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Late Piano Works of Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms

Eugene Asti

Late Piano Works of Johannes Brahms

Price: € 19.95 13.97
Format: CD
Label: Lawo Classics
UPC: 7090020181707
Catnr: LWC 1148
Release date: 04 May 2018
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Label
Lawo Classics
UPC
7090020181707
Catalogue number
LWC 1148
Release date
04 May 2018

"Asti is a gifted pianist who knows how to catch Brahms' intimacy perfectly and transforms its depth with wonderful phrases and a controlled but oversensitive attack into a beautiful piano sound. Wonderfull."

Stretto, 05-5-2018
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
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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
Einige Jahre zuvor, als ich meine erste Aufnahme für LAWO mit norwegisch inspirierter Musik machte, fragte mich Vegard Landaas, ob ich vielleicht ein paar Brahms-Solo-Klavierstücke für sein Label aufnehmen könnte. Ich war sehr überrascht und natürlich begeistert von dem Vorschlag, aber da ich in meiner Karriere als Liedbegleiter selten Solorepertoire spiele, habe ich zunächst gezögert. Brahms war jedoch schon immer eine meiner großen Leidenschaften und ein Komponist, mit dem ich eine besondere Affinität empfinde und so habe ich mich nach reiflicher Überlegung dazu entschlossen, es zu tun. Ich sah es als eine künstlerische Herausforderung, die mich aus meiner Komfortzone drängen und mein Verständnis und meine Verbindung zu Brahms und seiner Musik vertiefen würde.
Als ich versuchte zu entscheiden, welche Solostücke ich aufnehmen sollte, fühlte ich mich zu den späten Klavierwerken hingezogen, da sie irgendwie mit seinen Liedern verwandt schienen. Brahms' Lieder sind einige seiner intimsten und persönlichsten Kompositionen und obwohl sie von geringem Umfang sind, gibt es einen Reichtum an emotionaler Tiefe und poetischer Sensibilität, den es zu erforschen gilt. Genauso verhält es sich mit den späten Klavierwerken, die ebenfalls klein dimensioniert und sicherlich nicht als virtuose Schaustücke komponiert sind. Sie gehören zu den schönsten und tiefgründigsten seiner Werke und besitzen eine wahrhaft vokale Qualität, mit der ich mich als Liedpianist sofort identifizieren kann (manche könnte man fast als "Lieder ohne Worte" bezeichnen). Es gibt eine unglaubliche musikalische Struktur und Einheit in diesen Stücken (wie man es von Brahms erwarten würde) und das vielschichtige, facettenreiche Werk stellt eine ständige Herausforderung für jeden Pianisten dar, der ihnen begegnet.
Bei der Erstellung dieser Aufnahme hatte ich das große Glück, dass LAWO einen wunderbar restaurierten Steinway D aus dem Jahr 1893 ausgewählt hat, welcher nur ein Jahr nach der Komposition dieser späten Klavierstücke entstanden ist. Sein prächtiger Klang und seine einzigartige Klangqualität haben mich immer wieder inspiriert. Die wunderschöne Akustik der Sofienberg Kirche in Oslo sorgte nicht nur für einen natürlich warmen und lebendigen Klang, sondern auch für die richtige Atmosphäre, die für diese Musik so wichtig ist. Eugene Asti

Artist(s)

Eugene Asti (piano)

Eugene Asti studied at the Mannes College of Music, New York with Jeannette Haien where he earned his B.Mus. and M.A. and subsequently studied piano accompaniment with Graham Johnson at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Eugene now teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is Vocal Accompaniment Coordinator at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and regularly gives masterclasses both in the UK and abroad.   One of the foremost accompanists of his generation, he has performed with many great artists including Dame Felicity Lott, Dame Sarah Connolly, Sir Willard White, Sir Thomas Allen, Sir Bryn Terfel, Angelika Kirchschlager, and Dame Margaret Price in venues such as the Wigmore Hall and the Barbican, London;...
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Eugene Asti studied at the Mannes College of Music, New York with Jeannette Haien where he earned his B.Mus. and M.A. and subsequently studied piano accompaniment with Graham Johnson at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Eugene now teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is Vocal Accompaniment Coordinator at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and regularly gives masterclasses both in the UK and abroad.
One of the foremost accompanists of his generation, he has performed with many great artists including Dame Felicity Lott, Dame Sarah Connolly, Sir Willard White, Sir Thomas Allen, Sir Bryn Terfel, Angelika Kirchschlager, and Dame Margaret Price in venues such as the Wigmore Hall and the Barbican, London; the Musikverein in Vienna; Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg; the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Kölner Philharmonie; the Megaron in Athens; the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels; the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin; Symphony Hall in Birmingham and the Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York. He also performs regularly with many leading recitalists such as Sophie Karthäuser, Sophie Daneman, Katherine Broderick, Mhairi Lawson, Helene Wold, Roderick Williams, Stephan Loges, Mark Padmore and James Rutherford.
His many recordings include the complete songs and duets by Felix Mendelssohn, songs by Fanny Mendelssohn and the complete songs of Clara Schumann all for Hyperion. Other recordings include a live recital disc with Dame Sarah Connolly for Signum; the complete Mozart songs with Sophie Karthäuser and Stephan Loges for Cyprès; a disc of Schumann Lieder entitled "Songs of Love and Loss" with Sarah Connolly for Chandos; a recital of English song entitled "Most Grand to Die" and Schubert’s "Schwanengesang" for BIS with James Rutherford and most recently, a disc of Poulenc songs "Les Anges Musiciens" and Hugo Wolf "Kennst du das Land" both with Sophie Karthäuser for Harmonia Mundi. For LAWO Classics he has recorded a disc of Norwegian inspired songs called "Roser og Kjerlighed" (LWC1029) with Helene Wold, Per Andreas Tønder and Vegard Lund and a disc of songs and piano music by Rikard Nordraak (LWC1119) with Helene Wold. Future recordings include a disc of Debussy songs with Sophie Karthäuser for Harmonia Mundi and Schubert’s "Winterreise" with James Rutherford for BIS.
In 2009 Eugene devised and curated a recital series to honour the anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn, for London’s King’s Place. He has also completed an edition of rare Mendelssohn songs for Bärenreiter which was published in 2008. Recent engagements include recitals with Sophie Karthaüser at the Landeskonservatorium, Innsbruck and La Monnaie, Brussels; a recital with Sir Bryn Terfel at the Dresden Music Festival; recitals at the Oxford Lieder and Spring Festivals with Dame Felicity Lott, Dame Sarah Connolly, Sophie Karthäuser, Roderick Williams, Stephan Loges and Mhairi Lawson; and he shared the platform with pianist Graham Johnson and seventeen of the finest young singers of today for the season’s final song recital at the Wigmore Hall.
Future plans include recitals with Dame Sarah Connolly, Sophie Karthäuser, Stephan Loges and James Newby at the Oxford Lieder Festival; with Dame Sarah Connolly at the Wigmore Hall; with Sophie Karthaüser at the Vortragssaal, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, the Kölner Philharmonie, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and in Zürich; with Stephan Loges at the Barbican in London and in Harrogate; and with Sir Willard White at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham. Eugene is a Steinway Artist.

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Composer(s)

Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria. His reputation and status as a composer is such that he is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the 'Three Bs' of music, a comment originally made by the nineteenth-century conductor Hans von Bülow.   Brahms composed for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, piano, organ, and voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many of his own works. He worked with some of the leading performers of his time, including the pianist Clara Schumann and the violinist Joseph Joachim (the three were close friends). Many of his works have become...
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Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria. His reputation and status as a composer is such that he is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the "Three Bs" of music, a comment originally made by the nineteenth-century conductor Hans von Bülow.
Brahms composed for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, piano, organ, and voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many of his own works. He worked with some of the leading performers of his time, including the pianist Clara Schumann and the violinist Joseph Joachim (the three were close friends). Many of his works have become staples of the modern concert repertoire. Brahms, an uncompromising perfectionist, destroyed some of his works and left others unpublished.
Brahms has been considered, by his contemporaries and by later writers, as both a traditionalist and an innovator. His music is firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Classical masters. While many contemporaries found his music too academic, his contribution and craftsmanship have been admired by subsequent figures as diverse as Arnold Schoenberg and Edward Elgar. The diligent, highly constructed nature of Brahms's works was a starting point and an inspiration for a generation of composers. Within his meticulous structures is embedded, however, a highly romantic nature.

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Press

Asti is a gifted pianist who knows how to catch Brahms' intimacy perfectly and transforms its depth with wonderful phrases and a controlled but oversensitive attack into a beautiful piano sound. Wonderfull.
Stretto, 05-5-2018

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01.
Fantasien, op. 116: I. Capriccio: Presto energico
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
02.
Fantasien, op. 116: II. Intermezzo: Andante
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
03.
Fantasien, op. 116: III. Capriccio: Allegro passionato
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
04.
Fantasien, op. 116: IV. Intermezzo: Adagio
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
05.
Fantasien, op. 116: V. Intermezzo: Andante con grazia ed intimissimo sentimento
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
06.
Fantasien, op. 116: VI. Intermezzo: Andantino teneramente
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
07.
Fantasien, op. 116: VII: Capriccio: Allegro agitato
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
08.
Drei Intermezzi, op. 117: I. Andante moderato
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
09.
Drei Intermezzi, op. 117: II. Andante non troppo e con molto espressione
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
10.
Drei Intermezzi, op. 117: III. Andante con moto
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
11.
Klavierstücke, op. 118: I. Intermezzo: Allegro non assai, ma molto appassionato
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
12.
Klavierstücke, op. 118: II. Intermezzo: Andante teneramente
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
13.
Klavierstücke, op. 118: III. Ballade: Allegro energico
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
14.
Klavierstücke, op. 118: IV. Intermezzo: Allegretto un poco agitato
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
15.
Klavierstücke, op. 118: V. Romanze: Andante
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
16.
Klavierstücke, op. 118: VI. Intermezzo: Andante, largo e mesto
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(Johannes Brahms) Eugene Asti
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