Prelude To Dawn

Bruce Levingston

19.9929.99
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Original Recording Format: DXD

Pianist Bruce Levingston follows up his earlier albums Citizen and Windows with Prelude To Dawn. It is his third DSD release from Sono Luminus, all of which are available from Native DSD Music.

Prelude To Dawn features the interwoven, haunting works of J. S. Bach, Johannes Brahms, and Wolfgang Rihm. In Levingston’s hands, this timeless music exudes solace, joy, and the possibilities of renewed life

Levingston says “During the surreal existence of this past year, I found myself drawn closer than ever to Bach. His music brought much solace and peace. Bach has long been an inspiration to musicians, especially Brahms and Rihm. These three German masters represent a thoughtful dialogue that has spanned four centuries. Their intimate musical landscapes resonate with this pensive, solitary time.

Some works, like Brahms’ wistful chorale prelude, “Herzlich tut mich verlangen” (Op. 122, No. 10), reflect the delicate twilight between life and death. Others, like the glorious Chaconne and joyous Prelude, Fugue and Allegro deny defeat. Perhaps the most timely work is Bach’s “Wachet auf” (Sleepers, Awake). Its memorable chorale, written during the Plague in Germany, was composed by a pastor to comfort his fearful congregation. In Bach’s hands, its noble spirit and soaring themes herald a celebration of life.

Together, these pieces recall the shadows and fragility of our world, but also the possibility for its regeneration — and a new dawn.” 

Bruce Levingston – Piano

Tracklist

1.
Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004 - V. Chaconne - Arr. J. Brahms for Piano Left Hand
17:27
2.
6 Piano Preludes - Excerpts - No. 1
03:35
3.
6 Piano Preludes - Excerpts - No. 2
05:33
4.
Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E-Flat Major, BWV 998 - Arr. for Piano - I. Prelude
02:57
5.
Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E-Flat Major, BWV 998 - Arr. for Piano - II. Fugue
06:24
6.
Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E-Flat Major, BWV 998 - Arr. for Piano - III. Allegro
02:46
7.
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645 - Arr. F. Busoni for Piano
03:43
8.
11 Chorale Preludes, Op. 122 - No. 10, Herzlich tut mich verlangen - Arr. F. Busoni for Piano
03:24
9.
Theme and Variations in D Minor, Op. 18b
15:35

Total time: 01:01:24

Additional information

Label

SKU

DSL92245

Qualities

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Channels

Artists

Composers

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Genres

,

Mastered with

Merging Technolgies Hapi

Mastering Engineer

Daniel Shores

Original Recording Format

Producer

Dan Merceriuo

Recorded with

Merging Technologies Horus

Recording Engineer

Daniel Shores

Recording Format

DXD

Recording Location

Sono Luminus Studios, Boyce, Virginia (September 2020)

Speakers

Legacy Audio

Release Date February 11, 2021

Press reviews

All About The Arts

Impeccably planned and annotated by the artist, lovingly produced by Dan Merceruio and Collin J. Rae, and brought to sonic life by recording engineer Daniel Shores Prelude to Dawn is an invaluable addition to any listener’s collection of recorded piano music.

The prolific though lesser-known German composer Wolfgang Rihm keeps elegant company to Bach and Brahms with two of his piano preludes. Vaguely tonal, now animated, now delicate, soberly minimalistic, his music is upon first hearing unpredictable and yet surprisingly accessible.

In the monumental Bach-Brahms Chaconne in D minor, BWV 1004, a work originally conceived for violin, Levingston mines for musical gold throughout the seventeen minutes duration of this longest of the nine compositions in the album. Alternatively, mournful, meditative, emotional, and elegiac in its sixty-four variations, this music, written by Bach following the death of his first wife, embraces both the wonders of life and the inevitability of death.

In the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro BWV 998 in Eb – allotted three tracks of the album – seemingly simple moments alternate with the startling: an unpredictable chord progression here and there, passages of such chromatic complexity that they anticipate the Classicism of Haydn and even that of Mozart by decades, emotionally charged moments alternating with serene passages, singing melodies in the right hand juxtaposed to formidable chords in the bass, a majestic closing Allegro expressing sheer joie de vivre… Here Levingston and in the Bach-Busoni Chorale Prelude BWV 645 – Sleepers Awake! adopts reasonable tempi that allow breathing space and noble elegance to his playing.

Brahms – Chorale Prelude in A minor, Op. 122, no. 10 – I wholeheartedly long for a blessed end one of the composer’s last works, and the Theme and Variations in D minor, Op. 18b – both typical Brahms in their grandeur offer music in which the composer seems to be making peace with the inevitable onset of old age, the Op. 18b six variations range from the lovingly delicate to the intensely emotional, gradually progressing from intricacy to the serenity of the final variation.

Bruce Levingston’s magisterial playing of this music reaffirms his position as one of America’s great pianists.

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