I’ve been listening to a variety of music again these days. Here are a few I thought you might be interested in and some history about them.
Fritz Kreisler – Though he passed away more than 50 years ago and his prime recordings were done before 1940 I have to say that I am, none the less, a true believer. Kreisler was one of the last composer/virtuosos.
His warm tone and even vibrato express great character. His compositions also have this peculiar charm.
Sergei Prokofiev Piano Concertos-I love all five of them and especially the recording by pianist Michel Beroff with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and Kurt Masur.
Melodically, rhythmically and harmonically Prokofiev’s music slays me and the piano concertos are especially effective. Prokofiev too was a composer/virtuoso.
Samson Francois (the complete piano works of Maurice Ravel)-Francois died at the early age of 46 in October, 1970. He lived an intense life and his virtuosity as a pianist extended to a keen interest in jazz. In 2013 box sets of his Ravel and Debussy recordings were released and they are a real treasure.
Anyone who knows me is familiar with my interest in Ravel. Since the age of 18 I have been collecting recordings and books on Ravel. I have about 20 different biographies and studies in English on this very French composer. I have visited his home in Montfort L’Amaury several times (it is now a museum). I have played his piano and I helped do some research for the museum by tracking down reviews and accounts of his concert in Minneapolis on his only U.S. tour in 1927. I did this research at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.
December 28 marked the 79th anniversary of his death.
So what about you? What are you into as we head into 2017?
My favorite composer is and always has been Maurice Ravel (1875-1937).
Samson Francois was a French concert pianist and, in my opinion, a great one. His Ravel and Debussy recordings are excellent and I also like his Chopin recordings.
The EMI box-set of Samson Francois playing Maurice Ravel has some great moments.