Acts of Homage
Acclaimed pianist Ian Holtham commemorates the 100th anniversary of the death of Brahms and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Schubert. Holtham demonstrates the diversity in Brahms' work and showcases Schubert's gift for thematic extrapolation with the pieces presented.
Includes Schubert's 'Four Impromptus Op.90 (D.899) ' written in the penultimate year of his life, these remarkable works based almost entirely on one theme are imbued with fantasy and colour and showcase Schubert's wondrous lyricism, beautiful melodies and colourful harmonic modulations.
As a further homage to the song writing talents of Schubert, this CD also includes Godowsky's 'Six Transcriptions of Songs by Schubert'. Featuring piano arrangements of Schubert's best loved lieder including 'Morgengruß', 'Die Forelle', 'Das Wandern' and 'Litanei' . Godowsky's virtuosic arrangements present an intriguing new perspective on each song while remaining faithful to the spirit of the original works.
The 'Variations and Fugue on a theme by Handel, Op. 24', written in 1861 show Brahms at the height of his creative pianistic powers. These twenty five variations, based on a theme from the first suite in B flat from Handel's 'Clavier Suites', each become independent character studies including a canon, a Hungarian rhapsody and a siciliana, the mammoth fugue concluding the set is a pianistic tour de force.
In contrast the 'Four Piano Pieces, Op. 119' featuring some of the most beautiful vignettes in the piano repertoire are intimate character pieces reflecting the influence of Schumann and the taste for miniatures of the late nineteenth century.
Recorded in the beautiful acoustic of Melba Hall, this CD provides a significant and memorable homage to two great composers.
Ian Holtham is one of the most distinguished and highly regarded pianists and pedagogues in Australia and his performances of the great Classical and Romantic repertoire have played to packed houses and rave reviews for many years.
“Holtham is one of this country's finest pianists... beautifully moulded and expressive performances.”
— The Canberra Times
“Holtham's interpretations are solidly drawn and refreshingly free of affectation.”
— The Age
“Holtham plays it (Schubert's 'Impromptus Op. 90') on the piano, and makes you feel like you've never heard it before. The naturalness of Holtham's playing gives this 'Impromptu' set a startling vivacity.”
— The Melburnian
“Fine performer put together an absorbing program in which the unfamiliar is made accessible and the familiar is made new.”
— The Melburnian
“This romantic compilation by Melbourne pianist Ian Holtham is both sensitive and enjoyable.”
— SHE Magazine
- No. 1 in C minor - allegro molto moderato
- No. 2 in E flat major - allegro
- No. 3 in G flat major - andante mosso
- No. 4 in A flat major - allegretto
- Variations and Fugue on a theme by Handel, Op. 24 Johannes Brahms
- Die Forelle
- Das Wandern
- Intermezzo in B minor: adagio
- Intermezzo in E minor: andantino un poco agitato
- Intermezzo in C major: grazioso e giocoso
- Rhapsodie in E flat major: allegro risulto
Four Impromptus, Op.90 (D.899) Franz Schubert
Six Transcriptions of Songs by Schubert Leopold Godowsky
Four Piano Pieces, Op.119 Johannes Brahms
- Ian Holtham · piano
Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. In his lifetime, Brahms' popularity and influence were considerable; he is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the Three Bs.
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer. Today, Schubert is admired as one of the leading exponents of the early Romantic era in music and he remains one of the most frequently performed composers.