GRIEG: VIOLIN SONATAS FOR FLUTE
KALEB CHESNIC, flute
NATHÁLIA KATO, piano
World Premiere Recordings of New Transcriptions
"As I was listening, I kept thinking about the Franck Violin/Flute Sonata and how that piece works well in both formats. These do too. In fact, if you don’t know the Grieg violin version, these seem so naturally fitting for this combination that you may never need the violin versions to get a full appreciation of Grieg’s art. So, kudos are due to Chesnic for these transcriptions... Both performers play expertly, and their partnership is strong. The sound is good... Recommended especially for flute lovers, but also worthy of those who enjoy this music in its original incarnation."
Mark Novak, Fanfare [July/August 2022]
"A personal favorite of Grieg, his three violin sonatas are expertly transcribed by Chesnic..."
SAI Pan Pipes [Summer 2022]
"The project of expanding the repertoire is not merely limited to uncovering the work of overlooked composers past and present; also important is the championing of lesser-known works bearing familiar names. The latter path leads to such exciting events as this excellent recording of original transcriptions by flutist Kaleb Chesnic of Edvard Grieg’s three violin sonatas... let me hasten to assure that the performances throughout are uniformly excellent. Chesnic has a remarkably fluid tone, switching effectively between more plaintive moments and the unbridled virtuosity required of the faster sections. Pianist Nathália Kato is surely every chamber musician’s dream, bringing a soloistic intensity to her part while remaining sensitive to the needs of her collaborator... While this recording will surely remain the definitive one, I hope that other flutists will yet have the chance to try their hand at crafting their own performances."
Evan Pengra Sult, Flutist Quarterly [May 2022]
"Flautists will, I think, be rather excited by this disc... Chesnic is the first, so far as I can determine, to tackle [transcribing for flute] all three [sonatas] together. And what a joy they are to hear in this new guise – the first two sonatas in particular really gleam in Chesnic’s hands, the youthful exuberance that Grieg caught so acutely translating winningly in these bright performances. This is Chesnic’s debut recording, and it is clear from it that he is a sensitive and virtuoso performer. His musicality comes through in every bar, beautifully accompanied by Nathália Kato... MSR’s sound is pretty first-rate, too. Warmly recommended."
Guy Rickards, Gramophone [March 2022]
"Kaleb Chesnic has done flutists a great favor by transcribing these lovely, lyrical works... these are very effective arrangements."
Magil, American Record Guide [May/June 2022]
"Grieg’s Violin Sonatas transcribed for flute is a large degree-level seeking project, a project of passion, blood, sweat, and tears... Chesnic refuses to be confined by the general public’s mindset that transcriptions must recreate a composer’s intentions as faithfully as the original... These new transcriptions are an exciting addition to the flute repertoire that breathes new life into Grieg’s works... Kaleb Chesnic is a true American flutist who has not only thoughtfully reinterpreted all of these works for the entire flute community, but has performed them with spectacular brilliance and rapture... Pianist Nathália Kato flexes her abounding collaborative piano skills throughout these incredibly interactive Norwegian sonatas. Her sensitivity and intuition in performing Grieg’s violin sonatas are flawless and truly moving. The flute community will surely use this recording as a study source for years to come while this new repertoire spreads."
Natalie Szabo, Fanfare [May/June 2022]
"there is...a pleasant exploratory element to an MSR Classics release featuring Grieg’s three violin sonatas...heard here in transcriptions newly prepared by flautist Kaleb Chesnic and performed by him with pianist Nathália Kato... Chesnic’s flute transcriptions are attractive and sensitive to the nuances of the material, and his playing is strong and assured throughout."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [January 2022]
"Flute players have a great new reason to rejoice. They've just been gifted a Christmas present any flutist/flautist would cherish. A recording of Kaleb Chesnic's own transcriptions for flute of all three Sonatas for Violin and Piano by Edvard Grieg... because of its acoustical characteristics and physical properties, the flute will never match the violin when it comes to warmth of expression, but as Kaleb Chesnic amply demonstrates here, that doesn't mean that the flute can't bring its own expressive touches to the music... Chesnic gives the music all the emotive attention it calls for, and pianist Nathália Kato offers strong support with her own highly expressive touches.. This is [Chesnic's] debut recording ... may there be more."
Jean-Yves Duperron, Classical Music Sentinal [December 2021]
"New life has been infused into Grieg’s three violin sonatas by transcribing them for flute and piano as captured on an MSR Classics recording. Kaleb Chesnic, who created the transcription, plays flute, accompanied by Nathália Kato. Together, they create a lively interchange that conveys the feeling and energy of the second half of 19th century Norway where Grieg composed a wide range of music... While it is quite enjoyable to hear the compositions played by violinists, the flute combined with the piano causes them to expand even explode into new dimensions of sound. Chesnic’s resonate and colorful flute playing is nothing less than spectacular, but Kato’s pianism blossoms with equivalent complimentary poetics."
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [December 2021]
"American flutist Kaleb Chesnic makes his recording debut in excellent style... Says Chesnic: 'When I set out to make these transcriptions my purpose was to expand the Romantic sonata repertoire available to the modern flutist... My purpose here is to present transcriptions that will help both flutists and violinists to recognize the brilliance of Edvard Grieg’s under-appreciated [music].' How well he succeeded is evident in every bar and measure in each of the three sonatas on this program."
Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Club [January 2022]
PROGRAM NOTES“These three works are among my best compositions and represent periods in my development: the first, naïve, reflecting many antecedents; the second, national; and the third, with its wider horizons.” [Edvard Grieg, referring to his violin sonatas transcribed here for flute and piano by Kaleb Chesnic, in a letter sent on 16 January 1900 to his friend, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson].
When I set out to make these transcriptions, my purpose was to expand the Romantic sonata repertoire available to the modern flutist. What I have gained through this process is much more valuable than I anticipated. Just as the flute was overlooked as a solo instrument in 19th-century music, the first two of these sonatas are largely undervalued today, at least outside of Scandinavia. My purpose here is to present transcriptions that will help both flutists and violinists to recognize the brilliance of Edvard Grieg’s under-appreciated early sonatas, Nos.1 and 2, as well as to make No.3 available to flutists.
American flutist Kaleb Chesnic has been praised for his commanding presence, brilliant technique and thoughtful interpretations. Chesnic has performed with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, and other ensembles around Colorado and the Western United States. He appeared as a soloist and as the conductor of the Colorado Flute Orchestra at the 2017 National Flute Association convention. Other awards and honors are First Prize at the 2018 Bruce Ekstrand Memorial Competition, MPIMC Prize at the 2017 Marina Piccinini International Master Class, winner of the Tuesday Musical Association’s Competition and Baldwin Wallace Concerto Competition, finalist in the Colorado Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition and quarter-finalist at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition as a member of the Rano Winds, the University of Colorado’s Graduate Woodwind Quintet. He has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Baldwin Wallace Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dwight Oltman, and twice with the University of Colorado Early Music ensemble, working with Music Directors Zachary Carrettin and Robert Hill. While attending the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music, he had the privilege of performing with their Bach Festival Orchestra in the 80th and 81st annual Bach Festival. He has also been on the faculty of the Baldwin Wallace Community Music School and The Joyful Noise Neighborhood Music School. Chesnic received his Bachelor’s degree from the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder, where he was a graduate Teaching Assistant and lead Teaching Assistant for the College of Music. His principal teachers include George Pope, Christina Jennings, Damian Bursill-Hall and Andrei Pidkivka. Chesnic’s other significant influences have been Brook Ferguson and Amy Porter.
Pianist Nathália Kato has immense experience in orchestral and operatic activities, and has worked with such renowned conductors as Marin Alsop and Steven Mercurio. In 2010 and 2015, Kato performed in both Portugal and Spain; in 2017 and 2018 she was awarded a full scholarship to attend the prestigious Aspen Music Festival. For her final DMA recital in March of 2020, Kato presented Schubert’s Winterreise in its entirety alongside baritone Erik Erlandson; the performance art project involved the recital and Kato’s own authorial photography projection. From 2015 to 2020, she held a teaching assistantship through which she served as a rehearsal and orchestra pianist, harpsichordist, and coach for the Eklund Opera Program working with maestro Nicholas Carthy. As an active professional in the collaborative field, Kato has served as staff pianist in music festivals and has worked at Teatro São Pedro opera house in São Paulo, Brazil. Kato’s pedagogical projects include online lectures, master classes, recordings, and other collaborations with private and university students from Brazil and the United States. In the fall of 2020, she joined the Department of Music at the University of Wyoming as the staff collaborative pianist. With her husband, violinist Andrew Giordano, she plays as the Duo Pragma in rarely-heard repertoire. Kato earned her Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees in Brazil, and received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in collaborative piano from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she finished a second Master of Music degree, studying with Margaret McDonald and Alexandra Nguyen.
PROGRAMEDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907)
SONATAS FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO
Transcribed for Flute and Piano by Kaleb Chesnic (b.1991)
SONATA NO.1 IN F MAJOR OP.8 (1865)
I. Allegro con brio
II. Allegretto quasi andantino
III. Allegro molto vivace
SONATA NO.2 IN G MAJOR OP.13 (1867)
I. Lento doloroso – Allegro vivace
II. Allegretto tranquillo
III. Allegro animato
SONATA NO.3 IN C MINOR OP.45 (1887)
I. Allegro molto ed appassionato
II. Allegretto espressivo alla Romanza – Allegro molto
III. Allegro animato
Recorded in January 2021 at Grusin Music Hall, University of Colorado, Boulder. Producer: Emily Chesnic. Recording engineer: Kevin Harbison.