Ellen Ballon & The London Symphony Orchestra – Piano Concerto No. 2 In F Minor (Chopin) (1950)

FrontCover1.JPGEllen Ballon  (October 6, 1898 – Montreal, Quebec, Canada – December 21, 1969 – Montreal, Quebec, Canada) was a child prodigy and at the age of six, in the inaugural year of the McGill Cons (1904), won the first director’s scholarship awarded at that school. She studied there with Clara Lichtenstein. As a child Ballon was praised by Josef Hofmann (whose pupil she became later, in Switzerland and again in New York), Adele aus der Ohe, and Raoul Pugno. Artur Rubinstein is said to have declared her ‘the greatest pianistic genius I have ever met’. Following a farewell recital at Royal Victoria College in Montreal 27 Dec 1906 she was sent to New York to study with Rafael Joseffy. She was a child when she made her New York debut in March 1910, playing concertos of Mendelssohn (G minor) and Beethoven (C major) with the New York Symphony under Walter Damrosch. She continued her studies in New York with Josef Hofmann and in Vienna with Wilhelm Backhaus, and when she returned from Europe to play with the New York Philharmonic under Josef Stransky (Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 4, 31 Jan 1921), she was a fully developed concert pianist. However, she continued her studies with Alberto Jonas in New York until at least 1925 and appeared again with the New York Philharmonic in the 1925-6, 1929-30, and 1932-3 seasons.

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She began her first major European tour in 1927, appearing with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw orchestras, and then settling in London. She gave private recitals for Princesses Beatrice and Helena Victoria at Kensington Palace, appeared in public recital (eg, International Celebrity Series, 1936-7), and toured in Great Britain and Scandinavia. She returned to North America before the war and eventually settled in Montreal.Long a friend and admirer of the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, she performed many of his works and commissioned his Concerto No. 1, giving the premiere (1946) in Rio de Janeiro under the elenballon02composer’s direction. Ballon’s playing was rhythmically secure and, at its best, full of excitement. If her concert career fell somewhat short of the promise shown by her prodigious childhood, it may have been that she was not under pressure to prove herself – a stimulus which most successful pianists experience. She became a person of considerable wealth and was popular in social and artistic circles. In later life she made important contributions to the Faculty of Music at McGill University (where she established a piano scholarship in her own name in 1928) as a philanthropist, as a fund-raiser, and, for a short time, as a teacher. (by thecanadianencyclopedia.com)

And here´s her interpretation of Chopin´s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21:

The Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, is a piano concerto composed by Frédéric Chopin in 1829. Chopin wrote the piece before he had finished his formal education, at around 20 years of age. It was first performed on 17 March 1830, in Warsaw, Poland, with the composer as soloist. It was the second of his piano concertos to be published (after the Piano Concerto No. 1), and so was designated as “No. 2”, even though it was written first.

The work contains the three movements typical of instrumental concertos of the period:

Maestoso (F minor)

Chopin.jpgLarghetto (A flat major): a work of “undescribable beauty”, this music was inspired by Chopin’s distant idolization of Konstancja Gładkowska. The main theme (the “A” section) is introduced by the piano after an orchestral introduction and is later repeated twice and again, at measure 82 (the start of the coda), is enhanced by the sublime entrance of the bassoon in canon, followed by the bassoon transitioning to a counter-melody.

Allegro vivace (F minor): In the finale, the violins and violas are at one point instructed to play col legno (with the wood of the bow). For the piano, the final sections are regarded as extremely technically demanding.

Chopin’s fellow composers and Prof. Elsner’s former students, Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński (1807-1867) and Tomasz Nidecki (1807-1852), are believed to have helped him orchestrate his piano concertos. This gave an excuse for other musicians to make slight alterations in the score. Alfred Cortot created his own orchestration of the F minor concerto and recorded it with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under John Barbirolli in 1935. Ingolf Wunder recorded Alfred Cortot’s orchestration with minor changes done by himself in 2015.

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And Ernest Ansermet was a very important Swiss conductor (Born: November 11th, 1883, Vevey, Switzerland – Died: February 20th, 1969, Geneva, Switzerland).

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Personnel:
Ellen Ballon (piano)
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The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ernest Ansermet

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Tracklist:

Piano Concerto No. 2 In F Minor:
01. Maestoso 11.39
02. Larghetto 8.05
03. Allegro Vivace 7.28

Music composed by Frédéric Chopin

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The cover of my issue is from UK, the label from Germany …

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Various Artists – Pianissimo – Music For Quiet Moments (1998)

frontcover1Only in the silence can music touch a chord within us, and create a distant echo. And it is through the silence that the piano can open and blossom with it incomparable voice, and the vibration of it strings melt into melody.

Since the invention of the modern Pianoforte in the 18th century, composers have again and again been inspired by its special sensibilities, and the capacity of this Instrument to encompass the slightest expressive nuances and translate them into Sound.

On this album you will find a collection of the loveliest piano melodies in musical history: Whether the Adagio sosenuto from Beethoven´s Moonlight Sonata, or the Largo from his Piano Concerto, whether Listz´s Liebestraum, or Schumann´s Träumerei, the Adagio from Grieg´s  Piano Concerto or Chopin´s Nocturne, all show how this instrument has struck a chord in these Composers (Georg Stänzel; taken from the original liner notes)

Enjoy the sounds of silence !

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Tracklist:
01. Alfredo Perl: Adagio Sostenuto (Beethoven)  6.02
02. Jena Philharmonic Orchestra: Largo (Beethoven) 10.41
03. Ricardo Castro: Adagio (Mozart) 4.14
04. Carmen Piazzini: Adagio (Haydn) 5.00
05. Nadja Rubanenko: Sehr langsam (Schumann) 4.13
06. Alfredo Perl: Adagio (Grieg) 6.52
07. Carmen Piazzini:  Danza Del Moza Donosa (Ginastera) 3.26
08. Carmen Piazzini:  Cancion De Las Venusinas (Piazolla) 3.26
09. Arkady Sevidov: Barcarolle (Tchaikovsky) 5.16
10. Ricardo Castro: Nocturne No. 1 Op. 9/1 (Chopin)  5.35
11. Michael Krücker: Liebestraum Op. 62 No. 3/Poco Allegretto Con Affetto (Liszt) 4.40
12. Andreas Bach: Träumerei (Schumann) 2.17
13. Russian Philharmonic Orchestra + Vladimir Mishtchuk: Adagio Sostenuto (Rachmaninov) 11.38

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Another quiet moment
(I shoot this picture near Berchtesgaden (Bavarian Alps) in october 2009)

Various Artists – Royal Clown Classic – The Sampler (1989)

FrontCover1The Pilz Media Group (founded by Reiner E. Pilz) was a small German record label for classic music (not to be confused with Pilz Records, the legendary label for German Krautrock music.

They were first marketed in the USA in a gigantic mail order package of 100 CDs at a cost of about $5 per disk, offering the “Vienna Master Series” of major symphonic, chamber, and piano repertoire. Lately they have been turning up on single disks and even in double disk sets at the cost of only $3.99 or even less for 2 CDs, or $1 to $2 per single disk, at dealers like Blockbuster Music.

They released at the end of the Eighties this sampler with music from their Catalog.

Booklet01AAnd so you can hear some of the finest pieces of classical musc. The booklet is their catalog for the years 1989/90 … (black + white pictures only !)

Unfortunately they didn´t give us any informations about the musicians and orchestras we can hear on this beautiful record.

But … even this mistake … it´s a sampler with very fine examples of classic music, including “Vltava (The Moldau) ” (one of my favorite classic composition)

Booklet03ATracklist:

Franz von Suppé:
01. Ouvertüre “Dichter Und Bauer” 9.34

Johann Strauss:
02. Wiener Blut Op. 354 9.26

Frederic Chopin:
03. Walzer Cis-moll Op. 64/2 3.31

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
04. Symphonie Nr. 40 G-moll Kv 550, Molto Allegro 6.35

Antonio Vivaldi:
05. Concerto Grosso A-moll Allegro 3.57

Johann Sebastian Bach:
06. Toccata und Fuge D-moll  8.28

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:
07. Swan-Lake Suite 3.10

Bedřich Smetana:
08. Vltava (The Moldau)  12.52

Richard Wagner:
09. Ouvertüre zu Tannhäuser 14.39

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Frederic Chopin – Piano Concertos Nr 1 & 2 (Krystian Zimerman) (1986)

FrontCover1Without a doubt, Zimerman’s performances are a triumph of technique and style. I agree with a previous reviewer who noted Zimmerman’s superb technique and lyrical playing. Zimmerman isn’t quite as flashy as Argerich, yet he gives performances that are as emotionally stirring as hers, without forsaking technique.

And I find that his technique is as flawless as Claudio Arrau’s, yet Zimmerman plays more warmly than does the late Chilean master. Maybe it’s fitting that a Polish pianist gives two of the finest performances of Chopin’s main orchestral works, since Zimerman knows exactly when to change the volume of his warm, expressive playing. During his brief tenure with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carlo Maria Giulini Zimermantransformed this underrated American orchestra into a world-class ensemble capable of playing as well as its peers in Berlin and Vienna.

Here both he and the orchestra are sympathetic accompanists to Zimmerman’s exceptional playing, recognizing that Chopin regarded both works as masterpieces for virtuoso pianists such as himself. This is among Deutsche Grammophon’s best engineered recordings of the early digital era. Of all the versions of Chopin’s concerti available, this is the one that belongs in your collection. (ny John Kwok)

Recorded in 1979 + 1980

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Personnel:
Krystian Zimerman (piano)
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Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini

Tracklist:

Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op.11:
01. Allegro maestoso 19.58
02.Romance (Larghetto) 10.46
03.Rondo (Vivace) 9.41

Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor, Op.21:
04.Maestoso 14.12
05.Larghetto 9.12
06.Allegro vivace 8.26

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