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Johannes Brahms

Eugene Asti

Late Piano Works of Johannes Brahms

  • Type CD
  • Label Lawo Classics
  • UPC 7090020181707
  • Catalog number LWC 1148
  • Release date 04 May 2018
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About the album

A FEW YEARS AGO, when I was making my first recording for LAWO of music inspired by Norway, Vegard Landaas asked me if I might like to record some Brahms solo piano pieces for his label. I was very surprised, and naturally excited by the suggestion, but as I rarely play solo repertoire in my career as a song accompanist, I hesitated at first. However, Brahms has always been one of my great passions and a composer with whom I feel a particular affinity, so after much thought and encouragement from those close to me, I decided to do it. I saw it as an artistic challenge – something that would push me out of my comfort zone and deepen my understanding and connection with Brahms and his music.

When I was trying to decide which solo pieces to record, I felt drawn to the late piano works as they seemed in some way related to his songs. Brahms’s Lieder are some of his most intimate and personal compositions, and although small in scale, there is a wealth of emotional depth and poetic sensibility to be explored in them. The exact same thing can be said of the late piano works, which are likewise small in dimension and certainly not composed as virtuosic showpieces. They are also among the most beautiful and profound of all his works, possessing a truly vocal quality with which, as a song pianist, I can immediately identify (some could almost be called ‘songs without words’). There is an incredible level of musical structure and unity in these pieces (as one would expect with Brahms) and the multi-layered, multi-faceted writing presents a constant challenge to any pianist who encounters them.

In the making of this recording, I was very fortunate that LAWO chose a wonderful reconditioned Steinway D dating from 1893, which is just a year after the composition of these late piano pieces. Its gorgeous tone and unique sound quality served as a constant inspiration to me. The beautiful acoustic of the Sofienberg Church in Oslo not only provided a naturally warm and vibrant sound, but also helped to create the right atmosphere so essential for this music.

EUGENE ASTI

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    Fantasien, op. 116 I. Capriccio: Presto energico
     
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    Fantasien, op. 116 II. Intermezzo: Andante
     
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    Fantasien, op. 116 III. Capriccio: Allegro passionato
     
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    Fantasien, op. 116 IV. Intermezzo: Adagio
     
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    Fantasien, op. 116 V. Intermezzo: Andante con grazia ed intimissimo sentimento
     
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    Fantasien, op. 116 VI. Intermezzo: Andantino teneramente
     
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    Fantasien, op. 116 VII: Capriccio: Allegro agitato
     
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    Drei Intermezzi, op. 117 I. Andante moderato
     
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    Drei Intermezzi, op. 117 II. Andante non troppo e con molto espressione
     
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    Drei Intermezzi, op. 117 III. Andante con moto
     
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    Klavierstücke, op. 118 I. Intermezzo: Allegro non assai, ma molto appassionato
     
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    Klavierstücke, op. 118 II. Intermezzo: Andante teneramente
     
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    Klavierstücke, op. 118 III. Ballade: Allegro energico
     
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    Klavierstücke, op. 118 IV. Intermezzo: Allegretto un poco agitato
     
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    Klavierstücke, op. 118 V. Romanze: Andante
     
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    Klavierstücke, op. 118 VI. Intermezzo: Andante, largo e mesto
     

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05-05-2018 Stretto