…Although little known in the West, never having toured or recorded there, Sofronitsky was held in the highest regard in his native land. Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels looked up to Sofronitsky as their master, and famously, when Sofronitsky once drunkenly proclaimed that Richter was a genius, in return Richter toasted him and proclaimed him a god. Upon hearing of Sofronitsky's death, Gilels was reputed to have said that "the greatest pianist in the world has died."…
T. Shebanova is a laureate of four international piano competitions: "Concertino-Prague" (1969, 1st prize), in Geneva (1976, Grand Prix and two special prizes — "American" and Ernest Shelling), F. Chopin in Warsaw (1980, 2nd prize and two special prizes for the best performing of polonaise and concert), "Bosendorfer-Empire" in Brussels (1990, Grand Prix and three special prizes). The pianist has a busy schedule of appearances in the Soviet Union, in almost all European countries and in Philippines and Taiwan. During her six guest tours on Japan she gave more than 100 concerts. T. Shebanova has a vast repertoire, recorded more than 30 LPs and CDs for "Melodiya" company (USSR), "Victor", "CBS-Sony", "Pony-Canyon" (Japan). "Muza" (Poland), "Pan-ton" (Czechoslovakia), "Empire" (Belgium).
Chopin has been a central part of Ashkenazy's repertory since his participation in the International Chopin Competition at Warsaw in 1955, when he won second prize at the age of eighteen. During the years 1974-1984 Ashkenazy recorded his acclaimed survey of Chopin's solo piano music. In the early part of his recording career he had recorded selected works and from time to time he has revisted key pieces in the studio. This new recital brings together a selection of late Chopin pieces and includes one of Ashkenazy's favourite nocturnes, Op.62 no.1 in B major, a piece which he regularly performs as an encore at his recitals.
Claudio Abbado was undeniably the supreme Mahler conductor of our time. With his Lucerne Festival Orchestra he has set new standards in the field of classical music, especially in the interpretation of works by Gustav Mahler. The core of the orchestra is provided by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, itself an élite body of players. Soloists like violinist Kolja Blacher, clarinettist Sabine Meyer, oboist Albrecht Mayer, violist Wolfram Christ, cellist Natalia Gutman, the Hagen Quartet and members of the Alban Berg Quartet to name just a few, make the Lucerne Festival Orchestra a star-studded ensemble.