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Volume 20 Issue 6 - March 2015

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PETER MATHIS / ECM RECORDSTill Fellner... continued from page 8June). “I really like to play a program many times,” he told me when Isuggested that some performers might find that boring. “For me everythingis so difficult that I am never bored.”In fact, the day after his Music Toronto recital, Fellner will perform thesame program in the Narvesons’ house in Waterloo as part of the Kitchener-WaterlooChamber Music Society’s 41st year. Before his sabbaticalFellner had appeared in that “amazing place” several times, including atraversal of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas.Recording himself (something that Brendel used as a personal teachingtool and encouraged) is also part of the process of improving his performancestep by step. And it’s not only little details that he corrects. “Sometimesgood things happen and you just realize it when you hear the tape,so then of course, you try to keep them.”And even though emotion is always paramount in his approach toplaying, “that doesn’t mean that it is forbidden to think or to reflect.”Fellner has spoken elsewhere of his pleasure working with KentNagano and the Montreal Symphony on their ECM recording ofFELLLNER ON RECORD... a transparentapproach with afocus on the music’ssinging line ...Below is Till Fellner’s complete ECM discography which followedseveral recordings on Apex and Erato over the prior decade.2004Das Wohltemperierte Klavier I: Johann Sebastian Bach;Das Wohltemperierte Klavier I: Preludes and Fugues I – XIIBWV 846 – 857.Recorded September/October 2002 ECM New Series 18532009Inventionen und Sinfonien Französische Suite V: JohannSebastian Bach;Inventionen BWV 772 – 786; Sinfonien BWV 787 – 801; FranzösischeSuite V in G-Dur BWV 816.Recorded July 2007 ECM New Series 20432010Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5: Ludwig van Beethoven;Orchestre symphonique de Montréal;Kent Nagano,conductor;Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major Op. 58 (1805); PianoConcerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major Op. 73 (1809).Beethoven’s Fourth and Fifth Piano Concertos, mentioning. the orchestra’sability to play softly and transparently. So I asked about his owntransparent approach with its focus on the music’s singing lines. And heconfirmed that transparency (clarity) and a singing way of playing thepiano are essential goals of his.He told me that when he played for Brendel in 1990, it was the firstmovement of Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata that started the teachingprocess. Brendel told him that the beginning of a Beethoven sonata wascrucial, that everything is there. And the critical idea that you have toplay so clearly that a musical person must be able to write down the scorejust through listening to your playing.Fellner has recently begun teaching a few students of his own (sincethe fall of 2013), a process he finds quite rewarding. “I hope my studentslearn something but I learn a lot from them,” he told me. “You have toexplain everything to them including things that seem perfectly logical toyou. And then you see that they are not logical at all. When I’m at home,when I practise, I imagine everything. So I don’t have to conduct, I don’thave to sing. I try to realize this on the piano. But with the students I haveto show them, I have to be quite extroverted. I have to sing, to dance, toconduct. And that’s quite a good thing for me.”He spent the entirety of 2012 on a sabbatical from public performance,studying new repertoire and pursuing his interest in literature andfilm. (As a former film programmer myself who still writes about filmand the symbiotic connection between film and music, I was intriguedto discover that Fellner had written an essay on Bunuel’s use of music-- which I read in its Google translation. It was comprehensive andeloquent.)“First of all,” he said, “I was impressed by Buñuel’s films, by theirsubversity, mysteriousness and humour. Then, I realized that the music inhis films played an important role. My essay tries to show how Buñuel inhis early works used music as a (often subversive) counterpoint; or evenas part of a surrealistic collage: a clash between the image/action and themusic. Then in his later works (beginning with Viridiana) he doesn’t usebackground music any more at all. Occasionally, music is played withinthe film (you can see a gramophone, or a piano).“In general, I think there has to be an artistic reason for the use ofmusic in film. An example of great film music is for me Last Year inMarienbad by Resnais: the synthesis of the slowly panning camera, thevoice of the narrator and the organ music has a mesmerizing effect.”Listening to Fellner’s recordings between our email exchange andour short conversation, I had been particularly struck by the Sarabandein his recording of Bach’s Fifth French Suite. As our conversationwas coming to an end, I felt compelled to ask if he had ever playedit as an encore.“Oh yes. Many times,” he answered.“It’s just so beautiful,” I added.“I love this piece,” he said.Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote.Recorded May and November 2008 ECM New Series 21142010Madhares: Thomas Larcher;Till Fellner, piano; Kim Kashkashian, viola; Thomas Larcher,piano; Quatuor Diotime;Münchener Kammerocrchester; DennisRussell Davies, conductor;Böse Zellen for piano and orchestra (2006, rev. 2007);Still for violaand chamber orchestra (2002, rev. 2004); Madhares (String Quartetno. 3)(2006/7).Recorded August 2008 and July 2009 ECM New Series 21112014Chamber Music: Harrison Birtwistle;Lisa Batiashvili, violin; Adrian Brendel, cello; Till Fellner, piano;Amy Freston, soprano; Harrison Birwistle, baritone;Three Settings OfLorine Niedecker; Trio for violin, violoncello and piano;Bogenstrich;Nine Settings Of Lorine Niedecker.Recorded August 2011 ECM New Series 225378 | March 1 - April 7, 2015

KOERNER HALL IS:“A beautiful space for music ”THE GLOBE AND MAILKahaneSwensenBreySUNDAY, MARCH 8, 2015 3PMKOERNER HALLThe virtuosi musicians of the KahaneSwensen Brey Trio offer beloved pianotrios by Mozart, Schumann, and Ravel,plus Paul Schoenfield’s jazz-influencedCafé Music written in 2011.Generously supported by David G. BroadhurstTaylor AcademyShowcase ConcertSATURDAY, MARCH 14, 2015 4:30PMMAZZOLENI CONCERT HALLFREE (Ticket required)The Phil and Eli Taylor PerformanceAcademy for Young Artists presentsconcerts by the leading young classicalmusicians in Canada. Hear the starsof tomorrow!Andrés Díazand FriendsSUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2015 2PMMAZZOLENI CONCERT HALLAlexandra Koerner Yeo Chair in Celloand internationally renowned cellistAndrés Díaz lead a solo and chamberprogram, including Schubert’s StringQuintet in C Major with the ArkadasString Quartet.Generously supported by Doug Bodley.Lisa Batiashviliand Paul LewisFRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 8PMKOERNER HALLThe virtuosic violinist andcelebrated British pianistperform works by Schubert,Bach, Telemann, and Beethoven,for the 500th concert inKoerner Hall!Rebanks FamilyFellowship ConcertTUESDAY, MARCH 31, 2015 7:30PMMAZZOLENI CONCERT HALLHear artists on the cusp of major careers.This concert features solo and chamberworks performed by Rebanks Fellowscurrently enrolled in the one-yearRebanks Family Fellowship andInternational Residency Program.Presented with the generous supportof the Rebanks Family andThe W. Garfield Weston Foundation.Epperson andGoldbergWEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, 2015MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALLARC Ensemble member andPrincipal Cello of the CanadianOpera Company Orchestra,Bryan Epperson, leads two ofThe Glenn Gould School’s topstring players in Dmitry Sitkovetsky’sbenchmark transcriptionof Johann Sebastian Bach’sthe Goldberg Variations.TICKETS START AT ONLY ! 416.408.0208 www.performance.rcmusic.ca273 BLOOR STREET WEST(BLOOR ST. & AVENUE RD.)TORONTO

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