Vibrant and rich in harmony, timbre, and expression, versatile in its use, and simply beautiful to listen to, the piano is unrivaled in its ability and certainly worthy of worldwide celebration. In its honour, World Piano Day is held duly on the 88th day of the year and Deutsche Grammophon is proud to present a series of concerts that showcase and revere one of the world’s most popular and beloved instruments. But rather than just a one-day celebration, DG Stage is offering a full week of piano concerts with performances from the Yellow Label’s exceptional roster of world-class pianists. With the entire range of an orchestra at their fingertips, join us as Maurizio Pollini, Grigory Sokolov, Daniil Trifonov, Daniel Barenboim, Yuja Wang and Víkingur Ólafsson demonstrate the power and possibilities of the piano with works written by the instrument’s most important composers.
Our Piano Week begins on March 24, 2022.
Víkingur Ólafsson @ Harpa: Bach, Beethoven and Glass
The DG STAGE World Piano Week would not be complete without a performance from the celebrated Icelandic pianist, Víkingur Ólafsson. Even more fitting is his choice of repertoire for this 2018 celebratory album release concert in Eldborg Hall in his native Reykjavik. Playing pieces from three pioneering forces for both classical music and the piano, Ólafsson guides the audience through three eras with the works of Bach, Beethoven, and Philip Glass. Coupling a selection of Bach’s large and small keyboard works with Beethoven’s C Minor “Pathétique” and two of Glass’s Etudes, the works not only reshaped the musical form of their time, but also revolutionised the status of the piano as an instrument. For Ólafsson, his approach is the same for all, treating each work as contemporary music, reborn with each performance, and solidifying the belief that great art always transcends the artist.
March 29, 2022 / 9,90€
Yuja Wang plays Rachmaninov, Prokofiev and Scriabin
Both ear and eye catching, Yuja Wang grabs attention from the first note in this recital and never lets it go. Having watched her mother, a dancer, rehearsing Swan Lake as a child, Russian music helped open Wang to the Western classics; and the works of Rachmaninoff, Scriabin and Prokofiev have accompanied the multi-award-winning pianist since the start of her ever-expanding career. Born in Beijing, raised in Canada and at home in almost every major city of the world, Wang performs an entirely Russian programme from the Philharmonie in Berlin with boundless imagination, jaw-dropping technical command, and transcendent power – and an exquisite change of wardrobe.
March 28, 2022
Maurizio Pollini – Beethoven: The Last Three Piano Sonatas
In keyboard legend Maurizio Pollini’s 80th-birthday year, we present this film of his live recording of Beethoven’s final three piano sonatas made at the Herkulessaal in Munich in 2019. The pianist was revisiting works he had first recorded more than four decades earlier: as he noted at the time, “Having played these works many, many times in the last 40 years, I’ve continually discovered new riches in every detail.” That wealth of experience shines through his insightful readings of these masterpieces of the repertoire, which were published as individual works but which Pollini sees as “a unified cycle”. He highlights the rhapsodic nature of Op. 109, whose groundbreaking theme-and-variations finale is particularly atmospheric in his hands. In Op. 110 he brings out the contrasting moods, both between and within the different movements. Similarly, his reading of Op. 111 emphasises the contrast between the dramatic opening movement and the visionary, meditative Arietta con variazioni that follows. Enjoy these exceptional interpretations from one of the greatest pianists of our time.
March 24, 2022
Grigory Sokolov performs Haydn & Schubert from Esterházy Palace
Known for the dedication to his repertoire, Russian master pianist Grigory Sokolov presents a meticulously assembled Austrian programme. Haydn’s later sonatas mark the beginning of his use of the Viennese Classical Style and are perfectly complemented here by Schubert’s Impromptus that act as an extension of the sonatas, to form one seamless musical canvas. The concentrated performance is a masterclass in technical skill, musical beauty, and pianistic virtuosity. Much like the composers, Sokolov has made a significant mark on today’s classical world and this recital at the Haydnsaal in the Esterházy Palace in Eisenstadt (where Haydn worked for nearly 30 years), confirms his reputation as one of the finest pianists of our time.
March 25, 2022 / 4,90€
Daniil Trifonov – Bach: The Art of Life
Captivating the audience from the very first moment, Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov brings deep insight into the music-making of Johann Sebastian Bach at the Philharmonie in Berlin. Traversing the entirety of the keyboard with just his left hand, he performs a stunning rendition of Bach’s Chaconne in D Minor, arranged by Brahms for keyboard, before moving seamlessly into the monumental Art of Fugue. Rarely heard in performance, partly because of its technical demands and partly, because of the variety required by the performer, Trifonov navigates the 14 fugues and four canons with technical prowess, intimate understanding, careful detail, and exquisite touch. With its mathematical basis, the work is one of great beauty, spanning the vast range of human emotion, evoked by Trifonov with each stroke.
Having so absorbed the music and connected to the composer in the process of preparing and recording his latest album Bach: The Art of Life, Trifonov also offers a self-composed conclusion of the final contrapunctus worthy of Bach’s genius, a performance of Dame Myra Hess’s moving transcription of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and three encores by three of Bach’s sons, performed between bursts of thunderous applause.
March 26, 2022
Daniel Barenboim: Chopin
DG Stage is delighted to present Daniel Barenboim in an enchanting programme of Études and other works by Chopin. The internationally renowned pianist, conductor and DG artist’s profound interpretations of the Polish composer’s music, hallmarked by their expressive freedom and ineffable beauty, have held audiences spellbound for over seventy years. His recital was filmed in April last year at Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal. It comprises a personal selection of favourite encore pieces, music he has played since making his debut at the age of seven in August 1950. He opens with an exquisitely lyrical reading of Étude op.25 no.1, sparkling with spontaneous virtuosity and warmth, and carries its intense atmosphere into revelatory interpretations of everything from the tempestuous Étude in C sharp minor op.10 no.4 to the mercurial Nocturne op.15 no.2. The programme concludes with the impassioned Ballade in G minor, treasured by Chopin as his “dearest work”.
March 27, 2022