Brahms - Late Piano Works opp. 116-118
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Label: Lawo Classics
Cat No: LWC1148
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 6th April 2018
ArtistsEugene Asti (piano)
‘When I was trying to decide which solo pieces to record, I felt drawn to the late piano works as they seemed in some way related to his songs. Brahms’s Lieder are some of his most intimate and personal compositions, and although small in scale, there is a wealth of emotional depth and poetic sensibility to be explored in them. The exact same thing can be said of the late piano works, which are likewise small in dimension and certainly not composed as virtuosic showpieces. They are also among the most beautiful and profound of all his works, possessing a truly vocal quality with which, as a song pianist, I can immediately identify (some could almost be called ‘songs without words’). There is an incredible level of musical structure and unity in these pieces (as one would expect with Brahms) and the multi-layered, multi-faceted writing presents a constant challenge to any pianist who encounters them.
‘In the making of this recording, I was very fortunate that LAWO chose a wonderful reconditioned Steinway D dating from 1893, which is just a year after the composition of these late piano pieces. Its gorgeous tone and unique sound quality served as a constant inspiration to me. The beautiful acoustic of the Sofienberg Church in Oslo not only provided a naturally warm and vibrant sound, but also helped to create the right atmosphere so essential for this music.’
Eugene Asti studied at the Mannes College of Music, New York with Jeannette Haien and subsequently studied piano accompaniment with Graham Johnson at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Eugene now teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
One of the foremost accompanists of his generation, he has performed with many great artists including Dame Felicity Lott, Dame Sarah Connolly, Sir Willard White, Sir Thomas Allen and Sir Bryn Terfel to name a few. He has made many recordings for other labels, including Hyperion, Chandos, BIS, Signum Classics and Harmonia Mundi, and here for Norwegian label LAWO Classics, a wonderful disc of Brahms’s Late Piano Works. Recommended.
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