About this Recording
8.574256 - BREINER, P.: Caressing Your Soul - Calm Romantic Piano Music (Breiner)

Peter BREINER (b. 1957)
Caressing Your Soul: Calm Romantic Piano Music


Peter Breiner is one of the world’s most recorded musicians with over 200 releases and more than two million albums sold. A conductor, pianist, arranger and composer, he has conducted, often doubling as a pianist, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Mozart Orchestra, Hungarian State Radio Orchestra, Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia, Budapest, Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ukrainian State Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Capella Istropolitana, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, among many others.

Some of his most acclaimed recordings include Beatles Go Baroque (8.555010—over a quarter of a million albums sold worldwide) and Elvis Goes Baroque (8.990054) which, together with Christmas Goes Baroque I and II (8.550301 and 8.550670) represent his commercially most successful Baroque arrangements.

His arrangements of national anthems of all participating countries were used during the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. A new ten-disc set of the National Anthems of the World was written to coincide with the 2012 Olympic Games in London and was released in July 2013 by Naxos (8.201001).

The world premiere recording for Naxos of Breiner’s own arrangements of Janáček’s six Opera Suites (8.570555 and 8.570556) with him conducting the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra earned tremendous acclaim, Gramophone declaring it a ‘splendid disc … conducted with passion and sympathetic understanding’. The Chicago Tribune added: ‘Breiner fills the void with beautifully crafted symphonic suites based on the music of Jenůfa’. This was followed more recently by his own award-winning arrangements of Debussy’s 24 Préludes (8.572584) and Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades and Voyevoda Suite (8.573015), also recorded with the New Zealand Symphony conducted by Breiner himself.

Premiered live in July 2013 was the music for a huge transmedia project to consist of audio recording, several interactive videos, and audienceinvolvement platforms—Slovak Dances, Naughty and Sad. This project is based on Breiner’s own 100-minute orchestral suite of dances which was recorded by the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra with the composer conducting in September 2018 (8.574184-85).

Films that include his musical scores have enjoyed wide international exposure, including Anne of Green Gables, Timothy Findley’s Piano Man’s Daughter produced by Whoopi Goldberg and The Magic Flute. His music has been featured many times on popular TV shows, including the CBC series Wind at My Back and Seasons of Love.

It is difficult to assign a title to this artist—is he the conductor who composes or is he the pianist who arranges? As he simply states, ‘I am a musician’. In this age of high specialisation, it is not so easy to find someone who, with the same ease, takes the podium for a popular light classics concert, plays and directs from the piano, conducts a symphonic orchestra in Barber or Janáček, or in a programme of his own arrangements, a chamber orchestra with a Baroque programme while playing the harpsichord or a group of almost 200 musicians recording a score for a Universal Pictures movie.

Peter Breiner began to study the piano in early childhood in 1961, and his exceptional artistry led to his early admission to the conservatory in Košice in 1971. He studied piano with L. Kojanova and composition with J. Podprocky, as well as conducting and percussion. From 1975 to 1981 he studied composition at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava with Alexander Moyzes, one of the most significant figures in modern Slovak music. Peter Breiner lived in Toronto, Canada, from 1992 to 2007, and then moved to New York.

Profi cient in seven languages, Breiner has hosted various TV and radio programmes about music. In 1993 he was a co-host and music director of the most popular TV talk show in Slovakia, attracting over two million viewers in a country with a population of fi ve and a half million. He has his own column in one of Slovakia’s most influential weekly newspapers, while his fi rst book Maple Leaves came out in April 1998 and immediately became a No. 1 non-fi ction national bestseller. In 2016 he published his second book Isn’t There Another Globe?

Caressing Your Soul: Calm Romantic Piano

The works on this album were compiled in response to a direct request from Naxos Chairman Klaus Heymann. Frustrated at the quality of the existing crossover solo piano works on the market, and remembering the highly successful albums featuring the Symphonic Pop Orchestra, which I orchestrated and released on Naxos, Klaus Heymann suggested that I compose and record similar albums of calm and soothing piano compositions which would meld melodic substance with the musical expression so often lacking from the extant market recordings of ‘relaxing music’. I had in fact already been thinking about a similar project, and enthusiastically agreed to the proposal. Recording sessions were duly arranged, featuring mostly original pieces and coupling them with some tranquil and serene classical piano pieces in new arrangements.

The works on this release are a selection from the complete number of pieces recorded, with further albums planned for the future.

The recording for this album started rather adventurously, amid floods in Wales, where the recording studio is located, with the recording crew rescued in boats—as if foreshadowing the ominous times ahead. Little did we know when we decided to go ahead with this project how necessary and important this kind of music would suddenly become after the pandemic of 2020 hit the planet. People in general, not only music lovers, try to fi nd some solace, relief and peace of mind in an oasis of calming music, and I have tried my best to provide it. I hope that these works will provide moments of peace for all who listen.

Peter Breiner

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