Gypsy violinist Roby Lakatos and pianist Frantisek Janoska play Brahms Hungarian Dance no.5

Here is a recording of Brahms Hungarian Dance no.5 performed in a gypsy style by gypsy violinist Roby Lakatos and pianist Frantisek Janoska for ABC Radio.

Roby Lakatos is a gypsy violinist who has a family that goes back seven generations of gypsy musicians all the way back to the “King of Gypsy violinist” Janos Bihari. He can play in just about any style (gypsy music, classical, and jazz) and has performed with many of the world’s great orchestras as well as his own ensemble. He makes playing the violin look effortless and doesn’t even break out in a sweat when he plays.

Frantisek Janoska is an up and coming pianist who is comfortable playing gypsy music as well as jazz. He often performs with Roby Lakatos’ ensemble and his brother Roman (a jazz violinist). Frantisek Janoska has his own group which performs gypsy music as well as jazz and classical music in a gypsy style.


Franz Schubert – Kupelweiser Waltz

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Franz Schubert was an Austrian composer. He composed piano sonatas, waltzes,various other dances, symphonies, string trios, piano trios, quartets, quintets, and more than 600 German Art Songs (or lieder). Today Schubert is known for his ‘Trout’ Quintet, his chamber music, and his more than 600 songs.

In 1826 Schubert was at Mr. Kupelweiser’s wedding. He played a waltz but never wrote it down. The waltz was passed down by ear for several generations. In the 20th century Richard Strauss (a friend of a distant relative of Kupelweiser) was asked to transcribe the waltz. He wrote down the melody and harmonized it adding a few of his own harmonic touches to the music.

Here is the ‘Kupelweiser’ waltz played by a pianist from a youtube recording. I don’t know the name of the pianist who is playing the waltz.

Chopin Nocturne in F# Major op.15 no.2 – Jorge Bolet, piano

Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)

Frederic Chopin was a Polish composer and piano virtuoso.  Chopin wrote almost all of his compositions for solo piano.  He wrote concertos for piano, etudes, preludes, nocturnes, waltzes, impromptus and mazurkas, polonaises, and much more.  Most of his music is simple in texture with an accompanied melody.  His music is often very expressive and full of ornamental flourishes.  There is always a slight melancholic emotion in Chopin’s music.

Jorge Bolet (1914-1990)

Jorge Bolet was a Cuban pianist that was born in America.  Bolet has been described by many pianists as a great pianist.  It took him a long time to get recognition as a pianist.  It wasn’t until a recital at Carnegie Hall in 1974 that Bolet got major recognition.  Bolet is especially known for his expressive interpretations of Franz Liszt’s piano music, but he recorded music by many other composers.  Here is a recording of Chopin’s Nocturne op.15, no.2 played by Jorge Bolet.  The playing is very expressive and full of emotion.  He gets colors out of the piano that many pianists (including great pianists) don’t always get in their interpretations (for example Vladimir Horowitz).  Jorge Bolet often performed on Baldwin pianos instead of Steinways.

Frederic Chopin – Piano Concerto no.1 (2nd movement) -Artur Rubinstein

Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)

Frederic Chopin was a Polish composer and pianist.  He is unique as a composer because most of his compositions are for solo piano.  Besides his works for solo piano Chopin also composed 2 piano concertos, 4 works for piano and orchestra, a piano trio, duos, 20 songs for voice and piano, 1 piano duet, and some arrangements and transcriptions.

Chopin composed his two piano concertos when he was 19 years old.  They were composed shortly before he moved to Paris.  He would spend most of his life composing and performing in Paris and die there in 1849.

Artur Rubinstein (1887-1982) is a famous 2oth century Polish-Jewish pianist.  He is known for his fine interpretations of Chopin’s piano music .  His playing has an impeccable sense of style, warm lyricism, and passionate eloquence.  Here is a recording of Artur Rubinstein playing the 2nd movement of Chopin’s piano concerto no.1.  I hope that you enjoy it.


Edvard Grieg – Lyric Pieces

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

Edvard Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist.  He is best known among classical music lovers for his Piano Concerto and Peer Gynt suite for orchestra.

Edvard Grieg also composed several sets of pieces for piano called the lyric pieces.  Here is the first set of lyric pieces by Edvard Grieg.  They are played by pianist Eva Knardahl.  Eva has recorded all of Grieg’s piano music.

Edvard Grieg was a fine pianist and he composed his piano concerto for himself when he was a young man.  Grieg made several piano roll recordings.  You can hear two of them on youtube if you search for Grieg piano rolls. Enjoy!


Borodin String Quartet no.2 – Borodin Quartet

Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)

Alexander Borodin was a Russian composer, doctor, and chemist.  Borodin was part of a group of composers called “The Five” who were interested in creating a nationalist school.

Borodin didn’t compose many works, but among his few works he is known for his Opera Prince Igor, the orchestra piece “On The Steppes of Central Asia,” and his two String Quartets.  Borodin’s string quartets are full of beautiful lyrical melodies.  His second quartet is famous because of its beautiful Nocturne.

Here is a recording of Borodin’s String Quartet no.2 performed by the Borodin Quartet.  Enjoy.


Ion Voicu – Balada de Ciprian Porumbescu (Ballad for violin and orchestra)

Ciprian Porumbescu (1853-1883)

A Romanian composer.  He was one of the most popular composers of his time.  Some of his popular compositions are Song for the 1st of May, Trei culori (three colors?), and the Ballad for violin and piano.  One of his compositions ended up being used as the music for Albania’s national anthem.

Ion Voicu (1923-1997) was a Romanian violinist and conductor.  He is one of the world’s great violinists.  In 1969 he founded the Bucharest Chamber Orchestra which is an internationally acclaimed ensemble.  The list of conductors and musicians that Ion Voicu has performed with is incredible.  Voicu was a very high level music pedagogue. He taught at many of the world’s leading music institutions.  Ion Voicu made hundreds of recordings.

Here is a recording of Ion Voicu performing the Ballad in a version for violin and orchestra.  It is a beautiful piece of music.  I hope that you enjoy it.