Steinway & Sons Releases Joanne Polk’s New Album, The Flatterer: Music Of Cécile Chaminade
Renowned for her essential recordings and performances of exceptional yet overlooked repertoire by women composers, pianist Joanne Polk celebrates the great French Romantic composer Cécile Chaminade on this new disc from the Steinway & Sons label that transports us to the glittering salons of fin de siècle Paris — available September 9, 2014.
As a recording artist and recitalist, Joanne Polk has made a name for herself as a persuasive advocate for the music of women composers from the 19th and 20th centuries. In the late 1990s her INDIE-award winning three-disc set of the complete piano works of Amy Beach, was praised by critics across the world and represented a watershed moment for the music of the American composer. She has since applied her formidable talents to illuminating the music of Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn, among others. On her latest recording, The Flatterer, her first on the Steinway & Sons label, Polk uncovers the expansive, virtuosic sound world of a major turn-of-the-century French Romantic, Cécile Chaminade.
September 19th Update: After release, this recording hit #1 on Billboard's Traditional Classical Chart.
Raised in Paris on a steady diet of Berlioz, Meyerbeer, Gounod, Bizet and Franck, Chaminade developed a distinctive personal voice, which shines on this selection of salon pieces hand-picked by Polk. Filled with technical glitz to rival Liszt, Chaminade’s works for solo piano possess an undeniably Parisian soul—spritely arpeggios float over rumbling tremolos in the bass, laissez-faire rubato gives way to dancing rhythms that evoke boozy soirées, and the enticing melodies vibrate between deep yearning and existential wonder.
Polk’s performance captures the technical splendor and passion of Chaminade’s music, embracing the velvety waves that role through the title track La Lisonjera (The Flatterer), the showmanship and sparkling effects of numerous finger jumbling études, and the erudite sensitivity needed for the epic Sonata in C minor, Op. 21, a true masterwork for the instrument. After this impressive journey, we are left to wonder why it took so long for Chaminade to enter the great pantheon of French music.
Pianist Joanne Polk was catapulted into the public eye with her recordings of the complete piano works of American composer Amy Beach (1867–1944). Ms. Polk celebrated the centennial of Beach’s Piano Concerto by giving the work its London premiere with the English Chamber Orchestra at the Barbican Center under the baton of Paul Goodwin. A few days later, she performed the Piano Concerto with the Women’s Philharmonic in San Francisco with conductor Apo Hsu in a performance the San Francisco Chronicle described as "brilliant."
The first recording in the Beach series, By the Still Waters, received the 1998 INDIE award for best solo recording. Empress of Night, the fifth volume of Ms. Polk’s survey of Beach’s piano works, includes the Piano Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra, Paul Goodwin conducting. The sixth volume, Morning Glories, joins Ms. Polk with the Lark Quartet in three chamber music works. Her all-Beach performances with the Lark Quartet at Merkin Concert Hall were applauded by the New York Times as "polished and assured." The American Record Guide reported, "Polk and the Larks played their hearts out. We in the audience shouted ourselves hoarse with gratitude."
Ms. Polk’s CD Completely Clara: Lieder by Clara Wieck Schumann, featuring Metropolitan Opera soprano Korliss Uecker, was selected as one of the "Best of the Year" by the Seattle Times and featured on NPR’s Performance Today. Ms. Polk’s CD Callisto (Albany Records) features the solo piano music of Judith Lang Zaimont. Her 2007 CD Songs of Amy Beach, recorded with baritone Patrick Mason for Bridge Records, was nominated for a 2007 Grammy Award. In 2010, Ms. Polk’s two-CD set of solo piano music by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Songs for Pianoforte, was released on the Newport Classic label. Ms. Polk’s most recent solo piano CD, Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, was released in June 2012 on the Bridge Records label.
Ms. Polk has performed in solo recitals, with chamber ensembles, and as a soloist with orchestras in Europe, the U.S., and Australia. With composer Judith Lang Zaimont, she co-founded American Accent, a contemporary music group specializing in coveted, repeat performances of new works.
Ms. Polk received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Manhattan School of Music. In August 2012, Ms. Polk was one of four directors who launched Manhattan in the Mountains, a two-week summer music festival in the Catskill Mountains, devoted to chamber music, solo performing, and community engagement.
Ms. Polk has been a member of the Manhattan School of Music piano faculty since 2010 and of the Precollege faculty since 2006. She is an exclusive Steinway artist.
About Steinway & Sons label
The Steinway & Sons music label was founded in 2010 and has produced many phenomenal albums since its inception. Recordings on the Steinway & Sons record label can be purchased through ArkivMusic.com as well as Amazon, iTunes and other fine retailers around the globe. This collaboration under the umbrella of the historic Steinway & Sons is a perfect vessel for producing the finest quality recordings by some of the most talented pianists in the world.
About Steinway & Sons
Since its founding in New York in 1853, Steinway & Sons has been considered the world's premier piano manufacturer. Known for their exceptional craftsmanship, Steinway & Sons pianos are built in one of two company-owned and operated factories: Astoria, New York and Hamburg, Germany. Steinway & Sons pianos are still constructed primarily by hand, using many of the techniques developed over 160 years ago. Today, Steinway & Sons also offers the Boston and Essex piano lines, Listen, a magazine for music and culture lovers, and the Steinway & Sons record label. For more information, visit www.steinway.com.
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