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RAFF, JOACHIM (1822–1882)

Piano Works • 6

Erinnerung an Venedig, Op. 187 • Barcarolle, Op. 143 • Six Poèmes, Op. 15 • Fantaisie, Op. 142 • Deux Pieces, Op. 169

  • Tra Nguyen, piano

Each piece on the sixth and final volume of this series demonstrates different aspects of Raff’s genius as a composer for the piano. The melodic richness of the early Six Poèmes, dedicated to Liszt who had rescued Raff from penury, contrasts with the deftly evocative scene-setting of Erinnerung an Venedig, which recalls a holiday in Venice. The intensely lyrical Fantaisie is complemented by the languid charm of the Barcarolle, and the recording closes with a virtuosic Valse brillante.


Erinnerung an Venedig, Op. 187 (1873) (00:22:20 )
No. 1. Gondoliera: Allegretto (00:03:20)
No. 2. Am Rialto: Allegro con spirito (00:03:47)
No. 3. Canzone: Allegretto (00:04:09)
No. 4. Zur Taubenfutterung: Capricietto. Allegretto (00:03:09)
No. 5. Serenade: Allegretto (00:03:59)
No. 6. Venetienne: Allegro (00:03:59)
Barcarolle, Op. 143 (1867) (00:07:13)
6 Poemes, Op. 15 (1845) (00:23:43 )
No. 1. Passion calme: Andantino (00:05:51)
No. 2. De loin: Andante quasi larghetto (00:03:28)
No. 3. Les amoureux: Allegretto quasi allegro (00:04:33)
No. 4. La larme: Quasi larghetto (00:02:46)
No. 5. Chanson suisse: Andante (00:04:02)
No. 6. Gigue: Presto (00:03:09)
Fantaisie, Op. 142 (1867) (00:13:01)
2 Pieces, Op. 169 (1871) (00:11:57 )
No. 1. Romance: Quasi adagio (00:06:44)
No. 2. Valse brillante: Allegro (00:05:18)
World Première Recording
Total Time: 01:18:28

The Artist(s)

Tra Nguyen 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.


The Buffalo News

“There is some lovely music here, and pianist Tra Nguyen plays it with admirable loveliness. ” – The Buffalo News