Pianist Pertonel Malan has found a way to stand out in the classical music marketplace with her recordings of transcriptions for the Hanssler Classic label. Her debut CD, Transfigured Bach, featuring piano transcriptions of Bach favorites by Bartok, Lipatti and Friedman, was nominated for three Grammy Awards in 2004. She followed that with Transfigured Mozart, and her album of Beethoven transcriptions is forthcoming.
Transcribing — that is, rearranging— music such as an aria from a Bach cantata or a Mozart string quintet for solo piano can be a highly inventive act of composition in itself.
"The music world is so saturated, and there are so many good pianists, that you have to do something different,'' Malan says. "I don't think we really need another recording of the four Chopin Scherzi. I am also avoiding in this series all transcriptions by people like Liszt and Busoni and Godowski, because they have been done ad nauseam. So I am looking for different things. Every disc has had a handful of world premieres.''
Malan, 32, a South African who lives in Texas, will play Beethoven transcriptions by Stephen Heller and Isidor Seiss as well as a Haydn sonata and Brahms' 16 Waltzes in her recital at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. $10, $20. (727) 896-2667.
SPC class features orchestra
In a sign of synergy between the Florida Orchestra and St. Petersburg College, an introduction to music class at the college this fall includes four masterworks concerts. The orchestra's new office is on the school's downtown St. Petersburg campus. The concerts are included in the cost of tuition, about $233 for the course, taught by Jeff Donovick of the music faculty. Information: (727) 341-4360 or (727) 341-4788 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opera screenings scheduled
Tickets go on sale today for the Metropolitan Opera's live, high-definition simulcasts to movie theaters in 2008-09, beginning with the opening night gala with soprano Renee Fleming on Sept. 22. The other 10 performances are on Saturday afternoons and include Strauss' Salome with Karita Mattila (Oct. 11), John Adams' Doctor Atomic (Nov. 8) and Puccini's La Rondine with Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna (Jan. 10). There are 20 theaters in Florida carrying the season, including Citrus Park Stadium 20 in Tampa. Visit www.fathomevents.com to purchase tickets; they are also on sale at theater box offices.
New festival entry opens
The fledgling Florida Playwrights Festival has its second production opening tonight, Brian Wiggins' play about the struggles of a community theater, Once More, which runs through Aug. 31 at the Back Door Theater, Gulfport. Money, Money . . . Who's Got the Money?, a farce by Sharilynn La May, opened last weekend and has performances tonight and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center. A video of one of the plays will be sent to several theater companies in New York for consideration for future productions. Information: floridaplaywrightsfestival.org.
Dickens on Broadway
Broadway keeps trying to replicate Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera. The latest effort is A Tale of Two Cities, which began previews this week and is scheduled to open Sept. 18. It's the musical adaptation by Jill Santoriello of the Charles Dickens classic that originated last fall at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota. James Barbour remains in the leading role of dissolute lawyer Sydney Carton. Can there really be an audience for such a Les Miz knockoff?
John Fleming can be reached at fleming@sptimes,com or (727) 893-8716.