The outstanding young German pianist Joseph Moog makes his debut on ONYX with a superb disc of two great Russian piano concertos that have had very different fates. Anton Rubinstein s 4th was once one of the most famous and popular concertos in the repertoire, and many of the major virtuosos performed this work into the early years of the 20th century when the composer s other works vanished from the concert hall.
Joseph Moog is a young pianist with a superb technique and a warm tone. He also composes. On this album, he interestingly pairs concertos by two of Russia’s foremost pianist-composers. Anton Rubinstein’s Fourth Piano Concerto actually was in Rachmaninoff’s repertory as a soloist. Drawing attention to the neglected Rubinstein concerto by following it with a more famous work is a device that certainly is welcome. The opening movement of the Rubinstein is heavily influenced by Schumann’s piano concerto, particularly its first movement. Moog here takes on the mantle of the Schumannesque lyric poet, his tonal palette featuring halftones of grays and browns. Moog’s second movement is a true andante , or walking tempo, unlike some other performances. He plays the affecting opening melody simply and directly, introducing a shadow of melancholy that he sustains beautifully throughout the movement.
To the uninitiated, Moog was the dog in the 80s cartoon series, Willo' the Wisp, but to those in the know, Dr Robert Moog was the maverick inventor and cult icon behind the eponymous synthesizer. This fascinating documentary explores Bob Moog's story in his own words. The advent of the synthesizer revolutionised music. An entirely new analogue instrument, it had electronic components but was made user-friendly by incorporating a traditional keyboard. Its influence was huge: Moog synthesizers were used by everyone from popular musicians like The Beatles and Stevie Wonder to jazz pioneers such as Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. In this documentary, Bob Moog shares his ideas about creativity, design, interactivity, spirituality and of course, the invention that rocked the world.