Grand Piano is sad to record the passing of Greek composer Theodore Antoniou, on 26 December 2018. He was aged 83.
Born in Athens in 1935, Theodore Antoniou belonged to the generation of renowned composers that included Ligeti, Crumb, Penderecki, Stockhausen and Xenakis. He was latterly a professor emeritus at Boston University and president of the Greek Composers’ Union, a position he held for more than 25 years. In recognition of his contribution to the international musical scene, he was elected a member of the Academy of Athens, Greece’s highest intellectual establishment.
Antoniou’s prolific output of more than 450 works includes 8 significant works for solo piano, all of which feature on Konstantinos Destounis’ 2018 release for Grand Piano (GP779). It includes six world premiere recordings and was made in the presence of the composer, who considered Konstantinos Destounis “a phenomenon… a great interpreter of my complete piano works.”
We send congratulations to two Grand Piano artists whose recordings have been selected for inclusion in The Best 100 Albums of 2018, compiled by Ted Gioia, one of America’s most respected musicians and authors.
Gioia, who has published in many of the country’s leading newspapers, periodicals and websites, has an eclectic musical interest and expertise. This is reflected in the list of his top 100 albums that places Tanya Ekanayaka’s recording of her own compositions Twelve Prisms (GP785) and Martin David Jones’ programme of works by Friedrich Gulda (GP759) alongside recordings by artists such as Brian Eno, Keith Jarrett, Prince, Steve Reich and the Ensemble Gilles Binchois.
‘The music is improvisational in effect, yet careful listening reveals real care in the construction … it is in the international interplay that the fascination lies. The music is always beautifully performed by the composer.’
– International Piano
‘A terrific selection of the multi-talented—and how!—Gulda’s compositions, the product of a sui generis creative spirit if ever there were one. The blisteringly virtuosic Variations on The Doors’ “Light My Fire” alone are worth the price of admission.’
– Records International
NICOLAS HORVATH has once again graced the Grand Hall of the Philharmonie de Paris, this time in an 8-hour recital of Erik Satie’s complete piano works. Many journals subsequently hailed it as the leading cultural event of the 2018 Paris Nuit Blanche (White Night) Festival. Horvath opened this latest in his series of epic programmes on the evening of October 6 with Vexations, and finished with Gymnopédie No. 1 the next morning. Horvath presented Philip Glass’ complete works for piano in the same venue two years ago, when the recital lasted some 12 hours. You can watch a video of the entire Satie concert by visiting PhilharmoniedeParis.fr (available for the next six months).
The latest volume in Horvath’s Satie complete piano edition on Grand Piano was released in May 2018 (GP763). Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review commented that “His performances have a touching freshness and lack of pretense that seem to me nicely hewing to the spirit of these works. In that way perhaps you hear the Satie a little bit more than you hear the pianist, which is in no way a bad thing. Horvath is pretty selfless throughout.” Previous volumes in the set are available on GP761 (Vol. 1) and GP762 (Vol. 2).
With the first two volumes already released and the third to be recorded by the end of the year, Álvaro Cendoya discusses his 8-volume project to record Manuel Ponce’s piano music for Grand Piano. The pianist is in discussion with San Sebastián’s leading music journal, El Diario Viasco. The interview is conducted in Spanish: https://www.diariovasco.com/culturas/musica/compositores-conocidos-merecen-20180923005734-ntvo.html.
Anyone who has followed the development of the Grand Piano label will readily recognise the name of French composer Florent Schmitt (1870–1958). Recordings of his works for piano duet and duo have featured as regular additions to the catalogue, with Vol. 1 appearing in October 2012, one of the earliest entries in the Grand Piano discography. They are now available complete, in four volumes, all performed by the Invencia Piano Duo.
Schmitt has been labelled a product of German romanticism, French sensibilities, exotic locales, Russian experimentalism, and orientalisms. All of which adds up to an independent, creative force to be reckoned with; one who made authentically original contributions to twentieth-century music.
Schmitt’s Feuillets de voyage, Books 1 and 2 are early works, dating from 1903–1905, and acted as a musical travel diary for the composer. The works are featured on Volume 3 of the Grand Piano edition (“…Feuillets de voyage each contain five pieces … Invencia plays them with charm and panache.” American Record Guide). The composer went on to orchestrate the majority of them, though these versions remain unrecorded. You can now learn more about the background to these engaging pieces in a recently published article by Philip Nones, a noted blogger on Schmitt’s music, by following this link.