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CR-082. Hyekyung Lee, piano. Mozart

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CR-082. Hyekyung Lee, piano. Mozart

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Weight: 120 g

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 in Salzburg. His musical gift disclosed itself very early; at the age of 4, he played clavier, his first compositions appeared in 1761. Soon, he began his concert tours, accompanied by his father; after first triumphs of the young genius, life turned its darker side to him. His work at the Archbishop of Salzburg’s court was a terrible ordeal, and it proved to be impossible to find another job. Mozart was the first amongst the great composers of the past who had deliberately chosen the precarious yet independent life of the “free artist”. Since 1781, he lived in Vienna, where most of his important works were created; he died in 1791.
Works for clavier are quite important in Mozart’s heritage. He was a great pianist himself, perhaps one of the most eminent virtousi of his time. His outstanding art, his unique ability for improvisation enchanted audiences wherever he played. And in his compositions he also gave much consideration to piano.
It should be observed that it was a piano, similar to the instruments of the next centuries though certainly less sonorous, not a clavichord. Mozart’s vision of an “ideal” piano is worth mentioning. He wrote about pianos made by Stein, a master from Augsburg : “.. the sound disappears much better... Even if you play loudly, the sound dies away almost at the very moment when you press the key, whenever you hold the fingers on the keyboard or not”. These words, that might seem surprising to a contemporary musician, throw the light upon the secrets of Mozart’s pianism.
Piano sonatas in C major KV 330 and B flat major KV 333 were composed in 1778, during a trip that Mozart undertook in the hope to find a new job. Accompanied by his mother, he left Salzburg (the city about which he wrote: “Nobody appreciates my talent there! When I play or my compositions are performed, it seems that nobody listens except chairs and tables!”) and, after several weeks in Munich, Augsburg and Manheim, arrived in Paris. Although fresh impressions, new people, new experience were somehow interesting and useful for Mozart, the practical results of his life in Paris were quite disappointing. “If only there would be some place here where people would have ears, heart to be able to feel, just some little understanding of music... but I am here among real beasts (as far as music is concerned)”, - he wrote from Paris. Besides, his mother got ill and died; he was alone in a strange, almost hostile city. He still couldn’t find any job and had to return to Salzburg.
At that time, Mozart composed seven Sonatas for clavier (five of them - in Paris), including the Sonata in C major KV 330 and the tragic A minor Sonata 331 (there are some amazing melodic parallels between the second theme of the finale of KV 330 and the first theme of KV 331) the famous Sonata in A major with Variations and Rondo alla Turca KV 310. In two sonatas - F major KV 332 and B flat major KV 333, the influence of Johann Christian Bach might be found. Mozart appreciated Bach’s music and valued his good opinion. In 1778, the two composers met in Paris.
The last of the compositions that are represented on this CD is the Sonata in D major KV 576. This was the last of all his piano sonatas. He composed it in Vienna in 1789. It was rather hard time for Mozart: lack of money, debts, his wife’s illness, deaths of his small children (Constanza and Amadeus had six children, but only two of them outlived their father) were devastating. “O Lord! I am in such circumstances that I would never wish to a worst enemy!”, Mozart wrote to his friend, a merchant and a fellow member of the masonic lodge Puchberg. In spite of the circumstances, this was the time when he composed “Don Giovanni” (1787), three greatest last symphonies (1788) a year later, he would compose “Magic flute”, and then - Requiem...
In July 1789, Mozart wrote to Puchberg in a letter asking for a credit: “At the moment, I am working on six easy sonatas for Princess Frederica and six quartets for the King” (King of Prussia; in spring 1789, Mozart made a trip to North Germany). But only one sonata was completed. It is difficult to say if it can be called “easy”. Its light and delicate structure is a real challenge for any pianist, and the deepest sorrow that is felt in the major colour of the second movement make this sonata one of Mozart’s most interesting works.
In 1790, Mozart returned to his plan of six sonatas, but he wrote only a few fragments. The D major sonata remained the last one.
Maria Parshina

Hyekyung Lee, born in Wonju, Korea in 1959 began to play piano at the age of 6. After winning several national music competitions, she had her first public concert with Seoul Sinfonietta Orchestra in 1970, and 4 years later became the soloist for the foundation concert of Korea Jeunesse Musicale Orchestra.
Entering Folkwang Music College in Essen, Germany in 1975, she subsequently won the DAAD German government scholarship, the Folkwang Prize Competition and the nationwide German Music College Union Competition.
Transferring to Muenchen Music College, she graduated with top marks in 1981. During 2 years of graduate school, she gave recitals, performed for various radio programs and earned the Bach Prize at Vianna da Motta International Competition in Lisbon.
In 1984, Miss Lee returned home to teach at Chung-Ang University as a professor. Today, Hyekyung Lee is recognized as one of Korea’s outstanding musicians with her wide concert repertoires from baroque to contemporary. In 1984 she received the “Critic's Prize” from the Korea Music Pen Club. In 1988 she was selected as “Musician of the Year” by Dong-A music magazine. In 1993 she received the “Korea Music Award” from the Korea Music Society. In 2004 she received the “Seoul Music Prize” from the Korea Music Critic Association.
Hyekyung Lee has performed at Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center in USA, in Sydney, Vienna, Moscow, Tokyo, Manila and with the Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland. In Korea she plays regularly with the Korea Philharmonic Orchestra and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. She has also performed chamber music with the Colorado String Quartet, the New Budapest String Quartet, flautist Patrick Galloy and Maxence Larrieu, trumpeter Stephen Burns, Korea’s top violinist Dong-Suk Kang and the Korean traditional drum quartet Samulnori, among many others. Miss Lee's career has also brought her in contact with many fine conductors, including Vakhtang Jordania, Bernhard Gueller, Barry Wordsworth, Sandro Suturello and Yan Pascal Tortelier.

© Classical Records

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