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Jan Lisiecki - Night Music makes 'CBC's 22 favourite Canadian classical albums of 2022'

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CBC writes…Like all years, 2022 has had its ups and downs. The COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt concert activity, although to a lesser degree than during the previous two years. On the positive side of the ledger, there was a steady stream of new music from Canada's classical musicians, keeping us both busy and entertained all year long. While Quebec, home to Canada's two biggest classical music labels, continues to punch above its weight, it's encouraging to see Leaf Music, a relatively new label based in Halifax, building steam, and Redshift Records on the West Coast remaining steadfast in its mission to bring the music of living composers to a wide public.

Recorded live in Würzburg, Germany, in 2018, and released by Deutsche Grammophon earlier this year, this recital finds pianist Jan Lisiecki continuing his exploration of nighttime and its many facets. He traces an arc, from Mozart's enchanting variations on "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," to the sinister foreboding of Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit, by way of Schumann's Nachtstücke. The challenging chordal passages in the Schumann pieces are exquisitely voiced and gracefully tapered. Despite being note-perfect, Lisiecki's Mozart variations come across as a fun improvisation session. In Ravel, his risks pay off, with an unusually slow (and extra eerie) "Le gibet" and a breakneck "Scarbo" of superhuman calibre. Also, it's hard to think of another live recording with better audio production.

FROM PR….Following a critically-acclaimed recording of Chopin's Complete Nocturnes, which cemented his status as one of classical music’s favourite pianists, Jan Lisiecki presents a brand new digital and visual album inspired by Night Music, released today 18 February. With this project, the Canadian-born pianist and former Gramophone Young Artist of the Year, continues to explore the universe of night music with works by Mozart, Ravel, Schumann and Paderewski.

"I love putting together programmes. I love taking the audience on that journey with me." says Lisiecki. "It’s so much more meaningful than just playing works that I love. I still love these pieces, but I love how they go together as well. And that’s how 'Night Music' was born." The album, which features a selection of tracks from Lisiecki’s Würzburg recital in 2018, is also available in the immersive sound format Dolby Atmos and complemented by a visual album.

"To me a recital programme, just as much as my recordings, has to have a concept and has to have some force that is holding it together" adds Lisiecki, who is currently touring his Poems of the night programme in Germany and continues to enjoy a busy concert diary with upcoming dates in Poland, France, Canada and the United States. "After all, how can you put together Schumann and Ravel and Mozart? It’s impossible – in aspects of trying to find a link. So you have to create a musical link. And in this case it was music of the night, and showing the multifaceted world that it exists in."

Jan Lisiecki’s double album of Frédéric Chopin's Complete Nocturnes released last summer, immediately received critical acclaim worldwide ("There’s never any doubt that it is Chopin playing of the highest class" The Guardian) as well as topping the classical charts in North America and Europe. Lisiecki’s third Chopin recording for Deutsche Grammophon, a profoundly personal interpretation of some of the most beautiful and best-loved pieces ever written for solo piano, has just been made available in double LP vinyl format.