Jacob Greenberg: Solitary


Solitary is a collection of solo piano works written during periods of extreme isolation and creative austerity in the respective composers’ lives. The recording, Jacob Greenberg’s debut full length cd, features works by Kurtag, Schoenberg, Mozart, Schumann, and Jacob himself.


# Audio Title/Composer(s) Time
Total Time 54:06

Selections from Jatekok, Book 5

Gyorgy Kurtag (b. 1926)
01(...lovely greetings from Grete Spinnrad)
(...lovely greetings from Grete Spinnrad)
02Bell-Fanfare for Sandor Veress
Bell-Fanfare for Sandor Veress
03Capriccioso- luminoso (for Jeno Szervansky's 80th birthday)
Capriccioso- luminoso (for Jeno Szervansky's 80th birthday)
04Flowers we are...
Flowers we are...
05The little squall
The little squall
06... flowers also the stars...
... flowers also the stars...
07An apocryhal hymn
An apocryhal hymn
08The girl with the flaxen hair - enraged
The girl with the flaxen hair - enraged
10Farewell to Pal Kadosa
Farewell to Pal Kadosa
11Mozart: Rondo in A minor, K. 511
Mozart: Rondo in A minor, K. 511

Suite for Piano, op. 25

Arnold Schoenberg
14Musette: Gavotte da Capo
Musette: Gavotte da Capo
16Minuett and Trio
Minuett and Trio
18Greenberg: Lied ohne Worte nach Rilke
Greenberg: Lied ohne Worte nach Rilke

Gesange der Fruhe, op. 133

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
19I. Im ruhigen Tempo
I. Im ruhigen Tempo
20II. Belebt, nicht zu rasch
II. Belebt, nicht zu rasch
21III. Lebhaft
III. Lebhaft
22IV. Bewegt
IV. Bewegt
23V. Im Anfange ruhiges, im Verlauf bewegteres Tempo
V. Im Anfange ruhiges, im Verlauf bewegteres Tempo

Solitary is a collection of solo piano works written during periods of extreme isolation and creative austerity in the respective composers' lives. The recording, Jacob Greenberg's debut full length cd, features works by Kurtag, Schoenberg, Mozart, Schumann, and Jacob himself. The solo piano's introspective and solitary sound glues the diverse program together here, as does Jacob's hauntingly beautiful playing. There is something so intimate and cerebral about the sound of the piano, a sound that sheds the visceral qualities of vibrato and overt timbral differentiation, that a recital program such as this one can feel as if it takes place all within the inner life of the mind, even as it covers vast expressive territory.

Recorded 12/2008, 1/2009 and 1/2010, Sweeney Hall, Smith College, Massachusetts

Executive Producer: Jacob Greenberg
Session producers: Ryan Streber (all tracks), Daniel Lippel (Kurtag, Mozart), Kivie Cahn-Lipman (Schumann), Claire Chase (Schoenberg, Schumann)
Recording engineer, Digital Editing, Post-Production: Ryan Streber
Design: Jill Malek
Photography: Jacob Greenberg, Rebekah Heller

Jacob Greenberg

Pianist Jacob Greenberg's work as a soloist and chamber musician has received worldwide acclaim. A longtime member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, he has performed throughout the Americas and Europe. His solo concert series, Music at Close Range, shows his equal commitment to classics of the repertoire.

Recent highlights include a guest performance of works of György Kurtág at the International Summer Courses in Darmstadt, Germany, under the composer's guidance; concerts at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival; Boulez’s Sur Incises with the Seattle Symphony; and solo and concerto appearances with the International Contemporary Ensemble at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival. Live performances have been heard on WQXR New York, BBC Radio 3, WFMT Chicago and Radio Netherlands.

As an orchestral player, Mr. Greenberg has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, and Australian Chamber Orchestra. He performs often with the Chicago Symphony’s MusicNOW. A leading pianist of modern song, he has toured extensively with soprano Tony Arnold; their 2013 recording of Olivier Messiaen's Harawi has been singled out by critics. Mr. Greenberg is also recognized as a coach for contemporary opera.

In addition to his solo albums for New Focus Recordings, which feature works from the Baroque to many new commissions, he has recorded for the Nonesuch, Sony, Bridge, Naxos, Mode, Kairos, Centaur, Tzadik, and New Amsterdam labels. Mr. Greenberg is an award-winning record producer, and has completed discs for major domestic and international labels. He is the director of the International Contemporary Ensemble's in-house TUNDRA imprint. As a composer, he makes recorded pieces with spoken and sung texts. His podcast, Intégrales, explores meaningful intersections of music and daily city life.

Mr. Greenberg is on the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center, and has taught at Hunter College, City University of New York, The Juilliard School, and the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, where he earned degrees in music and religion, and he completed his master's and doctoral degrees at Northwestern University, where he studied with Ursula Oppens. Please visit jacobgreenberg.net.




Alex Ross Blog

"By the way, I'd like to mention again Jacob Greenberg's fine CD Solitary, with a strikingly polystylistic Lied ohne Worte by the pianist."

- The Rest is Noise


American Record Blog

Gyorgy Kurtag's Jatekok is a pedagogical work in the same vein as Bartok's Mikrokosmos. Pianist and composer Jacob Greenberg opens this interesting collection with ten selections from the fifth book; the pieces are small-scale but endlessly fascinating for their understanding of piano sonority and compositional ingenuity. He plays these pieces wonderfully.
Next is his account of Schumann's little played Songs of the Dawn; Schumann completed them about four months before his mental collapse, and I've never understood why they aren't performed more often; Greenberg makes a great case for them.
The Schoenberg-- a fiendishly difficult work-- sounds very enthusiastic, almost truculent.  Greenberg's virtuosic "Lied ohne Worte nach Rilke" is a delightful miniature, and its compositional quality is completely at home with the other works.

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