Originally published on Sat August 4, 2012 1:04 am
Canadian rower Michael Braithwaite is pumped and probably a little nervous. It's the day before the double sculls (two person team) competition at the London Olympics and the British Columbia native is hoping his strong arms and shoulders will bring him gold.
Up until a few years ago, Italian-born, French-educated composer-pianist-conductor Alfredo Casella's greatest claim to fame in America was as the director of the Boston Pops in the late 1920s, preceding Arthur Fiedler. But that pales in comparison to the significant body of distinguished music he left behind that is receiving increased attention from record companies.
With the sesquicentennial of Claude Debussy's birth coming up fast on Aug. 22, you'd think there would be a small blizzard of new Debussy releases. This year, not so much; maybe it's a sign of the economic times and industry reality that there's no great rush to add the zillionth recording of such incredibly loved repertoire to the catalog. But every so often, a project comes along that demands a revisiting of music you think you know inside and out. This two-disc set of Debussy headed by Russian pianist Alexei Lubimov is just such a release.
People keep asking me why I recorded Sergei Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony for my first CD release in my new post leading the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra. The simple answer is that it just felt right. But in thinking about it, I can now see many parallels — at least for me — between Prokofiev's music, the city of Sao Paulo and the country of Brazil.
Misha Dichter is a man of many talents, though you probably know him as the gifted pianist who won the silver medal at 1966 Tchaikovsky Competition, spurring an international career that has lasted more than 40 years.