Benjamin Moser on his program:
I have had the idea for this project since 2016. For the occasion of the 10th anniversary of my prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition and of my first CD with Russian music, I wanted to make another recording, a sort of “Volume 2” with Russian repertoire.
Within that framework I wanted to couple a well-known work with others that are more seldom performed: the Pictures at an Exhibition seemed like a good choice, since I had always wanted to play them – particularly in the original version, which I love. I wanted to couple them with Rachmaninoff’s 1st Piano Sonata, a seldom-performed work which, in my opinion, is both marvelous and underrated. But then I discovered Earl Wild’s arrangements of Rachmaninoff songs, and soon became thrilled with these technically demanding yet delightfully lyrical miniatures.
A further inspiration, particularly for Gershwin’s Preludes and Virtuoso Etudes, was provided by the focus on “America” chosen by the Ruhr Piano Festival, where, in the summer of 2017, I performed the programme now featured on this CD under the name “Songs and Pictures” in a live recital – a daunting challenge indeed!
Now, in cooperation with Deutschlandradio Berlin and AvI (to both of whom I extend my heartfelt thanks!), this CD recording now finally sees the light of day. I hope that it will bring much pleasure to everyone who deigns to listen!