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19 October 2018
"This duo -already performing together for decades- is so relaxed on stage." "They provoke each other in Loewe’s hyper virtuose 'Der Nöck." "Christoph Pregardiens voice sounds so natural, that you get the impression that there was never any teacher necessary. ", 15-2-2019
Welk repertoire kiezen we?Wat restte was de vraag: "Met welk repertoire gaan we aan de slag?" Waarop Cyprien Katsaris een Eureka-moment kreeg en zich afvroeg, hoe het zou zijn om de twee categorieën, de aanhangers van het lied en de liefhebbers van de piano, samen te voegen. Het moest een mix worden van het Duitse Lied vermengd met een pianotranscriptie. Christoph Prégardien stemde er direct mee in, en zo kwam dit prachtige album tot stand met liederen van maar liefst 14 componisten, zoals Schubert, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Robert en Clara Schumann, Wagner, Gieseking, Brahms en nog vele anderen. Met recht een album voor beide categorieën, mensen die van het Lied houden en mensen die pianoklanken op prijs stellen.
Gestart als koorknaapDe Duitse Christoph Prégardien (1956) begon zijn zangcarrière als koorknaap in de dom van Limburg an der Lahn, zijn geboortestad. Prégardien behoort tot de beste lyrische tenoren van deze tijd. Hij heeft een heldere en precieze stemvoering. Zijn intelligente interpretatie en dictie, gecombineerd met zijn kracht om door te dringen tot de kern van zijn rol, maken van hem een alom gewaardeerd zanger. Inmiddels treedt hij ook op als bariton. De tenor treedt wereldwijd op met vooraanstaande orkesten en is een graag geziene gast in ons land. Inmiddels wordt hij ook regelmatig als bariton gevraagd.
Cyprien Katsaris, the French-Cypriot pianist and composer, was born in Marseilles in 1951. He first began to play the piano in Cameroon where he spent his childhood, at the age of four, with Marie-Gabrielle Louwerse.
A graduate of the Paris Conservatoire where he studied piano with Aline van Barentzen, Monique de la Bruchollerie, and chamber music with René Leroy and Jean Hubeau, he won the International Young Interpreters Rostrum-UNESCO (Bratislava 1977), the First Prize in the International Cziffra Competition (Versailles 1974) and he was the only western-European prize-winner at the 1972 Queen Elisabeth of Belgium International Competition.
His major international career includes performances with the world’s greatest orchestras: Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Philharmonia (London), NHK Symphony Orchestra (Tokyo), Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Beijing Symphony Orchestra ... He has collaborated with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Myung Whun Chung, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Simon Rattle, Antal Doráti, Mstislav Rostropovich, Charles Dutoit, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Christoph von Dohnányi … and Karl Münchinger, who on the festive occasion of his farewell concert in 1986, with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, personally invited Mr. Katsaris to perform the Haydn D major Concerto.
Mr. Katsaris has recorded extensively for Teldec (Grand Prix du Disque Frédéric Chopin, Warsaw 1985; Grand Prix du Disque Franz Liszt, Budapest 1984 and 1989; British Music Retailers Association’s Award 1986; Record of the Year 1984, Germany, for the 9th Symphony of Beethoven/Liszt), Sony Classical, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, BMG/RCA, Decca, Pavane, and now on his own label, PIANO 21.
In addition to the standard repertory, such as the complete Concertos by Mozart, recorded live and performed in Salzburg and Vienna with Yoon K. Lee and the Salzburger Kammerphilharmonie, he has revived long lost works such as the Liszt/Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in the Hungarian style which he has recorded with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
In 1992, the Japanese NHK TV produced with Cyprien Katsaris a thirteen-program series on Frédéric Chopin which included masterclasses and his own performance. On 17 October 1999, the New York concertgoers offered Mr. Katsaris a standing ovation in Carnegie Hall for his recital dedicated to Frédéric Chopin, performed on the day of his 150th death Anniversary. On 27 January 2006, the day of the 250th Anniversary of Mozart’s birth, he was the soloist at the inaugural concert of the Mozart Orchestra Mannheim founded and conducted by Thomas Fey. In March 2006 Cyprien Katsaris was the first pianist ever to give masterclasses in Franz Liszt’s house in Weimar since Liszt, who taught there for the very last time in 1886, the year of his death. In August 2008, he was invited to give two concerts on the occasion of the Beijing Olympic Games at the National Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to the world premier of a concerto for ten pianos and orchestra – China Jubilee – by the composer Cui Shiguang, he improvised on an ancient Greek melody, and on, inter alia, Chinese melodies, in tribute to the universality of the Olympic Games. On 10 July 2014 Cyprien Katsaris performed in the first concert at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.
He has been a member of the jury of the following International Competitions: Chopin (Warsaw 1990), Liszt (Utrecht 1996), Vendôme Prize (Paris 2000), Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud – Ville de Paris (2001), Beethoven (Bonn 2005), Giorgos Thymis (Thessaloniki 2011) and Scriabin (Moscow 2012). In addition he was appointed Artistic Director of the Echternach International Festival (Luxembourg) from 1977 to 2007.
Cyprien Katsaris is “Artist of UNESCO for Peace” (1997), “Commandeur de l’Ordre de Mérite du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg” (2009) and “Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters” (France 2000). He also received the “Médaille Vermeil de la Ville de Paris” (2001) and the “Nemitsas Prize” (Cyprus, 2011). He is a member of ADAP, the Association of Artists for Peace, and Honorary President of “Lisztomanias International”.
If you would open any biography of Franz Liszt, you would probably mostly read about his disquiet life as a piano virtuoso, his passionate love life, and the return to his catholic roots at the end of his life. Although all of this might be true, it only scratches the surface of his comprehensive musical personality. Liszt was a pianist, conductor, teacher and organiser, but above all he was a composer of a voluminous, capricious body of work. Even though his piano works formed his core business, he gave rise to the symphonic poem, got rid of the organ's stuffy appearance, and reinvigorated the oratorio. Moreover, with his piano transciptions of Bach's organ works and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, he was an advocate of both old and new music.
Together with his son-in-law Richard Wagner, he was in the forefront of the Romantic movement and anticipated the musical revolutions of the early 20th century with his new composition techniques.
Richard Wagner was an important innovator of music in his time. He is best known for his operas, which he himself preferred to refer to as musical dramas. He wrote the texts (the libretti) himself and sought to make a Gesamtkunstwerk, the ideal union of text, music and theatre. Over time, this lead to grandiose musical dramas which were performed in a specially built theater for these works in the small town of Bayreuth.
Wagner's greatest critic, the philosopher Nietzsche, named his former friend the "greatest miniaturist of music who in the smallest of space squeezed an endless amount of sense and sweetness". Nietzsche regarded this as a sympton of decadence, yet it does portray the large variety of treasures which can be found in Wagner's music: the mysterious fantasy stories of the love potion of Tristan & Isolde, Wotan's spear, the sea of flames of Brünhilde, the sword of Siegfried... Still the real main character is the orchestra, which shines its light on all the true intentions and feelings of these heroes with great depth.
Both as a composer and as an individual, Wagner remains a subject of controversy and emotional discussions. By many he is hailed as a hero, and by equally many others completely dismissed. But his influence as a composer and musical innovator is undeniable!
Together with Gustav Mahler, Hugo Wolf can be considered as one of the greatest composers of Late Romantic lieder. Both of them followed the tradition of Schubert and Schumann, but intensified the gerne with Wagner's techniques of text declamation and harmonic development. What makes Wolf's song cycles special, is the fact that often they are devoted to a single poet, like in his Mörike-Lieder (1889), Eichendorff-Lieder (1889) en Goethe-Lieder (1890). For each cycle, he spent a considerable time studying the text to create the best matching music. His accomodation of musical structure, harmonic subteties and pianistic texture are all inseperable from the lyrics. Partly due to his psychological sophistication his songs can be heard as miniature operas.
Even though he did start writing on several full-fledged operas, it never became a true succes. Only his opera Der Corregidor (1896) was completed. Things went downhill from there. In 1897, Wolf had a nervous breakdown as a consequence of a syphilis infection he had since his teens. After a failed suicide attempt, he was admitted to a clinic in Vienna. The somber Michelangelo-Lieder (1898) would become his last completed composition. Wolf died in 1903, three weeks before his 43st birthday.
This duo -already performing together for decades- is so relaxed on stage."
"They provoke each other in Loewe’s hyper virtuose 'Der Nöck."
"Christoph Pregardiens voice sounds so natural, that you get the impression that there was never any teacher necessary.
A great singer together with a magical pianist, that produces an original CD to enjoy in twofold: song and piano transcription.
Klassiek Centraal, 23-12-2018
Many well-known titles, but also almost forgotten gems, all carefully and thoughtfully recited by the ever-impeccably singing Prégardien.
Both can work fine with these works that can give a nice effect in concert form.