Piano Recital Filharmonia Narodowa

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Piano Recital
Grigory Sokolov, photo: Mary Slepakova / DG

Grigory Sokolov has worked hard to secure privileges that few contemporary musicians can boast. He gives practically no interviews, rarely visits the recording studio, has performed solo for a number of years and compiles his own recital programmes, without particularly hurrying to announce them. He first sat at a piano at the age of five, almost 70 years ago. Ever since he has been reluctant to part with his beloved instrument, especially during his lengthy performances, giving endless encores (at times as long as a separate recital). Paradoxically, he is a rare example of an artist who communicates with the outside world almost exclusively through his performances, which force reviewers into extraordinary, at times quite humorous, verbal gymnastics in search of the right concepts to describe the artistry of his playing and the aura he creates around him. A voluminous anthology of surprising metaphors might be compiled from the texts on Sokolov’s playing, which may suggest that it is impossible to capture the personality of this remarkable pianist, let alone his interpretations, in words.


Bartłomiej Gembicki

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Grigory Sokolov

The unique, unrepeatable nature of music made in the present moment is central to understanding the expressive beauty and compelling honesty of Grigory Sokolov’s art. The Russian pianist’s poetic interpretations, which come to life with mystical intensity in performance, arise from a profound knowledge of the works in his vast repertoire. His recital programmes span everything from transcriptions of medieval sacred polyphony and keyboard works by William Byrd, François Couperin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and Johann Jakob Froberger to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Fryderyk Chopin, Johannes Brahms and landmark 20th-century compositions by Sergei Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel, Alexander Scriabin, Sergei Rachmaninov, Arnold Schönberg and Igor Stravinsky. He is widely recognized among pianophiles as one of today’s greatest pianists, an artist universally admired for his visionary insight, spellbinding spontaneity and uncompromising devotion to music.

Grigory Sokolov’s charismatic artistry holds power to cultivate the concentration necessary for audiences to contemplate even the most familiar compositions from fresh perspectives. In recital he draws listeners into a close relationship with the music, transcending matters of surface display and showmanship to reveal deeper spiritual meaning. His art rests on the rock-solid foundations of his unique personality and individual vision.

After two decades away from any kind of recording, Grigory Sokolov signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. Their partnership has made possible the publication of various recordings, all of them taken strictly from live concerts. For his first release the Russian pianist chose a concert that he had given in 2008 at the Salzburg Festival, featuring works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Chopin, Bach, Rameau and Scriabin; a second album followed a year later, with works by Schubert and Beethoven. His third album, released in 2017, presents live performances of piano concertos by Mozart and Rachmaninov. These CD recordings are accompanied by a DVD of Nadia Zhdanova’s documentary A Conversation That Never Was: a portrait of Grigory Sokolov, compiled from interviews with his friends and colleagues and from previously unreleased private recordings. A double CD with DVD in 2020 featuring works by Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart was followed in April 2022 by the release of a concert recording from the Esterházy Palace in Eisenstadt, of three sonatas by Joseph Haydn, the Four Impromptus, D. 935 by Schubert and a generous selection of encores.

 

[2022]