Con forza, assai marcato 3:16 from Drei fantasiestücke, Op. 111 by Robert Schumann
Total Playing Time: 1:07:57
Ho Yan Agnes Wan - Piano
Praised as a “big pianist, big musician, big potential” with “compelling artistry that draws the listeners in and envelops them with musical joy,” Hong Kong-native pianist Ho Yan Agnes Wan was a finalist (the only solo pianist among the finalists) of the 2012 International Web Concert Hall Competition. She has previously received awards at the Los Angeles Liszt International Piano Competition, Artists International Debut Auditions, the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition, Loyola Concerto/Aria Competition, University of Iowa All-University Concerto/Aria Competition, and the University of Iowa Chamber Music Competition. An active recitalist, she has performed in Canada, France, Hong Kong, and various parts of the United States. Her performances have been broadcasted live on radio stations including the WFMT Chicago, WPLN Nashville, and WUOL Louisville. Also an experienced clinician, she has adjudicated for many youth competitions and presented a range of pedagogical topics at various music teachers association events. Her book, Physical and Mental Issues in Piano Performance: The Interrelationships between Physical Tension, Performance Anxiety, and Memorization Strategies, was published by VDM-Verlag in 2008. A graduate of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Loyola University New Orleans, and the University of Iowa, where she was granted her bachelor, masters, and doctoral degrees in piano performance respectively, she also holds an Artist Diploma in Piano from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Her teachers have included Gabriel Kwok, Nancy Loo, H. Jac McCracken, Uriel Tsachor, Rene Lecuona, James Tocco, and Michael Chertock.
While Robert Schumann (1810-1856) was one of the most prominent
musical figures of the Romantic Era, his romanticism stemmed from a deeper root than the century he lived in. His entire life was filled with endless struggles, coupled with endless love. He lost a few family members rather early; acquired a serious hand injury that ended his dream of becoming a concert pianist; was rejected by his wife’s father who bitterly opposed his marriage proposal; and suffered from long-term mental illnesses that ultimately contributed to his death. Yet on the “bright side,” he developed a long-lasting love relationship with Clara Wieck Schumann, whom he married in 1840 after overcoming a legal battle with her father. The romantic sentiments that he felt for Clara were often reflected in the composer’s music.
This disc is titled “Romance at the Piano” because the three sets of piano works presented are all reflective of Schumann’s romanticism, each in a slightly different way. Kinderszenen, Op. 15, is a set of 13 short pieces composed in 1838, each with a descriptive title that the composer added later as “hints for interpretation.” In a letter to Clara, Schumann described Kinderszenen as “peaceful, tender, and happy, like our future,” revealing Schumann’s romantic and poetic visions of his married life with Clara and their children. Kreisleriana, Op. 16, written in 1840, was named after a fictional character, Kreisler, who was introduced by the poet E. T. A. Hoffmann. The range of musical expressions displayed in the eight pieces reminds the audience of the two imaginary characters Schumann had introduced in his Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6
Label: Soundset Recordings Item Number: SR1047 Format: CD Year Recorded: 2012