Monday, January 9, 2012

European January


After an incredibly exciting New Year's Eve spent playing Liszt First Concerto at the Seoul Arts Center and greeting 2012 with a breathtaking post-concert fireworks display , I flew back to New York for just a day in order to repack my bags, organize my thoughts and head for the first of two European trips in January. 
Check out the celebration HERE

After having spent a lot of 2011 in the wonderful company of Johannes Brahms, I decided it was time to record a solo album dedicated to him. So I flew to London and made my way to the Welsh border and the wonderful Wyastone facility, where I had previously made my Rachmaninov: Preludes and Melodies disc, also for Signum. It's an idyllic place with no distractions, seemingly removed from the rest of the world. The "dream team" was there once again from London: producer Anna Barry and sound engineer Mike Hatch. I have been lucky to have had them for my last three CDs and I cannot think of a better team, artistically and humanly! The works I recorded are very dear to me. They are perhaps not the "obvious" choices for a Brahms disc, but they are incredibly personal and extremely powerful: the dark, gorgeous and experimental Four Ballades op. 10, the "perfect" Eight Pieces op. 76, both books of the fiendishly difficult Variations on a Theme of Paganini, op. 35 as well as my own version of Cziffra's crazy transcription of the Fifth Hungarian Dance.

Now I am in Berlin for a couple of days, then off to gorgeous Schloss Elmau for their chamber music week for a Beethoven recital with violinist Alina Ibragimova. Then to New York, briefly, for my debut at the 92nd Street Y playing Mendelssohn with cellist Steven Isserlis and violinist Stefan Jackiw, and next day back to Europe, for three  performances of Rach 2 in Spain and two Mozart KV491 in London. Now, if only I could shake this Korean cold off.....

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