17 July 2017
His first solo recital recording in more than a decade is to be released next month. And it's all Beethoven!
After a break of 25 years, legendary pianist Evgeny Kissin has signed a new exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. His discography already contains landmark recordings for the Yellow Label, critically acclaimed collaborations with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan and Claudio Abbado among them, and the association between artist and label resumes with the release of a new Beethoven album in August.
The double-disc set, its programme personally chosen by Kissin from recitals given over the past decade, includes Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas No. 14 Op. 27 No. 2, ‘Moonlight’, No. 23 Op. 57, ‘Appassionata’, and No. 26 Op. 81a, ‘Les Adieux’. It also comprises the evergreen 32 Variations in C minor WoO 80 and a profound exploration of the sublime two-movement Piano Sonata No. 32 Op. 111, the composer’s final work in the genre. The album, Kissin’s first solo recital recording in more than a decade, represents a major addition to his Beethoven discography and an essential document of his artistic development.
Take a look at Kissin playing the ‘Moonlight’:
Here’s what the legendary pianist says about his upcoming release:
“These recordings were made in the moment of performance,” observes Kissin. “Live recordings always surpass studio albums for me, because I feel more inspired when playing for an audience. It means a lot to me to be able to share the spirit of that live experience with others.”
Evgeny Kissin made his mark as a child prodigy in Russia in the early 1980s. He won over international audiences with captivating interpretations of Romantic masterworks during his teens, and has since flourished as one of the world’s most charismatic and visionary performers. Herbert von Karajan, beguiled by Kissin’s playing, invited him to perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Berliner Philharmoniker’s New Year’s Eve concert in 1988. The combination of young soloist and charismatic conductor produced a revelatory interpretation, recorded by Deutsche Grammophon and released a few months after Karajan’s death in July 1989.
Kissin’s collaboration with the conductor appears as a compelling episode in his autobiography – Memoirs and Reflections, released this month by Orion Press – which offers a moving account of the pianist’s childhood in Russia, exploring his close relationship with his parents and his teacher, Anna Pavlovna Kantor, and casting light on the inspirational world of the Russian-Jewish intelligentsia. It also encompasses Kissin’s philosophical outlook and self-understanding, together with his penetrating observations on fellow musicians and creative artists.
Pianist will be reviewing the new album and the book in a future issue.