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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 3, No. 4

The Palexa Story

by Philip Anson / December 1, 1997

In November 1996 two young piano music enthusiasts joined forces to present and record musicians they admire but who they felt were overlooked by the Montreal musical establishment. In the twelve months since Jean-Pascal Hamelin and HEC graduate Alexi Ziskin founded Productions Polyphonie, they have presented pianists Gabriela Montero and Constantin Lifschitz in concert at Salle Pierre-Mercure and have released four recordings on their new record label Palexa (distributed by Pelleas). Ziskin explains their philosophy: "We prefer the spontaneity and eventfulness of live recordings over studio recordings. Many of the pianists we admire feel the same way and are willing to let us record their recitals as long as they have the chance to correct mistakes, of course. We record just one take, with as few edits as possible. To keep the full dynamic range we don't compress the sound." The company does not get government financing. "We try to be self-supporting. Our Montero concert ticket sales helped defray the cost of her CD. We have private-sector sponsors to cover the production costs of our next two releases. We hope that if we focus on unique recording projects with world-class artists who have international appeal, then CD sales will be good."
Upcoming Palexa releases include Canadian pianist Lucille Chung's debut recording, volume 2 of Frank Levy's Schubert, and Paul Stewart's live Moscow Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 4. On their historical "Collections Documents" they will release a live Hamburg recital by Wilhelm Kempff. Palexa's future recording projects include Gabriela Montero's concert of Chopin sonatas at the Chapel du Bon Pasteur 19 February 1998 and more Schubert with Frank Levy in late March, again at the Chapel. "We'd also like to record Martha rgerich's next solo recital. Martha, if you read this, call us!" - Philip Anson

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