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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | March 14, 1995
The cycle of Beethoven's 10 sonatas for piano and violin, which pianist Amy Lin inaugurated Sunday in Peabody's Leakin Hall with violinist Lei Hou, gave us these works as they were meant to be heard. That is to say Lin collaborated with, rather than accompanied, Hou as an equal partner, and that the conversations and, occasionally, the fierce conflicts that take place between these instruments in Beethoven's music were not shortchanged.The cycle will continue on successive Sundays with other violinists.
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ENTERTAINMENT
February 4, 2010
SATURDAY BALTIMORE BALLET: The Baltimore Ballet celebrates its 10-year anniversary with guest performances by members from American Ballet Theatre, Washington Ballet, Merce Cunningham and Alvin Ailey. Three one-act ballets will also be performed at the gala. The event takes place at the Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 to $72. Go to ticketmaster.com. CURIOUS GEORGE: LET'S GET CURIOUS: This exhibit takes kids inside the world of Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat with adventures in math, science and engineering at Port Discovery, 35 Market Place, through June 6. Admission is $12.95.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | March 11, 1995
It's usually not a violinist, but a strong -- and strong-minded -- pianist who is responsible for the three-concert cycles of the 10 great works customarily, if incorrectly, called Beethoven's Violin Sonatas."
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By Tim Smith | tim.smith@baltsun.com and Baltimore Sun reporter | February 4, 2010
When Alfred Brendel, the revered Austrian pianist, gave his farewell performance in Vienna in 2008 after 60 years before the public, it was certainly the end of an era. But it may also have marked the beginning of one, since a likely heir to Brendel's artistic legacy is already here: Till Fellner. The 37-year-old Fellner, slated to make his Baltimore debut Saturday, is also Austrian. He studied with Brendel and, like that seasoned artist, devotes most of his attention to the likes of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | December 12, 1993
Complete cycles are the current rage.Witness the public appetite for such theatrical spectacles as "Angels in America" and "The Kentucky Cycle," or for such musical extravaganzas as string quartets playing the six Bartok Quartets in a single evening.Now for the the ultimate in completeness: Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in less than 14 hours. Twelve pianists will perform this feat Saturday in Friedberg Hall at the Peabody Conservatory, starting at 10 a.m. and finishing at close to midnight.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 4, 2010
SATURDAY BALTIMORE BALLET: The Baltimore Ballet celebrates its 10-year anniversary with guest performances by members from American Ballet Theatre, Washington Ballet, Merce Cunningham and Alvin Ailey. Three one-act ballets will also be performed at the gala. The event takes place at the Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 to $72. Go to ticketmaster.com. CURIOUS GEORGE: LET'S GET CURIOUS: This exhibit takes kids inside the world of Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat with adventures in math, science and engineering at Port Discovery, 35 Market Place, through June 6. Admission is $12.95.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 7, 1999
Anne-Sophie MutterBeethoven Sonatas (Deutsche Grammophon 457619)Although Deutsche Grammophon touts Anne-Sophie Mutter (as she touts herself) as the first woman violinist to record all 10 of Beethoven's sonatas for violin and piano, her much-publicized new set of these works was actually preceded (by more than a decade) by those of both Nell Gottovsky (Pyramid) and Takako Nishiziki (Naxos). What is true is that Mutter is the first female instrumentalist deemed big enough a star to be indulged in such a project by one of the recording industry's giant labels.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | March 31, 1991
It is hard to celebrate pianists whose recordings have been long out of print. But some recent reissues of Myra Hess (1890-1965), Solomon (1902-1988), Benno Moiseiwitsch (1890-1963) and Clara Haskil (1895- 1960) are intriguing enough to prompt such an attempt.In a sense, all four were hard luck cases and only Hess enjoyed an international career on the largest scale. The career of Solomon -- he never used his patronym, Cutner -- -- was cut short by a stroke in 1956; Moiseiwitsch, who was the favorite pianist of such a giant as Rachmaninov, fell victim to alcoholism in his later years; and Haskil, who suffered from unbelievable physical and mental disabilities, died from a freak fall just as her career promised to transcend its obstacles.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | May 3, 1995
When the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra visited Japan last fall, Eric Conway, the orchestra's keyboard player, was sometimes surrounded by music-loving teen-agers who clamored for autographs as they chanted: "Pratt! Pratt! Pratt! . . .""That's outrageous," says Awadagin Pratt, who has never visited Japan, but who is already famous there (as he is most places where people listen to classical music) and who, like Conway, is young, from Baltimore and black.To those qualities, add Pratt's unusual concert attire (jeans and silk T-shirts instead of tuxedos)
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | June 13, 1993
The 32 piano sonatas of Beethoven loom large in the history of music and even larger in the repertory of pianists. They are not simply the greatest sonatas for the instrument ever written by a single composer, they are also the way we measure how good a musician the pianist is.Notice the distinction between "musician" and "pianist." The works that we generally measure pianists by are those of Frederic Chopin. We usually think of the great Chopin interpreters -- Vladimir Horowitz or Arthur Rubinstein, say -- as great pianists, while great Beethoven players, whether Serkin, Schnabel or Brendel, are customarily called great musicians.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 7, 1999
Anne-Sophie MutterBeethoven Sonatas (Deutsche Grammophon 457619)Although Deutsche Grammophon touts Anne-Sophie Mutter (as she touts herself) as the first woman violinist to record all 10 of Beethoven's sonatas for violin and piano, her much-publicized new set of these works was actually preceded (by more than a decade) by those of both Nell Gottovsky (Pyramid) and Takako Nishiziki (Naxos). What is true is that Mutter is the first female instrumentalist deemed big enough a star to be indulged in such a project by one of the recording industry's giant labels.
NEWS
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | December 15, 1996
Beethoven, The Complete Piano Sonatas, performed by Alfred Brendel (Philips 446 909-2):With this 10-CD set, Brendel becomes the first pianist to have recorded Beethoven's 32 sonatas three times. Since Brendel's two previous recordings -- a set for Vox recorded in the early 1960s, and one for Philips in the 1970s -- are still available, one may ask if this third supersedes the previous the two.The answer is no -- and yes. The pianist's first recording, which is available at a super-budget price, remains a fine achievement.
NEWS
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 26, 1996
Beethoven probably would have agreed that his 32 piano sonatas deserved to be called "the New Testament of keyboard music."The titan of Bonn knew his own worth; and while he knew that Bach's "Forty-Eight" deserved to be classed with the Old Testament in its importance to keyboard players, he was confident that his own work for solo keyboard constituted an even greater dispensation.Although almost every great pianist since Liszt has included several Beethoven sonatas in his repertory, the man most responsible for their current pre-eminence was the Austrian Artur Schnabel (1882-1951)
NEWS
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 29, 1995
It would be hard to imagine a task more daunting.Beethoven wrote 32 piano sonatas, a body of music so immense and revolutionary that Franz Liszt compared its effect upon the piano to that of the New Testament upon Western Civilization. If one were to play the sonatas' more than 300,000 notes without stopping, it would take about 12 hours.The closest anyone ever came to such a feat was on the 150th anniversary of the composer's death in 1977, when Balint Vazsonyi played the 32 sonatas from memory in weekend marathons in New York, Boston and London.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | May 3, 1995
When the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra visited Japan last fall, Eric Conway, the orchestra's keyboard player, was sometimes surrounded by music-loving teen-agers who clamored for autographs as they chanted: "Pratt! Pratt! Pratt! . . .""That's outrageous," says Awadagin Pratt, who has never visited Japan, but who is already famous there (as he is most places where people listen to classical music) and who, like Conway, is young, from Baltimore and black.To those qualities, add Pratt's unusual concert attire (jeans and silk T-shirts instead of tuxedos)
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | March 11, 1995
It's usually not a violinist, but a strong -- and strong-minded -- pianist who is responsible for the three-concert cycles of the 10 great works customarily, if incorrectly, called Beethoven's Violin Sonatas."
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | November 23, 1993
Stephen Kates' cello recital last night in the Chamber Music Society of Baltimore series at the Baltimore Museum of Art was at its considerable best in Beethoven's Sonata in D (opus 102, No. 2). Kates' big, forceful style made this late work speak eloquently in a heroic and romantic manner.This sonata has a remarkable slow movement that is perhaps the first of the composer's successful late-period attempts to express a mood of thanksgiving in which time seems to stand still. Kates made this music sound hymn-like: His approach to sound -- his tone ranged from a whisper to a full-blooded fortissimo -- and the naturalness of his rhythm were almost like that of a singer.
NEWS
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | December 15, 1996
Beethoven, The Complete Piano Sonatas, performed by Alfred Brendel (Philips 446 909-2):With this 10-CD set, Brendel becomes the first pianist to have recorded Beethoven's 32 sonatas three times. Since Brendel's two previous recordings -- a set for Vox recorded in the early 1960s, and one for Philips in the 1970s -- are still available, one may ask if this third supersedes the previous the two.The answer is no -- and yes. The pianist's first recording, which is available at a super-budget price, remains a fine achievement.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | December 12, 1993
Complete cycles are the current rage.Witness the public appetite for such theatrical spectacles as "Angels in America" and "The Kentucky Cycle," or for such musical extravaganzas as string quartets playing the six Bartok Quartets in a single evening.Now for the the ultimate in completeness: Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in less than 14 hours. Twelve pianists will perform this feat Saturday in Friedberg Hall at the Peabody Conservatory, starting at 10 a.m. and finishing at close to midnight.
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