Critics say cellist Brian Thornton and pianist Spencer Myer are a match made in heaven. They play as one body, one spirit, and one soul. Their third collaboration for Steinway & Sons features passionate performances of works by the great Romantic composer, Robert Schumann.
Steinway & Sons releases a new album from cellist Brian Thornton and pianist Spencer Myer devoted to the music of Robert Schumann (STNS 30117). This is the duo’s third collaboration for the Steinway label, following the March release of the Debussy Cello Sonata and Brahms Clarinet Trio with clarinetist Afendi Yusuf, and 2017’s recording of the Brahms Cello Sonatas.
Thornton and Myer have a long history of performing together, going all the way back to 2005 when Myer was a finalist in the Cleveland International Piano Competition and performed Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra, where Thornton is a member of the cello section. After that evening, the two stayed in touch; Thornton even reached out to Myer when he was in the process of starting the Lev Aronson Cello Festival in 2012, now one of the premiere cello festivals in the world.
Given Thornton and Myer’s mutual love of Brahms and his appearance on their first two Steinway albums, it makes sense that their next album as a duo would focus on Robert Schumann, Brahms’ close friend and mentor. Included on the album is the Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70; Fünf Stücke im Volkston, Op. 102; and the Fantasiestücke, Op. 73. To close the album, Thornton and Myer share a beautiful arrangement of Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria.”
“I adore playing with Brian, because his playing ‘speaks’,” says Myer. “It goes beyond mere cello playing, and beyond music-making. There is a sincerity with which he plays that allows him to communicate as naturally as one would speak in conversation. Thus, it's incredibly easy to tune into what he wants to do, and to join him on a musical journey through a piece.”
“Masterful insight and attentive nuances make the pairing of Brian Thornton and Spencer Myer a keeper during this trip into Robert Schumann’s Works for Cello & Piano... Fluidity and connection are everywhere.”
“Thornton has a deep, warm and velvety tone in the Adagio and Allegro Op.70, the Fünf Stücke im Volkston Op.102 and the Fantasiestücke Op.73, ably partnered by Myer.”
THE WHOLE NOTE
“Right from the first notes of the Adagio and Allegro one is taken in by the sheer beauty of tone Brian Thornton draws from his instrument. Elegance and poise also mark his playing, complemented by equally beautiful contributions from pianist Spencer Myer.”
“Start to finish, it’s musical poetry. Chamber music simply doesn’t get any better, or more intimate.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Schumann: Works For Cello And Piano / Brian Thornton, Spencer • STNS 30117
Release Date: 08/02/2019
Recorded Direct to the Stereo Master at Clonick Hall Studio, Oberlin Conservatory of Music; Oberlin, Ohio on August 27 - 29, 2018.
Recording Producer: Thomas C. Moore, Five/Four Productions, Ltd.
Recording, Mix, and Mastering Engineer: Michael Bishop, Five/Four Productions, Ltd.
Recording Editor: Thomas C. Moore, Five/Four Productions, Ltd.
Piano: Steinway Model D #464137 (New York)
Recorded and Mastered using Five/Four Productions' REVEAL SDMTM Technology.
Executive Producer: Jon Feidner
Art Direction: Jackie Fugere
Design: Cover to Cover Design, Anilda Carrasquillo
Production Assistant: Renée Oakford
About the Artists
Brian Thornton is a multi-faceted musician who has touched the lives of thousands of people through musical outreach programs around the world and through his performances commemorating his teacher, Lev Aronson. Mr. Thornton began playing the cello in the public school system of Chicago, giving him a passion for teaching young musicians and public school outreach programs. He has traveled from Kolkata, India to Osaka, Japan, influencing young musicians not only to play better cello, but to use music to positively affect the world around them. Mr. Thornton teaches at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) and performs with the Cleveland Orchestra where he has been part of the cello section for twenty-five years. Education is also a focus of Mr. Thornton’s life, and he spends part of his time teaching at CIM, conducting young musicians, as well as traveling to teach in different parts of the world. Modern music is of particular interest to Mr. Thornton, and he has premiered more than a hundred new solo cellos work around the world. Brian Thornton performs on a cello made by Francesco Rugeri in 1695.
Gold Medalist of the 2008 New Orleans International Piano Competition, Spencer Myer has been soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Cape Town and Johannesburg Philharmonics, and Beijing’s China National Symphony Orchestra. His 2005 recital/orchestra tour of South Africa included a performance of the five piano concerti of Beethoven with the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa. In 2004 he captured First Prize in the 10th UNISA International Piano Competition in South Africa, and won the 2006 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship from the American Pianists Association. Spencer Myer is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, the Juilliard School, and Stony Brook University, and is currently a member of the piano and Collaborative Piano faculty of Boston’s Longy School of Music Bard College. Spencer Myer is a Steinway Artist.
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.