Piano with Orchestra
Piano Concerto

schumann-grieg
DG 439015
A concerto is a piece usually written for a particularly gifted performer or virtuoso in mind.  One can have any instrument be the focal point in a concerto. The more common instruments featured in a concerto are the piano and the violin.  In most cases the concerto is about a 30 minute work with 3 sections or movements to it.  The first movement is fast, the second slow and the third movement is fast again.  One of the best loved and my favorite concertos was written by Grieg.  Edvard Grieg was a Norwegian and he wrote only one concerto.  It was apparently a monumental task and one that he did not care to repeat as he never wrote another.  Everything he wrote after that was much shorter in length.  As wonderful as his concerto is, it was his "Peer Gynt" suite with the "Hall of the Mountain King", Anitra Dance, etc. that really made it big.  I will cover his shorter works in detail in another section.  Another concerto that is right next to Grieg's in popularity is Schumann's Piano Concerto.  Both of these are on the same CD.  These two concertos are so well liked and so wonderful that you will generally find both on a single CD.  Robert Schumann wrote the concerto after his marriage to Clara which was a very happy time for him.  Please take the time to listen to the second movement of his concerto as it is quite beautiful.  You may have to turn up the volume as it is softly played as compared to the first and third movement.  The CD pictured above happens to be the best performance I have heard to date. There are other fine performances of these two concertos but this one is special and is a part of my permanent collection.  

Krystian Zimer is a wonderful pianist and a winner of the Chopin piano competion.  Like Frederick Chopin, Krystian Zimer is from Poland.  The general concencus amoung a great many critics is the Zimer's performances are perfect.  In all my years of reading about various performers, never have is seen the words perfect used.  In honor of the 150th anniversary of Chopin's death, Zimer went on tour performing Chopin's piano concertos with an orchestra he assembled.  The name of the orchestra was the Polish Festival Orchestra and their members were, for the most part, Polish.

Krystian Zimer is very much against piano competitions ev
en though he won the Chopin contest years ago.  I did a little research into these competitions and discovered that just because a competetion pianist is good does not mean that he or she is a good pianist



So far we are up to four CD's.  Certainly
a small collection so far.  I hope that at this point in time you will like what you hear.  If not, give it a bit more time and slow down.  Take a break.  If something doesn't sound like music put it to the side and listen to it a few more times as background music.  Something will start to pop out and become more familiar and memorable.  Take a break and listen to whatever else you  listen to for enjoyment for a few days.  If after this modest investment you find that you absolutely hate what you have heard so far, then maybe classical isn't for you .  You mighthave to wait until you are ready for classical.  In any case you can decide to wait a while or to donate the CD's to a charitable organization.  Maybe a hospital would be interested in starting or adding to a library of music for their patients.  I think that you will like at least a small portion so far.   I will cover more piano concertos a bit later. but lets not wear it out right now.  I think we should try a little violin next.