“Let the music speak for itself” was his reply when I asked Joseph Moog if he would like to comment on his programme. It was not that he did not want to speak or could not speak; he was a very articulate and knowledgeable young man. It was that he preferred only using his music to communicate with the audience, uninterrupted. And it worked.
Beethoven’s Sonata No. 8 'Pathétique' opened this evening's recital. Joseph’s capacity for expression was deep. He was not afraid of being very bold – even in the second movement Adagio Cantabile, he used fortissimo freely to express himself. In the third movement, performed a tiny bit more slowly than you’d normally hear, he showed control which made every note sound tasteful.
Valse Impromptu by Franz Liszt was performed with wit, elegance, a skilful touch and effective accents; played at a pleasant tempo, it immediately lit the atmosphere and filled the room with a brilliant mood. Valse Mélancolique was beautifully voiced and shaped. The next 15 minutes to follow was Ballade No 2 in B minor, the fusion of drama and lyricism. Alternating between a dark and demonic mood and an angelic theme, this piece provided a sense of narrative drama. The powerful, broken octaves and sky rocketing scales were unbelievably precise, contributing to an orchestral effect in its fullness. I’m sure it was physically and mentally draining for the performer!
The second half started with four selected pieces from Rachmaninov’s Etudes Tableaux. All in minor keys and a mixture of two opuses, they were in a somewhat unique sequence, but according to Joseph, “It makes musical sense”.
Faure’s beautiful Theme and Variations followed, then Anton Rubinstein’s Fantasy on Hungarian Melodies to finish the concert. This arrangement was by Joseph himself.
Throughout the second half this German pianist combined an impeccable technique with a powerful tone; it was muscular and strong in presentation but he never forgot emotional delicacy. His amazing accuracy shone throughout the programme. The two encores, Joseph’s own composition and a lovely piece from Scarlatti, were a bonus for the audience.
On the following day, Joseph had his Wigmore Hall debut. I heard it was hugely successful!
- Sonate N°8 op.13 C minor "Pathétique"
- Ballade N°2 B minor
- Op. 33, No. 3 in C major
- Op. 39, No. 6 in A minor
- Op. 33, No. 8 in G major
- Op. 39, No. 1 in C minor
- Thème et variations C sharp minor op.73
- Hungarian Fantasy (Arr.: Joseph Moog)
Joseph Moog is a two time Winner of the International Classical Music Awards ICMA. In 2012 he received the Award as “Young Artist of the Year, Joseph Moog crowned this achievement in 2014 having won the Award as “Solo Instrumentalist of the Year” ex-aequo with the celebrated pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja. Reviewers have been extolling the "Young Steinway Artist" "the most interesting interpreter of his generation" and are speaking of him as one of the "most remarkable phenomena in the current music scene".
Joseph Moog captivates audiences with his mature artistic personality, his transcendental virtuosity, and his bold, unique program selections, which include his own compositions.
Radio Bremen referred to him as a "treasure hunter with supernatural technical abilities" because, in addition to the customary piano repertoire, he uses his solo recitals to include highly virtuosic rarities from the "Golden Age" of artists such as Godowsky, Rubinstein, Moszkowski and Friedman. This young artist portrays stylistic authenticity, beautiful tonal nuance and a highly developed technical sensitivity combined with an enormous stage presence.
Among the highlights of the 2013/14 season are concerts in the Royal Albert Hall in London, in the Mariinsky theater St. Petersburg, in the Louvre Auditorium in Paris, De Doelen in Rotterdam, Auditorium della Conciliazione in Rome, concert halls in Dortmund and Berlin, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, the Meistersingerhalle in Nuremberg and debuts at international festivals such as La Roque d`Antéron, Ruhr Klavierfestival, Miami Piano Festival and a repeat invitation to the Tivoli Festival in Copenhagen.
In early May 2014 Joseph Moog will make his Japan debut within the prestigious festival "La Folle Journée au Japon".
Joseph Moog performs internationally with numerous orchestras such as the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsche Radio Philharmonic Saarbrucken-Kaiserslautern, the Slovenian Philharmonic, the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow Radio, the Sinfonia Varsovia, Orchestra of Pays de la Loire, the Flanders Symphony Orchestra, the German State Philharmonic of Rhineland Palatinate and the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra.
His performances have enabled Joseph Moog to work together with renowned conductors such as Andrey Boreyko, Juanjo Mena, Gilbert Varga, Christoph Poppen, Pablo Gonzalez, Nicholas Milton, Ari Rasilainen, Marcus Bosch, Dmitri Liss, Toshiyuko Kamioka, John Axelrod, Fabrice Bollon, Karl-Heinz Steffens, Theodor Guschlbauer, Petr Altrichter, Patrick Lange, Othmar Maga, Philippe Entremont, Markus Poschner and Michael Sanderling.
Joseph Moog is a frequent guest performer at renowned concert halls such as the Stuttgart Liederhalle, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, the concert halls of Dortmund and Freiburg and the Munich Gasteig. He has performed internationally in Zurich, Basel, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Sofia, Antwerp, Milan, Paris, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro and Tel Aviv. His USA debut was in March 2011 with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in Denver, conducted by Gilbert Varga.
Moog has an extensive discography and has received numerous awards for his recordings, as well as outstanding critiques from international press. His seventh CD entitled 'Scarlatti Illuminated' was released in 2013 by Onyx Classics and presents Scarlatti Sonatas and transcriptions by Tausig, Friedman and Gieseking.
Distinctions such as the International Classical Music Award (ICMA), the Musikpreis der Deutsche Konzertdirektion, 3 SuperSonic Awards, Advancement Award of the Rhineland Palatinate and Schleswig-Holstein Festivals, the Pianist’s Choice, the Prix Groupe de Rothschild (Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad) and the Rhine-Mosel Musikpreis document the professional path of the young pianist, who was named a Young Steinway Artist in 2009.
Joseph Moog was born in 1987 in Ludwigshafen as the son of two professional musicians, and began playing piano at the age of four. He was initially enrolled as a young student at the Academy of Music in Karlsruhe and then with Prof. Bernd Glemser at the Academy of Music in Würzburg, and with Prof. Arie Vardi at the Academy for Music, Theatre and Media in Hannover.