”With exceptionally valuable background info, which was relatable and well explained and helped in understanding the highly complex musical sounds, these ingeniously chosen pieces were clearly outlined and situated in their respective contexts and the destinies of their composers.”
At what point in a composer’s vita did innovations occur, and with what results? In what phase of life was the aspect of self-reinvention especially pronounced? Inspired by these questions, the young Swiss pianist Gabiz Reichert wants to find out more about the new paths taken in Josef Haydn’s, Ludwig van Beethoven’s, and Sergei Prokofiev’s piano sonatas. It is hard to find a more well thought-out program on a recording than the one on Reichert’s debut CD. The recording took place in Wuppertal’s Immanuelkirche (Immanual Church), where Reichert chose to play on a grand piano by Bösendorfer.
In 1795, Josef Haydn’s career had begun including gleaming successes in front of British audiences. At the same time, Haydn was fascinated by many new inventions coming out of England. Especially in piano technologies, England was ahead of continental Europe, which inspired the composer to create new forms of expression and to take on playful challenges on the keys. Accordingly, Josef Haydn’s Sonata Hob XVI/52 is one of his most “pianistic” creations, including many virtuosic elements such as sparkling semiquaver notes and contrapuntal finesses. Studying and recording this sonata confirmed Gabiz Reichert’s assessment of Haydn as an “underrated pioneer of piano music.”
Where are we supposed to find phases of especially strong experimentation in Beethoven’s work, given that this composer was constantly reinventing music and himself? Gabiz Reichert, in his deep interpretation, answers this question through his choice of Beethoven’s Sonata Nr. 12 opus 26 from the year 1800. The sonata marked a biographical turning point for Beethoven. He was in the process of stepping out of Mozart’s and Haydn’s shadow, which only intensified his wish to break with conventions. No stone was to be left unturned in the venerable structure of the sonata form: his sonata Nr. 12 opus 26 begins with a movement of variations, followed by an extroverted scherzo and a slightly ironic funeral march and at the end, an upbeat rondo finale. All this had not existed in this constellation before. Many of his later sonatas are even more daring, but the opus 26 which Gabiz Reichert presents here marks the departure in this new direction like no other piece.
As a composer, Sergei Prokofiev constantly found himself torn between opposing poles, especially in regard to the ambivalence between his assimilation to the Soviet dictatorship and his own ethos as modernizer. But there is another aspect of his life that resonates in his music: Prokofiev was strongly influenced by Paris’ music scene while at the same time wanting to please his Russian audience. Such an aesthetic balancing act is embodied in his Sonata Nr. 5 opus 135. Nothing here is unambiguous, especially regarding his approach to chromatic harmonies. Neoclassical elements are also included. Gabiz Reichert is aware of the fact that he has unearthed a misunderstood masterpiece: “It is a pity that the fifth sonata is so little known, because she embodies so much experimentation.”
Gabiz Reichert was born in 1994 in Winterthur (Zurich, Switzerland). He is laureate of national and international competitions and awards. After his prestudies at the Conservatory Winterthur, his path led him to Munich, to the Academy for Music and Theater, where he was in the class of Finnish pianist Prof. Antti Siirala.
During his studies, he received various stipends, and has since performed as a popular soloist, playing a wide-ranging repertoire, including with orchestras. Reichert gives piano recitals in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Finland, and Japan, where he received an invitation from the famous Sendai International Piano Competition. This was followed by a concert tour of Japan. He has also taken part in master classes, among others with Matti Raekallio, Jacques Rouvier, Andrea Bonatta and Homero Francesch. Reichert also works as a conductor: He has been artistic director of the Munich Student Orchestra since spring of 2017. In the spring of 2019, he became the director of the Garching Symphony Orchestra.