JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882)



Joachim Raff (1822-1882) was regarded by his contemporaries as one of the foremost symphonists of his age, but in his extensive oeuvre of 329 compositions over half of them are for the piano. This selection of 21 works offers a cross section of the best of this large catalogue for the instrument, chosen by acclaimed Raff interpreter Tra Nguyen to showcase the varied aspects of his art. Raff’s melodic generosity, his piquant harmonic sensibility and ravishing textures are all on display in these pieces which span the whole of his career, from the exuberant Douze Romances to the majestic Grande Sonate.

Listen to: La Cicerenella, Op. 165 , 1. Presto


About this Recording

Bavarian-born JOACHIM RAFF was one of a galaxy of star pianist-composers of a similar age that included Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and Thalberg. A student of Hummel, Henselt developed a breathtaking, idiosyncratic virtuoso technique but stage fright drew him away from performance and more towards composition and then teaching. Moving to St Petersburg in 1838, he established, with Anton Rubinstein, a truly Russian school of pianism. His piano works embrace ferocious technical studies as well as romantic salon pieces that led Schumann to dub Henselt ‘the Chopin of the North’.


British-Vietnamese Tra Nguyen’s imaginative programming balances core repertoire and lesser-known music, winning critical praise. Her discography introduces many world première recordings of neglected music. Her recordings of Joachim Raff’s piano music have earned wide critical acclaim, including Album of the Week awards by The Independent. Tra Nguyen 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. She was awarded the ARAM (Associate of the Royal Academy of Music) for her “significant contribution to the music profession” in 2013.    |    Visit us on  
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