Gabriel Fauré Piano Music (2016)

Faure

Hannes Minnaar

Thirteen Nocturnes and as many Barcarolles form the core of the collected output of Gabriel Urbain Fauré (1845-1924) for the piano. Night-time meditations, then, along with inspiration drawn from rippling water (the origins of the barcarolle lie in the songs sung by Venetian gondoliers and the word itself comes from the Italian ‘barca’, a boat). Along with some Impromptus, Préludes andother works, one might rapidly gain the impression of a delightful collection of salon music, whose titles may actually display the influence of Chopin (Fauré was even to write a Mazurka). But this music is so very much more than pretty salon music. In the intimacy of these genres, Fauré succeeded time and again in nothing short of exposing his very soul. And the French composer’s style is entirely his own – original and personal – from the first note to the last. 

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Hannes Minnaar

www.hannesminnaar.com

In March of 2013, Hannes Minnaar made his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto under Herbert Blomstedt. This performance marked a new milestone in the career of the 28-year-old pianist. The invitation to perform in this concert was the result of the Third Prize won by Minnaar in 2010 at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. The following year, this prestigious award gained him a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, which made it possible, among other things, for him to produce his first CD. This CD, which included Rachmaninoff’s rarely played First Piano Sonata and Ravel’s ‘Miroirs’, was praised by reviewers and received an Edison award in the following year.

Minnaar’s talent had already attracted attention at the Amsterdam Conservatory, where he completed his studies summa cum laude under Jan Wijn. Soon afterwards he was invited to appear as a soloist with various orchestras. He worked with conductors including Marin Alsop, Frans Brüggen, and Edo de Waart. He appeared in recitals and was a guest at various festivals, many of them in France. For example, in 2013 Minnaar performed at the well-known piano festival in La Roque D’Anthéron, where all the most prominent members of the piano world make their appearance. Minnaar also performed at festivals in countries such as China and Bahrein. At the end of 2013 he will make his recital debut in Tokyo.

 

In 2008, when Minnaar made the decision to compete internationally, he took part in the Geneva Competition, where he was awarded a second prize. This was followed in 2010 by the Elisabeth Everts Prize and the award, as mentioned above, from the famous Brussels competition. It was particularly because of this latter award that the national and international spotlights began to focus on Minnaar. Reviewers praised the natural quality of his playing, his musical intelligence, feeling for structure, modesty, and his solid work ethic: “a winning combination”. “A young pianist of international standing has appeared,“ wrote Peter de Bruin, reviewer for the NRC, in 2010.

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Gabriel Fauré Piano Music (2016)

Faure

Hannes Minnaar

    Gramophone

"This recital by the Dutch pianist Hannes Minnaar seems the equivalent of strolling through an engaging exhibition of the works of an artist you thought you knew but the magnitude of whose gifts, you now realise, you hadn’t entirely grasped. It is expertly curated, with a deeply personal selection of representative artworks spanning Fauré’s career, from an early, insouciant Romance sans paroles from his student days to the 13th and last Nocturne of 1921, with its unconventional dissonances and voice-leading reflecting Fauré’s state of mind shortly after the death of his mentor, Saint-Saëns, and as deafness eventually overcame him. Though presented chronologically, this loving selection was clearly chosen to show each piece to greatest advantage, sometimes creating striking juxtapositions. The engineers have captured the immediacy and dimension of Minnaar’s beautiful, unforced sound in all its wealth of detail. The Thème et variations is delivered with a rare sweep and cohesion, its urgency paradoxically never seeming rushed, but organically flowing. The rarely encountered Nine Preludes, Op 103, unfold with gem-like precision and sparkle, each a perfectly wrought microcosm. But it is the 13th Nocturne that is both the crux and culmination of the programme. Its painful quest through desolation erupts into lacerating figurations. Minnaar negotiates this occasionally awkward writing with skill, creating a palpable emotional impact. Comparison with the first release of Louis Lortie’s projected complete Fauré series (Chandos, 11/16) confirms the validity of diverse approaches to the French master. Minnaar’s identification with this unique realm of music is complete and his deeply felt interpretations shine with clarity and infinite nuance. If Fauré’s piano music has eluded you until now, these performances may provide the key. If you’re already a devotee, a very pleasurable experience awaits."

Patrick Rucker[read full review]

    HRAudio.net

"Minnaar's Fauré is played with masterly authority. He gives us an undeniable presence. Thus lifting Fauré from salon to concert venue. This is not to say that he lacks poetry. On the contrary. But his poetry is without ‘softness’; it’s more convincingly encouraging in tone. Like a mother reassuring her child. And besides, Fauré is more than an extension of impressionist painting: “These sets (nocturnes, barcarolles and impromptus) were composed across the decades of his career, and display the change in his style from uncomplicated youthful charm to a final enigmatic, but sometimes fiery introspection…”. In this recital all facets of Fauré’s life are addressed; the charm, the poetry, the turbulence and, not to forget, his romantic temperament (to put it mildly). It requires a pianist who is able to encompass all these elements. And Minnaar reveals himself to be such a ‘Jack Of All Trades’. I sense that his maturity is still growing, and what I admire most is his apparent modesty, clearly shunning star status. This attitude is what makes his Fauré so exceptional. It is not the virtuoso aspect he is after. The maturity gives him, as it were, the peace of mind to identify himself with the composers intentions and hence to generate the ability to translate it into a personalized interpretation, making Fauré so wonderfully clear and understandable for his audience. In the liner notes Minnaar writes extensively about Fauré. It makes for interesting, even compulsory reading, to which I’m happy to refer. Rating: Performance and Multichannel DSD Sonics: 5 out of 5 Stars".

Adrian Quanjer[read full review]

Gabriel Fauré Piano Music (2016)

Faure

Hannes Minnaar

Digital Converters: Horus
Editing Software: Pyramix
Mastering Engineer: Bert van der Wolf
Mastering Room: Avalon Acoustic
Microphones: Sonodore
Producer: Bert van der Wolf
Recording Engineer: Bert van der Wolf
Recording location: Westvest 90 Schiedam, The Netherlands
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DXD

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CC72731: Gabriel Fauré Piano Music
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Tracks.
1.
Nocturne nr.1 opus 33
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Barcarolle nr.3 opus 42
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Thema & Variations opus 73
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Variation 1
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Variation 2
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Variation 3
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Variation 4
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Variation 5
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Variation 6
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Variation 7
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Variation 8
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Variation 9
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Variation 10
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Variation 11
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Nocturne nr.7 opus 74
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Impromptu nr.5 opus 102
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Prelude 1 opus 103
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Prelude 2
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Prelude 3
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Prelude 4
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Prelude 5
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Prelude 6
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Prelude 7
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Prelude 8
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Prelude 9
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Barcarolle nr.12 opus 106bis
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Nocturne nr.13 opus 119
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Romance sans paroles Opus 17 nr. 3
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