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)

Works for Piano and Orchestra

Piano Concerto • Ode au Printemps • Caprice on Motifs from ‘King Alfred’

  • Tra Nguyen, piano

Of Raff’s nine works for solo instrument and orchestra three are for piano. The Ode au Printemps, Op. 76 is full of freshness, its atmospheric qualities and cantabile melodies enhanced by superb orchestration. Unjustly neglected but full of dreamlike delicacy, the Piano Concerto in C minor, Op. 185 offers one of the most delightful, lyrical and stirring works in the Romantic concerto canon. The Caprice, Op. 65, No. 2 balances assured development and passionate virtuosity.

This recording was made on a modern instrument: Steinway, Model D


Ode au Printemps, Op. 76 (1857) (00:16:05)
Piano Concerto in C Minor, Op. 185 (1873) (00:31:39 )
I. Allegro (00:13:39)
II. Andante, quasi larghetto (00:11:07)
III. Allegro (00:10:39)
Caprice on Themes from König Alfred, Op. 65, No. 2 (1855) * (00:15:37)
* World Première Recording
Total Time: 01:07:07

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.


“[Tra Nguyen is] a stylish, technically assured soloist: dazzling in the flourishes, articulate in the passage work, and capable of changing moods on a dime.” – Positive Feedback Online

“This is undoubtedly one of the most convincing Raff recordings in recent years. Everything impresses. Tra Nguyen’s technical mastery and feeling for Raff’s music has never been so convincing, and Kerry Stratton and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra not only offer solid to robust support, Stratton also brings every detail of Raff’s refined orchestration to the fore. ” – Stretto