Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Moura Lympany plays Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev

Record:  Moura Lympany plays the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto no. 1 in f-sharp minor and the Prokofiev Piano Concerto no. 1 in d-flat minor.

The obituary for Moura Lympany (1916-2005, English) can be found here.

According to the LP sleeve, Prokofiev performed his Piano Concerto no. 1 at the end of his ten-year course of study at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire in 1914. It was quite audacious to perform your own piece for your piano exam! He chose to perform his own work on the grounds that "there was a chance that my own [piece] might impress the examiners by the novelty of technique: they simply would not be able to judge whether I was playing it well or not!" His logic worked and he took first prize. The author of the sleeve notes, Leonard Duck, describes the concerto as a "vigorous, striding affair" and as "nervous, spasmadic."

Rachmaninoff wrote his Op. 1 when he was eighteen. The author of the sleeve notes for this piece, Scott Goddard, says Rachmaninoff's compositional prowess at such a young age must be due to his "unusual mental vigor." Although completed in 1891, he later revised it in 1917 and dedicated it to his previous piano teacher, Alexander Siloti.

Lympany's performances are superb.  Her clear articulation and technical ability are perfectly offset by the Philharmonia Orchestra's bombastic playing.

Prokofiev, Sergey, Moura Lympany, and Walter Susskind. Concerto No. 1, in D Flat Major, Op. 10. Angel Records, 1958. Sound recording.

Prokofiev, Sergej S, Sergej S. Prokofiev, Sergej S. Prokofiev, Boris Berman, and Neeme Järvi. Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Flat Major Op. 10: Piano Concerto No. 4 in B Flat Major Op. 53 (for the Left Hand); Piano Concerto No. 5 in G Major Op. 55. Colchester: Chandos, 1990. Sound recording.

Rachmaninoff, Sergei, Idil Biret, Antoni Wit, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Nicolò Paganini. Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 4: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. S.l.: Naxos, 2000. Sound recording.

Nash Library Catalog Record

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Since earning her Ph.D. in music theory and history from the University of Connecticut in 2014, Dr. Sekula has been a full-time faculty member with the department of music at USAO where she teaches the music theory curriculum and conducts the concert band. Sekula also serves as the coordinator for the department of music. She has previously earned Bachelor’s degrees in music education and flute performance from Lebanon Valley College and a Master’s of Music in flute performance from George Mason University. Sekula has studied flute with Barbara Divine, Dr. Theresa Bowers, Judith Lapple, and Dr. Barbara Hopkins.