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Piano, page 51

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GERSHWIN - NEW YORK CONNECTIONS - Elizabeth Hayes, piano

GERSHWIN - NEW YORK CONNECTIONS - Elizabeth Hayes, piano
ID: QTZ2005
CDs: 1
Type: CD
Collection:
Instrumental
Subcollection: Piano

A fascinating exploration of piano works by American composers whose lives, in some way, have been touched by New York. "These pieces seemed tied inextricably with the American personality and culture", says Elizabeth Hayes of this programme, "at times warm and intimate, at others dazzling and extroverted, capturing an essence of blue-grass, jazz, hoe-downs and a cool, lyrical modernity".


Gershwin: New York Connections
I was performing Maple Leaf Rag, The Entertainer and some of the Gershwin Songbook as part of a recital programme. An American friend asked if I played Joplin's Solace, and so later that month I sat down with a couple of scores of Joplin's rags and found them exhilarating. I wanted to explore the American piano repertoire more fully.
I had performed Rhapsody in Blue several times with orchestras, but never properly explored the solo piano version. I was already familiar with Samuel Barber's works, but had yet to include any in my programmes.

I had the chance later that year of visiting New York for the first time, and loved it. I began to connect together a programme of American composers whose lives had touched New York. These pieces seemed tied inextricably with the American personality and culture - at times warm and intimate, at others dazzling and extroverted, capturing an essence of blue-grass, jazz, hoe-downs and a cool, lyrical modernity.

So gradually this recording took shape; I hope it shows the colour and immediacy that I found.

George Gershwin was born in Brooklyn in 1898, and lived in New York for most of his life. In all of his music there is a vibrancy and colour: the bright lights of Broadway, the glamour of Hollywood. The Preludes were published in 1926. Nos. 1 and 3 are energetic, with moments of schmaltz. No.2 is essentially a blues piece - warm and tender with a simple melody over a strummed bass line.

Gershwin's success was born of the many songs from the shows he wrote with his brother Ira. He arranged several for solo piano, loving to sit and improvise at the many after-show parties. Who Cares? comes from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Of Thee I Sing, written in 1931, and has a modern feel. Fascinating Rhythm and The Man I Love came earlier, in 1924, the year of Rhapsody in Blue. I Got Rhythm was written in 1930 and is a larger-scale arrangement, with a change of key and style in the middle.

The piece that perhaps epitomises Gershwin's style more than any other is Rhapsody in Blue. Written in haste in 1924 when a mooted idea for a concert at the Aeolian Hall in New York became a reality, it is romantic, heart-on-sleeve music. A simple melodic and rhythmic idea forms the basis for the piece, which falls loosely into three sections, and he draws on many different influences in its composition: moments of ragtime, jazz and blues, as well as the work of more established composers such as Rachmaninov and Stravinsky.

Gershwin arranged the piece for solo piano in 1927, managing to keep the sense of a large-scale orchestral work while making some cuts to the original.

Aaron Copland's Four Piano Blues were written in 1949. More than any other composer he seems able to portray the sense of America's landscape and the cultural roots of its music. He was born in Brooklyn in 1900, living most of his life in New York City until his death in 1990.

Though he was known more widely for his large-scale orchestral works, Copland writes with intimacy and a very personal voice in these short pieces. Each has a descriptive performance direction: 1. Freely poetic; 2. Soft and languid; 3. Muted and sensuous; 4. With bounce.

Leonard Bernstein's Anniversaries are again intimate portraits, snap-shots of people in his life. He wrote several sets - these four are from 1948.

1. Dedicated to his wife, Felicia Montealegre - it shows sadness, beauty, a complex character, implicit tenderness. 2. For Johnny Mehegan, is sexy and dangerous - a foretaste perhaps of the music of West Side Story. Mehegan was a successful jazz pianist and close friend of Bernstein.

3. Written for the composer David Diamond - there is a seriousness here, but also a sensitivity. 4. For Helen Coates - a whirlwind of a piece, describing his assistant - a woman central to his career. It shows a brittle, pointed character, buzzing with energy and with a fiery temper.

Leonard Bernstein became connected with New York through his work with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, from 1958, and was a friend and colleague of Copland, dying there the same year, 1990.

Samuel Barber wrote the four Excursions from 1942 to 1944, describing them as "excursions in small classical forms into regional American idioms...Their regional characteristics, as well as their sources in folk material and their scoring, reminiscent of local instruments, are easily recognised." Though sometimes labelled as "neo-Romantic", Barber's writing refuses to be pigeon-holed into one particular style, and these pieces show that diversity well.

The first is the only piece to show sophistication and dryness in its boogie-woogie bass line and rhythmic patterning. More dissonant than the others, it may reflect the city of New York where he lived for some years, dying there in 1981. No.2 has a feel of the deep south, a plaintive blues melody. The third is opulent and lush, with a vaguely Latin-American style. The cross-rhythms are complex, though the overall effect is very free and improvisatory. Finally there is a hoe-down; the fourth piece is exuberant and folksy, reminiscent of harmonica and fiddle-playing.

Scott Joplin was born in Texas in 1868, and spent the life of an itinerant ragtime pianist until moving to New York in 1911. He worked in the bars and jazz clubs of St. Louis and Chicago for many years, but was later able to gain an income from the publication of his rags - notably his first success, Maple Leaf Rag - named after the Maple Leaf Club of Sedalia, where he played for some time. The Entertainer has become perhaps his most famous composition - both this and Maple Leaf Rag encapsulate the elegance, subtlety and wit of Joplin's work. Magnetic Rag is an example of the later rags, more experimental in its harmonies, and with one of its sections in a minor key. It has the feel of an accompaniment to a silent movie, with a broader emotional scope than usual. Solace, subtitled A Mexican Serenade, is a much more personal statement, with a gentle melancholy and beautiful lyricism

Programme Notes by Elizabeth Hayes
13.00 eur Buy

NOCTURNES - Junko Kobayashi, piano

NOCTURNES - Junko Kobayashi, piano
ID: QTZ2004
CDs: 1
Type: CD
Collection:
Instrumental
Subcollection: Piano

A beautiful, tranquil and contemplative collection exploring the Nocturne and other pieces inspired by night and dreams. Including some of the most exquisite Nocturnes of Chopin, but also featuring less familiar works by Granados, Poulenc, Satie and the world-premiere recording of the Three Nocturnes by British composer Graham Williams.

Nocturnes

Piano Speaks Into The Night
The magical atmosphere of night has been an inspiration to generations of composers.

Irish composer and formidable piano virtuoso, John Field (1782-1837) was the first composer to use the title Nocturne - for his lyrical piano pieces (his Nocturnes were composed around 1812 to 1836). Italian operas, which he heard in Russia where he settled in his later years, greatly influenced his "cantabile" style.

Chopin admired Field's compositions and began to write Nocturnes himself. Chopin extended the emotional range and harmonic sophistication in his Nocturnes and created a landmark of this genre, which in turn inspired many later composers, especially French composers like Debussy and Faure to compose their own Nocturnes.

The tradition carries on and I'm happy to be able to include Three Nocturnes in this album, which was written for me by my friend, the composer Graham Williams.

I have also included Clair de Lune by Debussy and Laments, or The Maiden and the Nightingale , by Granados here, as they are beautiful night pieces, although they are not called Nocturne. Junko Kobayashi

Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)
Nocturnes, Op. 9
No. 1 in B flat minor - Larghetto No. 2 in E flat major - Andante No. 3 in B major ? Allegretto

The first set of Nocturnes Op. 9 was written in 1830-31 and published in 1832.

In No. 1, an operatic manner of ornamentation of the right-hand melody makes a striking impression. In No. 2, one can see the strongest influence of John Field. It is very concise and is also probably the most well-known of the Nocturnes. No. 3 is in ternary form; Allegretto in B major - Agitato in B minor - Allegretto in B major. JK.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Clair de Lune
Nocturne

Debussy's early piano works Clair de Lune and Nocturne were both composed in 1890. The beautiful Clair de Lune is perhaps one of the most loved works in the piano repertoire and it belongs to his Suite Bergamasque. Here his writing is already quite impressionistic, whereas his Nocturne is more song-like and romantic. JK.

Gabriel Faure (1845-1924)
Nocturne No. 10 in B minor

Nocturne No.10 in B minor was written in 1908. A simple two-note chromatic motif in the opening bar is repeated throughout the piece, modulating and developing to build a huge arch. The piece ends in a contemplative mood. JK.

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
Nocturne No. 1
Nocturne No. 4

Nocturne No.1 in C major was composed in 1929 and Nocturne No.4 in C minor in 1934.

For Nocturne No.4, Poulenc quoted a line from a novel, Le Visionnaire by his friend Julian Green and it describes a scene of a sick man hearing the distant sound of a ball and recollecting his own youth. JK.

Graham Williams
Three Nocturnes

Three Nocturnes were composed in 1999 and are dedicated to Junko Kobayashi. They are inspired by old Japanese poems.

Nocturne 1

Blue night road
The Sky full of stars
The blue night road
Seeming to lead to them
The distance village
Bathed in some blue-green wine
The first five lines of a poem by Tanaka Fuyuji(1894-1980)

Nocturne 2

High in the heavens the light remains unchanged
Over the ruined castle the midnight moon. Two lines from a poem by Tsuchii Bansui (1871-1952)

Nocturne 3

Harvest moon
And mist creeping
Over the water
Hattori Ransetsu (1654-1707)

Translated by Geoffrey Bownas

Graham Williams studied composition with Richard Rodney Bennett. He is a prolific composer and his works have received much critical acclaim both here and abroad as well as winning a number of prestigious awards. His orchestral works have been performed by such orchestras as the English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish National Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and the City of London Sinfonia. He has also composed a wide variety of chamber music for groups such as Lontano, the Lowbury piano Trio, the Brunel Ensemble and the Brindisi and Bingham Quartets. His works have been broadcast on Radio 3 and Classic FM and featured at many festivals.

Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
En Reve - Nocturne

Written in 1885/6, it is one of the Liszt's very late compositions. It is strikingly simple and with its use of chromaticism it looks forward to a world of atonal music to come. JK.

Erik Satie (1866-1925)
from Cinq Nocturnes
Nocturne No. 3 Nocturne No. 5

The Cinq Nocturnes were composed in 1919, just before Satie started to write his Furniture Music. They are in simple ternary (ABA) form and very concise. In both pieces, the graceful and pure right hand melody is accompanied by arpeggiated left hand. JK

Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Laments or The Maiden and the Nightingale

Granados composed an opera Goyescas in 1911 inspired by the paintings of Goya. Laments, or the Maiden and Nightingale is from his piano suite Goyescas. JK.

Edvard Grieg (1843 -1907)
Notturno

Norwegian composer Grieg composed many Lyric Pieces and this Notturno is from Book 5 Op.54, which was written in 1891. Here one hears night birds singing too. JK.
13.00 eur Temporarily out of stock

J. S. BACH - SONATAS FOR VIOLA DA GAMBA - Yuko Inoue, viola - Kathron Sturrock, piano

J. S. BACH - SONATAS FOR VIOLA DA GAMBA - Yuko Inoue, viola - Kathron Sturrock, piano
ID: QTZ2050
CDs: 1
Type: CD
Subcollection: Piano

13.00 eur Buy

DEBUSSY PIANO DUETS - Piano 4 Hands

DEBUSSY PIANO DUETS - Piano 4 Hands
ID: QTZ2048
CDs: 1
Type: CD
Collection:
Instrumental
Subcollection: Piano

Piano 4 Hands

Petite suite
En bateau
Cortege
Menuet
Ballet

Marche Écossaise sur un théme populaire
Six Épigraphes antiques
Pour invoquer Pan, dieu du vent
Pour un tombeau sans nom
Pour que la nuit soit propice
Pour la danseuse aux crotales
Pour l'Égyptienne
Pour remercier la pluie au matin

Symphonie in B minor
La Mer
De l'aube midi sur la mer
Jeux de vagues
Dialogue du vent et de la mer
13.00 eur Buy

BRAHMS TRIOS - VOLUME TWO - Gould Piano Trio

BRAHMS TRIOS - VOLUME TWO - Gould Piano Trio
ID: QTZ2042
CDs: 1
Type: CD
Collection:
Instrumental
Subcollection: Piano

13.00 eur Buy

CHOPIN - COMPLETE PRELUDES - Llyr Williams, piano

CHOPIN - COMPLETE PRELUDES - Llyr Williams, piano
ID: QTZ2040
CDs: 1
Type: CD
Collection:
Instrumental
Subcollection: Piano

"Yesterday, to judge from the tumultuous ovation that followed his dazzling performance of Chopin's opus 28 Preludes, free of both perfume and rhetoric, then history repeated itself. Certainly, I believe that a performance of these 24 miracles of miniaturism which has more clarity, transparency and economy than Williams's interpretation is just about unthinkable."
The Glasgow Herald


FREDERIC CHOPIN - COMPLETE PRELUDES

Nocturne, Op. 48 No. 1
Ballade Op. 52
Scherzo Op. 31

Llyr Williams - Piano
13.00 eur Buy

BRAHMS - PIANO MUSIC - Alexander Kobrin, piano

BRAHMS - PIANO MUSIC - Alexander Kobrin, piano
ID: QTZ2077
CDs: 1
Type: CD
Collection:
Instrumental
Subcollection: Piano

Great works for piano performed by a past winner of the Van Cliburn Piano Competition.

Although Brahms first attracted attention as a pianist, his output for piano was surprisingly limited. This fine release covering three piano works brings the debut recording of Alexander Kobrin to Quartz. In 2006, Kobrin made his debut with the New York Philharmonic at both the Avery Fisher Hall and for the inaugural concert of the Bethel Woods Arts Centre. He was also invited to open the 06/07 season concerts with both Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
13.00 eur Buy

ON AN OVERGROWN PATH - Richard Saxel, piano

ON AN OVERGROWN PATH - Richard Saxel, piano
ID: QTZ2076
CDs: 1
Type: CD
Collection:
Instrumental
Subcollection: Piano

June 2010 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Schumann. Schumann wrote his Woodland Scenes in just nine days, beginning on 29th December 1848. The cycle of nine short pieces offers typically schizophrenic and ephemeral visions, in which the distinction between fantasy and reality is blurred. This unique and beautifully crafted recording links these three composers by simple woodland themes.


Three of the best-loved works for piano focusing on woodland themes.

Robert Schumann (1810 - 1856)
Waldszenen, Op.82

Edward MacDowell (1860 - 1908)
Woodland Sketches, Op.51

Leos Janacek (1854 - 1928)
On an Overgrown Path - Book 1
13.00 eur Buy

VILLA-LOBOS - COMPLETE SOLO PIANO WORKS VOL. 1 - Marcelo Bratke, piano

VILLA-LOBOS - COMPLETE SOLO PIANO WORKS VOL. 1 - Marcelo Bratke, piano
ID: QTZ2074
CDs: 1
Type: CD
Collection:
Instrumental
Subcollection: Piano

The eagerly-anticipated first volume featuring the complete works for piano of Brazil's most celebrated composer performed by one of the brightest stars of the contemporary Brazilian classical music world, Marcelo Bratke.
Marcelo Bratke is currently engaged in the “Villa-Lobos project”, an international campaign designed to promote the music of Villa-Lobos which includes the recording of his complete solo piano works, in a collection of eight CDs for Quartz. Also planned are a series of concerts in Europe, US and Asia to support this project along with the production of a TV documentary on the composer.


Heitor Villa-Lobos
Complete Solo Piano Works, Volume 1
13.00 eur Buy

BRAHMS & LISZT - Grace Francis, piano

BRAHMS & LISZT - Grace Francis, piano
ID: QTZ2071
CDs: 1
Type: CD
Collection:
Instrumental
Subcollection: Piano

This amazing young pianist is already being recognized for her technical control and considerable subtlety. Her debut album for Quartz has already been given an outstanding review by David Cairns in the Sunday Times: "… Grace Francis' recital at the Wigmore Hall…is closely followed by this remarkable debut disc…certainly a pianist to watch."

Brahms:
Variations on a theme by Paganini in A minor, Op. 35
Piano Sonata No. 1 in C major, Op. 1

Liszt:
Funérailles, S. 173 No. 7
Sonetto 104 del Petrarca (Années de pèlerinage II, S. 161 No. 5)
Tarentella (Dargomizhsky) S.483 (piano transcription)

Grace Francis, piano
13.00 eur Buy
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