"Stimme aus der Ferne" - A Voice From the Distance Debut CD recorded by Andrea Botticelli
I have recorded my debut CD 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. I have received full support from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies. With this project, I hope to bring attention to fortepiano performance in Canada and, as this is a genre that is more prevalent in Europe, I also hope to reach a global audience.
Recently acquired by the Banff Centre, this instrument is almost the only model like this in Canada and it differs in many intriguing ways from a modern piano. Working on the fortepiano during my extended residency and recording project was a singular opportunity to play and explore nineteenth century repertoire from a unique sound perspective. I believe this approach creates performances with a "new" sound for modern audiences and inspires renewed creative and interpretive energy. 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.
This is the complete repertoire on the CD:
Franz Schubert - Sonata in A major, D. 664 I. Allegro moderato II. Andante III. Allegro
Carl Czerny - Variations on a theme by Rode “La Ricordanza”, Op. 33
Research in nineteenth century performance practice, demonstrated in many old recordings, reveals a much freer, quasi-improvisatory approach to interpreting the musical score. Performers created unique interpretations by varying repeats and adding embellishments, and also employing expressive devices such as rolled chords, dislocation between the right and left hands, and the use of “tempo rubato” in its original form, whereby the melody plays in a free and independent manner over a steady accompaniment. In short, performances using this historical approach are often less predictable and the results can be more inventive. I believe I have put together a creative reading of this repertoire using an instrument that is seldom heard.
My preferred title of the CD, “Stimme aus der Ferne – A Voice from the Distance” is taken from a fascinating marking that Schumann writes in the score of his Novellette. The marking refers to the first entrance of a quotation of the lyrical theme from Clara Schumann’s Nocturne, programmed right before the Novellette on the CD. In the midst of a tumultuous and highly varied movement, the music suddenly becomes tender and intimate, as though the beloved theme drifts into his mind as he is composing. This homage to Clara demonstrates her pervasive presence in Robert Schumann’s music as an influence and inspiration for him. I believe these last two pieces by Clara and Robert Schumann are linked for the first time on this recording and I wanted to highlight this poetic connection between the two musicians. In addition to Clara's influence, the phrase "a voice from a distance" also refers to the sound of the fortepiano evoking a faraway musical past.