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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

After a rather challenging year, we are all looking forward to regain our usual lifestyles in 2021. Ralph hopes you will stay safe and healthy, and wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a much longed-for, happy 2021 in which we may all embrace our loved ones. In the meantime, if you would like to be uplifted and moved by some beautiful music, Ralph invites you to listen to the playlist created by the Zuiderstrandtheater of The Hague, which was made to bring some light to these dark days. Several recordings of Ralph are featured too. Merry Christmas!

Review on Joep Franssens’ Piano Concerto!

Trouw has published a great review, written by Frederike Berntsen, about last week’s performance(s) of Joep Franssens’ new Piano Concerto for chamber orchestra, as performed by Ralph and the PHION orchestra conducted by Otto Tausk: Ralph van Raat, tireless advocate of the newest music, gave the first performance of the revised version of Franssens’ concerto from 2015, and acted as the source for a deep listening mode. Also in this work, the pianist showed his tremendous dedication to the contemporary classical repertoire: his approach is intelligent and well cared for; nothing is coincidental, but it all sounds natural.  

Rave review French Piano Rarities CD by Sequenza21

Authoritative online music magazine Sequenza21 has published a rave review about Ralph’s French Piano Rarities CD, written by Christian Carey. Quoting: Van Raat’s recording of the work for Naxos is authoritative, details large and small shaped with impressive care and bold playing. […] They all prove that, past the well-worn selections one frequently hears on recitals, there are many underserved pieces that hardly deserve to be “rarities.”  The review can be read in full here.

Free livestream Joep Franssens Piano Concerto tomorrow!

Starting tomorrow, Ralph will perform the world premiere of Joep Franssens’ beautiful Piano Concerto, three times. The work is written for and dedicated to Ralph, and he will perform it with the PHION orchestra, under the baton of conductor Otto Tausk. The first concert, tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 11) at 20.00 h (Dutch time), will be livestreamed watchable for free through PHION’s Facebook and Youtube accounts. You are more than welcome to listen and watch along, live!


Rave review duo CD ‘Halo’ in Flute Journal

Flute Journal has published a rave review on the Kolthof/Van Raat duo recording, which was released last November.  Some quotes: ‘Van Raat’s extended opening chords set a high standard of expectation for a sensitive and nuanced performance. […] The windy sounds from the piccolo, shaped around the magically-touched piano chords, are indeed mesmerizing; their pianissimo releases are simply breathtaking. […] …the Kolthof /van Raat partnership is dazzling’. You can read the full article here.

9/10 Score in Luister Magazine for Duo CD ‘Halo’!

Maartje Valk, reviewer for Dutch classical music magazine ‘Luister’, has written an excellent review in the current issue about the highly acclaimed CD ‘Halo‘ for which Ralph partnered with flutist/piccoloist Ilonka Kolthof. Scoring it 9/10, it says, for example: ‘with [Ilonka Kolthof’s] recital partner Ralph van Raat at the piano, she makes the seemingly impossible, possible […] The piano is a full-blown musical dialogue partner and Van Raat succeeds in delivering the almost unplayable piano parts into the universe as lightly as a feather‘.


The New Listener reviews ‘French Rarities’ CD!

Martin Blaumeiser has written a beautiful review for German online magazine The New Listener, about Ralph’s new CD with French Rarities for Naxos. Quoting a selection:

Van Raats Darbietung deutet die Musik [Boulez ‘Notations’] als Abfolge von kontrastierenden Charakterstücken, klanglich kultiviert, mit intelligentem Pedalgebrauch und Sinn für „schöne“ Wendungen. Von der Radikalität und auch Rauigkeit, die etwa [andere Pianisten, ed.] hier immer zelebrieren, distanziert er sich aber anscheinend ganz bewusst. Dafür gelingt ihm bei Prélude, Toccata et Scherzo – mit 27 Minuten immerhin so umfangreich wie die 2. bzw. 3. Sonate – ein echter Premieren-Kracher. Die Musik ist derart mitreißend virtuos und lässt, besonders in der Toccata, schon den echten Boulez aufblitzen, dass man staunt, warum der Komponist dieses erstklassige Werk dem Publikum so lange vorenthalten hat – bis er es von Ralph van Raat hörte. […]  Le Cossyphe d’Heuglin und Le Moqueur polyglotte [Messiaen] […] – auch hier hat er seinen eigenen, typisch klangschönen Zugang für die eigenartigen Vogelklänge. […] Fazit: Erstklassig dargebotene Seltenheiten, die mancher vielleicht trotzdem schon kennt. Aber allein wegen Boulez‘ Prélude, Toccata et Scherzo wird diese Scheibe dann doch ein absolutes Muss für jeden Freund moderner Klaviermusik. Da war Naxos mal wieder schneller als die Konkurrenz…

New reviews in French!

Another two very positive reviews have been published. For example, Thierry Vagne wrote for Musique Classique&CoUn vrai bonheur et une belle réussite de ce pianiste qui, si tout se passe bien, devrait donner en janvier prochain un récital Boulez et participer à un débat sur le jeune Boulez avec notamment Philippe Manoury, à la Philharmonie. Also, Christine Labroche concluded her in-depth review for ConcertoNet.com by writing  In fine, le récital de Ralph van Raat, c’est une aventure à tenter. Il s’impose au curieux par son programme et au mélomane par sa sensibilité musicale.

Review in MusicWeb International

The performances by Ralph van Raat, the ideal recording, the choice of music and the presentation of these French rarities are all superb. I cannot fault anything on this disc. The liner notes are written by the pianist and make essential reading for the listener who wants to understand the music on this excellent and often incredibly exciting and beautiful CD.
A great new review on Ralph’s French Rarities CD, written by John France! For the whole review, click here.