Scriabin’s Sonata No. 3, Mozart’s Rondo in A minor, and Schubert’s Op. 90 Impromptus are featured with pianist Katherine Jacobson on a new Steinway Classics Series recording. The lush sounding, compelling new disc was produced with the late award winning producer Max Wilcox.
WBAA Music Director John Clare had five questions for Jacobson:
1. As these works broke tradition, are they fun to play in recital? Do you play them together in recital, or program other works with them?
I’m not sure I would describe performing these works as fun but in my solo recitals, I do like to counter Bach, Mozart and Schubert with music of Chopin and Scriabin. The Scriabin Sonata also pops up in the solo and four hand recital programs I do with my husband, Leon Fleisher.
2. Recording has changed so much over the last 20 years, were there conversations, or things you talked to Max about putting this recording together that you would share with us?
It was an enormous privilege to make this CD with my producer, Max Wilcox. In a recording session, Max would ask me to play complete pieces or whole movements. He wanted more of a live, recital-like feel to the CD. When this worked, it was a great feeling! Max loved to tell stories about his recording sessions with Arthur Rubinstein, with whom he produced many classic recordings. He related how Rubinstein, when ready to listen to his recording “takes”, would say, “Now….it’s time for my lesson.” Even the great Arthur Rubinstein was a critic of his own playing and was able to learn from it as we all do.
3. These composers all left us way too young, does that make their piano works special?
Knowing that these composers died far too young certainly can make our experience of their music more poignant. For example, it is possible that Mozart wrote the A Minor Rondo, K. 511 in his grief over the passing of a very good friend. The knowledge of this and the fact that Mozart only lived to the age of 35 gives an added dimension in the learning and performance of this piece.
4. Is it important as a teacher to share your artistry in recordings? As the 21st century moves forward, I imagine career topics come up in lessons with your most talented students…like recording.
It is very flattering to have one’s vision of a piece of music thought to be worthy of preservation. As a teacher, I consider it part of my responsibility to communicate my point of view. My most talented students are very versatile; performing as much as possible, creating their own festivals locally and internationally, as well as setting up curricula for online teaching.
5. Finally, what’s next for you? We love this release, and are looking forward to more!
Thank you for your support of this CD John and for your interesting questions. I intend to continue to record and am floating around my ideas, in the process of imagining and creating a format for my next CD!
Listen for this new release and others on WBAAClassical on 101.3FM and online at WBAA.org!
Katherine Jacobson's international performing career as soloist, duo pianist and chamber musician has received critical acclaim. Her Carnegie Hall debut with piano partner Leon Fleisher was praised by The New York Times for its "abundant musicality and refined technique".
Leading orchestras with which she has performed include the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and New York String Orchestra among others. She has concertized in Europe, Scandinavia, the Far East and South America as well as in the United States and Canada.
With Leon Fleisher, she recorded Mozart’s Concerto in F for two pianos, K 242 with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (Sony). Leon Fleisher and Katherine Jacobson released their CD “Four Hands” in 2015 (Sony).
At the Peabody Conservatory of Music, she worked with mentor and future husband Leon Fleisher. Ms. Jacobson currently serves on the faculty of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
Katherine Jacobson performs solo and duo piano concerts worldwide with her husband, pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher.