Benjamin Grosvenor presents Dances, a glittering album shining the spotlight on music from Bach to Boogie Woogie via Chopin, Scriabin, Granados and the Blue Danube. Grosvenor states: “This album’s inspiration comes from a letter in 1909 from Busoni, proposing a ‘dance programme’ comprising original compositions and transcriptions. With Bach’s 4th Partita as its starting point, this recording presents a chronologically and geographically wide-ranging recital of works by composers (and transcribers) to whose output the keyboard was central, featuring both familiar and more obscure gems from the piano repertoire.”
Ever since this “Golden Age” pianist delighted the audience at his London Southbank recital debut with a dazzling programme of pieces inspired by dance, the music of movement has been a key influence. Grosvenor’s new album – his second solo recital for Decca – explores Dances chosen from a selection of his best-loved composers.
Grosvenor explains: “After beginning with Bach we move to Chopin, with two contrasted Polonaises, and one Polish dance takes us to another, with a selection of Scriabin’s early mazurkas. Written in his teens, the influence of Chopin is palpable, but already features of the Russian’s unique voice are there.
With Scriabin’s Valse Op.38 – a sensuous piece from his middle period, an ecstatic waltz-in-the-skies – a new form is introduced, with which we stay: Granados’ Valses Poeticos follow – a charming and varied set – and Schulz-Evler’s imaginative and technically-taxing embellishments on the Blue Danube Waltz. Two short pieces then bring the album to a close – Godowsky’s heady arrangement of Albeniz’s Tango in D, and Morton Gould’s Boogie Woogie Etude.
In his preface to his Partitas, Bach addressed the music ‘for music-lovers, to refresh their spirits’. I hope that in this selection of music there will be something for everyone, and that their spirits will be at least a little nourished…”
When the award-winning pianist played this dance programme in London, the Daily Telegraph wrote that “The Bach Partita was marvellously light, Grosvenor’s super-dry bass notes acting like the tiny push that keeps the balloon aloft… Fire and air are Grosvenor’s elements, and under his hands music seems to be made entirely from them.” The Independent declared: “Benjamin Grosvenor may be only 20, but it’s a long time since we had a Southbank debut as keenly awaited as this. Ever since he hit the limelight last year as the youngest-ever soloist to play in the opening Prom he’s been trumpeted as British pianism’s brightest hope; this autumn he’s been deluged with awards… What next? With virtuosity of this calibre, allied to a probing musical intelligence, the sky’s the limit.”
Coinciding with the Dances release, Grosvenor has two BBC Proms appearances this summer, performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Cesar Franck’s Symphonic Variations with the BBC Philharmonic at the Royal Albert Hall on 8 August and his debut Proms recital on the 1 September at Cadogan Hall, which will include the premiere of Judith Weir’s composition ‘Day Break Shadows Flee’.
The 2014-2015 season will be taking Grosvenor on multiple extensive recital tours of North America, Europe, the UK, Australia and the Far East, including appearances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Barbican Centre and the Vienna Konzerthaus. Scheduled among his numerous concerto engagements during this period are performances with The Cleveland and Hallé orchestras, San Francisco, Houston, Melbourne, and Singapore symphony orchestras, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, London Philharmonic and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal.
This is Benjamin Grosvenor’s second recital album (and his third CD for the label) since he signed to Decca Classics in 2011, becoming the youngest British musician ever to sign to the company, and the first British pianist in almost 60 years. His first album, a recital of Chopin, Liszt and Ravel, won widespread critical plaudits. In a unique double honour in September 2012, not only did the album win the coveted Gramophone Award for “Best Instrumental Recording” of 2012 but the pianist himself was also named “Young Artist of the Year”, thus becoming Gramophone’s youngest-ever double award-winner. And just a few days later, Grosvenor went on to win the prestigious “Critics’ Choice” Award at the annual Classic Brits ceremony and the French Diapason d’Or Award as “Best Revelation of the Year”. BBC Music Magazine exclaimed that he “… is one of our most extraordinary musicians”. The Times states: “He jumps inside the music’s soul…”
CD 00289 478 5534
International release August 2014