GRAMOLA, 1 CD
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The pianist Andreas Eggertsberger was considered a prodigy in his early years, gave his first concert at the age of 12 and completed piano studies at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz at the age of just 15. Further studies, an international career and many awards followed, before Eggertsberger finally received the diagnosis of "focal dystonia" after a long search for causes of his diminishing left-hand play in 2012. Focal dystonia is the same neurological disease that was probably for the first time documented with Robert Schumann. The long-term therapy required a complete re-learning of the piano, meticulous exercises to bring rehearsed movement back under control. Five years later, Andreas Eggertsberger sees himself healed and returns to the concert podium. For his debut CD with Gramola under the meaningful title "Dystonia", the pianist from Linz, Austria, recorded the Kreisleriana, Op.16 by Robert Schumann and the Sonata in A major, D. 959 by Franz Schubert.
Andreas Eggertsberger was born in Linz, Austria in 1980. In 1995, he became the youngest graduate in the school's history to receive a concert diploma with distinction. Further studies brought him to the class of the legendary pedagogue Karl-Heinz Kämmerling at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and to the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, where he completed his studies with Oleg Maisenberg. In addition, he refined his piano playing with Thomas Hecht, the former assistant of Leon Fleisher, at the YST Conservatory in Singapore. Starting in the autumn of 2010, Eggertsberger resumed his studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, in the class of the renowned American pianist Arthur Greene.
Eggertsberger has won prizes at many national and international competitions, including the Ettlingen International Piano Competition in 1992, a Yamaha Scholarship in 1993, and becoming semifinalist at the Louisiana International Piano Competition. He received the Taras Gabora Prize at the International Music Festival in Casalmaggiore, Italy, for his interpretation of Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" Sonata, Op. 106. Eggertsberger has performed as soloist in concerts in Europe and Asia, as well as in various chamber music groups. In 2015 he made his debut with the Mainzer Virtuosen in Mainz, Germany. He has performed in concert halls including the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Brucknerhaus Linz, the Beethovenhaus Bonn, Queen Victoria Hall and Esplanade in Singapore. Eggertsberger was a regular guest artist at the Salzkammergut Festival in Gmunden, Austria.
|1||Franz Schubert: Sonate A-Dur D 959|
|3||III Scherzo. Allegro vivace||5:24||1.59€|
|4||IV Rondo. Allegretto||12:38||2.39€|
|Robert Schumann: Kreisleriana, Op. 16|
|5||I Äußerst bewegt||2:50||0.99€|
|6||II Sehr innig und nicht zu rasch||9:03||1.59€|
|7||III Sehr aufgeregt||4:26||0.99€|
|8||IV Sehr langsam||2:54||0.99€|
|9||V Sehr lebhaft||3:20||0.99€|
|10||VI Sehr langsam||3:31||0.99€|
|11||VII Sehr rasch||2:22||0.99€|
|12||VIII Schnell und spielend||3:28||0.99€|
Dystonia: Franz Schubert – Sonata in A, D959, Robert Schumann – Kreisleriana / Andreas Eggertsberger, piano
This is a very personal disc for Austrian pianist Andreas Eggertsberger and the reason is in the title, Dystonia. With diminishing use of his left hand, Andreas finally received the diagonosis of focal dystonia in 2012, the same neurological disease that was probably documented for the first time with Robert Schumann. Following five years of treatment and therapy, which required a complete re-learning of the piano and meticulous exercises to bring rehearsed movement back under control, Andreas has returned to performing.
The pairing of a late Schubert sonata and Schumann’s Kreisleriana is an intelligent choice. Schumann was a great admirer of Schubert and championed his music after his death in 1828.
Andreas gives the first movement of the Schubert sonata a generally good-natured air, the emotional voltes-faces are not laboured but feel fleeting and poignant. Nor does he push the tempo, which gives the movement a pleasing spaciousness without feeling overlong (and Andreas observes the exposition repeat). The second movement, too often given an overly psychological treatment with an almost funereal tempo (it’s marked Andantino, not Adagio!) by others who shall remain nameless, has a spare simplicity which contrasts well with the sprightly articulation and warm-hearted nature of the opening movement. It’s sombre rather than melancholy. The middle section unfolds with the drama of a Baroque fantasy, restrained at first so that the eventual climax is all the more impactful. Even in the bigger, louder gestures, the overall mood is introverted and reflective. Again, a rather more leisurely tempo in the third movement gives the music more breathing space and time to appreciate smaller details, which are neatly articulated. The trio gives way to grandeur, briefly, but the overall mood is intimate. The good nature of the opening movement is reprised in the finale, and here Andreas brings a pleasing sense of nostalgia and warmth, the opening theme played with an elegant lyricism, its fragmented return at the close of the movement fleeting and tender. Overall, excellent articulation, tasteful pedalling and a clean, but not over bright sound (a Bosendorfer Imperial 1922). Having spent three years studying and learning this sonata myself, and listening to many different performances of it, Andreas’ account comes very close to my own and is perhaps the reason why I like his so much.
Kreisleriana, like Papillons, is a multi-movement work and reflects Schumann’s contrasting personalities, which he named Florestan (active, extrovert) and Eusebius (passive, introvert). Like the Schubert Sonata, this is elegantly and tastefully articulated with fine clarity, particularly in the more florid passages, and Andreas is ever alert to the shifting moods. The sehr langsam movements have a distinct poignancy, reflective, almost verging on tragedy. Overall, a colourful account, rich in character and contrast.
In addition to detailed notes on the pieces, the liner notes also contain an account of Andreas Eggertsberger’s journey from diagonosis to rehabilitation and as such may prove supportive to others afflicated with focal dystonia
Recommended - The Cross-Eyed Pianist
"Austrian pianist Andreas Eggertsberger’s recording of Schubert’s Sonata in A major, D. 959 reveals playing of great maturity, patience and wisdom, always combining a fine sense of musical clarity with deep expression. Under Eggertsberger’s hands, the music is allowed to breathe and unfold at a natural and satisfying pace. The Andantino second movement’s sorrowful mood is conveyed in the same manner that finer singers of Schubert’s Lieder would happily embrace. The lovely innocence of the finale unfolds with admirable yet subtle coloristic variety and boundless imagination.
Schumann’s Kreisleriana, op. 16 highlights Eggertsberger’s fire and passion, juxtaposed with many moments of strikingly poignant lyricism. His playing is always clear and balanced, yet it packs a powerful emotional impact. That combination makes this a performance of the highest rank. Surely, after overcoming a neurological condition as daunting and devastating as a focal dystonia, this artist has emerged as a finer musician for having suffered and ultimately triumphed over the malady." Dr. Thomas Lanners, Professor of Piano, Oklahoma State University