Vladimir Spivakov and his Moscow Virtuosi at the FLV

The FLV hosted, outside the exhibition Icons of modern art – The Shchoukin collection, a concert with Russian conductor and violinist Vladimir Spivakov and his Moscow Virtuosi.

They played first Antonio Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in E minor, then a piece added to the programme, Tomaso Albinoni’s Prayer in A minor (Preghiera), dedicated to the victims of terror attacks by Spivakov.

Back to the programme with Gioachino Rossini’s Sonata for strings No. 3, followed by Luigi Boccherini’s Symphony in D minor from op. 12, whose rendition was impeccable. D minor is a scale considered at the minimum as “serious” (cf. Bach’s Art of Fugue), if not dark and tragic (Mozart’s Requiem, Schubert’s Death and the Maiden Quartet). And Boccherini is a composer too often neglected, who wrote many excellent symphonic or chamber music pieces.

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The Hagen Quartet playing Haydn at the Louvre

The Hagen Quartet had been invited by the Auditorium du Louvre and played a programme dedicated to Franz Josef Haydn.

The Austrian quartet was formed in 1981, with 4 brothers and sisters Hagen, coming from Salzburg. During its 35 years of activity they were few member changes, the excellent Rainer Schmidt taking the 2nd violin role in 1987.

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Argerich, Kovacevich, Angelich, Capuçon and co

I doubt there ever was such a profusion of pianists on the Philharmonie de Paris stage before that evening: Martha Argerich, Stephen Kovacevich, Nicholas Angelich, the excellent Akane Sakai and Lilya Zilberstein and the Buniatishvili sisters. But pianists were not everything as they were joined by Renaud Capuçon (violin), Edgar Moreau, (cello), and percussionists Jean-Claude Gengembre and Camille Baslé, to play pieces of various format (piano solo, 4 hands, 2 pianos, chamber music…).

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Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Hélène Grimaud and the Rotterdams PO at the TCE

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Hélène Grimaud and the Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest were at the TCE in October 2016 for a concert Bartók and Mahler.

The first part consisted of Béla Bartók’s 3rd Piano Concerto. Les artists offered a very good version of the work, which is more accessible than the 1st Concerto or even the 2nd, despite the fact that it shares with it an extraordinary slow movement. Sometimes still the neglected one of the 3, the piece is nevertheless abundant with wonderful sections, and has an almost Mozartian spirit, but with caracteristics proper to the Hungarian composer (modes and scales, links with folk music, counterpoint / fugue passages). If the 2 fast movements are full of drive, the Adagio religioso is clearly the summit of the concerto, with its choral which sends back to both Beethoven, Bach and Mozart, and its central night music, so typical of Bartók.

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Nicholas Angelich, Orléans

A 14 of October to be definitely forgotten, apart from the recital given by Nicholas Angelich at the Salle de l’Institut in Orléans. It was even a struggle to get there and I arrived late…

But this did not prevent me from enjoying his fine rendition of Robert Schumann’s Kreisleriana – even if I missed the beginning of the piece as well as the opening pieces by Chopin, nor the absolutely remarkable performance of Franz Liszt’s Sonata, that I found even superior to the version he recorded some time ago, with this kind of sunrise at the very end of this dramatic piece.

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Peter Murphy in Paris

Peter Murphy, the former frontman of Bauhaus, was playing an acoustic set in Paris. An opportunity to see/listen to both some of his solo works (including a brilliant rendition of Never Fall Out from the excellent album Ninth) and Bauhaus repertoire (like a great Hollow Hills). Another high point was A Strange Kind of Love ending with excerpts from Bela Lugosi’s Dead!

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Exhibition “Caillebotte, pintor y jardinero” Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Having missed the exhibition “Caillebotte, peintre et jardinier” in Giverny and later become aware of its move to Madrid’s Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, I did not think twice to go on a long weekend with visit of 2 major museums, the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza, which I had visited several times but in the 1990s, on top of the exhibition.

A round trip by TGV & AVE, with the surprise to travel with the same 3 pleasant companions both times, between Paris and Barcelona, and to learn that Mr. Bouju senior could have been one of my literature teacher at the lycée Henri IV, exchanging numerous memories, and showing them the caricatures drawn by my friend Jean-Claude Terrasse there.

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