Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
490 Riverside Drive, 11th floor
New York, NY 10027-5788
(212) 896 1700
Including Mendelssohn’s Piano Concertos in G minor and D minor, Variations sérieuses, Rondo capriccioso, and the “Venetian Boat Song” from the Songs without Words
On Friday, February 1, 2019 digitally and Friday, February 15, 2019 physically, Deutsche Grammophon releases Mendelssohn featuring Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki with the acclaimed conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. The album explores a pair of early Romantic masterpieces: Mendelssohn’s Piano Concertos in G minor and D minor. Lisiecki complements the two concertos with a selection of some of Mendelssohn’s most brilliant pieces for solo piano: the Variations sérieuses, the Rondo capriccioso and the “Venetian Boat Song” from the Songs without Words.
Felix Mendelssohn was a year younger than Lisiecki is now when he wrote his First Piano Concerto in G minor; the work was dedicated to the seventeen-year-old pianist Delphine von Schauroth. Cast in three movements, it is a lively, spirited work, at times requiring lightning-quick playing. Lisiecki finds it remarkable that the concerto begins as if “in the middle of a piece,” and particularly appreciates the buoyancy of this early work – he thinks of it as like “a nature trip” and notes that its “lightness of touch ... reminds [him] very much of playing Mozart.”
Lisiecki sees the Second Piano Concerto in D minor, which Mendelssohn wrote immediately after his honeymoon in 1837, as providing a certain contrast with the First. “The Second Concerto has darker and deeper emotions,” he says. “It’s less secure, it’s uncertain, it’s not so confident, it’s searching.” He adds that it reminds him in some ways of Schumann, with its “rapid emotional changes and unprepared character swings”. He found it the more challenging of the two to record, not only because of its shifting moods, but also because of the intricacies of its orchestral accompaniment – as he points out, compared to the First Concerto, in the Second there is “more dialogue between the piano and the individual instruments”.
Of his collaboration with Orpheus, Lisiecki says, “Everybody was involved in the musical process. That was quite amazing to see. and a different experience.”
At 23, pianist Jan Lisiecki is already recognized as one of the greatest pianists of our time. Acclaimed for his extraordinary interpretive maturity, distinctive sound and poetic sensibility, he is “a pianist who makes every note count” (The New York Times). Lisiecki’s insightful interpretations, refined technique, and natural affinity for art give him a musical voice that belies his age.
In 2017, Jan received the ECHO Klassik, Germany’s most significant classical music award, as well as the JUNO Award, the most prestigious recognition in the Canadian music industry, honouring his fourth recording for Deutsche Grammophon, featuring Chopin’s rarely-performed works for piano and orchestra with NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and Krzysztof Urbański. His latest album for the label, released in February 2019, features both Mendelssohn concertos with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra as well as selected solo works.
Lisiecki performs with the world’s most prestigious orchestras on major stages and has worked closely with prominent conductors including Sir Antonio Pappano, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Daniel Harding and Claudio Abbado.
Recent highlights include recital tours of Europe and Asia and subscription debuts with the Boston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, and Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, among others. Jan Lisiecki celebrated great success with his highly acclaimed recital program ‘Night Music’ which he will continue to perform in the 2018/19 season.
In 2018/19 he will return to Carnegie Hall for a performance with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Lisiecki will tour with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra through Europe as well as with the Czech Philharmonic in Germany. Other collaborations include NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and concerts in Salzburg with Mozarteum Orchestra.
His recent cycle of Beethoven concertos at Konzerthaus Berlin with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields was received enthusiastically by both the audience and media.
In 2013 he became the youngest ever recipient of Gramophone’s Young Artist award, and also received the Leonard Bernstein Award at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. Jan Lisiecki is an exclusive recording artist with Deutsche Grammophon.
In 2012, Jan Lisiecki was named UNICEF Ambassador to Canada.
Orpheus believes in empowering the unique voice of all people to make a valuable contribution. Working together as a collective of leaders, members explore each other’s musical ideas using their signature collaborative method, the Orpheus Process®, and give flight to vibrant, unconventional interpretations. Orpheus performances unfold dynamically, moment-by-moment, creating an energy shared by musicians and audiences alike.
The Grammy Award-winning ensemble was founded in 1972 by a group of like-minded young musicians determined to combine the intimacy and warmth of a chamber ensemble with the richness of an orchestra and has performed without the use of a conductor since its inception. Musicians rotate leadership roles for all rehearsals and performances as well as organizational capacities such as programming and governance.
Orpheus has recorded over 70 albums on all major classical labels and commissioned and premiered 49 new works for chamber orchestra. Orpheus presents an annual performance series in New York City featuring collaborations with world-class guest soloists. A touring ensemble, Orpheus has performed in major international venues across 167 cities in 46 countries across four continents and has appeared regularly in Japan for 30 years.
Orpheus is committed to sharing its collaborative Process® with communities worldwide through engagement programs for listeners of all ages. These include underwritten concert tickets and in-class visits from musicians for K-12 NYC students, development opportunities for emerging professional musician from demographics underrepresented in classical music, and Orpheus Reflections, an enriching program for people living with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia and their caregivers.
Mendelssohn: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in G minor op. 25
1. Molto allegro con fuoco – 7:24
2. Andante – 6:07
3. Presto – Molto allegro e vivace – 6:35
Mendelssohn: 17 Variations sérieuses in D minor op. 54 d-Moll
4. Tema. Andante sostenuto – 1:00
5. Variation 1 – 0:38
6. Variation 2. Un poco più animato – 0:30
7. Variation 3. Più animato – 0:22
8. Variation 4. Sempre staccato e leggiero – 0:23
9. Variation 5. Agitato. Legato ed espressivo – 0:27
10. Variation 6. A tempo – 0:24
11. Variation 7. Con fuoco – 0:23
12. Variation 8. Allegro vivace – 0:15
13. Variation 9 – 0:20
14. Variation 10. Moderato – 0:45
15. Variation 11. Cantabile – 0:38
16. Variation 12. Tempo del tema – 0:28
17. Variation 13. Sempreassaileggiero. Sempreassaimarcato – 0:40
18. Variation 14. Adagio – 1:15
19. Variation 15. Poco a poco più agitato – 0:33
20. Variation 16. Allegro vivace – 0:17
21. Variation 17 – 2:30
Mendelssohn: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in D minor op. 40
22. Allegro appassionato – 9:50
23. Adagio. Molto sostenuto – attacca – 6:14
24. Finale. Presto scherzando – 6:51
Mendelssohn: Rondo capriccioso in E major op. 14
25. Andante – 2:14
26. Presto leggiero – 4:54
27. Mendelssohn: Song Without Words in G minor “Venetian Gondola Song” op. 19b/6 – 1:58
Jan Lisiecki, piano
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (Tracks 1–3 & 22–24)
Katy Salomon[link email address: firstname.lastname@example.org], Morahan Arts & Media