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Hiroaki Takenouchi releases new solo piano disc

Hiroaki Takenouchi looks forward to the release of his new disc featuring solo piano music by Grieg, Medtner and Dupré, coming out this Friday 18th March on French label Artalinna.

The disc presents three multi-movement works by pianist-composers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, linked both by personal connections and by their theme-and-variations structure.

Edvard Grieg’s Ballade in the form of variations on a Norweigan Folk Song, Op. 24 is a work in 14 movements based on a melody with an intricate history described by Hiroaki in his liner notes, and written shortly after the deaths of both the composer’s parents.

Nikolai Medtner’s Improvisation No. 2 in F-sharp minor, Op. 47 is also a set of variations, this time in 17 movements, written in 1925 during a two-year break from performing, and premiered on Medtner’s return to the stage in Moscow in 1927. The piece is based on one of the composer’s own improvisations, a common practice among performer-composers of the time, particularly on keyboard instruments.

In his liner notes, Hiroaki proposes that the scarcity of historical information about Dupré’s Variations in C-sharp minor, Op. 22 could suggest that this piece has similarly improvisational origins. Dupré’s 21-movement Variations were written in 1924, just a year before those of Medtner, and were his last published work for solo piano.

Hiroaki also writes about the close friendship between Medtner and Dupré, a strong influence on his programming choice and performance, that saw Medtner dedicate his Improvisation No. 2 to Dupré (who later returned the favour, dedicating one of his large-scale organ works to Medtner). Medtner also taught Dupré’s daughter and gave a performance of his Improvisation No. 2 in a recital organised and hosted by Dupré at his house in Paris a few months after its premiere.

This will be Hiroaki’s third disc for specialist piano label Artalinna, after releases of Haydn Keyboard Sonatas (2014) and music by Sterndale Bennett and Schumann (2017).

The CD comes out this Friday 18th March as a digital-only release, available to stream via all of the normal channels, or to download in high res from services such as Qobuz. The music can be pre-ordered here.

Nikolai Medtner Improvisation No. 2 in F-sharp minor, Op. 47 (1925)
Marcel Dupré Variations in C-sharp minor, Op. 22 (1924)
Edvard Grieg Ballade in the form of variations on a Norweigan Folk Song, Op. 24 (1875-76)

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