Benjamin Grosvenor presents Dances, a glittering album shining the spotlight on music from Bach to Boogie Woogie via Chopin, Scriabin, Granados and the Blue Danube. Grosvenor states: “This album’s inspiration comes from a letter in 1909 from Busoni, proposing a ‘dance programme’ comprising original compositions and transcriptions. With Bach’s 4th Partita as its starting point, this recording presents a chronologically and geographically wide-ranging recital of works by composers (and transcribers) to whose output the keyboard was central, featuring both familiar and more obscure gems from the piano repertoire.”
Ever since this “Golden Age” pianist delighted the audience at his London Southbank recital debut with a dazzling programme of pieces inspired by dance, the music of movement has been a key influence. Grosvenor’s new album – his second solo recital for Decca – explores Dances chosen from a selection of his best-loved composers.
Grosvenor explains: “After beginning with Bach we move to Chopin, with two contrasted Polonaises, and one Polish dance takes us to another, with a selection of Scriabin’s early mazurkas. Written in his teens, the influence of Chopin is palpable, but already features of the Russian’s unique voice are there.
With Scriabin’s Valse Op.38 – a sensuous piece from his middle period, an ecstatic waltz-in-the-skies – a new form is introduced, with which we stay: Granados’ Valses Poeticos follow – a charming and varied set – and Schulz-Evler’s imaginative and technically-taxing embellishments on the Blue Danube Waltz. Two short pieces then bring the album to a close – Godowsky’s heady arrangement of Albeniz’s Tango in D, and Morton Gould’s Boogie Woogie Etude.
In his preface to his Partitas, Bach addressed the music ‘for music-lovers, to refresh their spirits’. I hope that in this selection of music there will be something for everyone, and that their spirits will be at least a little nourished…”
When the award-winning pianist played this dance programme in London, the Daily Telegraph wrote that “The Bach Partita was marvellously light, Grosvenor’s super-dry bass notes acting like the tiny push that keeps the balloon aloft… Fire and air are Grosvenor’s elements, and under his hands music seems to be made entirely from them.” The Independent declared: “Benjamin Grosvenor may be only 20, but it’s a long time since we had a Southbank debut as keenly awaited as this. Ever since he hit the limelight last year as the youngest-ever soloist to play in the opening Prom he’s been trumpeted as British pianism’s brightest hope; this autumn he’s been deluged with awards… What next? With virtuosity of this calibre, allied to a probing musical intelligence, the sky’s the limit.”
Dances is Classic FM’s ‘Album of the Week’. To purchase a copy, click here.