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J. S. Bach Goldberg Variations, Beethoven Diabelli Variations

Joanne Kong, harpsichordist and pianist
J. S. Bach Goldberg Variations, Beethoven Diabelli Variations
Brioso Recordings BR133
http://www.brioso.com/covers/BR133.htm

“This has instantly become one of my favorite CDs, and I have hundreds, even just of baroque music…. Kong’s CD is a masterpiece, and should be bought without hesitation by all Bach fans.” Dr. Barry D. Steben, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE

“Novel as this double CD may be, the real distinction of these recordings is their performances. Her Bach is unusually lyrical, while it adheres to standard Baroque performance practices. The “Diabelli” disc is more than a bonus. Kong’s songful, soulful and sensitively dynamic treatment ranks at or (usually) above the levels of the dozen-odd other recordings of the piece that I’ve heard.” Clarke Bustard, RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH

“It takes an artist with a great deal of self-confidence, not to mention talent, to undertake recording another version of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Joanne Kong’s recording of the work on harpsichord helps to give it a more historically accurate perspective, and her ability at the keyboard offers reason for contemplating its addition to your collection…. The subtle wit, charm, and inventiveness she brings to this work allow it to move beyond their status as mere lullabies and into the realm of pleasurable musical interludes to be savored over and over…. If you’re looking for an alternative to the Gould recordings, this one should head toward the top of your audition list.” John Crossett, soundstage.com

“shows a fine palette of feeling and touch…. using subtle dynamics and intensity” Kirk McElhearn, musicweb-international.com

“a very ambitious and important undertaking” Elvina Pearce, KEYBOARD COMPANION Magazine

“But if you want to try harpsichord renditions [of the Goldberg Variations] you might be better off trying Pierre Hantai (the bubbliest and liveliest), Gustav Leonhardt (the most scholarly), or Joanne Kong (the best sounding/most natural recording and the most lovingly played) …” FRANCISCO CARVALLO, Amazon. com

 

Karen Johnson, violinist; Joanne Kong, pianist; Elgar, Bridge, Vaughan Williams

Karen Johnson, violinist
Joanne Kong, pianist
Elgar, Bridge, Vaughan Williams
Brioso Recordings BR147
http://www.brioso.com/covers/BR147.htm

“This is one of the best recordings of the work [Elgar Violin Sonata] I have heard…. The opening movement is boldly expressive, and Johnson and Kong play assertively and incisively…. The finale is again played with wistful romantic yearning…. Joanne Kong is a full partner and no shrinking-violet accompanist, yet she never overpowers Johnson. She draws a fine range of colors from the piano. The recording has a nice, natural perspective, not too close and not too distant, and the instruments are also balanced. I’d be happy to hear more from these two.” Joseph Magil, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

“Johnson and Kong, who played the three works in a recital at the University of Richmond, chose wisely in recording these pieces…. Kong is a fine pianist, but more importantly for these purposes she is a supremely gifted accompanist—a stylish and reliable partner enhancing music in which the violin is the dominant voice.” Clarke Bustard, RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH

“Right from the outset these are fresh and clean-cut performances that emphasize the lyrical side of the music. This approach is much to the advantage of the VW Sonata of 1954, which can sometimes sound awkward, even uncomfortably jagged, particularly in the central Scherzo. Here, the opening Fantasia sounds spontaneous, the Scherzo forthright, a cousin perhaps of Satan’s music in Job, and the final Theme and Variations persuasive, despite their sometimes rhapsodic nature. All in all, this CD is well worth searching out, particularly if you have previously been resistant to this challenging VW work.” Martin Murray, VAUGHAN WILLIAMS SOCIETY JOURNAL

 

Zheng Zhou, baritone; Joanne Kong, pianist

Zheng Zhou, baritone
Joanne Kong, pianist
Art Songs of C. P. E. Bach, Wolf, Tchaikovsky, Sviridov
Brioso Recordings BR151
http://www.brioso.com/covers/BR151.htm

“There are two good reasons to get this recording: (1) the songs make for a fascinating and varied recital program and (2) they are gorgeously sung. Zhou’s voice is a rich and full-throated voice with lots of color and complexity…. Just as good is the accompaniment, which convincingly portrays the fiery terror of “Der Feuerreiter” as well as the devotional tenderness of Bach’s “Against You Only Have I Sinned.” Robert A. Moore, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

 

AUDIO

Ludwig van Beethoven

DIABELLI VARIATIONS: Theme, Variations 7 – 10

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

WHETHER DAY REIGNS
with Zheng Zhou, baritone

Hugo Wolf

ABSCHIED (FAREWELL)
with Zheng Zhou, baritone

Ralph Vaughan Williams

SONATA: II SCHERZO
with Karen Johnson, violin

Johann Sebastian Bach

GOLDBERG VARIATIONS: ARIA

Johann Sebastian Bach

ENGLISH SUITE IN A MINOR: PRELUDE

Johann Sebastian Bach

SONATA IN G MAJOR: IV ALLEGRO MODERATO
with Lisa Terry, viola da gamba

François Couperin

LES FASTES DE LA GRANDE ET ANCIENNE MÉNÉSTRANDISE
(THE ANNALS OF THE GREAT AND VENERABLE MINSTRELSY) ACTS 1 – 3

Domenico Scarlatti

SONATA IN A MAJOR, K. 23