Honens Piano Podcast

Honens Piano Podcast

The Honens Piano Podcast aims to spark and enhance your appreciation and understanding of all things piano through outstanding performances by Honens Laureates (winners) combined with educational and thought provoking conversation about the music. Whether you are a classical music novice or connoisseur—this podcast is for you!

Episodes

July 15, 2021 26 min

This week, we are headed to the 2018 Honens International Piano Competition for a performance from Semifinalist Aristo Sham. 

Beethoven's Sonata No. 4 in F-sharp Major Op. 78 is a rare, two-movement sonata that poses a challenge to the performer because it demands clarity and lightness as well as powerful and fast playing. Like Moonlight and Waldstein, this is a Beethoven piano sonata with a nickname. 

Let's listen as Jon Kim...

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In this episode,  you'll hear a masterwork—Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor Op. 36, performed by 2018 Honens Semifinalist Stefano Andreatta. 

Rachmaninov composed his piano music for himself. He was an amazing virtuoso with a secret weapon ... enormous hands! With his fingers spread, his reach was 12 notes wide, or an octave and a half. Those big intervals are an extra challenge for other pianists lear...

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This week, we head back to the 2015 Honens International Piano Competition to a performance from Semifinalist Yoon-Jee Kim. In her Semifinals Solo Round, Yoon-Jee played Charles-Valentin Alkan's arrangement of Haydn's Symphony No. 94 in G Major.

There has been lots of speculation about how this piece got its nickname, "Surprise Symphony." According to one colourful account, it was during a performance when Haydn, ser...

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Today, we are pleased to feature 2015 Honens Semifinalist Samson Tsoy's performance of C.P.E. Bach's Sonata in G minor Wq. 65/17

Carl Philipp Emmanuel (C.P.E.) Bach and three of this brothers all became professional musicians, each trained almost entirely by their famous father, Johann Sebastian. Like many fathers, J.S. wanted his sons to have careers to fall back on, especially since, at the time, uneducated musicians wer...

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In this episode of Open Lid, Catherine McClelland, Honens Director, Artistic Planning catches up with  2000 Honens Laureates Katherine Chi and Alessandra Ammara. The three discuss memories from the 2000 Honens International Piano Competition,  adventures from past tours,  how they stayed connected during the pandemic, and their appreciation for each other. Katherine and Alessandra perform a program of Claude Debussy,  Alexina Louie...

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At the 2018 Honens International Piano Competition, Finalist Han Chen performed Roussel's Divertissement Op. 6 with the Azahar Ensemble. Described by AllMusic's Adrian Corleonis as "rhythmically alive with every bar," the piece is "pithy without being complex, harmonically fresh without system, robust but never knockabout, sensuous rather than sensual." 

What a perfect sentiment to carry with us for the remai...

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This week, we'll hear 2009 Honens Prize Laureate Georgy Tchaidze perform Haydn's Andante con variazioni in F minor Hob. XVII/6. The two themes in this work—one major, one minor—create a dialogue that BBC Radio 3's Stephen Johnson said alternates "melancholy with joyous exuberance without any real transition."

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Watch the video edition of this excerpt at honens.com/home.

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We are thrilled to share this special performance today, recorded by the Chicago-based Canadian pianist and 2003 Honens Laureate, Winston Choi. 

A few months ago, Winston was part of a Laureate Circle Goes Online event, where he shared a thoughtful program with works by Franz Schubert, Amy Beach, and William Grant Still. In this episode, you'll hear two of those pieces, both romantic and lyrical. The first is Schubert's Impr...

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Today, we are pleased to share 2006 Honens Laureate Hinrich Alpers performing the third movement of Franz Liszt's transcription of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor Op. 125, recorded at his summer home in  Berlin. Widely considered the latter's greatest work, ‘Beethoven 9’ was composed between 1822 and 1824 and first performed in Vienna on 7 May 1824. Liszt's transcription for solo piano is meticulous in its acc...

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Today, we are pleased to feature part two, the last six miniatures, of 2012 Honens Prize Laureate Pavel Kolesnikov's performance from R. Schumann's Kinderszenen "Scenes from Childhood." 

The work was originally called Leichte Stücke "Easy Pieces." Schumann added the movement titles after he had completed the composition and described them as "nothing more than delicate hints for execution and interpretati...

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In this episode of Open Lid, 2009 Honens Laureate Gilles Vonsattel discusses his  preparation to record Sir George Benjamin's  Shadowlines, including working with the composer himself, with Catherine McClelland,  Honens Director, Artistic Planning.

Learn more about Gilles on his website: gillesvonsattel.com

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This week, we are pleased to share the first seven minatures of R. Schumann's Kinderszenen "Scenes from Childhood," performed live by 2012 Honens Prize Laureate Pavel Kolesnikov. 

Composed in 1838, this work represents Schumann's interest in the idealism and innocence of childhood. He described the works as "more cheerful, gentler, and more melodic" than his earlier works. 


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Today's excerpt comes all the way from Italy, from 2000 Honens Laureate Alessandra Ammara performing Maurice Ravel's Scarbo from Gaspard de la nuit

Composed in 1908, Gaspard de la nuit is considered one of the most difficult pieces in Ravel's repertoire. The work is a window into Ravel's lively imagination and musical inventiveness. It is a triathlon for a pianist, with a moderately fast opening movement, a slow mo...

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Today, we are excited to share Three Visions by William Grant Still, performed by 2003 Honens Laureate Winston Choi.

Though he is a relatively unknown composer, Winston shares that Still is "arguably the greatest African American composer of the 20th century." Winston is most interested in rare works and champions those he believes should be better known and performed more widely. This piece is an example of exactly that—a f...

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This week, we're pleased to share the complete cycle of Chopin's Preludes Op. 28, performed by 2015 Honens Finalist Henry Kramer.

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Watch the video edition of this excerpt at honens.com/home.

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This week, we are pleased to feature a special clip from 2003 Honens Laureate Roberto Plano. In this excerpt, Roberto performs an arrangement of one of the most famous opera arias, Casta Diva from Norma by Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini.

Frédéric Chopin began his arrangement of this aria in 1831. He started writing the left hand, but eventually he abandoned the project. It is speculated that Chopin had planned to write the right ...

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Today we are pleased to feature Honens Finalist and winner of the 2018 Audience Award, Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner. 

In his Semifinals solo round, Llewellyn performed American composer Wayne Oquin's Détours. The piece, dedicated to Marc-André Hamelin, follows a set of 15 variations (or "detours"), each flowing continuously after the last. It travels between points of extremity: from delicate to solid, from fleeting to expan...

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Today, enjoy  Maurice Ravel's Sonatine, performed by 2006 Honens Laureate Hinrich Alpers in his home in Germany. 

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Watch the video edition of this excerpt at honens.com/home.

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In 2018, Honens International Piano Competition Semifinalists chose between four programs in the collaborative round. Semifinalist Adela Liculescu chose the program that included Gabriel Fauré's Violin Sonata No. 1.

About the piece, Fauré's former piano teacher, Camille Saint-Saëns, said: "In this sonata you can find everything to tempt a gourmet: new forms, excellent modulations, unusual tone colours, and the use of une...

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Let's go back a few years to hear two clips from 2009 Honens Prize Laureate Georgy Tchaidze.

After listening to Georgy perform one of Medtner's Fairy Tales, known as the greatest but most neglected piano music in Medtner's repertoire, enjoy Dvořák's Finale from Piano Quintet in A Major Op. 81 with Georgy and 2010 BISQC first prize winner, the Cecilia String Quartet.

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