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Spira, Spera
Johann Sebastian Bach

Emmanuel Despax

Spira, Spera

Price: € 19.95 13.97
Format: CD
Label: Signum Classics
UPC: 0635212066522
Catnr: SIGCD 665
Release date: 26 March 2021
old €19.95 new € 13.97
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19.95 13.97
old €19.95 new € 13.97
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Label
Signum Classics
UPC
0635212066522
Catalogue number
SIGCD 665
Release date
26 March 2021
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
EN

About the album

Emmanuel Despax returns to Signum with a disc of JS Bach transcriptions. The title quotes Victor Hugo’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’ (“Breathe, Hope”), brought to Despax’s mind following the news of the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral, where he had attended many concerts of Bach’s music as a child. Despax describes Bach’s music as being “of such clarity, coherence and expressive power, that it is able to transcend its original medium, and to some extent, style.”

This virtuosic programme combines both well-known transcriptions, such as the mighty Bach-Busoni ‘Chaconne’ and Saint-Saën’s ‘Overture’, with the first recordings of several arrangements by the late 19th/early 20th century pianist Theodor Szántó’s – featuring his monumental and uncompromising transcriptions of the Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, and the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor.

Emmanuel Despax has gained worldwide recognition as a singular artist, whose interpretations bring a rare sincerity and imagination to the music. A remarkable performer of romantic and post-romantic music, he has been invited to give recital performances in the UK (Wigmore Hall’s London Pianoforte Series, Cadogan Hall, Chipping Campden and Petworth Festivals, and the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, where he was appointed artistic director in 2020 of a complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle). Summer 2021 will see the release of a Brahms album including the Sixteen Waltzes Op. 39 and Piano Concerto No.1 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton.

Artist(s)

Emmanuel Despax (piano)

Emmanuel Despax has gained worldwide recognition as a singular artist, whose interpretations bring a rare sincerity and imagination to the music. A remarkable performer of romantic and post- romantic music, he has been invited to give recital performances in the UK (Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Chipping Campden and Petworth Festivals, and the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, where he was appointed artistic director in 2020 of a complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle); in France (Louvre Auditorium, Salle Cortot, Salle Gaveau, International Festival Les Nuits Pianistiques in Aix-en-Provence, L’été Musical au Poujoula, and Les Nuits du Château de la Moutte in Saint-Tropez); Benelux (Amsterdam, The Hague and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels); Cyprus (Pharos Arts Foundation); Italy (Fazioli auditorium); and in South America. Past engagements include two tours of New Zealand, hailed by critics for his recitals in the prestigious Fazioli...
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Emmanuel Despax has gained worldwide recognition as a singular artist, whose interpretations bring a rare sincerity and imagination to the music.
A remarkable performer of romantic and post- romantic music, he has been invited to give recital performances in the UK (Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Chipping Campden and Petworth Festivals, and the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, where he was appointed artistic director in 2020 of a complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle); in France (Louvre Auditorium, Salle Cortot, Salle Gaveau, International Festival Les Nuits Pianistiques in Aix-en-Provence, L’été Musical au Poujoula, and Les Nuits du Château de la Moutte in Saint-Tropez); Benelux (Amsterdam, The Hague and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels); Cyprus (Pharos Arts Foundation); Italy (Fazioli auditorium); and in South America.
Past engagements include two tours of New Zealand, hailed by critics for his recitals in the prestigious Fazioli International Piano Series in Auckland and concerto performances with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. In the UK, Emmanuel Despax has also played with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestras, among others. He is also regularly broadcast on Medici TV, France Musique, BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. His work as a talented broadcaster has included presenting a probing and approachable edition of BBC Radio 3’s Inside Music, and he is already amassing an impressive, critically acclaimed discography.
In addition to his recording of Brahms Piano Concerto No.1 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton, prior releases include ‘Spira, Spera’ (Bach transcriptions) which was awarded Critics’ Choice in International Piano (“Despax is awe-inspiring in his combination of virtuosity and intellectual grasp”). His concerto debut featured Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2 and Stephen Goss Piano Concerto, and his collection of Chopin preludes was Classic FM’s “Album of the Week” and awarded five stars in Diapason. Despax also released a piano fantasy based on the themes of The Sound of Music in celebration of the musical’s 60th anniversary.
His 2021 album of Chopin’s piano concerti with the Chineke! Chamber Ensemble, was chosen as “Album of the Week” by Classic FM and The Times: “[The result] is entrancing, with piano and string quintet intimately interweaving...Despax’s opening statement arrives like a blast of dynamite. Though he sinks happily into meltingly lovely reverie when Chopin’s intentions allow, he’s driven mostly by dark energy and muscular strength. In doing so, Despax reveals to us the music of a 20-year-old already stretching beyond decorative brilliance towards the powerful expression of contradictory, sometimes troubling emotions.” His latest album release, Après un rêve, on Signum Records, has also gained recognition in The Times and Classic FM as “Album of the Week” and received a 5-star review in BBC Music Magazine: “Despax is a formidable pianist, thoughtful and imaginative. Like an expert painter at the canvas, he carefully layers and tones sound, expertly measuring touch and pedal. This is beautiful playing, on an elegant yet substantial album.” Born in Paris and now based in London, Emmanuel Despax started playing the piano in Aix-en-Provence before joining the Yehudi Menuhin School, then the Royal College of Music in London, studying with Ruth Nye, one of Claudio Arrau’s star students. He won numerous awards during his studies (Chappell Medal, Tagore Gold Medal), and benefited from the advice of Nikolai Demidenko, Leon Fleisher, Yehudi Menuhin, Dominique Merlet, Mstislav Rostropovich, Murray Perahia and András Schiff.
For this upcoming season, Emmanuel looks forward to collaborating with the Piatti Quartet at Kings Place followed by multiple solo and chamber performances at London’s brand new Bechstein Hall.

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Composer(s)

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.  Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.  
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Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.

Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.


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