Liasons vol. 3 (2011)

Bach, Britten

Dejan Lazic

The word liaison can be translated in many ways: affair, affinity, connection, link, relationship, union.
The Albums in the Liaisons series each feature two particular composers, enabling us to explore their musical worlds, sources of inspiration and degree of influence. At the same time, the recordings reveal their most conspicuous differences and their common denominators. Some of these composers are not often heard together (for example D. Scarlatti & Bartók or C.Ph.E. Bach & Britten). However, when time barriers and stylistic differences are put aside, many similarities may be discovered: as if the dialect is different, but the language common. On the other hand, composers who we may imagine to be very similar, and easy to combine in any programme (for example Schumann & Brahms), reveal a whole new world of diversity and contrast when heard together.

Through a careful choice of composers and compositions on each CD, the Liaisons series offers a bright spectrum of colours, variety and dynamic range, challenging the listener anew with every release. The present third volume combines the very few original works for piano solo by Benjamin Britten with C.Ph.E. Bach’s Prussian Sonatas. Britten’s pieces, in all their minimalism, “unusual purity” (Arvo Pärt), perfect clarity and sometimes even emotionally restricted formality, contrast with the emerging Sturm und Drang atmosphere of Bach’s sonatas, with their freedom and variety of structural design, lucid style, delicate and tender expression, inventiveness and extreme unpredictability.
Dejan Laziç
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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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Liasons vol. 3 (2011)

Bach, Britten

Dejan Lazic

Auf der dritten CD seiner ‘Liaisons’-Reihe führt der in Kroatien geborene, in Salzburg ausgebildete und in Amsterdam wohnende Pianist Dejan Lazic ein ungewöhnliches Paar über zwei Jahrhunderte hinweg zusammen: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach und Benjamin Britten. Bachs drei Sonaten sind immer wieder überraschend, emotional überbordend und vielfältig, Brittens weitgehend unbekannte Miniaturen, aus dem schmalen Klavier-Solo-Oeuvre des Briten klug ausgewählt, dagegen schlicht und klar. Beides liegt Lazic, der mit feinfühligem, geistreichem, nie aufdringlichem Spiel beeindruckt. Nicht nur deshalb wird aus der überraschenden eine überzeugende Paarung.


verrukkelijk spannend en inspirerend (…) de dwarsverbanden die ontstaan lokken een hoge scherpzinnige vorm van genieten uit.

    Klassieke Zaken

arl Philipp en Britten gaan prima samen: de fruitige sonates (Wq 69, H 53 en Wq 65/42, H 189) van de pruikenkop parelen tussen Brittens steviger composities als de Vijf walsen opus 3, geschreven door een pas twaalfjarige knaap, die niettemin al goed in de smiezen had hoe je de nootjes het slimst onder elkaar kon zetten. Net als in Holiday diary, uit 1934, waarin Lazic dromerig de verre horizon aan zich voorbij laat glijden (Sailing) en een onbestemde sfeer oproept (Night). Dat het zo goed boert tussen de componisten komt vooral door Lazic: hij kiest voor ieder stuk de juiste tint en is niet bang het basregister wat aan te dikken, terwijl de rechterhand twinkeltonen inzet. Fraai opgenomen bovendien.

    Het Parool

Britten en Bach: mooie combi (...) elke maat zindert (...)

    International Record Review

it's all about the alchemy that occurs when different sound-worlds, two centuries apart, collide. (...) This serendipitous liaison is made all the more cogent by the pianistic achievements of Lazic, whose magical touch invigorates the more impassioned moments, such as the Andante to Bach's Sonata in D minor as well as in the mellifluous murmerings of Britten's Night Piece with which the CD concludes. (...) Whatever we're in for next, I hungrily await his next iconoclastic serving. -

The ever inventive and exploratory mind of Dejan Lazic has once again led to the production of an unmissable SACD in the series of recordings for Channel Classics that he calls ‘Liaisons’. In this series (of which the disc under review is Vol.3) Lazic programmes the music of two apparently quite disparate composers and challenges us to listen with fresh ears to the various compositions involved. This idea might seem bizarre and fraught with difficulties, but such is the skill with which Lazic builds his programmes and the prodigious pianistic talent that he brings to the execution of them, the result is an unqualified triumph. (...) Those who have acquired Dejan Lazic’s two earlier ‘Liaison’ discs will need little encouragement to investigate the latest intriguing release by this phenomenal musician. Those who have yet to investigate ‘Liaisons’ have a real treat awaiting them.

    The Telegraph

Lazic plays with palpable heart, with genuine spirit that derives entirely from the music itself, with dexterity, subtlety and insight that make this recital thoroughly compelling.


Croatian pianist/composer Dejan Lazic, enjoying a distinguished career, has made a number of superb recordings for Channel Classics. (…) Performances are of the highest quality, and the solo piano is very well recorded.

    BBC Music Magazine

Lazic’s fastidiously articulated fingerwork and his feel for CPE’s cultivated waywardness are persuasive.(…) Britten’s liaisons with solo piano might be small, but, as Lazic demonstrates, they’re perfectly formed.

    Audiophile Audition

This is a fascinating album well worth the investment, as all of the music will repay repeated hearing and give no end of pleasure. Channel’s hi-res sound is beautifully presented.


Serbian-born pianist and composer Dejan Lazic dazzles with great taste, phrasing, and a clear style of playing in this album of complementary works by C.P.E. Bach and Benjamin Britten. (...) Lazic truly understands the music, as is evidenced by his tasteful phrasing and slight rubati that create dramatic tension in the opening movement of the Bach Sonata in D minor. The turns and trills are lovely ornaments that simply roll off of his fingers, and throughout the sonata his sound is clean and bright. Lazic makes the melody flowing back and forth between hands in the final movement sound like a continuous stream of music. (...) Thanks to a clear, balanced recording quality, Lazic always sounds warm and bright; there is never any unwanted or excess noise in his playing. He is an intelligent artist who has chosen repertoire that is well suited to him and that makes an interesting program. (...) The fact that Lazic can evoke such a wide variety of emotions is a testament to his skills.


Dejan Lazi?’s decision to pair C. P. E. Bach and Britten on the same CD may be seen as either a bold venture or a combination of two composers too different for comfortable pairing. Either way, this CD’s content will challenge the listener. (...) The Bach prestissimo piece here titled La Bohmer flies like a whirlwind, indicating Lazic's superb technique and, more importantly, his wonderful sense of ‘binding’ phrases even at such a hectic pace...I found this to be a most enjoyable CD (…)


The Croation pianist is building up a valuable discography with Channel Classics, each new release characterised by unconventional programming and consistently winning performances. Anyone who has the nerve to transform Brahms’s Violin Concerto into an astonishingly convincing piano concerto must be a special talent. (...) Lazic’s unpredictable union works surprisingly well. (...) His feather-light despatch of the D minor Sonata’s last movement variations [C.P.E. Bach] almost melts into the first of Britten’s early Five Waltzes. (...)

Liasons vol. 3 (2011)

Bach, Britten

Dejan Lazic

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

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28511: Liasons vol. 3
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Sonata in D-minor, Wq 69 (H 53) - Allegro
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Sonata in D-minor, Wq 69 (H 53) - Andante
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Sonata in D-minor, Wq 69 (H 53) - Allegretto con variazioni
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5 Waltzes, op. 3 (1925, rev. 1969) - I. Rather fast and nervous
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5 Waltzes, op. 3 (1925, rev. 1969) - II. Quick, with wit
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5 Waltzes, op. 3 (1925, rev. 1969) - III. Dramatic
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5 Waltzes, op. 3 (1925, rev. 1969) - IV. Rhythmic; not fast
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5 Waltzes, op. 3 (1925, rev. 1969) - V. Variations. Quiet and simple
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La Böhmer (Murky), Wq 117 _ 26 - Allegro
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La Böhmer (Murky), Wq 117 _ 26 - Prestissimo
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La Böhmer (Murky), Wq 117 _ 26 - I. Early Morning Bathe (Vivace ma non troppo presto)
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La Böhmer (Murky), Wq 117 _ 26 - II. Sailing (Andante comodo)
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La Böhmer (Murky), Wq 117 _ 26 - III. Fun-Fair (Allegro brillantissimo)
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La Böhmer (Murky), Wq 117 _ 26 - IV. Night (Molto lento e tranquillo, sempre rubato)
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La Böhmer (Murky), Wq 117 _ 26 - Allegro di molto
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La Böhmer (Murky), Wq 117 _ 26 - Adagio assai, sostenuto, ed affettuoso
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La Böhmer (Murky), Wq 117 _ 26 - Presto
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La Böhmer (Murky), Wq 117 _ 26 - Lento tranquillo
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