Last January saw the release of Ralph’s newest CD, featuring the works of Dutch key composer Theo Loevendie (1930). Published by the Attacca Records label, it features his very first, unpublished works up to and including his most recent work. As a lifelong jazz saxophone and clarinet player, Loevendie’s music is characterized by Messiaenic harmonies, jazzy rhythms, improvisatory qualities and influences of especially Arabic music. It has immediately received rave reviews, one of them from Opus Klassiek Magazine: “In part, Loevendie’s music always sounds so good because of Ralph van Raat’s playing, which, with his love for contemporary music, demonstrates a classical instinct for hierarchy and structure, and places clarity of phrasing and rhythm above all other parameters. That does not mean that he thinks that other aspects are unimportant, but it means that he gives them the right position.”
Today was the official presentation of a new book about Pierre Boulez, written by musicologist Emanuel Overbeeke. Besides his role as a composer and a conductor, the book especially focuses on the influence of Boulez as a writer, programmer and general initiator in the musical world. Ralph was invited to write the preface to this book (publisher: In de walvis/Vantilt 2016)
Yesterday, an A3-sized interview with Ralph has been published in one of Holland’s main national newspapers, De Volkskrant. Written by Pablo Cabenda, and in anticipation of Ralph’s concert series featuring Radiohead in relation to contemporary music, it deals with Ralph’s belief that contemporary music and pop music are slowly converging.
Ralph has just returned from a successful tour to Guangzhou, Beijing and Tianjin with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. He performed Tan Dun’s new ‘Farewell, My Concubine’ for piano solo, Peking opera soprano and orchestra, conducted by the composer, and with Peking opera star Xiao Di. The Beijing concert was broadcasted and available for viewing here (starting from 23’45″).
Last week, Ralph recorded his third CD this year, this time in the beautiful Reitstadl in Neumarkt, Germany. Planned for a March 2017 release on Solaire Records, the repertoire is a double-CD of the complete Anaitalraxes (Scarlattiana – 25 virtuosic piano studies, including an exclusive non-published one) by Dutch composer Erik Lotichius (1929-2015).
One of Ralph’s earlier CD-releases on Naxos, with Frederic Rzewski’s one-hour marathon piano piece ‘The People United’, just received a very nice review by music journalist Ian Dando in New Zealand’s music magazine ‘Listener’. The CD has ranked among the Top 20 best-selling CD’s of record label Naxos.
With great excitement, Ralph is working on the first performances of Tan Dun’s revised Concerto for piano solo, Beijing Opera soprano and orchestra: Farewell, My Concubine. Not only will he perform it in China and New Zealand under the baton of the conducting composer, but it is also scheduled to be recorded for Naxos with the Auckland Philharmonia.
This summer, Ralph has been busy recording two new solo albums with some amazing twentieth-century music: piano works by Stravinsky and Debussy for CD-label Naxos (in the beautiful concert hall of TivoliVredenburg Utrecht, The Netherlands) and the complete piano works by Dutch composer Theo Loevendie, for the Attacca label (recorded in the great-sounding concert hall of the Conservatory of Amsterdam). More info and release dates soon!