Thursday, 26 August 2010

Did you listen or see the Prom with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet last week? I did listen to it and absolutely loved it. What did you think?

 Last night's Prom was with Ashkenazy conducting the suite from Der Rosenkavalier. Ashkenazy has performed frequently at the Proms and we are offering some examples of his work in our Proms Special Offer. The suite from Der Rosenkavalier was the first work on the programme and Chandos has both a recording of the orchestral suite and a disc of 'Highlights' of the opera on its Opera in English label. If you don't own a copy of the opera but wish you did we also have a couple of historical recordings also in our offer on the Guild label.

Ravel's Piano Concerto in G was also on the programme, so we have included a couple of recordings of this work in our offer. The Pentatone recording has recieved some stunning reviews and it was picked as 'Editor's Choice' by the magazine Gramophone and 'Classical CD of the week' by the Telegraph newspaper. The closing piece of this Prom was Scriabin's Symphony No 3 and you can find versions of this on the Chandos and Naxos labels in our Proms offer too.

So until next week enjoy your Proms!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Tomorrow, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet will be playing in the evening Prom alongside the Philharmonia Orchestra and the conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. On the programme are works by Scriabin, Ravel and Pärt. If you have not heard Bavouzet's playing before then I would strongly urge you  to experience it - you really will be delighted. The New York Times described him as 'an artist whose music-making is on a grand scale...'

The Classical Shop is offering a couple of Bavouzet's recordings as part of its Proms special sale, so this is an ideal opportunity to explore the artistry of this superlative pianist. Chandos Records has Bavouzet's complete survey of Debussy's solo piano works available and each recording has received glowing reviews from the critics. The Pianist magazine said of the first disc in the series: '...the quality of this disc suggests the discovery of a major talent ...' His latest recording, heralding the beginning of a new Haydn cycle, was made an 'Editor's Choice' by Gramophone magazine.

I think we can expect great things from Friday's Prom!

Friday, 13 August 2010

It's not very often I attend a London Prom, I'm ashamed to say, but spending so much time out on the road, recording, and running a company in between times, does limit one's possibilities. However, last Sunday I did attend a Prom which featured not one but two Chandos artists, Sir Andrew Davis and Louis Lortie, in a very interesting programme which was all about connections.

To open was Messiaen's Un sourire, a short piece commissioned to mark the bicentenary of Mozart's death. Messiaen always smiled when he thought of Mozart and this piece ends musically in a beautifully atmospheric smile.

Following this was of course Mozart, his Piano Concerto No 17 in G major, KV 453, played by Louis Lortie. One of Louis's star qualities is the way in which he can bring so much light and sparkle to the keyboard, having great fun with the piece, which is written very much like a conversation between the piano and the orchestra. Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra certainly rose to the challenge set by Louis with a clarity and lightness to their playing not usually heard from a full-size symphony orchestra. This was certainly a performance that made you smile. The audience loved it.

The second half started with a Prom premiere, Parry's Elegy to Brahms. Parry was a great admirer of Brahms and Brahm's death in 1897 profoundly affected him; so much so that he set aside all other work to compose this Elegy, an intense, moving piece which should be heard a lot more, in my opinion.

One could only follow this with Brahms, and Sir Andrew chose Symphony No 4, his most difficult and complex symphony, but one which is intellectually taut and ingenious. Full of wonderful Brahmsian melodies and motifs wound into many moods, this symphony takes the listener many places emotionally and musically. The last movement had the audience gripped as the tempo and excitement built right through to the very last bar, when the release came and the audience erupted with joy.

A most enjoyable evening.

Ralph Couzens - Managing Director Chandos Records