– Nelson Freire, Piano – In Recital – Philharmonic de Paris – February 8, 2018 – Private recording
With the shocking and sad news earlier this month of the passing of the legendary Nelson Freire, at the age of 77, the music world has lost another giant – in a year where the loss has been substantial throughout all aspects and genres of music, this one leaves an enormous vacuum; a loss that cannot (and may never) be replaced.
Nelson José Pinto Freire was a Brazilian classical pianist and regarded as one of the leading pianists of his generation. He was noted for his “decorous piano playing” and “interpretive depth”. His extensive discography for labels such as Sony Classical, Teldec, Philips, and Decca has garnered awards including the Gramophone Award and Diapason d’Or. Freire appeared as soloist with the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. He played and recorded piano duo music with Martha Argerich, a long-time musical and personal friend.
In 1957, Freire’s performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, at the age of 12. He was awarded 7th place at the Rio de Janeiro International Piano Competition. He subsequently received a Brazilian government grant to study in Vienna with Bruno Seidlhofer. By 1964, Freire had won his first prize at the Vianna da Motta International Music Competition in Lisbon (ex-aequo with Vladimir Krainev) and he also received the Dinu Lipatti Medal and the Harriet Cohen Medal in London. In December 2001, he chaired the jury for the Marguerite Long Competition in Paris. His debut at The Proms was in August 2005.
In general, Freire tended to avoid the limelight, publicity, and interviews. However, in 2011, he withdrew from a scheduled engagement with the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira (OSB) and conductor Roberto Minczuk, in support of the orchestra musicians, following the dismissal of about three dozen OSB musicians by Minczuk. Freire appeared as soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre National de France, the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
This recording, made during a recital at Philharmonie de Paris on February 9, 2018 was not broadcast. Rather, it’s a private recording made by a devoted fan who was at this and another recital in Paris. Since there are no announcements, I have included a listing of the repertoire played:
01 Bach-Ziloti – Organ Prelude in G minor, BWV 535
02 Bach-Busoni – Ich ruf zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639
03 Bach-Busoni – Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist, BWV 667
04 Bach-Hess – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, BWV 147
05 Schumann – Fantasie in C major, Op.17 – I. Durchaus Fantastisch Und Leidenschaftlich Vorzutragen
06 Schumann – Fantasie in C major, Op.17 – II. Mäßig. Durchaus Energisch-Etwas Langsamer
07 Schumann – Fantasie in C major, Op.17 – III. Langsam Getragen. Durchweg Leise Zu Halten
08 Brahms – Intermezzo in B minor, Op.119 No.1
09 Brahms – Intermezzo in E minor, Op.119 No.2
10 Brahms – Intermezzo in C major, Op.119 No.3
11 Brahms – Rhapsody in E-flat major, Op.119 No.4
12 Debussy – La Plus Que Lente, L.121
13 Debussy – Golliwog’s Cakewalk, from Children’s Corner, L.113 No.6
14 Albeniz – Evocación, from Iberia (Book 1)
15 Albeniz – Navarra (completed by de Séverac)
16 (Bis 1) Albeniz-Godowsky – Tango, from España, Op.165 No.2
17 (Bis 2) Grieg – Wedding Day at Troldhauen, Op.65 no.6
18 (Bis 3) Gluck-Sgambati – Melodie from Orfeo
The recording is gorgeous – however, the applause can be ear-splitting. I have compressed it as much as possible, but enthusiasm is tough to get rid of – so just be aware you may be bolted out of your seat, particularly after each encore.
Enjoy the concert and a reminder of who the music world has lost.
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