Sunday, May 14, 2017

Grigory Sokolov en vivant!!

I love it when the Great Ones finally come around to my thinking: after many years of ignoring him because, I don't know, not photogenic? Doesn't do interviews? Doesn't do recordings!? Deutsche Grammophon is finally making up for lost time by issuing a bunch of CDs of Grigory Sokolov. How is this possible, one wonders, as Sokolov is famous for, among other things, NOT doing studio recordings. The answer is that, over the years, there have been many recordings made of his concerts, some of which were released several years ago on the now-defunct French label, Naïve. I have a box of them that I bought after a Polish conductor simply insisted that I had to listen to Sokolov. Very glad I did, by the way. In any case, there is yet another new release from DG of two long-renowned recordings, both of them concertos. Sokolov no longer does concerto performances, only solo recitals which he can be more in control of, so this is a special treat.

This has nothing but five star reviews on Amazon, the first of which comments:
If you like Rachmaninov this disc is not to be missed. It contains the single most passionate and musically insightful account of the composer's Piano Concerto 3 I've ever heard, a recording for the ages. The recording circulated in pirated form for years; now DG has published it in very good (not great) sound. Coupled with the Rachmaninov is a recording of Mozart's Piano Concerto 23, one of the earlier composer's most characteristic yet forward-looking works, played here by Sokolov in a way that might bring tears to an angel.
There is also a DVD with the box that offers a look at Sokolov the person that I look forward to seeing. He is very likely the greatest living pianist.

But I look forward even more to tomorrow night when I will be attending his concert in the Auditorium Manzoni in Bologna, the closest venue to Madrid during his multi-city European tour. I don't think he tours outside Europe any more as he finds the heightened visa requirements just too onerous. This will be, as always with the maestro, a serious concert consisting of two and only two composers: Mozart in the first half and Beethoven in the second half.

There is a fine film of a concert he gave at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris over a decade ago, made by the French filmmaker Bruno Monsaingeon who has made many excellent films of musicians.

In this performance, he walks on stage, plays three Beethoven sonatas without pause and that's the first half. No-one even clapped between sonatas! So I am looking forward with great anticipation to the concert. I also look forward to writing about it, as that always clarifies my thoughts.

So, see you after the concert!

What else?


Will Wilkin said...

Somehow I doubt this is a happy coincidence but rather that you timed your Spanish vacation to allow attendance at this Sokolov recital! Congratulations on a well-executed plan!

Bryan Townsend said...

It is rather a happy coincidence. I had already planned to come in May, then had the idea to see if Sokolov was playing anywhere near. Turns out he was! I just got back from Bologna, rather exhausted, and will put up a post on the concert tomorrow.