Shirley Kirsten | Scarlatti and Chopin

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Scarlatti and Chopin

by Shirley Kirsten

Experience Scarlatti's Baroque palette of colors and shadings: strumming guitars, the wail of gypsy laments, clicking castenets, primordial Spanish folk rhythms, and pyrotechnical displays, combined with the Romantic, expressive art of Chopin.
Genre: Classical: Chopin
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Scarlatti Sonata in D, K. 29
5:13 $0.99
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2. Scarlatti Sonata in B Min. K. 87
7:02 $0.99
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3. Scarlatti Sonata in E Min. K. 198
2:53 $0.99
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4. Scarlatti Sonata in E, K. 162
4:44 $0.99
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5. Scarlatti Sonata in C# Min. K. 247
6:23 $0.99
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6. Scarlatti Sonata in B Min. K. 197
4:25 $0.99
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7. Scarlatti Sonata in D, K. 443
5:10 $0.99
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8. Scarlatti Sonata in A, K. 24
2:47 $0.99
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9. Scarlatti Sonata in A, K. 537
3:54 $0.99
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10. Scarlatti Sonata in a Min. K. 54
3:06 $0.99
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11. Scarlatti Sonata in F# Min. K. 25
3:33 $0.99
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12. Scarlatti Sonata in D, K. 33
2:58 $0.99
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13. Scarlatti Sonata in C Min. K. 11
3:22 $0.99
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14. Chopin Mazurka in C, Op. 67
1:50 $0.99
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15. Chopin Waltz in C# Min. Op. 64
3:54 $0.99
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16. Chopin Nocturne in C# Min. Op. Posthum.
4:14 $0.99
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17. Chopin Etude in C Min. Op. 10 Revolutionary
2:42 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Internet Review, Jan. 10, 2008 Blogcritics.org
C. Michael Bailey

West Coast pianist Shirley Kirsten follows up her well received A Musical Journey with an equally vital second collection juxtaposing the Baroque Italian Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) against the Polish Parisian Frederic Chopin (1810-1849). Kirsten again shows that the “indie” method of music promotion works for “classical music” also. In the past decade, the Internet, mp3s, downloadable music, and new compression methods revolutionized the production, marketing, and distribution of newly-minted popular music and jazz, they have also done the same for classical music.

Having studied in New York City with Lillian Freundlich and in the Wild West with Ena Bronstein, Kirsten has the chops necessary in her life as concert pianist, teacher, and world class “piano finder.” One of her most significant peers and influences is pianist Murray Perahia with whom she attended the Fiorello H La Guardia High School of Music and the Arts. This association with Perahia colors both her Scarlatti and Chopin performance. Kirsten approaches each composer interrogatively, coaxing the respective scores to reveal something new in a fluid dynamic like that of Perahia.

Kirsten infuses her new set of Scarlatti with a playful flare. Note the dance in the "Sonata in E Major, K 162," where Kirsten skips to the beat of the Italian master. She is able to slow things down to capture Scarlatti’s plaintive moods as in the "Sonata in C sharp minor, K247." This is Scarlatti at his compositional best, not with pyrotechnic technique challenge but with the internal emotional challenge necessary to interpret such pieces as his adagio minor key sonatas.

The Chopin Kirsten chooses provides a wide expanse of that composer’s talent. Her performances of the "Mazurka in C, Op. 67" and "Waltz in C sharp minor, Op. 64" are staid and her "Nocturne in C Sharp Minor, Op posthum." "Etude in C sharp minor, Op. 10, No. 12" is melancholy. The brilliance in coupling Scarlatti and Chopin lay in the fact that both composers were masters at vignette pieces, small drops of aural emotion. To be sure, they are vastly different but Kirsten expertly shows how talents as vastly disparate as Scarlatti and Chopin could conjure the same notes from the Hammerklavier.

Scarlatti and Chopin is available through CDBaby. Visit Shirley Kirsten on the Web.
Selections
Scarlatti Sonata in D, K. 29; Scarlatti Sonata in B Min. K. 87; Scarlatti Sonata in E Min. K. 198; Scarlatti Sonata in E, K. 162; Scarlatti Sonata in C# Min. K. 247; Scarlatti Sonata in B Min. K. 197; Scarlatti Sonata in D, K. 443; Scarlatti Sonata in A, K. 24; Scarlatti Sonata in A, K. 537; Scarlatti Sonata in a Min. K. 54; Scarlatti Sonata in F# Min. K. 25; Scarlatti Sonata in D, K. 33; Scarlatti Sonata in C Min. K. 11; Chopin Mazurka in C, Op. 67; Chopin Waltz in C# Min. Op. 64; Chopin Nocturne in C# Min. Op. Posthum.; Chopin Etude in C Min. Op. 10 “Revolutionary.”


Internet Review posted Sept. 26, 2007 at Blog critics.org

Music Review: Shirley Kirsten - A Musical Journey: Scarlatti, Schubert, & Chopin
Written by C. Michael Bailey
Published September 26, 2007

Not only have the Internet, mp3s, downloadable music, and new compression methods revolutionized the production, marketing, and distribution of newly-minted popular music and jazz, they have also done the same for classical music. A case in point is Left-Coast pianist, maestro, and self-described piano finder Shirley Kirsten. Kirsten has just released her third self-produced recital of piano pieces, A Musical Journey: Scarlatti, Schubert, & Chopin that follows the previously released Musical Enchantment and Inspiration. While the combination and proportion of the eras represented on this disc is curious, multiple listening go a long way in supporting Kirsten’s method and vision

Shirley Kirsten studied in New York City with Lillian Freundlich and in the Wild West with Ena Bronstein. One of her most significant influences has been pianist Murray Perahia with whom she attended the New York City High School Performing Arts which is now located near the Juilliard School in the Lincoln Center district of Manhattan. This high school is also noted for having produced the likes of conductors Gerard Schwarz and David Zinman, pianists Joshua Rifkin and Steven Lubin and jazz musicians Bill Charlap, Eddie Danials, Marcus Miller, and Shorty Rogers. Kirsten also participated with Perahia in a pianist Master Class.

Kirsten is not only a concert performer and recording artist, but she has recently penned a tome entitled Dream Piano that documents an eventful series of piano finding adventures in the company of one character, York, a colorful, 81-year old "piana tuna." All that adds up to Kirsten being quite a character on paper which this writer can further validate through recent conversations with the pianist.

Having established that Kirsten is a cross between Agatha Christi and Muzio Clementi transplanted into the 20th Century, what of her precious Scarlatti? Kirsten is beautifully sola scriptura, carefully respectful of Scarlatti’s scores without perform them in a boring or rote manner. Kirsten has no fear taking on the Vladimir Horowitz Scarlatti book, devoting special attention to Sonatas in "G Major, K. 146"; "D Major, K. 96"; "f minor, K. 466"; "D Major, K. 491"; and "E Major, K. 380." Of sensual delight here is Kirsten’s feather touch on the f minor sonata and her inclusion of the E Major Sonata, with which Horowitz opened his 1986 Moscow concert captured on Horowitz in Moscow.

Kirsten acknowledges her peer, Murray Perahia’s Scarlatti output with the inclusion of the "sonata in b minor, K. 27", accentuating Perahia’s purist approach with a more fluid articulation and expression in a way flattering to both pianists. Kirsten perfectly captures the lullaby character of the "B Flat Major Sonata, K. 440". Overall, this is superb Scarlatti, played with grace and care.

Kirsten’s Scarlatti recital is provocative but is made further compelling by the inclusion of a Schubert impromptu and three Chopin Waltzes. It would be simple, at first listen, to dismiss the inclusion of these Romantics with roundly Baroque Scarlatti… simple-minded, that is.
Listening to this disc in one sitting brings into focus the history of pianism from mid-18th Century to mid-19th Century. Using the metaphor of confection, one could consider the Baroque musings of Scarlatti as simple, yet elegant bonbons coated with powdered sugar. Dip these bonbons in the early Romanticism of milk chocolate and one can imagine the transformation of Scarlatti’s notes into the sweetened and slightly dangerous vision of Schubert. Substituting the decadence and delicious bite of dark chocolate for Schubert’s milk chocolate and one arrives at the high romanticism of Chopin, his waltzes musical gospels teaching so much in so short a time.


Shirley Kirsten’s choice and performance of these pieces is both educational and highly enjoyable. This is not music one fills up on; it is music of which one cannot get enough. It is a pleasure to know that A Musical Journey: Scarlatti, Schubert, & Chopin is to be followed by another Scarlatti/Chopin collection.

FRESNO BEE--Entertainment--December 7, 2007
ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW, by Mike Osegueda
(second album: Scarlatti and Chopin)

Classical pianist Shirley Kirsten is ready to release her latest recorded work -- a 17-track CD on which she plays the compositions of Scarlatti and Chopin.

To mark the release, she's doing something a little different. She's hosting a CD release open house at her home.

We talked to Kirsten -- a graduate of New York University and a piano teacher -- about the new CD and her unconventional way of introducing it.

What's the most exciting thing about your new CD? I've taken on very challenging works that require great technical skills and emotional stamina.

What made you tackle the music that you did? What about it grabbed you? Chopin's "Revolutionary" etude drew me to it like a magnet with its volcanic eruption and force. It concludes the album. On the opposite end, Chopin's Nocturne in C sharp minor draws out long, remorseful singing lines.

To you, what's so captivating about the piano? It has a magnificent orchestral dimension, yet it can sing as beautifully as an operatic soloist.

You take a very do-it-yourself approach to your music, much like rock bands do. What's your motivation? I believe in the importance of the independent artist in this society and the freedom it accords the musician to make individual program and performance choices.

You're doing something interesting for your CD release event, having it at your house? Why? This is where my music and creativity spring. It is my personal artistic sanctuary with its three amazing pianos. I want to share this spiritual space with others in our community.

Can just any ol' person come? Yes, music is for anyone willing to surrender to its magical, transforming force.

Where can people buy up your music? Miller Sheet Music and here at my home studio, where I have a good supply. This latest album will soon be up on cdbaby.com/cd/shirleyk for sale as well.

***
A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Kirsten continues to perform concerts and record the works of Scarlatti and other composers. Her goal is to put at least half of Scarlatt's output (about 250 sonatas) on CD and her growing reputation in this regard is becoming noticed in musical circles around the country. To date, her music has been broadcast on KVPR, 89.3, "Valley Public Radio," KFCF F.M. and will be included at the Classical Music Archives.com website with world-wide radio beaming.

See ALL CD REVIEWS POSTED AT: www.cdbaby.com/cd/shirleyk

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