Album lyrique, Op. 17 • Cinq Eglogues, Op. 105 •
Impromptu–valse, Op. 94 • Fantaisie–polonaise, Op. 106

"While the previous two volumes of Raff’s piano music showed the composer as the restrained romantic, Vol.3 is quite a departure from attitudes and strict rules of classicism. It was a real revelation for me to see Raff’s softer side, embracing a thorough lyrical, sensitive and intimate voice for the Album Lyrique op.17 and Five Eclogues op.105. These short pieces hold moments of rare sonic beauty – fragile and ephemeral as dew drops before sunrise." – Tra Nguyen


Joachim Raff

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 Album Lyrique, Op.17 contains a distillation of Raff’s gifts for writing richly varied character pieces for the piano. They are often slow and meditative, but become increasingly dramatic and sonorous as the music progresses. The Cinq Eglogues, Op.105 are poetic gems, the Impromptu–Vals, Op.94 attained huge popularity, whilst the Fantaisie–Polonaise, Op.106 reveals Raff’s bravura side.

Album Lyrique, Op. 17 (46:52)
Volume 1:
1 Rê verie: Larghetto, rubato (04:08)
2 Rê verie: Lento (04:11)
3 Rê verie: Andante con moto, quasi allegretto (04:09)

Volume 2:
4 Romance: Moderato (04:33)
5 Ballade: Allegro – Più allegro (04:37)

Volume 3:
6 Nocturne No 1: Lento (05:59)
7 Nocturne No 2: Larghetto (04:49)

Volume 4:
8 Scherzo: Allegro (05:22)

Volume 5:
9 Introduction et Fugue: Allegro (09:04)

  Cinq Eglogues, Op. 105 (18:24)
Volume 1:
10 Allegro molto (04:20)
11 Andante con moto (04:22)
12 Andante quasi larghetto (03:57)
13 Andante mosso (02:39)
14 Presto giojoso (03:06)

Impromptu–Valse, Op. 94 (04:15)
15 Allegro vivace (04:15)

Fantaisie–Polonaise, Op. 106 (07:02)
16 Energico (07:02)

World Première Recordings



Tra Nguyen
© Studio Anh Hieu

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.

"...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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"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 playing is of a beguiling loveliness, the recording has richness and depth, and the music, a revelation, makes one eager for the next volume."American Record Guide

"Tra Nguyen makes the best possible case for all these works"

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