Trap Chamber Group
Artist By Last
Cliburn Int'l Competition Retrospective Series, Vol. 1
HADYN: Sonata in
D major , Hob. XVI:24
7. CHOPIN: Polonaise
Fantasy in A-flat major, Op. 53 (12:27)
from the 1997 Van Cliburn Competition.
THE VAN CLIBURN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION
Every four years, Fort Worth, Texas, becomes the piano capital of the world with the running of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Founded in 1962 by a group of music teachers and enthusiasts to honor a fellow Texan and America’s most renowned pianist, the Cliburn Competition has steadily grown into one of the major musical events around the globe.
From hundreds of hopefuls who apply for acceptance in the Cliburn, only a select number are invited to Fort Worth to take part in a grueling round of eliminations that little-by-little narrows the field to a half dozen pianists. In the early rounds, each competitor is required to play full-length recitals and chamber music, and each finalist performs a pair of concertos with orchestra before the medals and one of the richest line-up of prizes in any competition are awarded --- prizes that include not only cash, but recital and orchestral engagements worldwide during a period of two years, recording with major labels and repeated television exposure through documentaries and recitals.
But the true value of any contest is calculated not in dollars but in its winners, and through the years the Cliburn has nurtured such leading keyboard figures as Steven De Groot, Barry Douglas, José Feghali, Radu Lupu, Minoru Nojima, Christina Ortiz, André-Michel Schub, Alexander Toradze, Vladimir Viardo, and Christian Zacharias, among others. This series of retrospective recordings from VAI captures these gold, silver and bronze winners, and all the other medalists in contests past through live performances taped during the heat of competing and drawn from the Cliburn’s archives. Chamber music, though not reflected in this series, is also a feature of the Cliburn. This requirement was added at the specific request of Cliburn himself, who felt that it would provide a sort of musical litmus test to detect aspects of a pianist’s talent that might not emerge otherwise.
Because the Cliburn is geared to launching careers instead of merely extending a helping hand, it eventually reached the mature decision to do away with specific repertoire requirements. This allowed pianists to perform music with which they were most comfortable and in which they felt they excelled. The directors of the competition were wise enough to realize that a great deal could be learned about a performer by how he chose to present himself or herself.
Today, the one exception to this rule is the commissioned work required of each competitor. Through the years, the composers of this special piece have amounted to a "Who’s Who" of modern American music, from Samuel Barber and Aaron Copland to William Schuman and Leonard Bernstein. 1977 marks the tenth edition of the Cliburn, and the tenth time the city of Fort Worth has celebrated the act of making of music by the musicians of tomorrow. The sense of adventure that permeates the city every four years is like a fever, as the excitement mounts and peaks in the naming of a new set of medalists. This is the end result for which so many work for so long and with such extraordinary devotion.