Interview: Pianist David Jalbert grasps for the unreachable in Bach’s Goldberg Variations

“Bringing out one voice is not enough. It doesn’t pay homage to everything there is in the music,” says David Jalbert of the Goldberg Variations (Chris Mukula photo for the Ottawa Citizen).

Ottawa-based pianist David Jalbert earlier this year released an impressive new album of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations album on the ATMA Classique label.

He performsthe masterpiece at at Stratford Summer Music recital tomorrow (Aug. 15) afternoon at St Andrew’s Church. Concert details here.

This performance promises to be well worth the drive. It is followed at 4 p.m. by the launch of Colin Eatock’s new book, Remembering Glenn Gould: Twenty Interviews With People Who Knew Him, at Stratford City Hall. Continue reading


Interview: The consummate pianist is like a consummate actor, says Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet plays Haydn and Debussy at Stratford Summer Music on Wednesday afternoon (J Henry-Fair photo).

Never write off an artist because they are a late bloomer.

French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet won his first competition in 1986, and quickly gained the respect of anyone who heard him play, but it took nearly two decades for the wider classical music world to fully catch on to this performer’s prodigious talents, which will be on solo display at Stratford Summer Music on Wednesday afternoon. Continue reading

CD Reviews: Two dashes of passion and finesse from Argentina

New York pianist Mirian Conti (Nan Melville photo).

Nostalgias Argentinas (Steinway & Sons)

Here is music made for the dog days of summer — meditative and melancholy pieces for a shady hammock in the afternoon, tangos for twilight pleasure — from New York City-based pianist Mirian Conti. A native of Argentina, Conti has spent many years championing young pianists as well as the rich store of tuneful music written for her instrument in that country. Continue reading

Concert review: Emotional fervour from Cecilia String Quartet and Georgy Tchaidze at Toronto Summer Music

The Cecilia String Quartet performed for Toronto Summer Music at Walter Hall on Wednesday night (Liz Parker photo).

Chamber music concerts are so often seen as staid, serious events. But Wednesday night’s Toronto Summer Music performance by Canada’s Cecilia String Quartet and pianist Georgy Tchaidze at Walter Hall was pure excitement. Continue reading

Interview: Simone Dinnerstein has more in common with Glenn Gould than we might think

New York pianist Simone Dinnerstein performs an all-Bach recital at Stratford Summer Music on the afternoon of Aug. 1 (Lisa-Marie Mazzucco photo).

Last weekend, following a recital in Leipzig, Germany, pianist Simone Dinnerstein was taking a walk around the Thomaskirche, the church forever associated with Johann Sebastian Bach.

“I was standing outside at night, thinking about Bach and being around this square full of modern buildings,” Dinnerstein recalls. “There were a lot of drunken tourists, this kind of nightlife. In the middle, here is Bach’s church and I was thinking about how there’s something extremely funny about the fact that people nowadays obsess about how Bach would have played his own music when you just need to stand in this place and see that absolutely everything has changed. Continue reading

Keyboard works of C.P.E. Bach show how messy rules of interpretation really are

C.P.E. Bach signed a guestbook with a clever little play on the famous family name.

Musicologists, historians and performers like to believe that interpretation is based on pretty clear rules. But when it comes to any music written before Thomas Edison invented his wax cylinder, interpretation is really the product of educated guesswork, sometimes handed down from composer to pupil to pupil to pupil.

But we’ve all played the telephone game, right?

So, back to guesswork. Continue reading

Concert review: Pianist Jan Lisiecki shows Stratford he still has a little growing up to do

Jan Lisiecki played his first of three recitals for Stratford Summer Music on Thursday morning (Mathias Bothor photo).

At what point does a critic move from gentle encouragement to serious criticism?

That is the dilemma with 17-year-old Cargary-born pianist Jan Lisiecki, who gave the first of three consecutive recitals for Stratford Summer Music on Thursday morning. Continue reading