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“Stimme aus der Ferne” – A Voice From the Distance
I have recorded my debut album of solo piano music by Schubert, Czerny, Clara Schumann, and Robert Schumann on the beautiful Graf fortepiano owned by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The instrument is a fortepiano replica copied from a typical Viennese instrument of the 1830s, an instrument that these composers would have known well.
The repertoire on the CD was carefully chosen to highlight the unique expressive capabilities of the fortepiano. It features an extra pedal, known as the moderator, to create an extra quiet sound, adding another layer of intimacy in the lyrical moments of the Schubert second movement and the Schumann Papillons and Novellette. The transparent, sparkling upper register of the fortepiano perfectly suits the lightness and brilliance of the fast variations in the Czerny. This CD also marks the debut recording of Schumann's Novellette in F-sharp minor, Op. 21 No. 8, on fortepiano.
The title of the album, “Stimme aus der Ferne - A Voice From the Distance” refers to an indication written in the score of the Novellette, by Robert Schumann. Amid a tumultuous and highly varied movement, the music suddenly becomes tender and intimate. The lyrical melody from the Notturno by Clara Schumann becomes the “voice from the distance” that Robert quotes, as though the beloved theme drifts into his mind as he is composing: a poetic illustration of the presence of Clara, in thought and in music. This concept of creative synergy is also very much reflected in the repertoire of this disc. In addition to Clara’s theme, the phrase "a voice from the distance" alludes to the sound of the fortepiano evoking a faraway musical past.
Highlights of Recent Performances – Andrea Botticelli, fortepiano
M. Clementi - Sonata in B-flat major, Op. 24 No. 2
I. Allegro con brio (0:19)
II. Andante quasi Allegretto (7:00)
III. Rondo: Allegro assai (11:25)
Performed on a fortepiano replica by Anton Walter (c.1790) built by Thomas and Barbara Wolf at the University of Toronto.
J.N. Hummel - Fantasie in E-flat major, Op. 18
III. Larghetto e cantabile
Performed on a 6 1/2 octave Viennese fortepiano built by Rodney Regier at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
O. Messiaen - Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus
XV. Le baiser de l'Enfant-Jésus
Performed on the Edith McConica Steinway at the University of Toronto.