by Jarrett Hoffman
IN THIS EDITION:
•Tonight: Cleveland Orchestra with Gilbert and a trio of soloists
•News: Kent Blossom applications open, CIM’s Sara Daneshpour (pictured) appointed professor at CCM, and Dwight Oltman memoir available
•Almanac: a trio of famous pianists in Medtner, Brendel, and Pollini
Tonight at 7:30 pm, Alan Gilbert leads The Cleveland Orchestra in a concert that includes Haydn’s Symphony No. 90, Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3 (“Sinfonia espansiva”), featuring soprano Liv Redpath and baritone Justin Austin as soloists, and the world premiere of James Oliverio’s timpani concerto Legacy Ascendant, which will shine a spotlight on principal timpani Paul Yancich. The program will be repeated on Saturday. Tickets are available here, and you can read Mike Telin’s recent interview with Oliverio here.
Just as ClevelandClassical.com was signing off for the holidays in late December, Kent Blossom Music Festival began accepting applications for 2023. The Young Artist program runs from July 2 to August 6 and is open to string players, woodwinds, pianists, and hornists. Fill out your application by February 19.
The Cleveland Institute of Music has shared congratulatory news about an alumna and current doctoral student. That would be Sara Daneshpour (photo above by Kaupo Kikkas), who has been appointed Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Read more about Daneshpour here from CCM.
Recent Diary entries have noted the passing of conductor Dwight Oltman (pictured below), whose deep ties to Northeast Ohio included a 44-year career at Baldwin Wallace. As one way to honor his memory, the Conservatory has shared a link to a digital copy of his short memoir, My Journey from Enders, Nebraska to Edinburgh, Scotland. Read here.
And to share one quote from a BW Conservatory Facebook post about Oltman, “Surely, he will soon teach the heavenly choirs how to subdivide…”
The biggest name to grace this date in music history is French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, who died on January 5, 2016 in Baden-Baden, Germany. We featured him in detail in last year’s Diary, so today we’ll turn our attention to a trio of famous pianists.
Those players are all celebrating birthdays. Russian pianist-composer Nikolai Medtner is no longer with us, having been born in 1880, while Czech-born pianist Alfred Brendel turns 92, and Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini turns 81.
By his early twenties, Nikolai Medtner had mostly rejected performing in favor of composing, but the piano was always involved, whether in the main role of the piece or in a supporting role — including in sonatas, concertos, duos, and short solos for piano, in sonatas for violin, and in over 100 songs.
Alfred Brendel retired from performing in 2008, leaving behind a 60-year career that focused in particular on Austro-German repertoire, especially Mozart, Schubert, Schoenberg, and Beethoven — whose complete solo piano works were recorded by Brendel during the 1950s and ‘60s, a first for any pianist.
Maurizio Pollini has also favored Beethoven over the years, as well as Debussy and Chopin. But he has also been quite contemporary-minded throughout his career, making acclaimed recordings of music by 20th-century composers such as Stravinsky and Prokofiev, and championing his own contemporaries such as Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen.
The music of Beethoven is one common link among these three unique players and careers. Here’s the Sonata No. 23 (“Appassionata”) to serve as a point of comparison, played by Medtner, Brendel, and Pollini. And it’s the best possible outcome: just a few bars reveal significant differences to enjoy.