BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No.2; LISZT; FRANCK
Johannes Brahms, Cesar Franck, Franz Liszt
JOSHUA PIERCE, piano
Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra
"Joshua Pierce possesses an estimable technique...as demonstrated by his forceful and polished performance...with long reaches and knuckle-busting bravura holding no terrors and well-dispatched by Pierce with power to burn...Pierce's fizzing performances make a compelling case [for the Franck and Liszt works]"
The Gramophone - July 2006
"Joshua Pierce is truly stunning here. His Brahms is magnificent. The first movement is filled with swagger and grandeur - and spot-on technically. The engineers capture the piano beautifully with clear treble and rich bass... "
American Record Guide - July / August 2006
"...[Joshua Pierce is] marvellous. He breathed as one with British conductor Kirk Trevor...Pierce's playing was beautifully balanced between grandeur and impulsiveness."
Music & Vision - July 2006
"I kid you not when I tell you that Pierce's Brahms Second puts my long-standing favorite, Fleisher/Szell, at grave risk...Pierce is one fantastic pianist...Pierce's reading [of the Brahms] is about as near to perfect as you are likely to hear...Pierce is a powerhouse who negotiates Brahms' hurdles effortlessly...what makes this performance a standout is the rapt and seemingly intuitive engagement between Pierce, Trevor and the Bohuslav Martinu orchestral forces, the magic of oneness I've encountered only rarely in readings of this score...Pierce's Les Djinns is very fine...For all lovers of concerted great music for piano and orchestra, and for phenomenally fine playing and recording all around, this is highly recommended"
Fanfare - July / August 2006
"...powerful playing...Pierce offers an imaginative, poetic, yet rhythmically-driven reading of the Brahms, fleet playing in the Franck and keen playing of the Liszt. Kirk Trevor leads the [orchestra] in strong accompaniments."
Turok's Choice - Issue 177, May 2006
"... The Brahms Concerto is a pungent, vigorous delight, muscular and often free-wheeling in temperament. Piano sound is quite ripe, and the orchestra, of which Trevor Kirk became the chief conductor in 1994, projects a pert, often lush texture...[In the] lithe and serpentine Les Djinns of Cesar Franck ...pianist Pierce plays its runs, cascading arpeggios, glissandi and keyboard recitative with deliberate pace and tension, a veritable color touch-piece."
Audiophile Audition - April 2006
PROGRAM NOTESAs the classical concerto evolved into a showpiece for traveling virtuosi in the nineteenth century, it gradually lost its pre-eminence in the world of serious instrumental music. Only in the late romantic period did it regain its stature but it did so by evolving, sometimes drastically. All three of the composers recorded here by Joshua Pierce were also keyboard performers but all of them built a public on their own terms: Liszt as a piano wizard and matinee idol in the mode first established by the violinist Paganini; Franck as an improvising organist on the great Parisian romantic instruments of his day; and Brahms as a neo-classical virtuoso, the public master not of showmanship, but of large-scale symphonic form combined with depth of expression.
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Grammy nominated pianist, Joshua Pierce, one of the most versatile virtuosi of our time, was born in New York City and studied at The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music and Columbia University; his principal teachers and mentors were Dorothy Taubman, Artur Balsam, Victor Babin, Arthur Loesser and Robert Goldsand. His extensive career includes performances in recital, as a soloist with chamber ensembles, including Russia's famed Leontovich String Quartet and Chamber Players International, Inc. He has been heard throughout the world in many of the most prestigious music centers and has performed as a soloist with an impressive array of major orchestras in the New World and the Old including the Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia of London, Luxembourg Radio Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, Philharmonia Virtuosi of New York, Utah Symphony, Missouri Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Mexico City Philharmonic, Orchestra Philharmonic of Jalisco, Berlin Radio Symphony, RAI Orchestra of Rome, Czech Radio Orchestra, Czech National Symphony, Slovak Philharmonic, Slovak State Chamber Orchestra Zelina, Moscow State Philharmonic, Russian State Symphony and the State Symphony of Russia at Tchaikovsky Hall, Moscow, where he made a highly successful debut in 1993 performing Liszt's Piano Concerto No.1 in E-flat major. His huge range and varied repertoire are unique among contemporary pianists ranging from the prepared piano works of John Cage to the masterpieces of the standard repertoire to rediscovered concerted masterpieces of the high romantic era.
Mr. Pierce's many recordings on the Albany, Carlton Classics, Centaur, Fanfare, Helicon, Koch International, Mastersound, MNC, Phoenix, Premiere, Pro Arte, Sony Classics, Virgin Classics, Vox, Varese Sarabande, and Wergo labels, include familiar and lesser-known concerted works by Brahms, Casella, Chopin, Czerny, Gershwin, Hummel, Khachaturian, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, Reinecke, Rachmaninov, Respighi, Shostakovich, Richard Strauss, Tchaikovsky and Weber. Other composers performed and recorded by Mr. Pierce include Ives, Cowell, Harry Partch, Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Stravinsky, Toru Takemitsu and La Monte Young. It was the success of his recording of the Brahms B-flat Concerto with the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic under Kirk Trevor that led directly to live performances of the Franck and Liszt with the same forces and to the inclusion of all three works on this disc. Joshua Pierce's long identification with the music of Liszt includes recordings of the first three concertos, soon to be available on MSR.
Joshua Pierce has also performed extensively for public radio and television in the United States and for PRI in many parts of Europe. A long list of contemporary and traditional music performances includes the Cage Musicircus Memorial Concert at Symphony Space in New York, Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, AFMM Microfest Concerts, Barbican Centre/London, 4th ISCM Europe-Asia 2000 Music Festival, Festival "Music of Friends"/Russian Composers Union Music Series/Moscow, Alternativa Music Festival 2000/Moscow, Bergen International Music Festival/Norway, ISCM Festivals in Seattle and Zurich, Switzerland, the Futurismo & Futurismi Festival in Venice, Italy, festivals at Amherst and Trenton, Music Mountain Chamber Music Festival, international Piano Festival at Williams College/Williamstown, Massachusetts as well as appearances at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Purchase, Washington and Lee University, University of Maryland at College Park and Bucknell University among others.
Mr. Pierce is a board member of the American Festival of Microtonal Music, and is the official pianist of the AFMM Ensemble. He has also served as a judge for several international music competitions and on the board of the International Fulbright Commission. On February 10, 2005, he premiered the 95-minute "Revelation" by Michael Harrison at Merkin Hall in New York and followed by the West-Coast Premiere in Los Angeles.
In addition to his solo career, Mr. Pierce and the pianist Dorothy Jonas make up the Pierce/Jonas Duo - one of the most imaginative and compelling duo-piano teams in the world today. The Duo has performed throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe and South America, appearing with major orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Radio-Television Orchestras of Poland and Luxembourg, Chicago Sinfonietta, Slovak Philharmonic, State Philharmonic of Kocise, Orchestra da Camera di Roma and the symphony orchestras of Houston, San Antonio, Utah, Mexico City and elsewhere. The Duo’s disc of Mendelssohn’s Two-Piano Concertos is believed to be the first complete and unabridged recordings of these works. The Duo has received over 15 Grammy Award nominations to date and they have introduced and recorded many important twentieth-century works by such composers as Benjamin, Berezowsky, Britten, Creston, Gould, Harris, Malipiero, Martinu, Piston, Rozsa, Tansman and others. Their recordings have ranged from John Cage's "Three Dances for Two Prepared Pianos"and Charles Ives' "Three Quarter-Tone Pieces for Two Pianos" to the complete two-piano works of Mozart; to Broadway music of Bernstein, Rodgers, Hamlisch, Hermann and Lloyd Webber.
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
CESAR FRANCK (1822-1890)
FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886)
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J.S.Bach: Keyboard Concerto BWV 1052; JOSHUA PIERCE
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SCHUBERT RECORDINGS - VOLUME I
SCHUBERT RECORDINGS - VOLUME II
SCHUBERT RECORDINGS - VOLUME III