Schumann / Chopin / Donohoe - Waltzes | RECORD STORE DAY

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SOMM Recordings is delighted to announce a stunning new solo piano recital from label veteran Peter Donohoe following his recent acclaimed coupling of Chopin's Second and Third Sonatas with Rachmaninoff's Chopin Variations, over which BBC Music Magazine's Rebecca Franks enthused "Donohoe's approach has a robust honesty and an appealing straightforward feel, with an instinct for the emotional rises and falls." Now the pianist revisits Chopin in the genre for which the composer is arguably best known and loved: the waltz. Donohoe has fashioned a substantial selection of 14 of Chopin's Waltzes into a set of his own design, juxtaposing the intimate numbers with the grand and virtuosic in fortuitous key relationships that the pianist says "form a more satisfying collection" compared with simply playing them through as numbered. It is hard to imagine any other composer that could have infused a dance-form with Chopin's lyrical pianism and singular dramatic storytelling. But the waltz naturally appealed to a great many other composers, among them Robert Schumann, Chopin's exact contemporary and fervent, if unrequited admirer. His Opus 1 "Abegg" Variations, in triple-time throughout and brimming with elegant fioritura, form one of a pair of waltz bookends to the Chopin set and begin this recital with an exhilarating take-off. On the other side of the Chopin set and leading the waltz suavely into the 20th-century is Maurice Ravel's cycle of eight Valses nobles et sentimentales, again organised to contrast vigorous (noble) numbers with evocative (sentimental) counterparts in an eclectic blend of Impressionism and Modernism, but this time according to the composer's own design. A lovely postlude comes in the form of La plus que lente, in which Ravel's fellow impressionist Claude Debussy crafts a harmonically sumptuous ode to the "slow waltz" (valse lente) steeped in languid nostalgia. Peter Donohoe's acclaimed discography of previous SOMM releases includes the complete cycle of Prokofiev Piano Sonatas and a complete survey of Mozart's Piano Sonatas - Volume 1 of the Mozart series was named a BBC Music Magazine "Recording of the Month", citing "a gloves-off spontaneity that imbues these magical scores with a compelling vitality and freshness". Other discs include Stravinsky's Music for Solo Piano and Piano and Orchestra and Scriabin's Complete Piano Sonatas.