Personal Notes by the artist
What prompted you to make this selection?
The five sonatas in the first production were chosen to cut a broad swath within Haydn’s variegated, highly inventive keyboard output: the widest possible range of formats, movement types, creative periods, and characters. Conversely, the works on the new recording are much closer to one another in terms of expression. Apart from the E Flat Major Variations, they are in minor keys. The result is a sort of programme album.
That is why you chose the title “Solitude”?
Indeed: solitude, or, more exactly, isolation, is what marked Haydn’s biography the most. Composing at the Esterházy court, he lived far from Vienna, without having to bother with the distractions of socializing among the upper set in the Imperial city. Haydn could remain at one with himself and his music, as he famously stated himself: “No one near could confuse me, so I was forced to become original.”
Perhaps his situation in those surroundings allowed him the inner freedom to write a sort of music that seems to remain at one with itself. Of course this music is also “asking” to be awoken into sound, to be heard by others. Yet in another way, in a spectacularly unspectacular manner, it seems to be thoroughly introspective, listening to itself. (Excerpt from the Interview in the Booklet)
MARKUS BECKER Piano
“As a musical virtuoso, Markus Becker is unbeatable – an intelligent creator of soulful musical portraits.”
Eleonore Büning, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Born in 1963 in Osnabrück, Markus Becker is widely recognized on the international concert scene as an
utterly convincing, highly formative interpreter of piano repertoire from J. S. Bach to Wolfgang Rihm, a
program director rich in ideas, and an established artist whose second home is jazz. Becker is regularly
invited to guest at major events including the Ruhr Piano Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival,
and the Kissingen Summer Festival.
He concertizes with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic,
Berlin RSO, the radio symphony orchestras NDR (Hamburg), WDR (Cologne) and SWR (Stuttgart), and the
BBC Welsh Orchestra, under such conductors as Howard Griffiths, Michael Sanderling, Thierry Fisher,
and the late Claudio Abbado. Markus Becker’s preferred chamber music partners include Albrecht
Mayer, Nils Mönkemeyer, Adrian Brendel, Igor Levit, Sharon Kam, and Alban Gerhardt. Becker studied
under the tutelage of Karl-Heinz Kämmerling and received crucial guidance over many years from
Since 1993, he has been a professor at the Hanover Academy for Music, Theater and
Media, where he supervises a class of pianists and chamber ensembles while coordinating the
academy’s Masters Degree program in chamber music and directing its Institute for Chamber Music.
With his CD recordings for the labels CAvI, EMI, Decca, Thorofon, cpo, and Hyperion, Becker is the
three-time winner of the coveted German ECHO Klassik award as well as the German Critics’ Choice
Award. He has received a great number of further distinctions from international classical music
magazines (Gramophone, Fono Forum, Klassik Heute, BBC Music Magazine, and the American Record
Becker‘s live recording of Reger‘s Piano Concerto (CAvi; NDR Radio Philharmonic, J. Weilerstein)
received the German OPUS KLASSIK award. His recordings of Reger‘s complete piano works on 12
Thorofon-CDs has acquired legendary status.
Fono Forum magazine: “One of those rare and truly
major accomplishments of German piano artistry in the past half-century”.