Ferruccio Busoni. He was the first to perform all 18 Franz Liszt Preludes together, the first to play all 24 Chopin Preludes together, and, over four nights in Berlin, he soloed in 14 concertos with orchestra. Fourteen. They couldn't invent words big enough to describe this new star among pianists. Not only did they call him star, but also sun, giant, and king - tripping over themselves to find superlatives.
Works for Organ and Orchestra by Charles-Marie Widor and Aaron Copland
The organ world in Paris - in January of 1870 - was buzzing when the top names in the business saw to it that a 25-year-old got the biggest job in the city. St. Sulpice Church was looking for someone to pilot its newly installed five-manual organ, the greatest and largest instrument by Aristide Cavaille-Coll, known as the greatest organ builder of the 19th century.
Camille Saint-Saens, Charles Gounod, and Cavaille-Coll himself all said that there was only one person for the job: Charles-Marie Widor. The church offered Widor the appointment on a temporary basis. He kept the job for 64 years.
From Deceptive Cadence - NPR's new classical music blog. Bob McQuiston writes about Dmitri Shostakovich's influence on the Polish-born composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Three of Weinberg's string quartets are performed on the young Danelo Quartet's latest album.
Polish-born composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg (also spelled Vaynberg) was of Jewish decent, and the only immediate member of his family to get out of Poland alive, following the Nazi occupation of 1939. Initially he fled to Minsk, but as the Nazis "panzered" into Russia, he moved further east to Tashkent in 1941.
Pianist Simone Dinnerstein earned international acclaim with her 2007 recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Her second album comes out on January 18th. Here's an exclusive "First Listen" from NPR. Listen to the entire album, or individual tracks.
Only in America...in the midst of WW II, Columbia Pictures was deciding who would compose the score to a film about an Allied battle in Norway. Two Russian-born composers were in the running. Igor Stravinsky, the most famous composer alive, had the inside track. Yet, the other composer got the job. Who did Stravinsky lose out to?
Paul Juon was born in Russia and died in Switzerland, but is a German composer. His music is influenced by Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, and Sibelius, so of course he was called "the Russian Brahms"! Well, Taneyev, Glazunov, and Medtner have all been called that, but it was a schoolmate, Sergei Rachmaninoff, who pinned the nickname on Paul Juon. So who is he?