Lawler + Fadoul ~ On Prelude Cocktail and Related Things

Left, Zara Lawler, flute; right, Paul Fadoul, marimbaslider-2

The flute and marimba duo Lawler + Fadoul had a few mintues to discuss their CD Prelude Cocktail, which you folks should most certainly pick up, it is a really cool collection of preludes transcribed for the 2 instruments by these very gifted artists.

You can purchase/download the album here or on the link on the bottom.

CM: I want to start off by saying I was quite blown away by this album, it sounds incredible! The thing is, I really enjoy hearing the art of transcription–It’s so special, and some people are probably wondering how it’s so special when it’s music that already exists, but it just gives a whole other sound to something. And these pieces you guys did are mostly written for the piano–Of course, I love the piano, but it has this really cool, sort of chimey elegance with the marimba. And the flute takes up the melody. It’s a nice, fresh approach. BTW, I feel like I just said everything you were going to say, so forgive me…

[all laughing]

Zara: That’s ok, I don’t think we would have come up with the phrase “chimey elegance”, but…

Paul: We like “chimey elegance”! Continue reading

Jenny Q. Chai ~ Reflections in Blue at LPR (A Review)

Reflections in Blue: Jenny Q. Chai at Le Poisson Rouge
Jenny Q. Chai, piano
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Sunday, Nov. 4th, 2012

Written by Scottie Roche

On Sunday, November 4th, I had the immense pleasure of leaving behind the troubles inflicted on New York City and much of the East Coast by Hurricane Sandy to be transported to that other realm we call Music, by way of Jenny Q Chai’s show at Le Poisson Rouge. Understandably, things had been tense of late with a pivotal national election looming and the city devastated by a storm that had left the very area of the concert’s venue in total darkness for a week — Le Poisson Rouge was without power until the night before the concert.

That the performance happened at all is a testament to the resilience of New York City and the perseverance of an endearing performer who though she had difficulty reaching NYC from China and had spent the last few nights sleeping on the couches of friends (which she assured us were very comfortable.) “The show must go on,” the old adage maintains. I’m glad it did. Continue reading

Jenny Q. Chai at LPR ~ Preview (NOTE: IT’S BACK ON)

“I believe it’s extremely important to get peoples’ spirits up. By playing no matter what. After all, I was lucky to make it from China. I think it’s important and good chance to show we are not going to be defeated by this condition.”~Jenny Q. Chai

In the aftermath of this past week’s Hurricane Sandy, lower Manhattan slowly has been getting power restored, and Le Poisson Rouge is one of many venues that are reopening. Pianist Jenny Q. Chai is going to be taking the stage yet again in her first NY appearance since her Carnegie Hall debut this past April.

The concert will take place on Sunday, November 4 at 7:30pm (doors at 6:30pm). Ms. Chai will perform works by Satie, Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Scarlatti, Stroppa, and more. Le Poisson Rouge is located at 158 Bleecker Street in New York City. For more information or tickets ($15/$20), visit LePoissonRouge.com Continue reading

Melody Fader

Pianist Melody Fader had a few minutes to stop and talk to me about Chopin (prominently featured on her 2nd CD, released this past February 2012 on Centaur Records–I highly recommend it), and a little bit about an interesting collaboration she did called “Ghost Trio”, but I sadly forgot to ask her about New Chamber Ballet, which she is also involved with–Check them out too!

CM: Can you talk about your beginnings as a musician, and what drew you to the classics?

Melody: In my household, growing up, classical music was normal and everywhere. It was on the radios, the bulk of our record collections, my mother played the piano, and my father sang, played the guitar and played piano by ear. When my older sister started piano lessons, I was about 3, and I really wanted to play, too. So after a few years of copying her, my mother, and playing by ear, I started lessons at age 5. I always loved it, and when I played my first Chopin Waltz at age 9, I knew that this is what I had to do. I fell in love with Chopin then, and knew that I needed to be a pianist. I am, by the way, the first professional musician in my family, as far as I know. Continue reading

CD Review: Edward Auer/Shanghai Quartet, Chopin: The Two Piano Concertos

Chopin: The Two Piano Concertos
Culture/Demain Recordings
Edward Auer, piano
Shanghai Quartet
Peter Lloyd, double bass

Written by Peter S. Murano

This new CD features Chopin’s Concerto in F minor, op. 21 (world premiere recording of Auer’s arrangement) and Concerto in E minor, op. 11, as performed by Edward Auer, piano, with the Shanghai String Quartet. The surname Auer is not new to the classical music world, due to the presence of famed violinist and teacher Leopold Auer. The artist represented on this new disc, Edward Auer (no relation presumed), is a pianist, now in his early seventies (born 1941). He is Professor of Piano at the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and was born in New York City and grew up in Los Angeles. He made a name for himself by winning the International Chopin Piano Competition in 1965 – the first American to do so, and has had an illustrious career. Continue reading

CD Review: Melody Fader, Music of Frédéric Chopin

On this, her second CD, pianist Melody Fader presents an all-Chopin recital that covers a decent cross section of Chopin’s well-known repertoire, and plays it with such a refreshing tone. The recording, having been done at Fraser Performance Studio (home of WGBH), reveals itself as a crisp, rich document of this young soloist’s journey of an ultimate “pianist’s composer”.

After a superb reading of the F-sharp Bacarolle, op. 60, Fader performs 4 straight pieces in C-sharp (technically, 2 of them are D-flat–In any event, it’s a chord that exudes such warmth for me, and I just can’t explain why) that almost sound as if Chopin intended this to be another sonata. Among these works is the Nocturne #2, and being a piece that I have never been able to keep a memory of from anyone, it seems to finally have a memory thanks to Fader–I think she succeeds in making it a signature piece (take a look here). Continue reading

Vanessa Perez

Photo courtesy of Michele Laurita (Photo below of Vanessa rocking a hat that I happen to also wear: courtesy of Maria Grazia Facciola)

Venezuelan-born pianist Vanessa Perez has just released her new CD Chopin: The Complete Preludes and it is a brilliant recording that features the complete Op. 28 cycle plus the 2 remaining ones as well as the Bacarolle op. 60 and Fantaisie op. 49. You can purchase the album here or on the link at the bottom.

Vanessa stopped to talk to us for a bit about Chopin and some of her career highlights. Continue reading

Inna Faliks: A Night of Words and Music at Cornelia

Music/Words
presents
Inna Faliks (piano)
Clarice Assad (piano and vocals), Samantha Malk (soprano)
and Irina Mashinski (poet)
Cornelia Street Cafe, NYC
April 22nd, 2012

Written by Kyle Lynch

Last Sunday evening, pianist Inna Faliks closed the fourth season of her Music/Words series at the West Village institution, Cornelia Street Café, in New York City. It was an intimate affair in the Café’s cozy basement theatre, and Inna was joined by soprano Samatha Malk, Brazilian pianist and singer Clarice Assad, and poet Irina Mashinski. The potpourri of solo piano, songs, and poetry readings hearkens back to old European salons of the turn of the century. Yet the evening was thoroughly enjoyable and modern.

Irina Mashinski set the mood of the first half of the concert with the opening poem “The Room” preceding piano works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Arnold Schoenberg. In the poem, a lady carefully furnishes and arranges a room—only to prepare for “an explosion.” Beethoven’s Fantasia in G minor, op. 77 presents a loose set of variations that continually drifts abroad to far reaching keys, different tempos and moods. If Beethoven was preparing later generations of composers to push the limits of tonality, then Schoenberg set the explosion of tonality with the early atonal work, Three Pieces for Piano, op. 11, when he “emancipated the dissonance” the year before in 1908. Continue reading

Jenny Q. Chai

New music pianist Jenny Q. Chai is making a special appearance at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on April 19th at 7:30 PM playing some great pieces by Debussy, Ligeti, Marco Stroppa, György Kurtág, Messiaen, and even Schumann (guess they’re trying to make him sound young again) as well as two world-premiere pieces by composers Ashley Fu-Tsun Wang and Inhyun Kim.
She had some time to talk with me about that upcoming show and her musical path. Continue reading

Alice Sara Ott

German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott is sort of a dark-horse among the classical stars (At least here in the US), but she does have a few things going that allow for her to get a bit more exposure. For starters, she was tapped to step in and replace Lang Lang for a concert at London’s Barbican with Daniel Harding and the LSO last year. The Guardian’s Tim Ashley describes it so sweetly:

“Liszt’s Concerto plays fast and loose with form, jettisoning traditional movements in favour of evolving thematic development. The soloist, replacing Lang Lang at short notice, was Alice Sara Ott, who gave the kind of gawp-inducing bravura performance of which legends are made. The heft of her playing contrasts with the elegance of her platform manner. Harding’s conducting was all monumentality and fire – it felt a bit superhuman, as Liszt always should”

This plus the lady performs barefoot with symphony orchestras! Now that’s a scoop!
She had some time to spare to talk to The Glass. Continue reading