I got a chance to listen to the three tapes by cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan and his accompanist Noreen Polera (not Vadym Kholodenko who is partnering with violinist Alena Baeva).
First a note on the quality of the musicians in these albums (both Narek and Alena and also Vadym). As most of you who follow the growth in the companies producing high quality tapes (all 15ips 2 track), only two companies, Tape Project and Acoustic Sounds, licenses great old tapes, using master tapes from decades ago. The rest use up and coming artists or lesser known orchestras or groups. What, I think is amazing, is that Ed Pong has in the past few years been able to record some of the very top current artists. How is that determined? Currently, the best way to measure the talent of young classical artists is to see what competitions they have entered and how they have done. The three main artists featured in these tapes have each won the very top competitions in the world. Alena Baeva won the Wieniawski Competition (awarded every five years) in 2001 at the age of 16 (the same competition where the great Ginette Neveu beat David Oistrakh when she was 16 years old in 1935). She went on to win two more international competitions, the Moscow Paganini Competition and the Sendai Competition in Tokyo. Vadym won the Van Cliburn piano competition in 2013 (awarded every four years) and Harek Nakhnazaryan won the Tchaikovsky Cello Competition in 2013 (awarded every four years) .
Narek's three tapes exhibit Ed's typically outstanding sonics that he captures in his home concert venue (before a live audience). Narek played a varied program with Noreen Polera his accompanist over the past decade (who won the Tchaikovsky accompanist prize herself). My favorite is the rarely heard Grieg Cello Sonata, a piece of great emotional beauty. A second reel is composed of two pieces by Beethoven, the Variations on a theme from Mozart's Magic Flute - "Bei Mannern", and one of my favorite cello sonatas, the great A major Op.69. Finally, there are some transcriptions of Chopin pieces and the famous Paganini Moses Variations. Here is a youtube of Narek playing the piece at the Moscow Conservatory in 2008 when he was a student.
Notice that the entire piece is played on one string (the G string). Notice one of the comments on the youtube is from famed cellist Lynn Harrell!
If I were to get one tape, I would start with the Grieg Sonata, followed by the Chopin/Paganini. But my favorite pieces are the two Beethovens, so I got all three!
IMO the tape where Narek plays the same piece but with different bows was simply amazing. It is an instant A/B test with my favorite being the second time he played the piece with a bow that is 100's of years old. IMO there was no comparison as that ancient bow lit up my ears
As Larry said , what makes Ed's tapes so unique us his uncanny ability to find serious young and upcoming world class performers.This coupled with the recording itself will lift you to a new height. And finally, unlike Larry I don't know any of the selections that were recorded. It is all new music to my ears but coupled with the performers and the performance it is for me an experience as if I were there. When the applause comes in at the end I swear I am at that performance
Thank you Steve & Larry!
I wanted to bring the music, that I love, to all classical music lovers and also those who don’t think classical music is exciting or interesting.... with these artists now, I can say truly they will captivate you with their musicality & draw you in - without you realizing it...
It is one thing to win these major competitions, but if you look at their concert schedules, & careers, throughout the world, you begin to realize these are the stars of today!!! Not tomorrow...
To have a new 15 ips tape recording of them, is beyond unreal... I sometimes have to pinch myself... Ha!
There is no cellist on the world stage today that has the stuff Narek has... these 3 tapes show this in spades...(sorry to sound so bold, it is not me, but once you hear these I think you will agree...) Ha!
Is there any thought in the future to enlarge the size of your ensembles to trios or even larger?
I know we’ve discussed this before but I still feel there are so many members who either don’t have a tape deck or a turntable but still love classical music that I believe there is a market for your music in vinyl as well as digital be it a CD and/or hires digital files. Your music should reach all formats. IMO
I’m working on a Piano Trio concert with Alena, Narek & Vadym... it has to be planned 1-2 seasons ahead due to their schedules playing all over the world... i’m also in talks with a quartet & will see where that goes...
To bring world class artists together is not easy nor cheap...
I have tested a 2xDSD download off my website which worked well but for now have decided to stick to the analogue tape...
Vinyl is interesting & I may go that path before digital...
Right now, I’m having too much fun bringing these concerts together as the artists, on hearing the “tape sound” are so captivated, they are fully on board!
I may do a production CD for Narek & Noreen & one for Alena & Vadym this year...we’ll see what happens..
I watched the attached video of Narek and then watched some more. I loved his solo Bach interpretations as well. I have ordered the Grieg cello concerto and Chopin, Paganini tapes but I will be getting them one by one. We have a new policy in Turkey stating there is a 5 item per month limit to importing stuff personally! This is very bad news for me as I buy lots of records and books from outside of Turkey...