Fantasie-Sonate, Op. 168
Variationen Über ein Originalthema, Op. 179
Vier KlavierstÜcke, Op. 196

Most performing musicians would agree that the process of 'deciphering' the scores in order to find out the composers' foot-prints behind the notations is the most fascinating aspect of what we do. The Raff's recording projects have been very challenging in a sense that here is the composer whose musical language is very versatile and eclectic - at times it felt like learning Akkadian with German grammar! But how rewarding it can also be when the music choses to reveal its elusive beauty, switching from the spiritual stillness of slow movements to the delicacy of heartfelt miniatures, or to make one stand up to dance along with foot-tapping Hungarian finales - all asking me to come back and searching for more. – Tra Nguyen

"...Tra Nguyen shows what an original and brilliant voice Raff's is: the colour and inventiveness of his Metamorphosen is entirely his own."
– Michael Church


Joachim Raff, Liszt's amanuensis and confidante in Weimar, was one of Germany's leading composers, a reputation based largely on his symphonic works. But he was prolific in other forms as well, excelling in chamber and vocal music, and especially in numerous and varied compositions for the piano.

The three piano works here come from the very pinnacle of his career. The 1871 Fantasie Sonata is a fascinating and richly imaginative hybrid, whilst the Variations on an Original Theme is marked by fertility of invention. The Piano Album exemplifies Raff's gift for lyricism and characterisation.

Also Available:

Fantasie-Sonate, Op. 168 17:25
1. I. Allegro patetico 06:47
2. II. Largo 05:56
3. III. Allegro molto 04:42

Variationen Über ein Originalthema, Op. 179 * 26:39
4. Andante 01:02
5. Thema 00:40
6. Variation 1: L'istesso tempo 00:39
7. Variation 2: L'istesso tempo 00:34
8. Variation 3: Allegro assai 00:24
9. Variation 4: L'istesso tempo 00:29
10. Variation 5: Meno mosso 00:49
11. Variation 6: L'istesso tempo 00:45
12. Variation 7: L'istesso tempo 00:47
13. Variation 8: Tranquillo 01:01
14. Variation 9: L'istesso tempo 00:55
15. Variation 10: Veloce leggiero 00:47
16. Variation 11: L'istesso tempo 01:08
17. Variation 12: PiĆ¹ mosso 01:15


18. Variation 13: Moderato 00:55
19. Variation 14: Moderato 01:42
20. Variation 15: Allegro molto 00:51
21. Variation 16: L'istesso tempo 00:58
22. Variation 17: L'istesso tempo 00:52
23. Variation 18: Adagio 02:57
24. Variation 19: Doppio movimento 01:41
25. Variation 20: Doppio movimento 01:28
26. Finale: Moderato maestoso 04:00

Vier KlavierstÜcke, Op. 196 19:03
27. No. 1. Im Schilf (Etude) 05:07
28. No. 2. Berceuse * 03:20
29. No. 3. Novelette * 04:51
30. No. 4. Impromptu * 05:45

* World Première Recording



British-Vietnamese Tra Nguyen gave her first concert, performing Mozart's Piano Concerto, K488 with the Hanoi Conservatory Orchestra. Since then she has continued to engage audiences in other important venues worldwide. Recent and future performances include Queen Elizabeth Hall, Tokyo Opera City, Hong Kong City Recital Hall and Wigmore Hall amongst others. Her imaginative programming balances core repertoire and lesser-known music, winning critical praises. Her discography introduces many world première recordings of neglected music. Her most recent recordings of the piano music of Joachim Raff were chosen as Album of the Week by The Independent in March 2010 and in April 2012. Tra studied with Lev Naumov at the Moscow Conservatory and with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music where she received the Academy's highest award for her final recital.

"Tra Nguyen has technique to burn and an instinctive feel for narrative pace; she delivers with the kind of conviction that suggests she has known the music all her life." - Martin Anderson, International Piano

"...The nimble-fingered soloist, the young British-Vietnamese pianist Tra Nguyen, despatches the Mendelssohnian filigree writing with stylish aplomb. Altogether an engaging and attractive discovery." - Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone

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