Steinway & Sons releases the first complete, definitive recording of the piano music of Artur Schnabel played by Jenny Lin.
Prolific Steinway Artist Jenny Lin interprets the original works of the revered concert pianist, who saw composition as his “only freedom”
Artur Schnabel, still regarded as one of the most important pianists of the 20th century, particularly for his role in re-popularizing Beethoven’s piano music, was himself a passionate composer. His work as a pianist has overshadowed his composition career, but Steinway & Sons aims to correct this imbalance of perception with the double album, Artur Schnabel: Complete Works for Solo Piano (STNS 30074). Steinway Artist Jenny Lin, a thoughtful programmer known for championing the works of lesser-known composers, performs the Schnabel solo piano catalogue for this double album.
Despite a busy career as a pianist, Schnabel was also an astoundingly prolific composer, and solo piano music comprises a relatively small portion of his total output; he also wrote chamber music including five string quartets, songs (mostly for his wife, contralto Therese Behr-Schnabel), and three symphonies. And though he was particularly known for his pianistic interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert, his own compositional technique eventually shed the conventions of traditional diatonic harmony, moving into an idiom that confused and upset many of his biggest supporters and critics.
Schnabel, however, did not compose to please others, but rather because it provided him the most pleasure of any of his musical endeavors. In a letter to his wife, Schnabel wrote: “Manuscript paper is the only place where I am completely free. My space. With me as the master. I decide where to expand or set boundaries. I alone reap the fruits.”
Schnabel’s compositions for solo piano span the majority of his career, allowing listeners of this album to hear the progression of his style. From the Three Fantasy Pieces of 1898, composed when Schnabel was only 16, to the astonishing Piano Sonata of his middle period, through to the richly expressive and succinct Seven Piano Pieces of 1947, Schnabel’s compositions can finally be placed in the context of history as a valuable and significant body of work.
“No two ways about it, this is a remarkable achievement and a boost to the reputation of Schnabel as a composer. Three cheers for Jenny Lin!”
Art Music Lounge
“Jenny Lin is a pianist of the first rank who commands an enviably economical technique and a silvery singing sound that propels music directly to the heart. But what really sets her apart is her insatiable curiosity. She plays things nobody else does, or can.”
“Schnabel's piano music has a combination of down-to-earth rhythmic sense, seeming spontaneity, and considerable complexity of thought. Lin is a fine pianist technically, and she grasps the thread of personality connecting these works.”
“Kudos to Jenny Lin, a superb pianist, and the realistic Steinway sound for another example of a stimulating piano program.”
“Lin’s imaginative interpretations make a strong case for the continued viability of Schnabel’s music for the instrument he understood so well.”
“Possessing a truly unique pianistic skill set, Lin manages the character and style of old Europe remarkably well in this recording, considering how distant Schnabel’s music sits from the sights and sounds of 2019.
The Whole Note
Artur Schnabel: Complete Piano Music / Jenny Lin • STNS 30074
Release Date: 05/03/2019
Recorded 2017 – 2018 at Steinway Hall, New York City
Producer: Jon Feidner
Engineer: Lauren Sclafani
Assistant Engineer: Melody Nieun Hwang
Editing: Kazumi Umeda
Production Assistant: Renée Oakford
Mixing and Mastering: Daniel Shores
Piano Technician: Lauren Sclafani
Piano: Steinway Model D #597590 (New York)
Executive Producers: Eric Feidner and Jon Feidner
Art Direction: Jackie Fugere
Design: Cover to Cover Design, Anilda Carrasquillo
This recording was co-sponsored by the Schnabel Music Foundation, LLC
About the Artist
Steinway artist Jenny Lin is one of the most respected young pianists today, admired for her adventurous programming and charismatic stage presence. She has been acclaimed for her “remarkable technical command” and “a gift for melodic flow” by The New York Times. The Washington Post praises “Lin’s confident fingers… spectacular technique…”, “...surely one of the most interesting pianists in America right now…” and Gramophone Magazine has hailed her as “an exceptionally sensitive pianist”. Her orchestral engagements have included the American Symphony Orchestra, NDR and SWR German Radio orchestras, and Orchestra Sinfonica Nationale della RAI. Her concerts have taken her to Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center’s Great Performers, SF Jazz, MoMA, Stanford LIVE, and National Gallery of Art, appearing at Festivals such as Mostly Mozart, BAM’s Next Wave, Spoleto USA, Kings Place London, Chopin Festival Austria, and Schleswig-Holstein Festival Germany.
Since 2000, Jenny’s discography includes more than 30 recordings on Steinway & Sons, Hänssler Classic, eOne, BIS, New World and Albany Records. She is also the central figure in “Cooking for Jenny” by Elemental Films, a musical documentary portraying her journey to Spain. Other media appearances include CBS Sunday Morning, NPR Performance Today, and “Speaking for Myself”, a film about Manhattan as seen through the eyes of eight contemporary artists by filmmaker Bert Shapiro. Born in Taiwan and raised in Austria, Jenny studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and the Fondazione Internazionale per il pianoforte in Como, Italy. She holds a bachelor’s degree in German literature from The Johns Hopkins University.
About Steinway & Sons label
The STEINWAY & SONS music label produces exceptional albums of solo piano music across all genres. The label — a division of STEINWAY & SONS, maker of the world’s finest pianos — is a perfect vessel for producing the finest quality recordings by some of the most talented pianists in the world.