Stephen Sondheim, Ruth Slenczynska, and Sabine Devieilhe

Still thinking about the late, great Stephen Sondheim, who, it seemed, sort of scored my life, and is responsible for many great evenings as an audience member for me (and challenging ones as a piano player). Hard to pick a favorite, but Sunday in the Park would probably be it (at least for now), even though I don’t think I’ve ever seen a completely successful production.

This one from Paris comes close, however. Here is the moving final tableau.

Ruth Slenczynska is a pianophile’s pianist: a prodigy who after having many of the positives and negatives of that experience, didn’t play in public for some years, coming back to an second act as a regular recitalist and studio artist, but not a performer who became a household name. She now has an amazing Act III, as she has recorded a new album of piano works for release in March 2022. Did I mention that she is now 97? Her teachers included Alfred Cortot and Sergei Rachmaninoff. She played canasta with Vladimir Horowitz, and was student at Curtis with among others Samuel Barber.

Here is a delightful video with her. And there are recitals, performances, interviews all over the web.

Finally, Gramophone went crazy over a new Bach and Handel recording by the French soprano Sabine Devieilhe. I checked it out, and it is as beautiful a recording of Handel in particular that I’ve heard in years, since Sarah Connolly’s wonderful Hero and Heroines album of some years back.

A taste:

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