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Pianist Jorge Federico Osorio Releases New Cedille Records Album

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Pianist Jorge Federico Osorio Releases New Cedille Records Album

Mexican-born, Chicago-based pianist Jorge Federico Osorio, who trained in Paris with keyboard luminaries Bernard Flavigny and Monique Haas, shares his enduring passion for French repertoire on a new Cedille Records album featuring solo works from the Baroque, Romantic, and early 20th-century periods.

Osorio's The French Album, available August 14, 2020, includes, in program order, Gabriel Fauré's Pavane, Op. 50; Claude Debussy's Les collines d'Anacapri, La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune, Clair de lune, Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest, Voiles, La Cathédrale engloutie, Feux d'artifice, and Feuilles mortes; Jean-Philippe Rameau's Les Tricotets, Menuets 1 & 2, and L'Egyptienne from his 1725 Suite in G; Emmanuel Chabrier's Habanera; Debussy's La Puerta del Vino and La soirée dans Grenade; and Maurice Ravel's Alborada del gracioso and Pavane pour une infante défunte (Cedille Records CDR 90000 197).

"I just love this music," Osorio said in an interview with Cedille Records. "My recital recordings for the label have always had a central theme. My intuition told me the time was right for an all-French program."

Born into a musical family in Mexico City, Osorio says his introduction to French piano repertoire came in early childhood via his mother and first piano teacher, noted pianist Luz María Puente.

"I used to hear my mother play pieces by Ravel, Debussy, and the Minuets by Rameau," he says. "So, I have been very familiar with this repertoire since I was quite young."

Osorio was greatly influenced by Flavigny, a pianist praised by contemporary Paris critics for his "extra-lucid touch and phrasing" and "transcendent technique." At age 17, Osorio, who had studied at the Mexico City Conservatory, attended Flavigny's summer master classes in the city and subsequently moved to Paris to study with him privately. "Music of French composers was, of course, at the core of the repertoire," Osorio says.

"Flavigny's influence and sound remain close to my heart."

With Haas, at the Paris Conservatory, Osorio concentrated on music of Ravel. As a child prodigy, she played for and received insights from Ravel himself, which she shared with her students.

Throughout his career, Osorio has performed French music in recitals in Mexico, Europe, and the United States.

"Debussy and Ravel have been with me quite often over the decades," he says.

Osorio opens The French Album with Fauré's Pavane, a new addition to his repertoire that he learned expressly for this recording. "I thought it would be fitting to frame the program with the beautiful Pavanes by Fauré and his student, Ravel," Osorio says. "I feel that in their original versions, for solo piano, they sound more personal and more touching" than in their better-known orchestral arrangements.

Osorio previously recorded all 24 of Debussy's complete Preludes on his 2007 Cedille release Debussy & Liszt. He revisits eight of them on The French Album.

"The Preludes I chose for this recital I find quite extraordinary," the pianist says.

His interpretive approach to these Preludes has evolved in the decade-plus since the earlier recording, he says, and he was eager to re-record them. The new performances reflect "slight differences in tempo, more attention to the harmony and detail in voicing," he explains. "These might not sound significant on paper, but they make a considerable difference in the final result."

In organizing the program, Osorio looked for opportunities to group works thematically.

Osorio places the Prelude La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune alongside the celebrated Clair de lune from Debussy's Suite Bergamesque.

The Prelude La Puerta del Vino appears in a sequence of Spanish-influenced works that includes Chabrier's Habanera; Debussy's La Soirée dans Grenade, from his collection Estampes; and Ravel's Alborada del gracioso.

Osorio devotes three tracks to music of Rameau, a composer whom both Debussy and Ravel admired. These short pieces from Rameau's Suite in G for harpsichord - in turns lighthearted, elegant, and richly melodic - were chosen to contrast with the dramatic, mysterious, and sometimes somber Debussy Preludes that precede them.

The French Album was recorded by the multiple Grammy-nominated team of producer James Ginsburg and engineer Bill Maylone January 14-15, 2020, in the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago.

The French Album is Osorio's eighth Cedille Records release.

Reviewing Osorio's two-disc Debussy & Liszt album, Classics Today praised the pianist's "astute ear for tone color, superb textural control, and ability to spin long legato lines with little help from the sustain pedal." The Chicago Tribune commended his "finely-chiseled detail and generous color palette"; the Toronto Star declared, "Osorio's playing is faultless."

Osorio's solo recordings on Cedille Records also include Final Thoughts - The Last Piano Works of Schubert & Brahms; Russian Recital with compositions by Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich; Salón Mexicano, comprising music of Mexican composers Manuel M. Ponce, Felipe Villanueva, Ricardo Castro, and José Rolon; an entire disc devoted to music of Ponce; and Piano Español, a collection of works by Albéniz, Falla, Granados, and Soler that received glowing reviews internationally and marked Osorio as one of the world's great interpreters of Spanish piano music.

In the orchestral realm, Osorio recorded, for Cedille, Carlos Chávez's spectacular, rarely heard Piano Concerto with the Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico and its music director, conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto. The album also includes solo piano works by Chávez, José Pablo Moncayo, and Samuel Zyman.

His website is www.jorgefedericoosorio.com.


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