Sunday, September 20, 2015

Valeriy Sokolov

Valeriy Sokolov is a Russian (Ukrainian) violinist born (in Kharkiv) on September 22, 1986.  He has a very busy concert career and he tours throughout Europe regularly.  He is known for having a highly personal (and distinctive) style of playing.  He began his studies in his native Ukraine but left at age thirteen (1999) upon receiving a scholarship (from the Sarasate violin competition) to study in England with Natalya Boyarskaya.  He began his violin studies in Kharkiv at age five but I do not know who his first teachers were.  He later studied with Felix Andrievsky and in Germany and Vienna with (among others) Ana Chumachenco, Mark Lubotsky, and Boris Kuschnir.  By 2006, his career was firmly established.  He was barely 20 years old.  Sokolov is particularly well known for his interpretation of Bartok’s second concerto which he has recorded.  He made his U.S. debut in 2007.  Sokolov is the subject of a 2004 documentary about his emerging career.  Here is a short YouTube video of him playing Beethoven.  Photo is courtesy of Derry Moore.  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Otto Buchner

Otto Buchner was a German violinist and teacher born (in Nuremberg) on September 10, 1924.  He is well known (among aficionados) as a specialist in the solo violin sonatas by JS Bach.  Buchner founded a string chamber orchestra based in Munich in 1962.  He taught at the Munich Conservatory for many years too.  One source states (without citing the years, so it is debatable) he was also concertmaster of the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra (associated with Carlos Kleiber for many years) as well as concertmaster of the Munich Philharmonic.  His recording of Bach’s Brandenburg concertos, with the Munich Bach Soloists (founded in 1982), may well be the best of all time.  You can hear the first movement of number 4 here and judge for yourself.  Those of you who know these works or have played them know how difficult number 4 is for the solo violin.  The complete version of the concertos is here.  The first movement of the second Brandenburg Concerto in the set is included among the music works sent into space on the Golden Record which is attached to the spacecraft Voyager 1.  If an extraterrestrial finds it, they might like the music and enjoy Buchner's playing although they probably won't know it's him playing - unless that information is included in the Golden Record but I don't think it is. Buchner also recorded many Bach solo works which are easily found on the internet.  He played a Stradivarius violin dated 1727.  Buchner died on September 28, 2008, at age 84.