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Seong-Jin Cho|The Handel Project: Handel-Suites & Brahms-Variations

The Handel Project: Handel-Suites & Brahms-Variations

Seong-Jin Cho

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Among the monuments of Baroque music, Handel's keyboard music is comparatively rarely played and recorded. Thus, it is unsurprising that pianist Seong-Jin Cho's program here seems so fresh; performers haven't really come to grips with Brahms' homage to Handel in his Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24. It is a fascinating work, with small, chaconne-like variations that explore register and melodic shape in profound ways. Cho gives a muscular, arresting performance of the work here, in which the energies built up over the course of the variation set make the final fugue seem almost inevitable. Perhaps even better are Cho's performances of three Handel keyboard suites, plus a pair of Baroque dances included as encores. Cho delves into the suites in great detail. Hear how he digs into the startling harmonic shadings right at the outset, in the opening Adagio of the Suite No. 2 in F major, HWV 427. His are powerful readings of the suites, with great variety in articulation and tempo. At times, one thinks of Glenn Gould; Cho is much more sparing in his use of the pedal, but he is that commanding and charismatic. This is a strong program, brilliantly executed, and it marks the arrival of Cho in the pianistic top rank.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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The Handel Project: Handel-Suites & Brahms-Variations

Seong-Jin Cho

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Suite No. 2 in F Major, HWV 427 (Georg Friedrich Händel)

1
I. Adagio
00:02:36

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

2
II. Allegro
00:02:17

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

3
III. Adagio
00:01:36

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

4
IV. Allegro
00:02:09

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Suite No. 8 in F Minor, HWV 433 (Georg Friedrich Händel)

5
I. Prélude
00:02:16

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

6
II. Allegro
00:02:28

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

7
III. Allemande
00:03:04

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

8
IV. Courante
00:01:40

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

9
V. Gigue
00:02:00

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Suite No. 5 in E Major, HWV 430 (Georg Friedrich Händel)

10
I. Prélude
00:02:09

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

11
II. Allemande
00:04:33

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

12
III. Courante
00:01:42

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

13
IV. Air & 5 Variations "The Harmonious Blacksmith"
00:03:34

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24 (Johannes Brahms)

14
Aria
00:00:49

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

15
Var. 1
00:00:47

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

16
Var. 2 (Animato)
00:00:41

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

17
Var. 3 (Dolce)
00:00:44

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

18
Var. 4 (Risoluto)
00:00:49

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

19
Var. 5 (Espressivo)
00:00:56

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

20
Var. 6
00:00:55

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

21
Var. 7 (Con vivacitá)
00:00:37

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

22
Var. 8
00:00:35

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

23
Var. 9 (Poco sostenuto)
00:01:17

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

24
Var. 10 (Energico)
00:00:35

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

25
Var. 11 (Dolce)
00:00:47

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

26
Var. 12 (Soave)
00:00:49

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

27
Var. 13 (Largamente, ma non più)
00:01:25

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

28
Var. 14 (Sciolto)
00:00:37

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

29
Var. 15
00:00:43

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

30
Var. 16 (Piano ma marcato)
00:00:30

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

31
Var. 17 (Più mosso)
00:00:29

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

32
Var. 18 (Grazioso)
00:00:50

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

33
Var. 19 (Leggiero e vivace)
00:01:06

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

34
Var. 20 (Legato)
00:01:22

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

35
Var. 21 (Dolce)
00:00:50

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

36
Var. 22
00:01:04

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

37
Var. 23 (Vivace e staccato)
00:00:32

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

38
Var. 24
00:00:33

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

39
Var. 25
00:00:37

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

40
Fugue
00:05:08

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Suite No. 7 in B-Flat Major, HWV 440 (Georg Friedrich Händel)

41
III. Sarabande
00:02:36

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Suite in B-Flat Major, HWV 434 (Georg Friedrich Händel)

42
IV. Minuet (Arr. Kempff for Piano)
00:04:17

George Frideric Handel, Composer - Wilhelm Kempff, Arranger, Work Arranger - Rainer Maillard, Producer, Recording Producer - Seong-Jin Cho, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Album review

Among the monuments of Baroque music, Handel's keyboard music is comparatively rarely played and recorded. Thus, it is unsurprising that pianist Seong-Jin Cho's program here seems so fresh; performers haven't really come to grips with Brahms' homage to Handel in his Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24. It is a fascinating work, with small, chaconne-like variations that explore register and melodic shape in profound ways. Cho gives a muscular, arresting performance of the work here, in which the energies built up over the course of the variation set make the final fugue seem almost inevitable. Perhaps even better are Cho's performances of three Handel keyboard suites, plus a pair of Baroque dances included as encores. Cho delves into the suites in great detail. Hear how he digs into the startling harmonic shadings right at the outset, in the opening Adagio of the Suite No. 2 in F major, HWV 427. His are powerful readings of the suites, with great variety in articulation and tempo. At times, one thinks of Glenn Gould; Cho is much more sparing in his use of the pedal, but he is that commanding and charismatic. This is a strong program, brilliantly executed, and it marks the arrival of Cho in the pianistic top rank.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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