Eric Lu: Chopin 24 Preludes

Recording of the Month

The 22-year-old Chinese-American pianist Eric Lu is one of the brightest rising stars in today’s classical music firmament, his playing revealing both an exciting engagement with the repertoire and a fresh and compelling new perspective on it.

Aged 20, Lu was unanimously voted winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition 2018, an achievement which propelled him firmly into the limelight and rewarded him with a management deal, major label recording deal with Warner Classics, and a concert commitment which might overwhelm the less assured player.

For his part, Lu would seem to have taken all this in his stride, the embodiment of a dream he has nurtured from a young age growing up in a house where classical music was cherished.

I briefly met Lu and heard him perform Mozart’s 23rd concerto at the Chetham’s Summer School last year (shortly before he made his BBC Proms debut with the same work), and was struck then by his poise onstage and off, his quiet confidence and calm energy.

But listening to his Warner Classics studio debut, a disc which includes Chopin’s 24 Preludes Op.28 as well as short works by Brahms and Schumann, it is the emotional range he brings to his playing which most immediately strikes me…

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The Greatest Schumann?

In a grand publishing milestone, Breitkopf & Härtel have reissued in seven volumes Robert Schumann’s complete piano works in the edition prepared by his widow Clara Schumann, and later updated with additional fingerings by the legendary pianist Wilhelm Kempff

Let’s dig straight into the fascinating history of this one ….

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William Youn: Laughter and Tears…

Artist photography: Irène Zandel

Recording of the Month

William Youn has been establishing a growing international reputation as a “genuine poet” of the piano (as one critic eloquently put it).

His recording of Mozart’s complete piano sonatas for Oehms Classics has received particular and extensive critical acclaim, and now he brings us his debut recital disc for major label Sony Classical.

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Wiener Urtext: ‘Primo’ Series

Sheet Music Review

“Easy” collections of the core classical piano repertoire abound, but few bring to the table the depth of scholarship, reliable editing, fingering and expert advice found in the recent (and ongoing) “Urtext Primo” series.

As the latest collection in the series – featuring the music of Clementi, Czerny and Cramer – hits the shelves of music stores worldwide, let’s take a look …

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New Editions from G. Henle Verlag

Sheet Music Review

Here’s a quick roundup of the latest benchmark urtext editions from revered published Henle Verlag…


Brahms: Piano Sonata in F minor, Op.5

Brahms’ mammoth F minor Sonata, composed when he was just 20, is symphonic in scope.

This new edition by Katrin Eich, and with ingenious fingerings supplied by Andreas Boyde, comes from the New Brahms Complete Edition of 2014, and will be welcomed by all who wish to tackle this masterpiece!

publisher’s website

Brahms: Waltz in A flat, Op.39 No.15

How wonderful to see this stand-alone edition of Brahms’ well-loved classic, offering both the original and the slightly simplified version in A major, side-by-side!

Whether you are a teacher or player working on this piece, an academic or composition student, it’s fascinating to compare the two!

publisher’s website

Schumann • Liszt: Liebeslied (Widmung)

Liszt’s stunning virtuoso transcription of Schumann’s gorgeous love son “Dedication” from Myrthen, Op.25, has returned as a popular show-stopper in recent years, with recordings by Evgeny Kissin, Daniil Trifonov, Lang Lang, Yundi Li, and others giving the piece a wide audience.

Annette Oppermann’s new edition is a most welcome addition to the Henle catalogue.

publisher’s website

Dvorák: Humoresques Op.101

There’s no better place to begin an exploration of Dvorak’s solo piano music than these eight highly attractive pieces, and hopefully this brilliant new edition from Henle will help to bring these lovely works into wider circulation.

publisher’s website

Grieg: Norwegian Dances Op.35 for piano, four-hands

Grieg’s Norwegian Dances Op.35 for piano duet will be known to many from the popular orchestral version.

The original piano duet version is a brilliant concert work for advanced performers, and Ernst-Günter Heinemann’s new edition for Henle – co-edited and with fingering by the great Grieg performer Einar Steen-Nøkleberg – combines scholarship, clarity of presentation and helpfully organised page turns.

publisher’s website

Bartók: Suite Op.14

László Somfai’s authoritative new edition of the Suite Op.14, one of Bartók’s most important solo piano concert works, now supersedes the older Universal Edition version in several regards.

Of particular interest, it includes as an appendix the Andante movement that formed part of the original five-movement design of Bartók in 1916, but which was removed by the composer shortly before the work’s publication in 1918.

publisher’s website

Bartók: 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs

Also edited by László Somfai and excerpted from the new Bartók Complete Edition, published by Henle in collaboration with Editio Musica Budapest, this is a welcome performing version of a rather neglected work.

In his fascinating Preface, Somfai explores the work’s complex background. The music itself is nicely organised on the page, and although the early pieces seem to me just a little more cramped than the old UE edition, the later movements (and particularly the dense Finale) are certainly more spacious, and overall this new version is without doubt the one to go for!

publisher’s website


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A Schumann Rediscovery

Sheet Music Review

It is certainly a wonder that even today we are rediscovering lost treasures composed by the great masters of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras. Rarely does a year pass without another “lost” manuscript finding its way into the daylight after decades – even centuries – gathering dust in a library basement, museum attic or private collection.

And such was the case with the recent rediscovery of a small solo piano miniature, Ahnung – Albumblatt for Klavier, composed by Robert Schumann (1810-1856), which was found in the Leopold-Sophie-Bibliothek in Überlingen by librarian Roswitha Lambertz whilst cataloguing the bequest of one Leo Allgeyer.

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My First Schumann

Sheet Music Review

Schott Music, the revered German publishers founded back in 1770, are maintaining an impressive commitment to new piano music publishing projects, including a wide range of resources and publications for players of all levels.

Of particular interest to intermediate players (and their teachers) will be there ongoing “My First …” series. The first two issues (Bach and Mozart – see below) have recently been joined by “My First Schumann”, which I am delighted to review here.

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