Title - 'Brahms: Late Piano Music, Opp. 76, 79, 116-119'
Artist - Charles Owen
For those not in the know, the Charles Owen has enjoyed an extensive international career performing a wide ranging repertoire to outstanding critical acclaim.
He has appeared at London’s Barbican and Queen Elizabeth Hall and regularly gives recitals at the Wigmore Hall and Kings Place.
Internationally, he has performed at the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York, the Brahms Saal in Vienna’s Musikverein, the Paris Musée d’Orsay, and the Moscow Conservatoire.
His chamber music partners include Julian Rachlin, Chloe Hanslip, Augustin Hadelich and Nicholas Daniel as well as the Vertavo, Takacs and Elias Quartets.
He also enjoys a highly successful piano duo partnership with Katya Apekisheva. Together they are Artistic Directors of the London Piano Festival, an annual celebration of the piano held at Kings Place.
On his latest release for AVIE Records, Brahms: Late Piano Music, Opp. 76, 79, 116-119, Charles Owen traverses the late piano works by Johannes Brahms, in which he finds myriad moods and the composer both nostalgic and forward looking.
1-8 8 Klavierstücke Op 76
9-10 2 Rhapsodies Op 79
11-17 7 Fantasias Op 116
1-3 3 Intermezzi Op 117
4-9 6 Klavierstücke Op 118
10-13 4 Klavierstücke Op 119
Within this collection of exemplary, and enthusiastically performed Capriccios, Rhapsodies and Intermezzi, Charles reveals myriad moods with the composer harking back as well as facing forward.
Beginning in some truly fine form with evocations of Schubert, Schumann and Liszt in the 8 Klavierstücke, Op. 76, he moves seamlessly onward with the winter-like darkness in the 2 Op. 79 Rhapsodies.
Hungarian foot-stomping dance forms come to the magnificent fore in the 7 Fantasies that comprise Op. 116, whereas nostalgic contemplation are the order of the day in the Op. 117 Intermezzi.
Changing the course of things, we then welcome romantic inflections within the 6 Op. 118 Klavierstücke which were dedicated to Clara Schumann, before rounding out the second CD with the tonally forward 4 Klavierstücke, Op. 119.
As for my own personal tastes, the stand out here is the 8 Klavierstücke Op.76, from the 1870s. At ease in looking backward to Schumann, and even farther back, to Schubert, Owen strongly embodies the spirit of the era perfectly.
In closing, here on Brahms: Late Piano Music, Opp. 76, 79, 116-119, pianist Charles Owen brings forth - and especially so in some of the more heartbreaking, rooted sadness of moments - some of his most dedicated, and forthright material to date.
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