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KEYBOARD CONNECTIONS

Deutsche Grammophon’s star pianists mark World Piano Day (28 March 2020) with global virtual festival





Deutsche Grammophon is set to mark World Piano Day on Saturday 28 March with an international virtual festival featuring performances by members of its family of artists.

The roster of stars includes Maria João Pires, Rudolf Buchbinder, Evgeny Kissin, Víkingur Ólafsson, Jan Lisiecki, Joep Beving, Simon Ghraichy, Kit Armstrong and Daniil Trifonov. Other artists are expected to join the line-up as part of DG’s celebration of music’s power to bring people together.

Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon, comments: “Technology allows us to turn this year’s World Piano Day into an online space where masterful pianists can share positive and uplifting messages through music, performing on their own pianos and reaching people in their homes. We are deeply grateful to all those musicians who have agreed to take part and invite everyone to join the virtual festival audience.”

Viewers will be able to watch streams of some of the world’s finest pianists via YouTube and Facebook using the hashtags #StayAtHome and #WorldPianoDay. The one-off programme will be streamed live at 3pm CET on 28 March and will be available online only for a limited period after that.

Deutsche Grammophon’s World Piano Day festival will comprise a series of short performances, each lasting between 20 and 30 minutes and pre-recorded live by the artists in their homes on high-definition smartphone video. The programme promises to share the unbeatable experience of music made in the moment with a vast potential worldwide audience.

The experience can be prolonged and heightened by listening to DG’s Piano Masters playlist – across all digital subscription platforms – which will feature recordings by all participating artists.




MUSICAL MOMENT

Deutsche Grammophon presents a series of high-quality productions entitled “Moment Musical” in collaboration with Arte Concert





Yellow Label’s stars offer specially curated programmes presented from Berlin’s historic Meistersaal

Bringing performers and audiences together today demands creative solutions. Deutsche Grammophon, in collaboration with Arte Concert, is set to launch a series of professional live streams and delayed relays of concerts given by members of DG’s family of artists at Berlin’s legendary Meistersaal. Starting on Friday 27 March at 7pm (CET) and Sunday 29 March at 4pm (CET), the first four episodes will feature Berlin-based artists Andreas Ottensamer, Anna Prohaska, Avi Avital and Albrecht Mayer in recital performances with chamber music partners. The series title will be “Moment Musical”.

Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon, comments: “This series aims to support our artists as, together, we use innovative high-quality initiatives to connect them with their audiences and inspire music lovers worldwide with rare live performances. Chamber music has always been a genre that musicians have turned to when they wanted to express their inner feelings and convey them in uncertain times. We are thankful to our artists and partners who have collaborated to make this extraordinary series possible.”

Besides Arte Concert as co-producer, DG partners with C Major Entertainment, Emil Berliner Studios, Seagull Film and Meistersaal BESL Eventagentur GmbH & Co. KG to realise this series.

The artists who take part in the “Moment Musical” series will present live-streamed audio and video performances lasting up to an hour. Programmes will focus on solo or duo works. This approach will limit the number of artists, technicians and backstage staff involved, in compliance with government regulations, while drawing on the endlessly rich repertoire of chamber pieces past and present. Using remote cameras, members of the audio and video crew will be safely dispersed in different rooms.

Anyone who misses a live performance will be able to catch up on demand for 72 hours via the Deutsche Grammophon and Arte Concert channels. The concerts will also be archived on the Arte Concert website, while highlights will be made available by Deutsche Grammophon as audio and video releases on streaming and subscription platforms.

The Yellow Label’s new initiative follows on from last week’s spontaneous collaboration with the Konzerthaus Berlin and regional public broadcaster RBB. That event saw artists such as Lang Lang, Daniel Hope and Avi Avital give solo and duo performances behind closed doors. Their concert was streamed and broadcast live and reached more than 100,000 people online.

Many will know the Meistersaal, which first opened in 1913, as home to the Hansa recording studios, used by artists such as David Bowie, U2, Iggy Pop and Depeche Mode in the years before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now restored to its original condition, it has been home to the Emil Berliner Studios since 2010. The building’s warm acoustics, atmospheric charm and extensive digital infrastructure make it the ideal venue for live-streamed chamber music performances.




FULL PERFORMANCES FROM OUR ARCHIVES


In our second full-performance broadcast watch violinist Esther Yoo and mandolin player Avi Avital live from a Yellow Lounge at Club Octagon in Seoul, South Korea filmed in October 2018. Esther Yoo plays favourites from Tchaikovsky and Elgar to Dan Jones as well as Korean compositions, while Avi Avital plays music from Bach and Vivaldi to miniatures by Georgian composer Sulkhan Tsintsadze and a tradition Bulgarian ‘Bučimiš’ folk dance.

We will broadcast these performances in an ongoing rotation, one video at a time, rotating in a new performance every few days. We will communicate the start of each new performance by this newsletter, which of course means that we will be sending you an extra newsflash by email at the start of each week too.

To keep updated with the video series, sign up to the Deutsche Grammophon newsletter.




DANIEL HOPE LAUNCHES HOPE@HOME - A DAILY LIVESTREAM ON DG YOUTUBE & ARTE CONCERT

This week Daniel Hope has begun a series of daily concerts live from his living room called Hope@Home.

In these troubled times Hope invites artists and friends to his home in Berlin to join him for spontaneous mini-concerts (of course one after the other and keeping the required safety distance).

Hope@Home concerts will be live streamed daily on Deutsche Grammophon’s YouTube channel (and available for 72 hours), ARTE Concert, the ARTE Concert Facebook page and the ARTE Concert YouTube channel.

Daniel Hope will recreate the magic of La Belle Époque at home, with confirmed guests so far including Max Raabe, Christoph Israel, Katharina Thalbach, Sebastian Koch, Heike Makatsch.


#1 - Wednesday March 25





#2 - Thursday March 26





COMING SOON: #3 - Friday March 27







JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME

  • Trevor Pinnock’s first ever recording of Book I of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier reveals its variety of moods and colours, lightness and weight
  • New Deutsche Grammophon release backed by major focus on artist’s inspirational catalogue of period-instrument performances
  • My Baroque videoblog gives access to insights of one of Early Music’s great visionaries

For British harpsichordist and conductor Trevor Pinnock intuition plays a central role in music making. He channels the formidable combination of instinctive understanding and in-depth knowledge of the scores into his first ever recording of Book I of Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, set for international release by Deutsche Grammophon on 10 April 2020.

Pinnock, now 73, is not only renowned worldwide as both conductor and harpsichord virtuoso, but is revered as one of the pioneers of historically informed performance practice. He founded The English Concert in 1972 and together they spearheaded the revival of Early Music performance on period instruments. Pinnock directed The English Concert for over thirty years, during which time they made many highly acclaimed recordings for DG/Archiv Produktion, highlights including Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos and Orchestral Suites and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

To celebrate the riches of this extensive recorded legacy, Pinnock has begun making a series of short films for a new videoblog, My Baroque, in which he discusses everything from “Music and Intuition” to his thoughts on the enduring spiritual and dramatic qualities of Messiah. Hosted by DG (https://trevorpinnock-mybaroque.deutschegrammophon.com/), this ongoing series is also available on YouTube.

The latest additions to My Baroque include several videos about Pinnock’s new album for the Yellow Label in which he talks about his decision to record the twenty-four preludes and fugues of Book I of The Well-Tempered Clavier, the choice of instrument, and issues surrounding pitch and temperament.

“My journey with The Well-Tempered Clavier has been life-long,” he recalls. “I first encountered it at about 12 years old … A few years later, I heard all the preludes and fugues played on the piano on the radio, and I was hooked. In my 20s I myself recorded some preludes and fugues for radio broadcast, and I knew then that one day I would play them all. The mountain seemed insurmountable, however … How could I possibly delve into the density of some of those fugues, let alone understand them?”

Pinnock climbed that mountain helped by the realisation that Bach himself took great delight not only in his compositional skill but also in his prowess as a keyboard player. Bach, he explains, demonstrates his mastery of fugue and inventive genius with lightness as well as gravity. “The range of this book is very wide, comprising informal music which can delight a child or casual listener, and formal music in which Bach could explore the far reaches of his mind and inspiration in composition. This is his richness: informal and formal, traditional and innovative, reaching out to touch both earth and heaven.”

The title page of The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I outlines the work’s purpose: it was created for the “profit and use of musical young people who are curious to learn, and also as a special pastime for those already skilled in this study”. Following reports of Bach’s own intuitive approach to tuning which allowed an instrument to be used in all keys, Trevor Pinnock adopts a “well-tempered” unequal temperament which sounds well in all keys but retains some variation of key colour.

For his recording, he chose a trusted companion – a copy of a harpsichord by the Franco-German builder Henri Hemsch tuned to the low pitch prevalent in Köthen during Bach’s time there and which, Pinnock says, “has a unique voice which combines a singing quality with enough clarity to allow Bach’s part-writing to shine”.

More information on the website.




PROJECT XII

Introducing Deutsche Grammophon’s Project XII 2020 – a 12-track, multi-artist collection from today’s innovative and creative musicians. One brand-new track per month will be released throughout 2020, each track specially chosen both to represent different contemporary classical genres and to suit the mood of the season.


For the month of March, Project XII continues the year with “Mundo Flotante” by Valencia-based pianist and composer Sergio Díaz De Rojas.

Mundo Flotante, which translates to Floating World, is inspired by Japanese art genre ukiyo-e.


“I composed it while observing some postcards and prints I own of Hiroshige, my favorite artist of this movement (I adore his depictions of birds and flowers as well as some of his landscapes). For me, this piece feels like an early morning walk during spring, feeling the soft warmth of the sun at that time of the day, fresh air against my face, the trees moving with the wind, and birds singing softly in the background.” - Sergio Díaz De Rojas






Play On! Play, Against All Odds – New Music Video

Deaf Hip-Hop World Champion Dancer Kassandra Wedel dances to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony

Under the motto “Play On! Play, against all Odds” we premiere a new music video next Monday March 2 with deaf hip-hop world champion dancer Kassandra Wedel, who dances to one of Beethoven’s most famous themes – the 1st movement to his 5th symphony.

When noise ceases to be simply noise, when a magical symbiosis occurs between melody, harmony and rhythm, the result is music. But what then happens if melody and harmony are silenced? What remains, and what, if anything, might emerge in their place? These questions are particularly timely in 2020, as we mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, famously deaf in later life. Deutsche Grammophon is playing a key role in the anniversary celebrations with a range of projects and initiatives aimed at showcasing the many different aspects of the composer’s legacy. As expressed by the label’s chosen slogan for its 2020 campaign – “Play on, play against all odds” – Beethoven’s example in overcoming adversity and continuing to write groundbreaking masterpieces for the rest of his life, remains inspirational today.

To coincide with the WHO’s World Hearing Day on 3 March 2020, we are proud to release an exciting new music video created in collaboration with German dancer, actress, dance teacher, choreographer and hip-hop world champion dancer Kassandra Wedel, who brings the spirit of Beethoven to life through her own very personal dance style. The video will be presented at a press conference in Berlin on March 2, and will be available to stream from March 3 onwards.

The video, produced with the support of @googleartsculture, will be presented at a press conference in Berlin on March 2, and will be available to stream from March 3 onwards.



More info here.




ADÈS CONDUCTS ADÈS - TRADITION RENEWED

“Adès may be the most sought-after musician of our time … he has written a tonal piece that is simultaneously thoughtful and musical, rooted in the past but forward-looking, and also crowd-pleasing…”
The Wall Street Journal, reviewing Thomas Adès’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, 8 March 2019


  • Deutsche Grammophon releases Adès Conducts Adès, featuring the world premiere recordings of his acclaimed Concerto for Piano and Orchestra and Totentanz
  • Album documents landmark premiere of Concerto for Piano and Orchestra given by Kirill Gerstein and Boston Symphony under composer’s direction

Selected by The New York Times as one of the Best Classical Music Premieres of 2019 and hailed by critics worldwide, Thomas Adès’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra entered the concert repertoire within months of its first performance last March and is fast approaching a tally of fifty performances. Both this work and the composer’s Totentanz receive their world premiere recordings in a new album from Deutsche Grammophon, set for international release on 28 February 2020.

Adès Conducts Adès celebrates the extraordinary talent of Thomas Adès, acclaimed equally as composer, pianist and conductor. The Grammy Award-winning British musician directs the Boston Symphony Orchestra and soloist Kirill Gerstein in the debut recording of his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. Adès and the BSO are then joined by mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn and baritone Mark Stone in Totentanz, an all-encompassing dialogue with Death for two soloists and vast symphonic forces.

“Here is an unabashed showpiece in the grand manner, replete with thundering double octaves, frame-rattling two-hand chords, and keyboard-sweeping glissandos,” observed Alex Ross in The New Yorker about Adès’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. The three-movement work’s first performance, given at Boston’s Symphony Hall under the composer’s direction on 7 March 2019, was lauded by the New York Times for being “refreshingly, even radically, normal” and “an affectionate, joyous … tribute to tradition”. Its international reception has proved equally enthusiastic: The Times (London) found the work’s UK premiere last October to be a “joyous surprise”, while the Financial Times ranked it in company with the piano concertos of Rachmaninov and Prokofiev.

The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra was commissioned for Kirill Gerstein by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, of which Thomas Adès has been Artistic Partner since the 2016-17 season. The piece was inspired directly by the virtuosity and majestic musicianship of the composer’s friend and duo partner Gerstein. He proposed that Adès should consider writing a piano concerto while they were preparing performances of the latter’s In Seven Days with the BSO in 2012.

“I don’t think we have had such a piano concerto in the literature since Prokofiev and Ravel,” Gerstein noted in an interview with Gramophone. “I really think it’s a masterpiece. It’s quite concise. It does what a piano concerto should do – it has octaves, a cadenza, a slow movement of gravitas. He references the traditional models, but you never think he is doing something derivative.”

Tradition also played its part in Totentanz. Adès took the work’s text from the anonymous verse attached to a fifteenth-century cloth frieze by German artist Bernt Notke (c. 1435–c. 1509) in Lübeck’s Marienkirche. “Destroyed by bombing in World War Two, the frieze depicted members of every category of human society in strictly descending order of status, from the Pope to a baby,” the composer observes. “In between each human figure was an image of Death, dancing and inviting the humans to join him. In this setting, each of the humans in turn is represented by a low soprano, and Death by a baritone.” Totentanz reflects the full range of the original poetry, conjuring up everything from the horror to the humour of death. It is dedicated to the memory of Witold Lutosławski (1913–1994) and of his wife Danuta.

Adès conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Christianne Stotijn and baritone Simon Keenlyside in the work’s world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall on 17 July 2013. He chose Totentanz to launch his tenure three years later as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Artistic Partner, a post specially created for him. “I am delighted to be joining the BSO family of musicians and colleagues and to embark on this particular artistic adventure,” said Adès at the time. “From my first rehearsal with this amazing orchestra – almost exactly five years ago – I knew that we shared a musical wavelength, and in our subsequent meetings I’ve been gratified to sense the relationship deepening each time.”