Prokofiev: Sonata for Flute and Piano James Galway – Flute;Phillip Moll – Piano

Although Prokofiev composed his Sonata for Flute and Piano in the middle of World War II, it is nevertheless one of his most uninhibitedly joyful compositions.  It was given its premiere in Moscow in December 1943, and was immediately acclaimed as a masterpiece.

Sergei Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev

Flutists often borrow from the much larger violinist’s repertoire, but that situation was reversed in this case.  At the request of violinist David Oistrakh, Prokofiev transcribed this sonata for the violin, and it is frequently heard on that instrument.

In this video, the renowned flutist James Galway is joined by pianist Phillip Moll in a recital from Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Ireland.

Published in: on September 30, 2009 at 4:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 Pianist – Martha Argerich

Martha Argerich

Martha Argerich

Martha Argerich was born on June 5, 1941 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  She began studying piano at age three, and gave her first public concert – a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 – at the age of eight.  In 1957, she won both the Geneva International Music Competition and the Busoni International Piano Competition, and in 1965, she won the seventh International Chopin Piano Competition, which effectively launched her concert career.

In a 2001 article for The New Yorker, Alex Ross wrote: “Argerich brings to bear qualities that are seldom contained in one person: she is a pianist of brain-teasing technical agility; she is a charismatic woman with an enigmatic reputation; she is an unaffected interpreter whose native language is music. This last may be the quality that sets her apart. A lot of pianists play huge double octaves; a lot of pianists photograph well. But few have the unerring naturalness of phrasing that allows them to embody the music rather than interpret it.”

I might add that Martha has one other quality that sets her apart: a personal modesty that is utterly charming.

This performance of Prokofiev’s magnificent Piano Concerto No. 3 was recorded live in concert in March 2008 in Turin, Italy with the RAI Orchestra conducted by Tugan Sokhiev.

Trivia note: Film buffs may remember that it was this concerto that Amy Irving played to critical acclaim in the 1980 film “The Competition”.

Published in: on September 25, 2009 at 6:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sergei Prokofiev: Prelude Op. 12, No. 7 “The Harp”

Sergei Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev composed his Ten Pieces for Piano, Op. 12 during the years 1906 – 1913, while a student at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory.  Prokofiev himself gave the premiere of this work in Moscow in 1914.

“The Harp” Prelude is the seventh piece from this group, and exists in two versions, one for piano and one for harp.  Here, in another clip from his 1978 recital at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, is the great Emil Gilels performing the piano version.

I thought it was both interesting and fun to compare the two arrangements, and so here, performing the transcription for harp, is Anna Verkholantseva at the Royal Palace in Gödöllö, Hungary in October 2006.

And finally, a surprise.  Performing the same piece one more time is one of my newest and happiest YouTube discoveries.  This young woman is Szuyu Su.  We learn from her YouTube page that she is from Tainan City, Taiwan, Republic of China, and was born in 1998.  Her English name is Rachel, and this video was made when Rachel was eight years old.