NICHOLAS WALKER’s complete Balakirev piano works cycle has been selected as Radio 3’s CD of the Week! Nicholas, who has been described by the BBC Music Magazine as possessing “the flair of a full-scale virtuoso and a sparkling intelligence”, has released three volumes in the cycle thus far to critical acclaim, with American Record Guide unequivocally declaring that there is little doubt that the series will become “the reference set for Balakirev.”
Participants at the Naxos Germany’s annual retailer conference in Munich were in for a surprising treat when Georgian-German pianist INGA FIOLIA appeared at the conference to perform pieces from her debut recording of Mikhail Glinka’s piano works for Grand Piano. The Cologne-based Fiolia was in Munich to give a release concert at the Steinway Hall.
Inga Fiolia has made a name for herself as a young, exciting and gifted performer, particularly in Germany where she has won several international piano competitions. She has appeared twice on the ARTE TV show “Stars of Tomorrow”, hosted by world-renowned tenor and ECHO Klassik prizewinner Rolando Villazon.
Fiolia’s debut recording, released in February, has received extensive interest from the German music press with two major publications – Crescendo and Piano News – issuing major articles, interviewing the young pianist, and Crescendo even featuring her on the cover. Glinka is one of her favourite composers, which is noticeable in her inspired performance of the delightful Variations.
Two-time GRAMMY Award-winning jazz pianist, arranger and composer Alan Broadbent has this to say about the recording: “We seem to be living in a musical world full of pianists who amaze us with displays of technique that even Liszt would be astonished by, I’m sure. But music, to me, is more precious and lasting when an artist opens the door to our hearts and communicates feelings expressed in the notes that a more superficial performance won’t reveal. Such an artist is Inga Fiolia. When I hear her play I am transported across generations into the essence of the music. This collection of Glinka pieces is a delightful introduction not only to his music, but to the transparency and beauty of Ms. Fiolia’s superb playing.”
On 30 January 2017, NICOLAS HORVATH returned to Carnegie Hall, exactly two years after he presented the world première performance of Philip Glass’ complete piano Etudes by a solo pianist. Performing a 6.5-hour marathon of Glass’ piano works for the composer’s 80th birthday on the following day, the concert marked a highlight of Nicolas’ GLASSWORLDS journey to record every note that Philip Glass has composed for the piano. His five albums so far have achieved significant critical success, including a five-star rating from International Piano, two ICMA nominations, and inclusion on Culture Catch’s list of ‘Best Classical Albums 2015’. This collection of music, spanning Philip Glass’ entire oeuvre for the piano, from the hypnotic rhythms of his Music in Fifths to the atmospheric drama of his score for the film The Hours, culminated in a ‘Glass Essentials’ tribute on vinyl to the iconic composer.
But Nicolas has been busy with other recording projects too. April 2017 will see the release of the first volume of his new cycle of piano works by Estonian composer JAAN RÄÄTS, with whom Nicolas has developed a strong working relationship. Nicolas has already had several concert engagements to perform Rääts’ works on behalf of the Estonian government, with more to follow this year to mark the composer’s 85th birthday. Stay tuned for more news on this exciting new project!
Last year, Grand Piano released pianist Carl Petersson’s world première recording of Helge Evju’s Piano Concerto in B minor based on fragments by Edvard Grieg. Grieg never finished his second piano concerto, which was finally reconstructed and completed by Evju. The CD was critically acclaimed, with American Record Guide describing the B minor concerto as “a cunningly shrewd work, very entertaining, and well worth the attention of pianophiles.” Gramophone also praised the album, stating “[the B minor concerto] makes the disc appealing…played with commanding virtuosity by Petersson.”
Carl Petersson gave the U.S. première of Evju’s B minor concerto on 19 November, with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of renowned conductor JoAnn Falletta.
“The re-imagined Grieg came next. The crowd loved it. Evju did an admirable job of weaving the fragments together, adding a few ideas of his own and also drawing inspiration from other Grieg works. He is clearly a fine orchestrator and created a full, resonant Romantic sound. Petersson played from memory, showing his commitment to this piece. He danced his way through the elaborate piano part with a captivating grace…the concerto is an impressive achievement, and a joy to listen to. For anyone attending the Nov. 12 concert, my advice would be: don’t sweat the details, just sit back and enjoy.’
– The Buffalo News
“The Buffalo Philharmonic and I had the wonderful privilege of performing the USA premier of Helge Evju's beautiful "re-imagining" of Edvard Grieg's second piano concerto with pianist Carl Petersson. Grieg did not complete this concerto, but Maestro Evju was able to take his precious sketches and build upon them to create this beautiful work. Filled with poetry, lyricism and grandeur, the work summoned the spirit of Grieg into the concert hall, and absolutely enchanted our audience.”
– JoAnn Falletta
“It certainly was something special to perform with the great JoAnn Falletta and her Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Without any doubt the concert was magical... This was not only confirmed by the press and critics but especially the audience that gave us all a standing ovation - twice. The more I perform this piano concerto I find more and more hidden depths and I hope to be able to perform this hidden gem by Evju many more times.”
– Carl Petersson
Over the course of 12 hours, beginning in the evening of 1 October, NICOLAS HORVATH presented the complete piano works of Philip Glass in chronological order at one of his famous epic recital marathons at the Philharmonie de Paris. This was a touching tribute from one pianist to another, conveying Horvath’s deep regard for the works of one of the most influential musicians of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The whole recital was capped by an hour of standing ovation, and nine encores from Nicolas, which includes works by Glass (Etudes, etc.), Satie (Gnossienne 1& 3), Jaan Rääts (Radio 4), and Scriabin (Vers la Flamme).
The fifth volume in our series of Philip Glass' piano works on Grand Piano was released this month (GP745). The programme includes Mad Rush, the revised version of Metamorphosis II, 600 Lines, and an arrangement of the Simon and Garfunkel hit The Sound of Silence.