Howard Shelley Piano Explored

Chopin instead of shoppin’ in London this morning with a superb Howard Shelley directing the London Mozart Players …..Piano explored and striking gold indeed.
It was nice to be able to hear Howard Shelley again who I have not heard live since his superb Chopin Preludes at his Wigmore debut in 1971.

70th Birthsay celebrations with Beethoven on Ladies Day!
We were all students then together with Peter Bithell,Tessa Nicholson studying in London and competing together in various competitions.
I remember well the British Piano Competition in the Purcell Room judged by Gerald Moore and Sidney Harrison in which we all took part.
Howard Shelley then went on to get rave reviews for his Wigmore debut at the age of 21 and has gone on to create an important position for himself especially with the discovery of little known concertos.
Alexander is his distinguished conductor son and Hilary Macnamara his wife with whom he had a a piano duo for many years.
On the 1st April he will perform in the last of the series a little known concerto by Franz Xaver Mozart (Wolfgang’s son)(26 July 1791 – 29 July 1844), was the youngest child of six born to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozartand his wife Constanze He was the younger of his parents’ two surviving children and was a composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher from the late classical period whose musical style was of an early Romanticism, heavily influenced by his father’s mature style.Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart was born in Vienna, five months before his father’s death. Although he was baptized Franz Xaver Mozart, from birth on he was always called Wolfgang by his family.

St John’s Smith Square
He received excellent musical instruction from Antonio Salieri and Johann Nepomuk Hummel. He learned to play both the piano and violin and like his father, he started to compose at an early age. “In April 1805, the thirteen-year-old Wolfgang Mozart made his debut in Vienna in a concert in the Theater an der Wien. The two surviving sons of Wolfgang Amadeus and Constanze Mozart were Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart and Karl Thomas.
Wolfgang became a professional musician and enjoyed moderate success both as a teacher and a performer.
Unlike his father, he was introverted and given to self-deprecation. He constantly underrated his talent and feared that whatever he produced would be compared with what his father had been.
In 1826 he conducted his father’s Requiem during a concert at the cathedral of St George. From this choir he created the musical brotherhood of Saint Cecilia and thus the first school of music in Lemberg. He did not give up performing and in the years 1819 to 1821 traveled throughout Europe.In the 1820s Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart was one of 50 composers to write a vaiation on a theme of Anton Diabelli. Part I was devoted to the 33 variations supplied by Beethoven.
In 1838 Mozart left for Vienna, and then for Salzburg, where he was appointed as the Kapellmeister of the Mozarteum.
He died from stomach cancer on 29 July 1844 in the town of Karlsbad where he was buried.
He never married nor did he have any children.
The following epitaph was etched on his tombstone:
“May the name of his father be his epitaph, as his veneration for him was the essence of his life.”
That was not the case today though with a special request from his faithful lunchtime following for his Piano Explored series in St John’s Smith Square.
Chopin n.1 was on the menu and was a real lunchtime feast.
Exploring in words before performing the whole concerto.I too had not known that Chopin gave no more than 30 public performances in his life and never wrote for orchestra again after the age of 21.
Howard Shelley is coming up to his 70th birthday celebrations next month when he will perform all the Beethoven Concertos on the same day the 8th March.
I have a recording of him conducting them with another of our contemporaries Michael Roll,who was the first winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition.
Howard will now direct himself from the keyboard as he did today with Chopin.
Playing with a simplicity and beauty of sound with the orchestra listening with obvious joy to their superb music making together


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