“Dulcet-toned clavier, how much joy you give me!” enthused the German writer Felix Christian Weiße back in 1766. And that joy will definitely be redoubled when there are two “dulcet-toned claviers” on the stage played with the exceptional artistry commanded by András Schiff and Igor Levit. For the carefree variations that Schubert wrote on a trip to Hungary they’ll be sitting at one piano, as is also the case with Debussy’s “Six Epigraphes antiques”, fine-honed miniatures fashioned from his stage music for the “Chansons de Bilitis”, a pastiche of ancient Greek poetry. The title of Debussy’s “En blanc et noir” for two pianos is intentionally ambiguous and designed to express his reaction to the horrors of the First World War. By contrast, Mozart’s magnificent sonata for two pianos, written for himself and his talented pupil Barbara Auernhammer, is a celebration of the more pleasurable things in life.
The young pianist Frank Dupree was the only contestant to be awarded a prize at the 2014 German Music Competition. In his matinee concert he features works with which their composers broke new ground. Beethoven’s first piano sonata, though still imbued with respect for his teacher Haydn, leaves us in no doubt about the direction he was soon to take. Franz Schubert’s “Wanderer Fantasy” is remarkable for the way it develops its material from one thematic nucleus (the song of the same name). Luciano Berio’s “Encores” are an impressive sonic portrayal of the four elements, while Ravel’s “six Miroirs” are rich with suggestive harmonic innovations deployed artfully to conjure up the non-musical images reflected in the titles.
In cooperation with Deutsche Musikrat and Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
“Greatness”. This was the concise and supremely accurate title a music critic of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” gave to his review of a piano recital by Grigory Sokolov a number of years ago. Sokolov is certainly one of the most fascinating pianists of our time, astounding his audiences with the depth of his musical thinking and his apparently unlimited technical reserves. Alongside the major classics and the music of the 20th century, Sokolov regularly showcases rarely played or “ungrateful” works in his concerts, bringing them closer to the audience with his penetrating interpretations. One of the all-time greats.
Joseph Haydn spent much of his life as the music director of a provincial court. He relished this seclusion as it gave him the scope he needed to “become original”, as he once put it. It is a tribute to Haydn’s genius that notably with his symphonies he was able to stay faithful to his provincial roots and at the same time turn into one of Europe’s most prominent composers. In his luxurious “Siegfried Idyll” of 1870, a birthday serenade for Cosima, Richard Wagner is both eminently original and at the same time unswervingly true to his own self. Fazil Say is not only the soloist in Mozart’s A major piano concerto of 1786 (K. 488). Just as versatile a composer as he is a pianist, he has written a new orchestral work commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, who will be premiering it at this concert.
In May 2013 protests against what was felt to be the autocratic tendencies of the Turkish government were brought to a head by a controversial construction project in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. In the course of these demonstrations eight people were killed and several thousand injured or arrested. The much-noted pianist and composer Fazil Say has expressed his solidarity with his courageous compatriots in a number of works entitled “Gezi Park”. His four-movement sonata “Gezi Park 2” gives a graphic impression of those events, the deaths, the horror but also the hope. In the same vein, Turkish soprano Serenad Bagčan will then perform songs by Say revolving around political persecution. In his carefully devised programme, he precedes his own works with Beethoven’s Storm sonata and Janáček’s “Piano Sonata 1.X.1905”. In the preface to his sonata, Janáček writes: “To the memory of the worker who was stabbed to death during the demonstration for a university in Brno.” The composer was an eye-witness of the incident.
The Salzburg Festival’s controller-to-be, Markus Hinterhäuser, is the recipient of the Heidelberg Frühling Music Award 2015. After Jörg Widmann and Eleonore Büning this makes him the third in a line of laureates notable for their sterling work in winning new audiences for classical music. The works in Igor Levit’s piano recital, at which the prize will be presented, revolve around sleep, dreams and insomnia. After the first performance of American composer Frederic Rzewski’s Dreams II, inspired by Akira Kurosawas film of the same name, Levit goes on to tackle an uncontested summit in the history of piano music, Bach’s Goldberg Variations, written for his friend Count Hermann Keyserlink. A victim of insomnia, the count would summon his court musician Johann Gottlieb Goldberg to play the work for him in his sleepless nights and conjure up any number of exquisite musical “dreams”.
Last works always have something special about them. We tend to think they must be particularly good, uniquely expressive, the quintessence of a composer’s creative life. Of course, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert thought no such thing when they were writing their last piano sonatas, billed next to one another on the programme for András Schiff’s solo recital. Yet they are indeed works of immense substance and weight, although the Haydn sonata was written 15 years before he died, while Schubert’s only predated his death by two months. After his triumphant appearance at the 2011 Frühling, András Schiff returns for no fewer than three concerts, the solo evening described here, a four-hand recital with Igor Levit and a programme of clarinet works with Jörg Widmann.
Rafał Blechacz is the winner of the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award in 2014 – an award given every four years to a distinguished, extraordinary concert pianist regardless of age or nationality. He is recognized as his generation’s greatest performer of Chopin’s works. In October 2005, uncontested, Blechacz won all prizes of the prestigious 15th Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition. The young Polish pianist has since then established himself firmly on the international concert scene, and is celebrated by both the audience and the press worldwide for his profound and virtuosic interpretations.
Blechacz has performed with renowned orchestras such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Camerata Salzburg, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra dell’ Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Minnesota Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. He gives recitals in the world’s major concert halls including Philharmonie Berlin, Prinzregententheater Munich, Konzerthaus Dortmund, Salle Pleyel in Paris, Wigmore Hall London, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, La Scala Milan, Konzerthaus Wien and BOZAR – Palais des Beaux-Arts Brussels, as well as further afield in the USA and in Asia.
Having returned on stage after a year of sabbatical in 2016 to complete his Ph. D. thesis on the philosophy of music, highlights of his 19/20 season include concerts with Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Orquesta de Valencia and a tour to Berlin, Frankfurt, Darmstadt and Paris with the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra. Solo recital invitations will take him to Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Italy, in addition to tours to Japan and Taiwan as well as the USA in cities including New York and San Francisco this season. He also performs in duo with violinist Bomsori Kim in Spain, Italy, Germany, and on tour in North America.
Rafał Blechacz is an exclusive recording artist of Deutsche Grammophon. His debut CD of Chopin Préludes won the Platinum Record status in his native Poland, as well as a German Echo Klassik and French Diapason d’Or award. His CD of both Chopin concerti with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under the baton of Jerzy Semkow was awarded the ‘Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik’. In 2012, his recording of works by Debussy and Szymanowski was released and awarded ‘Recording of the Month’ by the Gramophone magazine and ‘Solo Recording of the Year’ by Echo Klassik. These are followed by the acclaimed release of his fifth album of Chopin Polonaises in 2013, and the most recent solo CD of works by J. S. Bach in 2017 as well as his duo recording with Bomsori Kim.
Born in 1985, Blechacz began his studies aged five continuing his piano education in the Arthur Rubinstein State School of Music in Bydgoszcz. In 2007, he graduated from the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, the piano class of Professor Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń. In 2010, he received the Premio Internazionale ‘Accademia Musicale Chigiana’ (Italy), awarded annually by an international jury of music critics to young musicians for their outstanding artistic achievements.
Grigory Sokolov is considered one of the world’s greatest living pianists. He amazes both public and critics alike; by using little pedal, and thus superior finger-work, he draws from the concert grand an immense variety of sounds; he has an unlimited palette of colours, a spontaneous imagination and a magical control of line. His interpretations are poetic and highly individual and he has an unbelievably wide repertoire ranging from the 12th century music of Perotinus through to 20th century composers.
Born in Leningrad, he began music studies when he was five years old and at the age of sixteen he embarked upon a great international career, having been awarded the First Prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
Grigory Sokolov is a regular guest of the most prestigious concert halls and festivals of Europe. He has worked with orchestras including the London Philharmonia, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, New York Philharmonic, Münchner Philharmoniker, Wiener Symphoniker, Montreal Symphony, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Moscow and St. Petersburg Philharmonics, and has worked with many of the world’s most prominent conductors including Myung-Whung Chung, Valery Gergiev, Herbert Blomstedt, Neeme Järvi, Sakari Oramo, Trevor Pinnock, Andrew Litton, Walter Weller and Moshe Atzmon.
A few years ago Sokolov decided to dedicate his entire concert activity to solo recitals and he is one of the few pianists to be a regular guest of the major European halls each year. In 2015 he performed at the Heidelberger Frühling, as well as several times before.
Piotr Anderszewski is regarded as one of the outstanding musicians of his generation. He regularly performs at London’s Barbican Centre and Royal Festival Hall, the Wiener Konzerthaus, Carnegie Hall New York, the Mariinsky Concert Hall in St Petersburg and Munich’s Herkulessaal. His collaborations with orchestra have included appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chicago and London Symphony orchestras, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Royal Concertgebouw.
He has also given many performances directing from the keyboard, with orchestras such as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia and Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.
Recognised for the intensity and originality of his interpretations, Piotr Anderszewski has been singled out for several high profile awards throughout his career, including the prestigious Gilmore award, given every four years to a pianist of exceptional talent. He has also been the subject of two award-winning documentaries by the film maker Bruno Monsaingeon for ARTE. The first of these, Piotr Anderszewski plays the Diabelli Variations (2001) explores Anderszewski’s particular relationship with Beethoven’s opus 120, whilst the second, Piotr Anderszewski, Unquiet Traveller (2008) is an unusual artist portrait, capturing Anderszewski’s reflections on music, performance and his Polish-Hungarian roots.