Jan Lisiecki, the 17-year-old pianist from Calgary, is CBC Music’s classical artist of the month for April. His debut album on the Deutsche Grammophon label was released today. It features Lisiecki performing Mozart’s piano concertos Nos. 20 and 21, K. 466 and 467, repertoire that, in his words, “shows who you are, both as a musician and as a person.”
Lisiecki signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon in October. Backing him up on his debut album is the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Christian Zacharias.
While they had never worked together before, Lisiecki says he had an instant rapport with maestro Zacharias: “At the recording sessions everything went smoothly and the music flowed. That is always what musicians strive for, in the end. Music-making should not be a burden, rather it should be fun! Of course, a recording session has some stress; usually there are constraints on the amount of recording time available. However, in the case of this CD, we did not need to use the extra recording session.”
What stands out on this recording? Lisiecki is proud of the balance between piano and orchestra: “I worked towards creating a fluent sound with the orchestra; one that works together between soloist and ensemble. I am also very happy with the Andante from the K. 467 concerto. It is often taken at a slow pace, possibly because of its association with the movie Elvira Madigan. When it is too slow, the line is lost; I recommend listening to the woodwinds to hear this effect.”
Here's a sample of that movement:
In next week’s Artist of the Month update, Lisiecki reflects on the future of classical music, and plays more Bach for CBC Music.
Artist of the month: Jan Lisiecki lays foundation with Bach
Jan Lisiecki: Classical music artist of the month
Album website at Deutsche Grammophon