A clear crowd favourite at the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition (SIPCA) due to his incendiary technique and warm stage presence, Moye Chen was awarded the George Frederick Boyle Prize and was signed to Universal Music Australia shortly after.
For his debut recording – released in Australia on the legendary Deutsche Grammophon label – the Chinese pianist coalesces four worlds as he traces the journey of three composer-pianists who, like Chen himself, followed their destinies to the ‘New World’. Russians Sergei Rachmaninov and Vladimir Horowitz both found renewed fame in America, and Percy Grainger’s uncommon musical versatility found a second voice when he moved from Australia via England to America.
It’s an album that will appeal to the widest possible market. Who can fail to be seduced by Gershwin’s “Love Walked In” in the smoochy transcription by Percy Grainger. Or his Londonderry Air (which worked its way into one of the century’s biggest songs You Raise Me Up!). Vladimir Horowitz, one of the greatest virtuosos of all time, makes an appearance as both composer and transcriber. The transcription of The Stars and Stripes Forever is one of the most difficult pieces ever written for piano.
Rachmaninov is one of Moye Chen’s many specialities and he presents a range of pieces from this composer’s output – the gorgeous Melodie, the cheeky transcription of the ‘Menuet’ from Bizet’s L’Arlesienne, and the all-engulfing Second Sonata. Listen to the last couple of minutes of the finale. If that doesn’t move you, as someone once said, you need to see a specialist!
1 Polka de V.R.
2 Colonial Song
3 Danse excentrique (Moment exotique)
4 Valse in F minor
5 Love Walked In (George Gershwin)
6 Ramble on Love (after the Love Duet from Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier)
Morceaux de fantasie, Op. 3
7 No. 3: Mélodie in E major
8 No. 5: Sérénade in B flat minor
Morceaux de salon, Op. 10
9 No. 5: Humoresque in G major
10 Menuet from L’Arlésienne Suite No. 1 (Bizet)
11 Irish Tune from County Derry (Londonderry Air)
12 In Dahomey (Cakewalk Smasher)
13 The Stars and Stripes Forever (John Philip Sousa)
14–16 Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 36 (1913 & 1931 versions, ed. Horowitz)
MOYE CHEN, piano
Executive Producer: Cyrus Meher-Homji
Recording Engineer: Kevin Bourassa (Arts Laureate)
Assistant Engineers: Kevin Bourassa, Xiaoyu Zhang
Recording Location: Foellinger Great Hall at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA, 10, 11, 20 January and 4, 6, 8, 18 February 2018
“idiomatic and gorgeous” – The Age
“But it is Moye’s treatment of the [Rachmaninov] sonata — which became a signature work for Horowitz to perform throughout his long concert career — that most impresses. His sense of structure is spot-on and he displays a technique and ear for nuance that makes him seemingly capable of taking on ever more challenging works. This is an album which leaves one with the feeling that here is a remarkable talent and the prospect of hearing him perform some of the more substantial works in the repertoire is an exciting one.” – The Daily Telegraph
“He has a fine ear for the young Rachmaninov’s dynamism and elegance, and his singing line in the Op. 3 Mélodie is beautiful to behold.” – Limelight