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András Schiff, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Bach, Bartók and Brahms

The distinguished pianist (and conductor) András Schiff was in concert at the Paris Philharmonie with the excellent Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

1st composer in the programme was his beloved Bach, with the 2 Ricercars of the Musical Offering, a masterpiece which is scandalously absent of French concert halls. He chose to play the Ricercar a 3 on the piano (solo), and the Ricercar a 6 was performed by 6 string players (one for each voice): 2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos. What a great introduction!

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Eliahu Inbal, the OPRF and singers Dietrich Henschel and Ekaterina Gubanova

Maestro Eliahu Inbal was back at the Philharmonie de Paris with the OPRF, accompanied this time by singers Dietrich Henschel and Ekaterina Gubanova.

The concert began with 10 lieder from Gustav Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Contrary to Mahler’s other main vocal works, they do not form a cycle but are a collection performers can choose from.

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Bartók Quartets by the Diotima Quartet

At the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, the Diotima Quartet took up a challenge which is some kind of an achievement: play all 6 quartets written by Bartók in the same evening!

It is common to play these very demanding works over 2 or even 3 evenings, when played along with another composer, allowing to alternate (the Alban Berg Quartet had chosen Mozart at the TCE some years ago).

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Ivo Pogorelich playing in Salle Gaveau

The legendary Ivo Pogorelich was playing in Salle Gaveau. I remember the physical impact the Croatian pianist had on the audience – including myself – the first 2 times I saw him, about 2 decades ago. I’ve had the privilege to see many extraordinary pianists over the years – Brendel, Perahia, Lupu, Zimerman, Koroliov, Pollini, Pires, Schiff, Barenboim, Fleisher, Kocsis, Kovacevich, Istomin, Sokolov, Lugansky to name but a few – but the only one who had a similar impact on me was the great Richter.

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Henri Barda, a French secret at Gaveau

There are some remarkable pianists rather little-known, only their peers and people in the know are aware of them. Quite often because they have spent most of their time teaching or have not opted for an international soloist life. Great masters like Jean Martin, Ventsislav Yankoff, Fou Ts’ong, Pierre Sancan or Jean Hubeau. Or Henri Barda. The French pianist, born in Cairo in 1941, performed in recital, salle Gaveau.

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Jean-Claude Casadesus and the Orchestre du Conservatoire

Maestro Jean-Claude Casadesus was conducting the Orchestre du Conservatoire (the orchestra of the students of Paris Music Conservatoire) at the Philharmonie de Paris.

Difficult to say who was the most enthusiastic and passionate between the 81 year old conductor and the young members of the orchestra. As a matter of fact, they seemed to energize one another!

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Sunday morning with Tedi Papavrami, Xavier Phillips and François-Frédéric Guy

Sunday morning concert at the TCE with violinist Tedi Papavrami, cellist Xavier Phillips and pianist François-Frédéric Guy.

I remember the 1st time I saw Tedi Papavrami, who was the first of them I heard in concert: he played a Mozart Violin Concerto under the baton of the tremendous Kurt Sanderling with the wonderful Orchestre de Paris.

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Rafał Blechacz in recital at the Philharmonie

Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz gave a recital at the Philharmonie. His programme included 3 composers of different times and works of different moods.

First, JS Bach’s 4 Duos – pieces which are rarely played -, masterworks that Blechacz performed perfectly, giving the music its freshness and natural, with at the same time a complete understanding and respect of their architecture.

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