Pianist, classical music scholar and thinker Charles Rosen died in New York Sunday at age 85 following a battle with cancer. A prolific author, essayist and Guggenheim Award winner, Rosen published two staple books on classical music, 1971's The Classical Style and 1995's The Romantic Generation. LATimes Obit
Charles Welles Rosen (May 5, 1927 – December 9, 2012) was an American pianist and writer on music.More form Wikipedia
The celebrated young American cellist walks us through her recording of this "devastating" concerto written just after the end of World War I. She collaborated with conductor Daniel Barenboim, whose late wife, Jacqueline du Pre, was the standard-bearer for this work. Alisa Weilerstein Plays Elgar on NPR
Weilerstein started playing the cello at age four. She made her debut at age 13 with the Cleveland Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme. As a soloist she has performed with a number of other major orchestras on four continents. She also is active in chamber music and performs with her parents, violinist Donald Weilerstein, and pianist Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, as the Weilerstein Trio. More from Wikipedia
As a young pianist, Andras Schiff earned wide esteem for his 1980s recordings of the major keyboard works of J.S. Bach; in recent years, as part of his long-term relationship with ECM, he has gone back to Bach as a sage veteran, earning more acclaim for his New Series recordings of the Goldberg Variations (2001) and the six Partitas (2007). The New York Times said, Mr. Schiff is, in Bach, a phenomenon. He doesn t so much perform it as emit, breathe it. In August 2011, Schiff turned his focus to the 48 preludes and fugues of The Well-Tempered Clavier, making studio recordings of both books in the Auditorium Radiosvizzera Italiana, Lugano. An iconic inspiration for composers from Mozart and Beethoven to Chopin and Brahms and beyond, The Well-Tempered Clavier has long been considered the Old Testament of the keyboard literature (with Beethovens piano sonatas as the New Testament). In his liner notes to this four-CD set, Paul Griffiths underscores the suitability of Bach's timeless keyboard work for the modern piano: Bach s inquiry into so many nuances, of touch, of interplay between hands and between contrapuntal lines, of character and of expressivity, has helped form keyboard technique as we know it, and his music belongs to the instrument of Beethoven, of Chopin, of Debussy, of Kurtág especially when that instrument is played with the mastery and sensitivity of Schiff in these performances. . . Noteworthy is his floated melody and his rhythmic sense his realization that so much of Bach s music is song or dance. Grandeur and intimacy are also here. Wit, too. (TEXT reproduced by permission Amazon.com sales)
Music of Antonio Vivaldi
Matthias Maute, recorder BRIDGE 9377
Quite a musical dynamo, this recording, enough to convince me that another
full-blown “Vivaldi revival” marks our times! --Audiophile Audition
This recording features Vivaldi's six immensely entertaining recorder concerti, Op. 10, in performances of stunning panache and virtuosity. Praised by the Los Angeles Times for their "astonishingly vital music-making", the New York-based Baroque ensemble REBEL (pronounced "Reh-BEL") has earned an impressive international reputation. Matthias Maute, a native of Germany, is widely regarded as one of the finest recorder and traverso players of his generation. Since winning First Prize in the renowned Early Music Competition in Bruges, Belgium in 1990, his illustrious career has taken him far and wide.
Elliott Carter, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer who fused European and American modernist traditions in seminal but formidable works, and who lived to hear ovations for music that was once thought to be anything but listener-friendly, died Nov. 5 at his home in New York City. He was 103.
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Elliott Cook Carter Jr. (December 11, 1908 – November 5, 2012) was a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer. He studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris in the 1930s, and then returned to the United States. After a neoclassical phase, he went on to write atonal, rhythmically complex music. His compositions, which have been performed all over the world, include orchestral and chamber music as well as solo instrumental and vocal works. He was extremely productive in his later years, publishing more than 40 works between the ages of 90 and 100, and over 14 more after he turned 100 in 2008. His last work, 12 Short Epigrams for piano, was completed on August 13, 2012. More Wikipedia
Hans Werner Henze, a prolific German composer who came of age in the Nazi era and grew estranged from his country while gaining renown for richly imaginative operas and orchestral works, died on Saturday, 27 October 2012, in Dresden, Germany, where he was due to attend the premiere that evening of a ballet set to one of his scores. He was 86.
NYTimes | Wikipedia
Hans Werner Henze (1 July 1926 – 27 October 2012) was a German composer of prodigious output best known for "his consistent cultivation of music for the theatre throughout his life".His music is extremely varied in style, having been influenced by serialism, atonality, Stravinsky, Italian music, Arabic music and jazz, as well as traditional schools of German composition.
The centennial of Hungarian conductor Georg Solti, October 21st.
Sir Georg Solti, KBE, /ˈdʒɔrdʒ ˈʃɒlti/ (21 October 1912 – 5 September 1997) was a Hungarian-British orchestral and operatic conductor, best known for his appearances with opera companies in Munich, Frankfurt and London, and as a long-serving music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Born in Hungary, he studied in Budapest with Béla Bartók, Leo Weiner and Ernő Dohnányi. In the 1930s, he was a répétiteur at the Hungarian State Opera and worked at the Salzburg Festival for Arturo Toscanini. His career was interrupted by the rise of the Nazis, and because he was a Jew he fled the increasingly restrictive anti-semitic laws in 1938. After conducting a season of Russian ballet in London at the Royal Opera House he found refuge in Switzerland, where he remained during the Second World War. Prohibited from conducting there, he earned a living as a pianist.
Claude-Achille Debussy (22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures working within the field of impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions. In France, he was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903. A crucial figure in the transition to the modern era in Western music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers.
His music is noted for its sensory component and for not often forming around one key or pitch. Often Debussy's work reflected the activities or turbulence in his own life. In French literary circles, the style of this period was known as symbolism, a movement that directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant. More@wikipedia
Moncayo was a Mexican pianist, percussionist, music teacher, composer and conductor. "As composer, José Pablo Moncayo represents one of the most important legacies of the Mexican nationalism in art music, after Silvestre Revueltas and Carlos Chávez." He produced some of the masterworks that best symbolize the essence of the national aspirations and contradictions of Mexico in the 20th century.
This recording represents the latest chapter in the long time collaboration between composer John Adams and Michael Tilson Thomas. Here, MTT and the San Francisco Symphony perform Adams' orchestral masterpiece Harmonielehre, a milestone of American minimalism first premiered by the orchestra in 1985. Paired with the joyful Short Ride in a Fast Machine, this new release from the GRAMMY-® award winning San Francisco Symphony is a must-have for any collection.
The only other serious competition in this repertoire, and it's not nearly as complete as this release (the Aida items are missing!), is an old Philips Due mostly conducted by the late Antonio de Almeida. Those are good performances, but they don't outclass these, either interpretively or sonically. You might say that it doesn't take much interpretive insight to conduct Italian ballet music, but ultimately the goal is always the same: to avoid boredom. This may be even harder in music whose purpose is largely decorative and expressively limited. It's to Serebrier's (and Verdi's) credit that there isn't a bar here that fails to entertain, or that doesn't make an excellent case for believing that this music is of much higher quality than its reputation suggests.
LUBECK, Germany, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A handwritten letter by Ludwig van Beethoven reveals the German composer was displeased about his "low salary." The letter, written in July 1823 and addressed to Franz Stockhausen, concerned Beethoven's search for wealthy people to sponsor his latest composition, "Missa solemnis," Beethoven wrote he needed more money, in part, because of his worsening deafness.
"My low salary and my illness demand efforts to make a better fortune," he wrote at the age of 53, four years before his death.
The letter, which has been valued at $188,500, was found recently among items bequeathed to Germany's Brahms Institute of the Lubeck School of Music by Stockhausen's great-granddaughter, Renate Wirth. Wirth died last year.
"The bequest is of extraordinary historic value; this was a huge piece of luck for us," institute Director Wolfgang Sandberger said.