JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Piano Works, Vol. 2 - Fantasie-Sonate, Op. 168, Variationen über ein Originalthema, Op. 179, 4 Klavierstücke, Op. 196.
Catalogue Number: 07O048
Label: Grand Piano
Description: The Fantasie-Sonata of 1871, a single-movement, multi-sectioned work dedicated to Saint-Saëns with thematically related outer sections surrounding a slow center was offered ten years ago on a one-issue-wonder label; the remaining tracks on this disc are world premiere recordings except for the first of the Klavierstücke. Dating from 1873 the Variations are Raff’s longest single movement (almost 27 minutes in this performance) whose theme and all 20 variations are written in very unusual quintuple and septuple meters. In addition to this, Raff employs all manner of complex academic contrivances whose lack of seeming either academic or contrived again shows the composer as a master of melody, textures and effects. The Klavierstücke are from 1875 and, though supposedly written for sale to amateurs, they have all of Raff’s lavish craftsmanship and would be beyond all but the most talented amateur pianists. Tra Nguyen (piano).