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RAFF, Joachim (1822-1882)

PIANO WORKS • 4

LA CICERENELLA, OP. 165 • 12 ROMANCES EN FORME D’ETUDES, OP. 8 • 2 PIECES, OP. 166 • ALLEGRO AGITATO, OP. 151


  • Tra Nguyen, piano

Volume 4 of the Piano Music series traces Raff from youth to maturity. Douze Romances en forme d’études, Op. 8 was written when he was just 21 and unsure whether to commit himself to full-time composition. Mendelssohn was so impressed by this set of charming character pieces that he recommended them to his own publisher. The much later 1871 La Cicerenella – Nouveau Carnaval, Op. 165 is a set of virtuoso variations, whilst the Two Pieces, Op. 166 offer both charm and melodic distinction.

Tracklist

 
La cicerenella, Op. 165 (1871) (00:08:17 )
1
Presto (Capriccioso) - La Cicerenella - Variation 1 (00:01:48)
2
Variation 2 (00:00:28)
3
Variation 3 (00:00:25)
4
Variation 4 (00:00:26)
5
Variation 5 (00:00:36)
6
Variation 6 (00:00:20)
7
Variation 7 (00:00:23)
8
Variation 8: Più mosso (00:00:20)
9
Variation 9: Ancora più mosso (00:00:26)
10
Variation 10: Larghetto (00:01:49)
11
Variation 11: Presto (00:00:12)
12
Variation 12 (00:00:12)
13
Variation 13 e coda - prestissimo (00:00:45)
 
12 romances en forme d'etudes, Op. 8 (1843) (00:36:07 )
14
No. 1. L'Abbandonata: Allegro moderato (00:02:58)
15
No. 2. Pastorale: Andante (00:02:41)
16
No. 3. Il Fuggitivo: Allegro agitato quasi presto (00:00:55)
17
No. 4. L'Amicizia: Andantino (00:02:22)
18
No. 5. Il Pianto dell' Amante: Adagio ma non troppo (00:04:51)
19
No. 6. Il Delirio: Allegro molto agitato cioe smanioso (00:02:31)
20
No. 7. Barcarola: Allegretto (00:02:41)
21
No. 8. Preghiera: Andante religioso (00:03:12)
22
No. 9. Il Gladiatori: Presto di bravura (00:01:55)
23
No. 10. Mazurka: Allegro moderato (00:03:22)
24
No. 11. La Contentezza: Andante (00:02:09)
25
No. 12. Polonaise: Alla Polacca (00:04:53)
 
2 pieces, Op. 166 (1871) (00:10:30 )
26
No. 1. Idylle: Andante (00:04:56)
27
No. 2. Valse Champetre: Allegro (00:05:36)
28
Allegro agitato, Op. 151 (1868) (00:05:27)
World Première Recording
Total Time: 00:58:39

The Artist(s)

British-Vietnamese Tra Nguyen gave her first concert, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto, K. 488, with the Hanoi Conservatory Orchestra. Since then she has continued to engage audiences in other important venues worldwide. Recent and future performances include Queen Elizabeth Hall, Tokyo Opera City, Hong Kong City Recital Hall, Cadogan Hall and Wigmore Hall amongst others. Her imaginative programming balances core repertoire and lesser-known music, winning critical praise. Her discography introduces many world première recordings of neglected music. Volumes 1–6 of her recordings of Joachim Raff’s piano music have earned wide critical acclaim, including Album of the Week 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.

The Composer(s)

The reputation of Joseph Joachim Raff was once so high that during the 1860s and 1870s he was regarded by many as the foremost symphonist of his day. His breakthrough came in 1863 when both his First Symphony and a cantata won major prizes. From then on his reputation rose inexorably until in 1877 he became the founding director of the prestigious Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt. Although primarily known, then as now, as a symphonist, Raff was prolific in most genres; operas, choral works, chamber music and songs abound in his catalogue but by far his largest output was for the piano: there are over 130 works for the instrument, many of them with multiple movements or numbers.

Reviews

“Ms. Nguyen has an attractive, pellucid tone quality that brings out Raff’s virtues… ” – American Record Guide

“There should be no waverers when it comes to either Raff or Nguyen. ” – MusicWeb International