– The New York Philharmonic – Vaclav Neumann, guest conductor – Brigitte Engerer, piano – April 7, 1984 –
A rather short concert this week, but one featuring two greats of the concert stage who are no longer with us.
Some bio information From Wikipedia:
Born in Tunis, French Tunisia, Brigitte Engerer started piano lessons at the age of four, and by the age of six was performing in public. When she was 11 her family moved to France and she entered the Paris Conservatoire to study under Lucette Descaves. In 1968, aged 15, she was unanimously awarded a first prize in piano, and the following year she won the Concours International Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud. Brigitte Engerer was subsequently invited to undertake further training at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory where she joined the class of Stanislav Neuhaus, who said she was “one of the most brilliant and most original pianists of her generation”. Though her scholarship was originally for one year, she loved Russia so much that she studied there for nine years.
In 1980, her career took a decisive turn when Herbert von Karajan invited her to play with the Berlin Philharmonic. She subsequently received engagements with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris under Daniel Barenboim, and she was a favourite of conductors such as Mstislav Rostropovich and Zubin Mehta. Her subsequent career was divided between giving recitals and teaching at the Paris Conservatoire. Her last concert took place on 12 June 2012 at the prestigious Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 50 years after playing there for the first time. The performance featured the work of Schumann. She died less than two weeks later, on 23 June, after a several year struggle against cancer. She was 59 years of age.
Vaclav Neumann made his debut as a conductor with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in 1948; remaining as a conductor with that ensemble through 1950. In 1951 he became principal conductor of the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra. He left that post in 1954 to become principal conductor of the Brno Symphony Orchestra (SOKB). In 1956, he began to conduct at the Komische Oper in Berlin; beginning with a celebrated production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen on 30 May 1956. He toured with that production to Paris and Weisbaden; conducting a total of 215 performance between the three cities. He remained at the Komische Oper for eight years, leaving in 1964 to become conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and General Music Director of the Leipzig Opera. He stayed there until 1968, when he became principal conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, a post he held until 1990 and again in 1992-1993. He was concurrently General Music Director of the Stuttgart Staatsoper from 1970 through 1973.
The concert was recorded on April 7, 1984 and features only two works: Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto Number 1 and Frank’s Symphony in D Minor.
Good concert with familiar music all around.
Familiar is good, every now and then. Especially on a Wednesday.
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