Liaisons vol. 2 (2009)

Schumann, Brahms

Dejan Lazic

Both of these composers maintained a unique and unusually strong relationship with each other. Their friendship was both artistic and personal: it was characterized by mutual respect and admiration. That made it even more of a challenge for me to enter into the world of two remarkable composers-and persons as well- in order to provide the listener with a chronological insight into the years from early Schumann to late Brahms. On one hand we have both of the poetic and programmatic cycles, one of them very early Schumann, and the other quite late (Opus 2 and 82 respectively)-one could call it a journey from the ballroom filled with people and masks as portrayed in Papillons to the solitude of the forest as depicted in Waldszenen. In contrast to this we have the late, masterful, and extremely non-programmatic music of Brahms's Opus 118, very simply entitled Klavierstcke. As a whole, this CD offers the listener a chance to observe the development of the miniature for piano solo, a completely innovative form at the time. It is a development that extends over more than 60 years of the 19th century (1829-1892).

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Dejan Lazic

Pianist and composer Dejan Lazic was born into a musical family in Zagreb, Croatia, and grew up in Salzburg, Austria, where he studied at the Mozarteum. He is quickly establishing a reputation worldwide as “a brilliant pianist and a gifted musician full of ideas and able to project them persuasively” (Gramophone). The New York Times hailed his performance as “... full of poetic, shapely phrasing and vivid dynamic effects that made this music sound fresh, spontaneous and impassioned”. After a highly successful Edinburgh Festival recital, The Scotsman wrote recently: "Dejan Lazic shines like a new star!"

As recitalist and soloist with orchestra Dejan Lazic has appeared at major venues in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Australia, and has been invited to numerous international festivals, including the world-famous BBC Proms in summer 2011.

In Spring 2008 he gave his orchestral debuts at New York’s Lincoln Center with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Iván Fischer and at London’s Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Kirill Petrenko. He also gave highly successful recital debuts at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London Queen Elizabeth Hall, Munich Prinzregententheater, Washington Kennedy Center, in Montreal, Tokyo, Beijing and in Istanbul. In Summer 2008 he performed Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto at the Beijing Great Hall of People in a televised pre-olympic gala concert for an audience of 7,000.

He also performed very successfully with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Giovanni Antonini, Atlanta and Seattle Symphonies under Robert Spano, Swedish Radio, Danish National, Indianapolis, and Sapporo Symphonies, as well as with the Seoul, Hong Kong, and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestras. In Winter 2010 he toured Spain with Bamberger Symphoniker under Jonathan Nott.

Other orchestral engagements lead him to the BBC Symphony in London, BBC Philharmonic in Manchester, Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Glasgow and Edinburgh, SWR Symphony in Stuttgart, MDR Symphony in Leipzig, Residentie Orkest in The Hague, Helsinki Philharmonic, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Orquesta Ciudad de Barcelona, and Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo. With Basel Chamber Orchestra and Giovanni Antonini he performs on tour, among others, at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Munich Herkulessaal, Cologne Philharmonie, and Brussels Palais des Beaux Arts. From 2008/09 season Dejan Lazic is “Artist in Residence” with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra in Amsterdam.

He also enjoys a growing following in the Far East to where he returned last season for a tour with NHK Symphony Orchestra. Other engagements there include those with Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra (including concerts at Tokyo's Suntory Hall & Metropolitan Art Space), Sapporo Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, NSO Taiwan, as well as a series of recitals throughout Japan and at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, China.

In November 2009 he toured Australia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra led by Richard Tognetti, including concerts at the world famous Sydney Opera House. In 2010/11 season he toured Europe, South America, and Asia with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Iván Fischer.

Alongside his solo career Dejan Lazic is also a passionate chamber musician.

He records exclusively for Channel Classics and has released a dozen of recordings so far. The 1st volume of his new "Liaisons" series with works by Scarlatti and Bartók was released in 2007 to great critical acclaim; the 2nd volume with a Schumann/Brahms programme was released in 2009, the 3rd volume with a C.P.E. Bach/Britten programme was released in 2011. In Fall 2008 he released a CD with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Kirill Petrenko playing Rachmaninov's famous 2nd Piano Concerto - a live recording that has earned rave reviews from critics and audiences worldwide and in addition it won the prestigious German Echo Klassik Award 2009. In February 2011 he released a disc featuring Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto which was recorded live in Sydney with the Australian Chamber Orchestra led by Richard Tognetti.

Dejan Lazic is also active as a composer. His works include various piano compositions, chamber music (including String Quartet op. 9, written for Mstislav Rostropovich's 70th birthday gala), and orchestral works, as well as Cadenzas for Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven Piano Concertos. In 2007/08 season he premiered his piano cycle "Kinderszenen – Hommage à Schumann" op. 15 at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.

His recent arrangement of Brahms’s Violin Concerto for piano and orchestra saw its World Premiere on October 1, 2009 in Atlanta, USA, with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under their music director Robert Spano. This concert was also recorded live by Channel Classics and the CD was released in January 2010 to great critical acclaim.

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Liaisons vol. 2 (2009)

Schumann, Brahms

Dejan Lazic

    American Record Guide

the pianist's touch with Schumann is among the best I have ever heard (…) In Papillions he consistently demonstrates his innate understanding of the composer as he shifts effortlessly from one mood to the next… His technique is almost translucent in the sense that… it sounds effortless. (…)

    Klassieke Zaken

Lazic doet je deze grijsgedraaide muziek wel op een op-en-top verfrissende manier herontdekken. Zowel pianotechnisch als qua verbeeldingskracht ondervindt deze pianist duidelijk geen enkele remming. Je krijgt de indruk dat deze opname maar n van zijn vele mogelijke interpretaties weergeeft. Lazic is ook zelf componist en speelt duidelijk graag met klankkleur, articulatie en tempo. Als je er een partituur bij neemt, dan schrik je wel eens van wat Lazic onder meer met het tempo allemaal uitspookt. Maar hoe dan ook blijft dit fantastisch, soms ronduit sprookjesachtigpianospel. De Standaard () De Kroatische pianist herschept Schumanns grillige fantasien met aandacht voor de kleinste details, de zachtste pianissimo's en de subtielste rubato's. De aandacht van de luisteraar gaat vooral naar de pianist zelf, zijn spel is imponerend en soms zelfs briljant. Bij Brahms wordt vooral het interessante klankweefstel uitgelicht waarbij de stemmen zich onafhankelijk van elkaar lijken te bewegen. Is hier misschien sprake van een postmoderne Brahms?


The sound quality is superb, the playing excellent.

    Wiener Zeitung

Sergey Rachmaninovs Zweites Klavierkonzert ist ein Schlachtross, das Pianisten immer dann in den Kampf führen, wenn sie zeigen wollen, dass sie Technik und Seele besitzen. Und zwar, bitteschön, im Überfluss. Mitunter wird man aber auch angenehm überrascht. Wie etwa von Dejan Lazic: Er kann zwar tastendonnern, aber wichtiger sind ihm doch Zwischentöne, feine Nuancen, Noblesse. Kirill Petrenko am Pult des London Philharmonic Orchestra kommt ihm entgegen – und lässt kammermusikalisch fein musizieren. Fabelhaft!


Auch auf dieser neuen Aufnahme lebt der Pianist lyrische Sanftheit und Dramatik aus, setzt sorgsam seine reiche Palette an Anschlagsnuancen ein, ohne sich im Detail zu verlieren. Besonders beeindruckend klingen Schumanns Waldszenen. Lazic lässt einen Wald entstehen, der mal einladend und freundlich, dann wieder abweisend und einsam ist. (…) (…) Zusammen aber mit den Waldszenen und den Papillons von Schubert gehen sie eine Liaison ein – und zeigen, warum Dejan Lazi? so gerne in Deutschland lebt.

    Classics Today

impressive poise and lyricism

    All Music Guide

As before, Lazic's playing is at a supremely high level with every piece presented in performances which are for all intents and purposes technically perfect. And as before, technical perfection is the least of Lazic's achievements, because the real greatness of his performances is their exemplary musicianship and their consummate lyricism. Lazic captures the tender whimsy of Schumann's Papillions, the pastoral poetry of the same composer's Waldszenen and the controlled passion of Brahms Piano Pieces Opus 118. He does so with sensitive phrasing, vivid colors, molded sonorities and a judicious use of tempo rubato that makes every line sound fresh and new but also utterly inevitable. Try such familiar works as the uncanny Vogel als Prophet from Waldszenen or the Andante teneramente from Opus 118, and if Lazic's haunted account of the former and restless reading of the latter don't move you, perhaps you should stay away. But if they do, you should try not only this disc but also Lazic's other recordings for Channel Classics.


Lazic digs around and finds off beat miniature pieces these two composers wrote between the major works to keep sharp and amused. Schumann finds himself frolicking with a lighter touch while Brahms liked to dig in his heels. Presented as a program of piano miniatures, Lazic knows his stuff and knows how to zero in on the heart of the performance. A tasty, classy, personal feeling work that enchants with great ease

Liaisons vol. 2 (2009)

Schumann, Brahms

Dejan Lazic

Cables: van den Hul
Digital Converters: Meitner A/D DSD / Meitner DA
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment: B&W 803 diamond series
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom design
Producer: Jared Sacks
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: Eindhoven Holland 2009
Recording Software: Pyramix bij Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64
Speakers: Audiolab, Holland

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27609: Liaisons vol. 2
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Papillons, Op. 2 - Introduzione
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Papillons, Op. 2 - No. 1
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Papillons, Op. 2 - No. 2 -Prestissimo
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Papillons, Op. 2 - No. 3
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Papillons, Op. 2 - No. 8
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Papillons, Op. 2 - No. 9 - Prestissimo
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Waldszenen - Forest Scenes, Op. 82 - Eintritt - Entrance
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Waldszenen - Forest Scenes, Op. 82 - Jager auf der Lauer - Hunter in Ambush
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Waldszenen -Forest Scenes, Op. 82 - Einsame Blumen - Lonely Flowers
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Waldszenen - Forest Scenes, Op. 82 - Verrufene Stelle - Haunted Spot
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Waldszenen - Forest Scenes, Op. 82 - Freundliche Landschaft - Pleasant Landscape
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Waldszenen - Forest Scenes, Op. 82 - Herberge - Wayside Inn
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Waldszenen - Forest Scenes, Op. 82 - Vogel als Prophet - Bird as Prophet
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Waldszenen - Forest Scenes, Op. 82 - Jagdlied - Hunting Song
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Waldszenen - Forest Scenes, Op. 82 - Abschied - Farewell
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Klavierstucke - Piano Pieces, Op. 118 - No. 1 Intermezzo
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Klavierstucke - Piano Pieces, Op. 118 - No. 2 Intermezzo
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Klavierstucke - Piano Pieces, Op. 118 - No. 3 Ballade
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Klavierstucke - Piano Pieces, Op. 118 - No. 6 Intermezzo
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