Last Monday, Ralph visited the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, Switzerland, to study the manuscript of an unpublished, large piano work by Pierre Boulez: Prélude, Toccata et Scherzo from 1944. He has gotten exclusive permission to perform the world premiere of this piece on October 28, 2018, during his Carnegie Hall debut performance and to subsequently record it for Naxos!
Ralph’s double CD with piano studies by Erik Lotichius keeps getting great reviews. Graham Rickson wrote for www.theartsdesk.com: “Written between 1983 and 2013, the studies in Anaitalrax aren’t simple Scarlatti pastiches, Lotichius seeking merely to channel the earlier composer’s playful, explorative side. Dive in and marvel at the astonishing variety of moods on display: these pieces will invoke giggles, surprise or heartbreak. Especially when performed by pianist Ralph van Raat, whose sensitivity in the bluesier, softer studies is breathtaking. The clangorous, louder numbers are handsomely served, too: I’m hooked on the flurry of bell-like chords which opens No. 23. And the work which closes the disc, Lotichius’s alternative version of No. 16, is pure magic. Life-enhancing stuff: exquisitely produced and packaged, and my favourite keyboard disc of 2017. Go on – treat yourself.”
Ralph’s world premiere performances with Ton de Leeuw’s recently found Piano Concerto of 1948, which he performed with the Resident Orchestra, got excellent reviews in Dutch national newspapers Volkskrant and NRC Handelsblad. Quoting: ‘Van Raat plays crystal clear and forced an extraordinary concentration onto his listeners’ (Merlijn Kerkhof/Volkskrant); ‘Van Raat’s playing was alternatingly light and flexible, such as in the beautifully executed cadenza in the first movement, and acute in the fast rhythmic passages’ (Joep Christenhusz, NRC Handelsblad).
Already about two weeks after the initial release, Ralph’s newest CD, with piano studies by Erik Lotichius, has just been chosen as CD of the Month by Opus Klassiek!
The first reviews on the newest CD-release with music by Erik Lotichius have just come out, and they are very positive. Reviewer Aart van der Wal writes at OpusKlassiek: ‘In this release, Van Raat demonstrates his great affinity with this music, in a both musical and technical flawless style. […] You have understood it: this is a striking release that you cannot let pass by‘. Dominy Clemens writes at Music-Web International: Ralph van Raat originally recorded some of Anaitalrax in 2001, and his affinity with these pieces leaps out of your speakers from the start. His virtuosity is unclouded by haste and uncalled for extremes of display, and the music has more than enough content to speak for itself. In the booklet, producer Dirk Fischer talks us through the interesting challenge of setting up a recording of music that has little or no performance tradition, but Van Raat’s colourful playing is captured superbly and the whole thing is yet another demonstration-class production, fully in agreement with Fischer’s final philosophy that, in the end, it is the music that counts above all technical considerations.’
The newest (double-)CD in Ralph’s series of Dutch music releases has just been released: the complete Anaitalrax (retrograde of Scarlattiana) by composer Erik Lotichius (1929-2015). It’s Ralph’s 25th commercially available CD! Composed from 1983 to 2013, these are 25 virtuosic piano studies that fuse the structures and harmonies of the classical masters from Mozart via Ravel to Bartók with the freedom of jazz and and the rhythmical pulse of the American minimalists. Recorded by the German label Solaire, it is available now through their website (with some audible samples) and through Amazon!
Throughout the week from August 14 to 18, Ralph has been invited by Radio 4 to share remarkable or memorable events in his career, and to play the associated musical work afterwards. Daily from ca. 14.30-15.00 hr local Dutch time!
Ralph’s recent CD-release with Theo Loevendie’s piano music received two new reviews this week. One of them was published in newspaper ‘Leeuwarder Courant’, describing Ralph’s playing as ‘thorough, cheeky, full of detail and occasionally joyfully daring’. Monthly CD-magazine ‘Luister’ gave the CD a 9/10 rating and concluded the review with ‘Van Raat, to whom Loevendie dedicated a work, wrote the program notes and he offers an excellent introduction to the work of this underrated composer’.