM1Q

Alerted to this guy (who has a full time job as an international barrister in the City of London, meaning that he frequently goes for weeks at a time without touching a piano) by a rave review in Gramophone (Nov 2019) of his new CD coupling the Symphony and the Concerto, I thought I'd look him up on YT.

It gives hope to us amateurs......or maybe not cry.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: London lawyer plays Alkan's Concerto for solo piano
bennevis #2911903 11/14/19 12:22 PM
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Just finished watching. Very impressive, BUT, leaves no hope for me, LOL...



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Re: London lawyer plays Alkan's Concerto for solo piano
bennevis #2913693 11/19/19 06:52 AM
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Yup, his live performance is really impressive. Gonna buy the CD soon. I listened to it on Spotify, and it’s fantastic.

Re: London lawyer plays Alkan's Concerto for solo piano
bennevis #2913708 11/19/19 07:40 AM
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https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/11/how-a-city-lawyer-conquered-the-hardest-piano-work-ever-written/

An interesting article about the pianist I found while trying to find out about his musical background.

Re: London lawyer plays Alkan's Concerto for solo piano
pianoloverus #2913799 11/19/19 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/11/how-a-city-lawyer-conquered-the-hardest-piano-work-ever-written/

An interesting article about the pianist I found while trying to find out about his musical background.

Thanks for that - it looks like he's no sudden fluke, or that he appeared from nowhere.

Miracles don't happen in this world, alas.

I was surprised to learn that Hamelin had never played the Symphony, but yep, there's no recording of it by him.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: London lawyer plays Alkan's Concerto for solo piano
Orange Soda King #2913810 11/19/19 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Yup, his live performance is really impressive. Gonna buy the CD soon. I listened to it on Spotify, and it’s fantastic.


It's the first - and likely only - CD to couple the Symphony with the Concerto. In just under 80 minutes......

There is an interesting interview with him in the Gamophone, where he was also asked about the Symphony and Concerto's 'fearsome reputations' and whether he thought they were justified.

This is what he said:

"No, if the aim is merely to navigate the notes accurately. Even though these works sometimes approach the limits of pianistic possibility, Alkan's writing is unfailingly idiomatic and naturally pianistic.
But that would be to miss the point. The Symphony and the Concerto are written as epics, and call for high-voltage pianism: risks must be taken and sparks must fly, and any caution-driven, 'safety-first' performance will fall flat. The writing is also cruelly unforgiving, and - pianistic though it may be - is all too easily spoiled by inaccurate or inadequate execution.
Breathing life into these works therefore entails the traversal of a knife-edge, across relentless canvases that require an extraordinary degree of stamina: physical, mental and artistic.
So, if the aim is instead to do these works justice: absolutely."

BTW, his next CD for BIS will be Thalberg's L'art du chant appliqué au piano, which I don't think I've ever heard. He calls it "a glorious celebration of sonic and lyrical beauty, and the art of pianistic illusion." whistle


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: London lawyer plays Alkan's Concerto for solo piano
bennevis #2913852 11/19/19 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
BTW, his next CD for BIS will be Thalberg's L'art du chant appliqué au piano, which I don't think I've ever heard. He calls it "a glorious celebration of sonic and lyrical beauty, and the art of pianistic illusion." whistle
This set of pieces is very beautiful. Thalberg wrote them, if I remember correctly, as studies in developing a singing tone at the piano. They are all transcriptions of vocal works but almost completely without the extensively florid and hyper virtuosic piano writing typical of other Thalberg transcriptions. Here are a few:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWuK_aupet0&list=RDPWuK_aupet0&start_radio=1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyOPe1i3s6M
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeMRXIFG-bM

Re: London lawyer plays Alkan's Concerto for solo piano
bennevis #2914075 11/20/19 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis

...it looks like he's no sudden fluke, or that he appeared from nowhere.

Some piano history of Paul Wee that I fondly remember.

Paul was a regular poster at several piano forums 20 years ago - GFF, pianostreet, pianophilia - when he was about 15, living in New York City and studying with Svetlanova.

He posted a video of his amazing recital performance of Islamey. The mp3 recording is still up at pianostreet:

https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=8980.0

And from 8 years ago, Bellini-Liszt Norma:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ4o0Zz0jdc

With regard to Paul's debut CD of Alkan's Symphony and Concerto, it is a "must have", along with Raymond Lewenthal's recording of the Symphony, and Hamelin's recordings of the Symphony and Concerto (Hyperion, not the earlier Music and Art, with its flawed audio engineering).

Mel





"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, only what you are expecting to give, which is everything. You give because you love and cannot help giving." Katharine Hepburn
Re: London lawyer plays Alkan's Concerto for solo piano
dannylux #2914120 11/20/19 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by dannylux

Paul was a regular poster at several piano forums 20 years ago

Sorry, that should be about 15 years ago, not 20.

Mel


"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, only what you are expecting to give, which is everything. You give because you love and cannot help giving." Katharine Hepburn
Re: London lawyer plays Alkan's Concerto for solo piano
bennevis #2914229 11/20/19 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
[quote=pianoloverus]

I was surprised to learn that Hamelin had never played the Symphony, but yep, there's no recording of it by him.


Marc-Andre Hamelin has recorded and given many live performances of the Symphony. He recorded it on the Hyperion label along with the Trois Morceaux dans le Genre Pathetique.

Re: London lawyer plays Alkan's Concerto for solo piano
Orange Soda King #2914238 11/20/19 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Originally Posted by bennevis
[quote=pianoloverus]

I was surprised to learn that Hamelin had never played the Symphony, but yep, there's no recording of it by him.


Marc-Andre Hamelin has recorded and given many live performances of the Symphony. He recorded it on the Hyperion label along with the Trois Morceaux dans le Genre Pathetique.

Yes, you are right - in fact, I've found an old program of a London concert where he played both the Symphony and Concerto.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: London lawyer plays Alkan's Concerto for solo piano
dannylux #2914242 11/20/19 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by dannylux
Originally Posted by bennevis

...it looks like he's no sudden fluke, or that he appeared from nowhere.

Some piano history of Paul Wee that I fondly remember.

Paul was a regular poster at several piano forums 20 years ago - GFF, pianostreet, pianophilia - when he was about 15, living in New York City and studying with Svetlanova.

He posted a video of his amazing recital performance of Islamey. The mp3 recording is still up at pianostreet:

https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=8980.0

And from 8 years ago, Bellini-Liszt Norma:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ4o0Zz0jdc

With regard to Paul's debut CD of Alkan's Symphony and Concerto, it is a "must have", along with Raymond Lewenthal's recording of the Symphony, and Hamelin's recordings of the Symphony and Concerto (Hyperion, not the earlier Music and Art, with its flawed audio engineering).

Mel




Yes, he's truly amazing.

I think he's got the right attitude towards his career(s) - he has a secure job that pays well, which enables him to play only what he wants, without any need to trot out Rach 3 or the Beethoven sonatas etc which young upstarts have to do to compete in the big bad world to get concerts. (Which concert venue would program a concert of Alkan and Thalberg?)


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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