Les pianistes is a group of ardent Hong Kong pianists who have been working with one another for years. The gathering and consolidation of the group are based on one common ideal: to break the invisible barrier of the so-called canon of the piano literature by sharing music which is rarely performed, seldom heard, not frequently recorded, newly written, miserably overlooked and neglected in oblivion, etc., in scrupulously and creatively organized live concerts.
Though only founded in 2012, members of Les pianistes have started this unique musical practice since long ago and critical acclaims have been yielded on these pianists for bringing not less than this illuminous list of composers, namely Godowsky, Blancafort, Bortkiewicz, Medtner, Mompou, Ropartz, Alexandrov, Ponce, Gnattali, Mignone, Guastavino, Earl Wild, de Severac, Vladigerov, Jongen, etc. to light in the relatively conservative musical environment in Hong Kong. We also promote the music of such living composers (with some of whom we even have personal contacts) as Alexander Rosenblatt, Vyacheslav Gryaznov, Kyoko Yamamoto, Nikolai Kapustin, Marcela Fiorillo, Federico Ruiz, to name but a few, extensively.
With the launch of this blog, we are happy to present some of our best live recordings or home-made recordings either from our concerts or from various private occasions. We would also like to introduce interesting and highly recommendable recordings, music, scores, in other words, any fascinating stuff about music, from the unique perspective of Les pianistes, here.
The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once declared that "Without music, life would be an error". To live a less erroneous life, come join us for some better music.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Alexis Weissenberg








Exactly one year ago, Alexis Weissenberg (1929 - 2012) passed away.  The above two videos are posted as a tribute to this world-renowned pianist.

Weissenberg was widely known as a classical pianist.  However, like Samson François, Weissenberg also played jazz in his private life.  For many years, a legendary recording (45 rpm EP) of six piano arrangements of Trenet songs have been circulating and the scores were wildly sought after since then.  This fabulous recording is called "Mr. Nobody plays Trenet" and the Mr. Nobody in question was only identified as Alexis Weissenberg when Marc-André Hamelin published his "In a State of Jazz", despite the fact that Hamelin is not the first pianist to record these arrangements (Leif Ove Andsnes had recorded before one, namely 'Coin de Rue', from the set in his EMI album "Horizon" but at that time Mr. Nobody was still mysteriously veiled).

In the videos, both pieces were played by Frederic Koon.  While Vous qui passez sans me voir was notated by Frederic Koon, En Avril, á Paris was transcribed by the wonderful Singaporean pianist Wei-Yuan Chua.  I seize the chance here to express my gratitude to him for providing me his illustrious work.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Sketch of Jazz

There are not many jazz piano pieces written for left hand alone, besides the Kapustin Seven Polyphonic Pieces for left hand Op. 87. Therefore this album "Sketch of Jazz" by the Japanese composer Kensaku Tanikawa is very precious for jazz lovers. All pieces in this album are written for left hand only and different jazzy styles are well adopted in five stylistic gems. This one, the Lounge Music, is the most beautiful and romantic one from it and has been recorded by the prolific Japanese pianist Izumi Tateno (館野泉), who is famous for his explorations of piano works from Northern Europe, his highly captivating rendition of Piazzolla's and Narareth's works in two pianos and his advocacy of piano literature for left hand alone.




Thursday, December 13, 2012

Two other Cantos by Guastavino

In darkness, we tried to jog back the memories of the past - the simplicity, the peacefulness, the contentment.

...which in the end we only brought nothing back to the real world but loneliness and emptiness.




This is the feeling these songs by Guastavino gives me.

 
Cantos Populares No.1


 
Cantos Populares No.9

Saturday, November 24, 2012

推介Cyprien Katsaris 的CD PIANO RARITIES Vol. 3




鋼琴大師Cyprien Katsaris 當年以驚人技藝在超技大師Georges Cziffra面前演譯後者所改編的絕難彈奏的Flight of the Bumble Bee, 現今在Youtube回看依然令人瞠目結舌. Katsaris 此後一直大量涉獵鋼琴改編曲這個範疇 (當然其錄音曲目亦不乏Mozart Concertos, Schubert Sonata 等經典), 其中最為人津津樂道的自是其Beethoven-Liszt Symphonies 全集.  這陣子大師剛推出了其全新CD Piano Rarities Vol. 3, Vol. 1後再一次以Transcriptions作主題 (Vol. 2是冷門的法國音樂), 其中除一首Earl Wild Tchaikovsky At the Ball全部是世界首錄音而專輯的亮點 (當然只是對筆者來說是俄羅斯鋼琴學派其中一個Heinrich Neuhaus 的一個晚年弟子Vladimir Leyetchkiss 所改編的Rachmaninoff Suite for 2 pianos no. 2 Op. 17 的鋼琴獨奏版及浪漫得讓人低徊不已的第二交響曲慢版樂章的獨奏版 (第二交響曲全首皆為Georg Kirkor所改編, Katsaris這次只奏著名的慢版). 不計演譯只聽著那些熟悉但從不屬於一台鋼琴的可以演奏的曲子便已讓人抗拒不了要多播幾遍.  筆者聽後也禁不住要翻出收藏已久的樂譜 過其手癮”, Katsaris 所收集的樂譜委實罕見筆者也只能輕嘆 吾生也有涯”.  上文提及的Rachmaninoff-Leyetchkiss, 以筆者所及也從未見過第一樂章 (Introduction) 和第四樂章 (Tarantella) 的譜喜歡此曲的人真的不能錯過.  另筆者亦挑選了現居美國的意大利鋼琴家Sandro Russo Horowitz的鋼琴所演奏的Rachmaninoff-Leyetchkiss Waltz (from 2nd Suite) Youtube video, Katsaris CD未及入手的朋友先作淺嚐.







Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Heifetz’s magic – on the piano?




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGCO4w6HbgI&feature=youtu.be
(Live performance in Hong Kong - the original vocal version)




有沒有聽過Heifetz彈鋼琴呢還要是彈自己既作品而且更是一首流行曲? Jim Hoyl Heifetz的假名當時一些古典音樂家當涉獵流行曲的時候一般都會以pseudonym 示人據傳Heifetz 曾寫下不少於50首的流行曲調子而只有這一首 When You Make Love To Me 較為人所熟識.  此樂譜當然絕版多時筆者有幸曾live演出此曲的確是一個愜意的體驗.  說回Heifetz的演奏我們的小提琴之王一向是很能彈的有些錄像裡便曾經見過其在家裡演奏巴赫的片段在這短短一分半鐘, Heifetz秉承了其演奏小提琴時音色多變的特色但就沒有如其慣常的冷峻倒反是帶著更多溫暖的音色畢竟這可是一首情歌呢. 淡淡的浪漫的曲調細訴著戀人若即若離的無奈.



French X German


Three pianists of our group will be performing some interesting music on 8th Dec, 2012. Venue: Recital Hall, 8/F, High Block, City Hall, Central. Time: 8:00 pm. Don't miss it!!



Hint: there will be a couple of rarely heard but highly fascinating piano duets you might not be able to encounter again if you don't come.