A treasure island of piano music — Spiegel Online
The Grand Piano label continues to uncover gems of the piano repertoire. — Fanfare

RAFF, Joachim (1822-1882)

PIANO WORKS • 3

ALBUM LYRIQUE, OP. 17 • CINQ EGLOGUES, OP. 105 • IMPROMPTU-VALSE, OP. 94 • FANTAISIE-POLONAISE, OP. 106


  • Tra Nguyen, piano

Joachim Raff, Liszt’s amanuensis and confidante in Weimar, was one of Germany’s leading composers, a reputation based largely on his symphonic works. But he was prolific in other forms as well, excelling in chamber and vocal music, and especially in numerous and varied compositions for the piano. The Album Lyrique, Op.17 contains a distillation of Raff’s gifts for writing richly varied character pieces for the piano. They are often slow and meditative, but become increasingly dramatic and sonorous as the music progresses. The Cinq Eglogues, Op.105 are poetic gems, the Impromptu-Valse, Op. 94 attained huge popularity, whilst the Fantaisie-Polonaise, Op.106 reveals Raff’s bravura side.

Tracklist

 
Album lyrique, Op. 17 (1849 version) (1845) (00:46:54 )
1
Volume 1: No. 1. Reverie: Larghetto rubato * (00:04:08)
2
Volume 1: No. 2. Reverie: Lento * (00:04:11)
3
Volume 1: No. 3. Reverie: Andante con moto, quasi allegretto * (00:04:09)
4
Volume 2: No. 4. Romance: Moderato * (00:04:33)
5
Volume 2: No. 5. Ballade: Allegro * (00:04:37)
6
Volume 3: No. 6. Nocturne: Lento * (00:05:59)
7
Volume 3: No. 7. Nocturne: Larghetto * (00:04:49)
8
Volume 4: No. 8. Scherzo: Allegro * (00:05:22)
9
Volume 5: No. 9. Introduction and Fugue: Allegro * (00:09:04)
 
5 Eglogues, Op. 105 (1861) (00:18:26 )
10
No. 1. Allegro molto * (00:04:20)
11
No. 2. Andante con moto * (00:04:22)
12
No. 3. Andante quasi larghetto * (00:03:57)
13
No. 4. Andante mosso * (00:02:39)
14
No. 5. Presto giojoso * (00:03:06)
15
Impromptu-valse, Op. 94 (1860) * (00:04:15)
16
Fantaisie-polonaise, Op. 106 (1861) * (00:07:02)
World Première Recording
Total Time: 01:16:33

The Artist

British-Vietnamese Tra Nguyen’s imaginative programming balances core repertoire and lesser-known music, winning critical praise. Her discography introduces many world première recordings of neglected music. Her recordings of Joachim Raff’s piano music have earned wide critical acclaim, including Album of the Week awards by The Independent. Tra Nguyen studied with Lev Naumov at the Moscow Conservatory and with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music where she received the Academy’s highest award for her final recital. She was awarded the ARAM (Associate of the Royal Academy of Music) for her “significant contribution to the music profession” in 2013.

Reviews

Diapason

“Tra Nguyen brings a beautiful sonority and a firm technicity” – Diapason

“The Impromptu-Valse absolutely sparkles under Nguyen’s fingers, while the Fantaisie-Polonaise is an effective marriage of Liszt and Raff.” – International Piano

“[Nguyen’s] playing throughout, admirably recorded, is as warm, fluent and sympathetic as you could wish.” – Gramophone

“Another top-class performance by Nguyen, her technical prowess augmented once again by an intuitive sense of expression and phrasing that brings this magical music to life.” – MusicWeb International