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Songs Without Words - Grieg, Brahms, Chabrier, Faure / Julius Drake

Album Summary

>Schumann, Robert : Album für die Jugend, Op. 68
>Brahms, Johannes : Intermezzi (3) for Piano, Op. 117
>Mendelssohn, Felix : Songs without words, vol 2, Op. 30
>Mendelssohn, Felix : Albumblatt for Piano in E minor, Op. 117
>Schumann, Robert : Kinderszenen no 12 ("Kind im Einschlummern"), for piano, Op. 15/12
>Schubert, Franz : Moments Musicaux, D. 780
>Liszt, Franz : Der Doppelganger, transcription for piano (after Schubert, D. 957/13), S. 560/12 (LW A49/12)
>Grieg, Edvard : Lyric Pieces (6), Book 3, Op. 43
>Debussy, Claude : Clair de lune
>Poulenc, Francis : Histoire de Babar
>Janácek, Leos : On an Overgrown Path
>Bartók, Béla : Mikrokosmos, Sz 107
>Britten, Benjamin : Holiday Diary, Op. 5
Performer Composers
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Notes & Reviews:

Renowned as one of the best accompanists working today, British pianist Julius Drake has chosen the ATMA label to record his first solo CD, Songs Without Words. Drake conceived this recording as a personal journal on the piano, performing selections by Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schubert, and Schumann among others.

BBC Music Magazine
It's a treat to hear [Drake] take centre stage...the recital evokes lullabies and moonlight, nostalgia and intimacy, all of it cushioned by Drake's warm sound, beautiful phrasing and affectionate touch...There's a lovely unity to it and the pieces are well ordered to complement one another.

All Music Guide - Patsy Morita
From the title Songs Without Words, one might guess that Julius Drake's 2011 album of piano music was either a) all Mendelssohn or b) all Romantic miniatures with a similar mood. It is something close to answer b, but actually is more than that. Drake's choices are mainly of the dreamy, slow ilk, but because he expands his choices beyond the Romantic era, there is a wider variety of harmonies and textures than most collections of adagios. He also includes some unexpected and well-suited excerpts of suites not often heard outside of collections of those particular composers' works, such as the "Berceuse" from Poulenc's L'histoire de Babar and "Night" from Britten's Holiday Diary, Op. 5. Putting his program into a very rough chronological order, Drake begins with Schumann, Brahms, and Mendelssohn, three giants of 18th century German music who knew their way around Lieder composition, which is Drake's objective here: to bring out the song-like qualities of piano works.

Drake spends most of his performing and recording time collaborating with vocalists, so he also knows the ins and outs of melody and accompaniment. The outer sections of the Brahms' Intermezzo are truly like a lullaby, while his reading of the darker middle section is much slower and less dramatic than most pianists'. His use of rubato in Clair de lune may also be unusual, but his touch is incredibly graceful and nuanced. Even in the dramatic chords in "The Madonna of Frydek" and in the percussive Bartók, Drake still has poise and depth of color in his playing. The Britten is particularly evocative. For anyone looking for a collection of piano adagios that stands out from the rest, this is the one to choose.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008).



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Works Details

>Schumann, Robert : Album für die Jugend, Op. 68 :: Mignon
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1848

>Schumann, Robert : Album für die Jugend, Op. 68 :: Melodie
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1848

>Brahms, Johannes : Intermezzi (3) for Piano, Op. 117
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1892

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Songs without words, vol 2, Op. 30
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: circa 1830-1834

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Albumblatt for Piano in E minor, Op. 117
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 06/27/1836

>Schumann, Robert : Kinderszenen no 12 ("Kind im Einschlummern"), for piano, Op. 15/12
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1838

>Schubert, Franz : Moments Musicaux, D. 780 :: no 2. Andantino in A flat major
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: ?1823-28

>Liszt, Franz : Der Doppelgänger, transcription for piano (after Schubert, D. 957/13), S. 560/12 (LW A49/12)
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1838-1839

>Grieg, Edvard : Lyric Pieces (6), Book 3, Op. 43
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1886

>Debussy, Claude : Clair de lune
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1890-1905

>Poulenc, Francis : Histoire de Babar :: Berceuse
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1940-1945

>Leos Janácek (Composer) (1854 - 1928) : On an Overgrown Path :: The Madonna of Frydek
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1900-1911

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Mikrokosmos, Sz 107 :: Melody
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926-1939

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Mikrokosmos, Sz 107 :: Like a Folksong
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926-1939

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Mikrokosmos, Sz 107 :: Melody in the Mist
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926-1939

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Mikrokosmos, Sz 107 :: Notturno
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926-1939

>Britten, Benjamin : Holiday Diary, Op. 5 :: Night
  • Performer: Julius Drake (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/06/2008-12/08/2008)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1934