Felix Blumenfeld: Episodes in the life of a dancer

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Music by Felix Blumenfeld (1863 – 1931) performed by Jonathan Powell.

SKU: CR009-Complete Categories: , Tags: ,

Description

About this release

Felix Blumenfeld (1863–1931) was a student of Rimsky-Korsakov, friend of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin,and teacher of Vladimir Horowitz. His colourful, virtuosic piano works will appeal to lovers of the late-Romantic era — of Liszt, Tchaikovsky and the Russian piano school in particular.

Commissioned Programme Note

Felix Blumenfeld was one of the most prominent musicians in Russia at the turn of the 20th century. Related by family to the Neuhauses and Szymanowski, he was a virtuoso pianist and teacher who counted Horowitz, Grinberg and Tsfasman (a Soviet jazz pioneer) among his students. He was also a conductor who gave world premières of major works by his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov and friend Scriabin; successful Russian premières of Wagner operas were also given under his baton. But he was also a composer: his oeuvre is focussed on the piano, and many of his pieces are very fine examples of the art of the Russian serebranïy vek (Silver Age), a period in which the piano was given particular attention by Russian composers.

Felix Blumenfeld was one of the most prominent musicians in Russia at the turn of the 20th century. Related by family to the Neuhauses and Szymanowski, he was a virtuoso pianist and teacher who counted Horowitz, Grinberg and Tsfasman (a Soviet jazz pioneer) among his students. He was also a conductor who gave world premières of major works by his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov and friend Scriabin; successful Russian premières of Wagner operas were also given under his baton. But he was also a composer: his oeuvre is focussed on the piano, and many of his pieces are very fine examples of the art of the Russian serebranïy vek (Silver Age), a period in which the piano was given particular attention by Russian composers. Read more

About the artists

Jonathan Powell

Jonathan PowellHaving concentrated on composition during the 1990s, Jonathan Powell established an international career as a soloist having studied with Sulamita Aronovsky and Denis Matthews. Over the last decade, he has given solo recitals in the Rachmaninoff Hall of the MGK and been on a six-concert US tour. Other European appearances include Musica Sacra in Maastricht, the series Fundación BBVA in Bilbao, Musica Nova in Helsinki, two solo recitals at the Festival Radio France Montpellier, Borealis Festival in Bergen, the Raritäten der Klaviermusik am Schloss vor Husum, Vredenburg Muziekcentrum in Utrecht, and the Jewish Museum and Altes Rathaus in Vienna.

His recent concerto appearances include Brahms’ Piano Concerto No.2 (Slovak Philarmonic), Liszt’s Malédiction (in Kiev), Finnissy’s Piano Concerto No.2 (Moscow) and Sorensen’s Piano Concerto No.2 (with the Prague Philarmonia), Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.3 and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2 (provincial Ukraine). In recent years, he has broadcast for Radio France, Radio Netherlands, Radio Deutschland Kultur, the BBC and Czech Radio.

He is a passionate advocate of music from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, especially from Russia and eastern Europe, but is also a proponent of contemporary music, having premièred works by Hugues Dufourt, Claudio Ambrosini, Michael Finnissy and others. His repertoire also includes many of the staples of the 19th century (Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann etc). In 2009 he gave the first of many performances of the cycle of Scriabin’s 10 sonatas in single concerts. During 2013 he toured Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l’enfant Jésus and Albeniz’ Iberia, while in 2015 he gave numerous performances of Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata and Reger’s Bach Variations.

Recent activities include a European tour featuring the complete piano works of Xenakis and, in 2017, Liszt’s Sonata, Stockhausen’s Klavierstücke and several performances of Sorabji’s Opus clavicembalisticum. In 2018 he gave six performances of Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues. He is a featured artist at the Jacqueline du Pré hall in Oxford, giving three annual concerts, as well as teaching and leading workshops for students. He has also appeared at the Indian Summer in Levoča Festival (Slovakia) every year since its inception in 2007, as recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestra. The first three months of the 2019—20 season will see him perform in the Netherlands, Slovakia, Ukraine, Paris, UK, Gdańsk, Prague, and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.

Masterclasses, lecture-recitals and coaching have recently taken Powell to the Janáček Academy (Brno), Oxford University, the Guildhall School and Music and Drama (London), the Royal Academy of Music (London), Akademie für Tonkunst (Darmstadt), Cornish College of Arts (Seattle), and Det Jyske Musikkonservatorium (Denmark). His articles on many aspects of Russian music appear in the New Grove Dictionary of Music. His compositions have been performed by the Arditti Quartet, the London Sinfonietta and Nicolas Hodges. He lives in southern Poland.

  • Nocturne-Fantasie - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Deux morceaux - Elegiaco - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Deux morceaux - Patetico - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Sonate-Fantaisie - Allegro non tanto - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Sonate-Fantaisie - Andante, poetico - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Sonate-Fantaisie - Tempo de l’andante; Allegro con fuoco - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Deux moments dramatiques - Lento - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Deux moments dramatiques - Presto - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Trois Nocturnes - Chant - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Trois Nocturnes - Réve - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Trois Nocturnes - Vision - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Episodes dans la vie d’une danseuse - I. Allegretto - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Episodes dans la vie d’une danseuse - II. Allegro, III. Adagio lugubre - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Episodes dans la vie d’une danseuse - IV. Lento - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Deux morceaux - Danse - Felix Blumenfeld
  • Deux morceaux - Postludium - Felix Blumenfeld
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Credits

Catalogue number: CR009

Piano Jonathan Powell

Engineering Adaq Khan
Mastering Adaq Khan
Producer Jonathan Powell
Creative Director John Bevan
Executive Producer Adrian Green

Recorded August, 2008
Venue Durham Music School
Total Duration 72 mins

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