Selection of the week

The first movement of Beethoven’s Violin and Piano Sonata No.5, Op. 24, dubbed the Spring Sonata, played by Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich. I was fortunate enough to attend a concert by Kremer in the 1980’s. I don’t think I really understood what great musicianship was, as opposed to virtuosity, until that concert.  For Kremer, every note is part of a bigger whole. In this video, it is not clear that Kremer and Argerich are on the same page though.

Below is the whole thing with Anne Sophie Mutter and Lambert Orkis, which has better balance.

Selection of the week

The great Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter playing Beethoven’s last piano sonata, No. 32 in C minor, Op 111, which really pushed the boundaries of music at that time. Beethoven was completely deaf when he composed it. Richter was considered to be a musical genius; he was admired by Glenn Gould. Richter also insisted that American pianist Van Cliburn should be the winner of the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958. It was a controversial decision to say the least but Richter prevailed and that moment still resonates both musically and and geopolitically. It certainly launched Cliburn’s career and one could argue that it laid a path to the end of the cold war. Music can matter.

Selection of the week

The Kyrie from Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor, K427, played  by the Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks conducted by Leonard Bernstein. The solo is sung by the American soprano Arleen Auger, who died in 1993 of brain cancer at the age 53.  Bernstein died in 1990 so this must have been performed sometime in the 1980’s.

Addendum: Actually it is from 1990 so it must have been right before Bernstein died.

Here is the whole mass if you have an hour.