Music for Ariel – with several linked memories

Shostakovich – Piano Concerto No 2 in F major, Op 102,  by Denis Matsuev and Valery Gergiev

When I and my daughter discovered Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto, watching the movie Fantasia 2000 by Walt Disney, Ariel did know it already from years ago and had different versions of it in her CD collection -like many other works by this formidable composer-. She was absolutely enthralled by it, among other reasons -too subtle to describe briefly here- because it is extremely clear, straightforward, vivacious, positive and joyful as she herself was (at least, most of the time). Anyway, neither of us knew this particular version interpreted by Valery Gergiev, Denis Matsuev and the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra until past Christmas season, and both Ariel and I realized at once that it was surely the best version ever recorded. This meant of course, some half a dozen successive auditions, and some really inspired dancing improvisations of the first Allegro and the central Andante in charge of my sister -who had been a professional dancer some years ago.

But my daughter had never heard this version until today, and so I write the post to commemorate this small fact…; seemingly uneventful, but life is mostly made of this kind of facts, and it just depends on our will to give them relevance or, even, make them memorable -writing about them or adding something to them to make sure that they will remain in our memories.

So, to make this hour and this post more “memorable” and complete, I’m including as well the interpretation of the same concert featured in the Walt Disney film that my daughter saw with me (with some fright, by the way…) when she was a child of seven or eight years… That performance is also excellent, and the animated cartoon illustrating Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Steadfast Thin Soldier” is another work of art in itself (among the best -if not the very best- made by the Disney studio after Disney’s death, but in fact originated back in the 1930s, when Walt Disney wished to adapt a collection of H. C. Andersen’s fairy tales into a film. They completed then a series of preliminary designs based on the stories, including some for “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” by Bianca Majolie that were stored in the studio’s library and used in the making of Fantasia 2000).

Now, here’s to you: listen to it again…!

Shostakovich – Piano Concerto No 2 in F major, Op 102

1 Allegro
2 Andante
3 Allegro
Denis Matsuev, piano
Valery Gergiev, conductor
Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra
[Published on 2 Sep 2013]

And now, again!!:
-In the movie, Shostakovich‘s Second Concerto is played  by Yefim Bronfman and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Levine.



4 thoughts on “Music for Ariel – with several linked memories

  1. Thank you for sharing, and by including me, introducing me to higher arts & culture than I have been previously familiar with. Although I’m in no way qualified as an art judge, and consequently shy of commenting some, if not most of the time, I certainly admire and appreciate sharing in it with you all. Thanks again, phral !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are or were present (shoulder arms ) in the header pic, yes. But it could be a mistake I did due to some confusion.
      In the Disney’s rendering of the tale, it has a happy ending… The original by Andersen ends much more like reality uses to be… I’ve been reading recently that the film makers changed the end exclusively for musical motives, since the score did not match well the death of the ballerina and the soldier, both falling -tightly hugging each other- into the stove.
      However, this final is also untrue. The actual ballerina died alone and quite upset at the very end. She felt that her admired steadfast soldier was a little too steadfast to follow some of her fantasies.


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