The 25-year-old pianist explores three peaks of the piano repertoire - Schubert's "Wanderer" Fantasy, Liszt's Sonata in B minor and Berg's Sonata Op. 1. After acclaimed recordings of works by Debussy (2017) and Mozart (2018), Cho puts music by Schubert, his favorite composer, at the heart of his new release.
The Romantic theme of the wanderer, the free spirit undertaking a journey into the self, runs through Seong-Jin Cho's latest solo album. The globetrotting Korean pianist's programme includes two monuments of the 19th-century repertoire - Schubert's "Wanderer" Fantasy and Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor. The Wanderer also contains Alban Berg's Piano Sonata Op. 1, a single-movement work of extraordinary intensity.
All three compositions grow from a simple theme or melodic gesture which is then transformed in the course of a voyage of variation, development and discovery. "This music looks forwards and backwards at once," notes Seong-Jin Cho. "What fascinates me is the composers' ability to create great art from just a few elements. The way they develop the work's entire fabric from a single motif is fascinating. What creativity! What imagination!"
The Fantasie in C major D760, known as the "Wanderer" Fantasy because it quotes from the composer's eponymous song Der Wanderer, dates from 1822. The four-movement work's invention, emotional range and technical challenges make enormous demands on its performers. "The emphasis should fall on the second word of the title," says Cho. "The work deals above all with fantasy, with the imagination, and thus with artistic license."
Liszt's B minor Sonata, completed in 1853 and dedicated to Robert Schumann, shocked many early audiences with its symphonic scale and revolutionary single-movement form. "It deals with life, love and death, with Mephistopheles and Faust," Seong-Jin Cho comments. "I see these thirty minutes of music as a life cycle, with the climax in the middle. Playing Liszt is like entering a state of ecstasy." Berg's Piano Sonata, also in B minor, grew from sketches made while he was studying composition with Arnold Schoenberg and was finished in 1909. Cho first discovered the work as a teenager thanks to Glenn Gould's recording, and went on to study its form and content in depth. "Every detail is magnificently worked out," he notes; "there are echoes of Wagner, references to Beethoven's manner, and even to French Impressionism."
Since winning the International Chopin Piano Competition in 2015, one of the most prestigious of all prizes for young artists, Seong-Jin Cho has become a regular at the world's leading concert halls. His Deutsche Grammophon debut album, released within days of his Chopin Competition victory, shot to No.1 in South Korea's pop album chart and set the foundations for his present superstar status in Asia. The Wanderer follows critically acclaimed recordings of works by Mozart and Debussy, the latter praised by the Daily Telegraph for catching "that special Debussyan combination of grandeur and quicksilver lightness and sudden passion".
- 180g Vinyl
- Double LP
- 3 sides of music
- Gatefold jacket
- Made in Germany
LP 1 - Side A:
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
"Wanderer" Fantasy in C Major, D 760
- Allegro con fuoco ma non troppo -
- Adagio -
- Presto -