Several artists have recorded Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) 11 chorales for organ, composed in 1896 towards the end of his life.
Pianist Nada is the first and only artist to have transcribed and recorded all 11 chorales for piano on one digital CD: “Brahms Chorales” (MEII Enterprises 2019).
All 11 chorales can be found at https://store.cdbaby.com/
In a recent interview Pianist Nada spoke about the process of transcribing Brahms’ organ chorales for piano:
“I have always loved the organ and even attempted playing it at a certain point. When I learned Brahms had written for the organ, I promptly looked over his works and ordered the music.
“Brahms very early on in his career turned his attention to the organ, and dreamed of becoming a virtuoso organist. He wrote some magnificent pieces.
“The 11 chorales were his last works and it is quite revealing that he turned back to a form of music at the end of his life that was reserved and meditative as well as to the organ as its vehicle.
“I am sure Brahms sat at the piano himself to conceive these chorales and imagined the sound to be an organ.”
“The chorales are meant to be a prayer to the ‘after life.’ Some of those may well have been written when he was already suffering from the early stages of his terminal disease.
“The greatest challenge was to give a dimension to each piece (especially while lacking a pedal keyboard), as well as making the notes of the chorales as clear as possible in the texture of the music.
“I do not consider these 11 chorales to be part of his solo piano catalog. They are part of his organ repertoire. I adapted them to the piano in the tradition of pianists who have been attracted to organ repertoire and attempted transcriptions of Bach, for example, who composed 371 chorales. Again, these are not arrangements. I did not want to alter Brahms’ language in any way.”
Pianist Nada will attend the upcoming annual conference of Chamber Music America at the Westin Hotel, New York City, January 16-19, 2020.
A United States citizen of Lebanese/Hungarian descent, with a French education, Pianist Nada is a world-class concert pianist with decades of accomplishment.
Growing up during the Lebanese civil war, Nada immersed herself in mainly self-study of music and piano. By the mid-1980s her dedication took her to the Paris Conservatory where she was the first woman from the Middle-East to take first prize.
Since then she has performed internationally with symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, and as a soloist, in Austria, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, and Serbia, as well as in many parts of the United States.
A critically-acclaimed recording artist with seven albums to her credit, she is also an educator and a musicologist. Her article on “Brahmsian Piano Technique” appears in the July 2019 issue of International Piano.