Yesterday, a letter from an audience member of Ralph’s Messiaen Vingt Regards recital (last Friday in Amsterdam’s Orgelpark) was published on the opinion page of the newspaper Het Parool. The author, Marco Naarden, writes about ‘a matchless performance of Messiaen’s Vingt Regards by our own Ralph van Raat […] We may call ourselves lucky to have such a marvellous pianist and genre-specialist in The Netherlands, who plays this work since a number of years, as a tradition, during the Advent. […] Long live the Orgelpark who dares to program this, and long live Ralph van Raat.’ Ralph feels very honored and humbled by such support for this repertoire; after all, being a musician would not be possible without encouragement from the public!
An extended interview with Ralph in monthly magazine Pianist is now available in the December issue! The interview was done by Olga de Kort.
Last Monday, Ralph visited the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, Switzerland, to study the manuscript of an unpublished, large piano work by Pierre Boulez: Prélude, Toccata et Scherzo from 1944.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 at the Cité de la Musique in Paris, and the U.S. première during his Carnegie Hall debut performance. Subsequently he will 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.’