From My Beloved Country (PFCD055) £12.50
New South African piano music
Renée Reznek - piano
"On 'From My Beloved Country' Renée Reznek serves up honesty, celebration and reflection in equal measure. The result is charming, thoroughly enjoyable and refreshing." Adam Fergler review
Hade, TaTa (Sorry Father) - 2013
KEVIN VOLANS PMB Impromptu - 2014
KEVIN VOLANS Garden of Forking Paths - 2014
MICHAEL BLAKE Broken Line - 2015
MICHAEL BLAKE Seventh Must Fall - 2016
ROB FOKKENS Five Miniatures - 2007
HENDRIK HOFMEYR Partita Africana I. Preludio II. Umsindo - 2006
PETER KLATZOW Barcarolle (Arnold Schoenberg in Venice) - 2005
DAVID EARL Song Without Words - 2014
DAVID EARL Barcarolle - 2014
DAVID KOSVINER Mbira Melody II - 2016
Renée Reznek commissioned 'Hade Tata' from Neo Muyanga in honour of Nelson Mandela and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first democratic elections in South Africa. Born in Soweto, heir to a long line of musicians, Muyanga composed a compelling programmatic piece which draws on traditional Sesotho and Zulu music fused with Ethiopian melismatic style, jazz and western classical music.
'PMB Impromptu' by internationally renowned composer Kevin Volans celebrates a shared birthplace, referencing both African and Western European traditions, sometimes humorously. Having studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen, also acting as his teaching assistant, Volans’ striking pianism is complex in its origins and technically challenging, whilst thoroughly economic in means. In contrast 'A Garden of Forking Paths' proceeds at a mesmeric, meditative pace.
Michael Blake’s 'Broken Line' is influenced by Eastern Cape bow music and exudes a vitality which evokes Africa. However this is composition which ultimately strikes one as global. In this Blake is similar to both Volans and Robert Fokkens whose delicately minimalist 'Five Miniatures' also relate to Xhosa bow traditions as well as Western European style. Blake’s 'Seventh Must Fall' is equally minimalist, a moving response to protests which continue at South African Universities.
Hendrik Hofmeyr is an Afrikaans composer who went into voluntary exile, only returning to South Africa at the end of apartheid. The inclusion of fragments of San music add a certain pathos to the vast landscape of the 'Preludio' from 'Partita Africana'. The evocative 'Umsindo' is evidence of the effective pianism of Hofmeyr’s writing.
David Kosviner’s joyous 'Mbira Melody II' is reminiscent of kalimba music across the continent, a captivating piece which is immediately accessible.
The other works on the CD are not African in origin but exemplify the influence of Western European music on composers Peter Klatzow and David Earl. Klatzow’s deeply imagined 'Barcarolle' quotes from Schoenberg whilst Earl’s atmospheric 'Barcarolle' shows a highly chromatic tonality. The melodious and nostalgic 'Song Without Words' was composed as a wedding gift.
The acclaimed pianist Renée Reznek was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa but settled in London after making a successful South Bank debut with the Park Lane Group. She specialises in playing music from the 20th and 21st centuries, giving many outstanding first performances of works composed for her.
A graduate of the University of Cape Town, she holds two Masters degrees in Piano performance and Music history from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Having taught at Cambridge University for many years, she combines private teaching with giving recitals, including concert tours of South Africa.
Renée Reznek’s London recitals have twice been cited as amongst the best of the year in the Financial Times and Music and Opera review. Her Wigmore Hall concert of the complete piano works of the Second Viennese School was much praised.
“A fascinating and distinguished recital ... an artist of scrupulous sensitivity and intelligence.” The Daily Telegraph