BEETHOVEN: PIANO SONATA NO.18; GRANADOS; SCHUMANN
Ludwig van Beethoven, Enrique Granados, Robert Schumann
AMBER YIU-HSUAN LIAO, piano
Solo Debut Recording
“Amber Liao presents to us a well thought-out recital-type program. She places side by side three diverse pieces from different styles and eras. This works remarkably well in one listening, like a good three-course meal, and leaves a feeling of balance and completeness… [In the Beethoven] Liao’s playing is energetic and brisk. In the Scherzo…her dry and crispy performance is suitable for this music… Her Minuet is elegant and thoughtful. The finale is energetic and massive… Overall, her tempo decisions are excellent… The [Goyescas] performance…has the sumptuousness of a grande valse. This is a big-boned reading, with high waves. [In Quejas ó la Maja y el Ruiseñor] the rubato is very natural, and emotionally it is a very good reading. In both Granados excerpts, Liao expresses the delight of the beautiful, smooth motion, the delight which will be recognized by those who ever danced the waltz… [In Schumann’s Humoresque] the ecstatic, turbulent pages are done well…”
Oleg Ledeniov, MusicWeb International [March 2012]
"Liao offers much here, and this is a very impressive and well-thought-out program that is satisfying to the nth degree and will find lots of play time on your system if you choose to indulge. By all means, do."
Steven Ritter, Fanfare [November/December 2011]
"Amber Liao’s performance of Sonata No. 18...is Beethoven at his suavest and wittiest. Liao shapes the call-and-answer of the open phrases with care as far as dynamics are concerned, and she goes on to enlist dynamics and subtle rubato in producing a clearly defined structure and character for each of the movements. This is a very pleasing performance of one of Beethoven’s finest Cinderella works... Two excerpts from Granados’s Goyescas form a surprising, surprisingly effective second act. Liao captures the folk element in the music very well, bringing color and dash to her performance."
Lee Passarella, Audiophile Audition [August 2011]
PROGRAM NOTESThe three pieces in this recording were all written during difficult times in the lives of their composers. Beethoven composed the E-flat major sonata in the same year he wrote the Heiligenstadt Testament. Goyescas was created shortly after Granados learned about both the death of his close friend Issac Albéniz, and the Tragic Week, a bloody confrontation between the working class of Barcelona and the army. When Schumann composed Humoreske, he was an aspiring composer trying to win the approval of Clara’s father, and was staying in Vienna away from home and his beloved. It is touching to hear how the composers rose above the pain, anxiety and desperation in their lives with such grace. They transcended their suffering, and created these beautiful pieces that have enriched the lives of many others in future generations.
Pianist Amber Yiu-Hsuan Liao has given recitals and solo performances throughout United States and Taiwan. Recent engagements include recitals at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center and the Freeport Memorial Library, and the world premiere of Between Stream and Hills III for piano solo by Chih-Chen Wei. Ms. Liao has been invited to participate in several music festivals in Europe, including Courchevel Academie Musicale in France, Internationale Sommerakademie Mozarteum in Salzburg and New Millennium Piano Festival in Gijón, Spain. She has also been selected to perform in the master classes of distinguished artists such as Leon Fleisher, Dmitri Bashkirov, John Perry, Leslie Howard, Oxana Yablonskaya, Michel Béroff and Robert McDonald. As a chamber musician, Ms. Liao’s collaborations with vocalists and instrumentalists have led to performances in the CAMI Hall, Symphony Space and the Lenox Athenaeum, among others. She was the pianist in the Emerald Quintet, a group dedicated to both standard repertoire and the works of contemporary composers. Ms. Liao started her early music training in Taiwan. As a teenager, she was the prize winner of several regional and national composition competitions. She continued her studies in piano performance in the United States under the tutelage of Boris Slutsky and Arkady Aronov. A winner of the Rose Marie Milholland Award and the President’s Award, she received her Master of Music from the Peabody Institute and Doctor of Musical Arts from the Manhattan School of Music. She currently maintains a private studio in New York City, and is on the faculty of Seton Hall University in New Jersey.
PROGRAMLUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
PIANO SONATA NO.18 IN E-FLAT MAJOR, OP.31, NO.3 “LA CHASSE”
II. Scherzo: Allegretto vivace
III. Menuetto: Moderato e grazioso
IV. Presto con fuoco
GOYESCAS – Volume I
I. Los Requiebros
IV. Quejas ó la Maja y el Ruiseñor
I. Einfach—Sehr rasch und leicht—Noch rascher—Erstes Tempo—Wie im Anfang
II. Hastig—Nach und nach immer lebhafter und stärker—Wie vorher—Adagio
III. Einfach und zart—Intermezzo
IV. Sehr lebhaft—Mit einigem Pomp
V. Zum Beschluβ—Adagio—Allegro