Miroirs

HyeJin Kim piano

Maurice Ravel composer
Enrique Granados composer
George Gershwin composer

Release Date: November 19, 2021
Catalog #: NV6383
Format: Digital & Physical
20th Century
Solo Instrumental
Piano

On her debut solo album, MIROIRS, pianist HyeJin Kim embarks on a journey of self-reflection through music. The solo-piano repertoire by Gershwin, Ravel, and Granados provides a deliberately intimate experience, in which Kim shares career-shaping works that helped define her as a musician—and as a person. Her delicacy, precision, and passion for the music come through in each piece, which as a whole crafts a narrative that interweaves the concepts of art, life, and belonging.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Miroirs M.43: I. Noctuelles Maurice Ravel HyeJin Kim, piano 4:56
02 Miroirs M.43: II. Oiseaux tristes Maurice Ravel HyeJin Kim, piano 4:08
03 Miroirs M.43: III. Une barque sur l’océan Maurice Ravel HyeJin Kim, piano 8:03
04 Miroirs M.43: IV. Alborada del gracioso Maurice Ravel HyeJin Kim, piano 7:00
05 Miroirs M.43: V. La vallée des cloches Maurice Ravel HyeJin Kim, piano 6:15
06 Goyescas, Op. 11: El Amor y la muerte Enrique Granados HyeJin Kim, piano 13:23
07 La Valse M.72 Maurice Ravel HyeJin Kim, piano 12:31
08 Goyescas, Op. 11: Quejas, o La Maja y el ruiseñor Enrique Granados HyeJin Kim, piano 6:51
09 Rhapsody in Blue George Gershwin HyeJin Kim, piano 15:01

Recorded June 26-30, 2016 at the Herbert Zipper Recital Hall, Colburn School in Los Angeles CA

Recording Producer Philip Traugott www.philiptraugott.com
Recording, Mixing And Mastering Engineer Tom Lazarus www.classicsound.com

Venue Engineer Sergey Parfenov, Colburn School
Piano Technician Luke Tayler, Kathy Smith, Moritaka Kina

Photographer Shervin Lainez www.shervinfoto.com
Makeup Artist Tracy Raffelson
Hair Stylist Alex Henrichs

General Manager of Audio & Sessions Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Quinton Blue

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

HyeJin Kim

Pianist

Pianist HyeJin Kim has been described as “passionate, indisputably masterful technique with colorful interpretations,” (Der Westen) and is recognized as one of South Korea’s top artists with a comprehensive career as soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and educator. Born in Seoul, Kim trained at the prestigious Yewon Arts School and Seoul Arts High School, and received numerous awards at competitions including the Hong Kong International Piano Competition, DAAD Prize in Germany, Steinway & Sons Advancement Award Competition, and the Toronto International Piano Competition. Kim was the youngest prize winner of the 55th Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition. Kim recently made her Carnegie Hall debut and has performed as a soloist with the Korean Chamber Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic, San Bernardino Symphony, and Buffalo Philharmonic where Kim’s performance “had the utmost delicacy…. with a terrific flourish. She threw herself into music with grace and fortitude.” (The Buffalo News)

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Notes

MUSIC IS THE MIRROR OF LIFE. When music and life meet, art is created. The symbiotic moment delivers the highest expression of our personality. As one of many musicians who have lived a life in music, it has been my longstanding wish and dream to share my first solo album with music that has greatly inspired me to find my true self.

— HyeJin Kim

THE ORIGIN OF INSPIRATION FOR THIS PROJECT came through discovering a new side of myself as a musician and as a person when I met the new culture and environment in Los Angeles, after many years living in Berlin, Germany. In this album, MIROIRS, I wanted to capture the moment that had a profound influence on my musical journey. Each piece of music is very special and meaningful to me, not to mention a master piano solo piece in the early 20th century, as it mirrors myself of that time in the most genuine way. At the same time, I wanted to praise and look back at the elements of life that are indispensable and reflecting to this world and our existence: nature, emotions, life and death, joy and despair, metamorphosis, love and hope, and lastly, the power of music.

Miroirs by Ravel symbolizes the delicate shades of human’s psychology through an extreme depiction of particular objects and scenes from nature, La valse represents the bravery of human beings to move forward positively and boldly in the face of tragedy and metamorphosis — as the time we are living in, both Granados’s music shows drama and inevitable fate in life, and Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin, which was the initiative source of my inspiration, reflects on musical and cultural diversity. One of the greatest aspects of music is perhaps the ability to enlighten our soul and life. Whether happy or sad, understanding or not, knowing or not knowing, music is always there for us, consoles our heart, connects us together, and helps to find our inner selves, thereby we are invigorated to move forward. While the album was recorded pre-COVID, I believe the timing of the release ideally aligns with what we need right now in these dire times. It is truly meaningful to share this album with all of you. I hope this album could take anyone of you to some time of your own with peace of mind to look around and be inspired to get back in contact with the small, but precious things to essentials that matters in life, as it happened to me.

My heart is full of gratitude for the countless people who made this album possible including Philip Traugott and Tom Lazarus, incredible producer and engineer as well as wonderful person; Team of Parma for their excellent work for many regards; Fabio Bidini, my longtime mentor for his guidance; Nick Gianopoulos, great musician and composer who supervised this project closely; Jerry & Terri Kohl, Ann Murally and many others for their amazing love and support; Colburn School and Salastina friends and colleagues for their bright presence in my life; and my beloved family for their unsisting support to my musical journey and unconditional love. Last but not least, I know that Laura is smiling down from the sky… This album is dedicated to my dear friend Laura Liepins, who was my strong supporter in early years of my career in the U.S and who believed in me and helped me with all her heart and soul. Laura, although I wish you were still here, I am thinking of you and I will always keep your beautiful smile inside of me.

— HyeJin Kim

Very few everyday items are as laden with mysticism as mirrors. They are symbols not only of physical, but of spiritual reflection – showing the truth and nothing but the truth, albeit in a reverted manner. A mirror’s image unites two seemingly irreconcilable aspects: the gossamer winged ephemerality of reflecting everything and everyone that happens to pass by, however fleetingly; but also an unwavering steadfastness in the accuracy of its depictions. 

Maurice Ravel (1875–1937) composed his eponymous Miroirs in 1905 as a tribute to his friends, members of an artistic circle casually referred to as Les Apaches (approximately: “hooligans”). Rather than composing musical portraits, the contrarian composer decided to capture the more ethereal aspects of his friends’ personalities. Noctuelles (“moths”), dedicated to poet Léon-Paul Fargue, continually wavers between B flat minor and G flat major and features a recapitulation a fifth below its opening theme, like a moth tiring from its dance with a flickering light. The second piece in the cycle, Oiseaux Tristes (“sad birds”) is modeled on pianist Ricardo Viñes, who would later premiere Miroirs in its entirety. Une barque sur l’océan (“a boat on the ocean”) was supposed to reflect Paul Sordes, at whose studio home the Apaches would meet every Saturday. Alborada del gracioso (Spanish for “the jester’s morning love song”) is the most technically challenging work of the set, posing great pianistic challenges not only with regards to technique, but also in uniting highly diverse, border-crossing musical influences such as French impressionism and Spanish folk music. (Its dedicatee, Michel-Dimitri Calvocoressi, was a French-born, multilingual music critic of Greek descent, who later became an English citizen and harboured a lifelong interest in Russian music.) The final piece, La vallée des cloches (“the valley of bells”), was composed for Maurice Delage, one of Ravel’s favorite and most beloved students who had begun his career as a humble fishmonger. 

El Amor y Muerte: Ballada (Love and Death: Ballad) is the fifth movement of Spanish composer-pianist Enrique Granados’s (1867–1916) Goyescas, a six-movement work for piano written between 1900 and 1914. Firmly anchored in late Romanticism, Granados based his Goyescas on drawings by fellow countryman Francisco de Goya, who had lived and died a good century before. Based on Goya’s Capricho No. 10, the entirety of El Amor y Muerte aims to replicate the emotion within Goya’s work. El Amor y Muerte falls in a section where the tone and plotline of Goya’s Caprichos drastically change, from a once hopeful love story of servant-class lovers labeled “Majo” and “Maja,” to one dampened by lament and grief. In this particular movement, Granados provides insight into the young girl’s lament, brought on by the death of her lover. When cross-referencing this piece with the original drawing, Majo is seen dead in Maja’s arms with a sword laying at their feet, a critical moment in the narrative expressed through music in this tender and evocative composition.

La Valse (1920) was composed by Ravel at the behest of Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev, who, perhaps naively, commissioned and envisioned a light-footed Viennese waltz for the Russian ballet ensemble he had founded. It is questionable what Ravel thought of the order: Instead of complying with his patron’s vision, he based the resulting work on sketches going back fourteen years. When the work was premiered in the presence of Diaghilev, Stravinsky and Poulenc, among others, the commissioner rejected it, calling it “not a ballet, but a portrait of a ballet”. It wasn’t used in practice until eight years later in a choreography for Ida Rubinstein, and remains a staple in avantgardistic dance to this day. 

Quejas, o la Maja y el Ruiseñor (“Lamentations, or the young girl and the nightingale”) marks the technical and musical climax of Goyescas (1911), often considered the most crowning achievement by Spanish composer-pianist Enrique Granados (1867–1916). Firmly anchored in late Romanticism, Granados based his Goyescas on drawings by fellow countryman Francisco de Goya, who had lived and died a good century before. Quejas, on its surface, portrays a young, servant-class girl tortured by jealousy, who decides to pour her heart out to her trusty friend – a nightingale, which answers cheerfully. Beyond the veil of this purely programmatic appeal, however, Quejas is not only a pinnacle in terms of compositional and pianistic virtuosity, requiring both absolute technical command as well as profound sensitivity; it’s perhaps one of the most accurate musical depictions of having loved and lost in the Western canon. 

Rhapsody in Blue (1924) is easily the most recognizable composition by American pianist and conductor George Gershwin (1898–1937). Originally scored for two pianos, it was orchestrated multiple times by various arrangers, and later distilled into a solo piano work in the early 1940’s. The work successfully fuses jazz, blues and symphonic influences, and its themes and melodies are known around the world. The term “rhapsody” originally meant “recited poem” and nowadays denotes a musical piece without a clear form or categorization. Gershwin later claimed to have “heard” the piece in the rattle and noise of a train ride, saying “I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness.” 

Miroirs is indeed a well-considered, well-chosen title for this album. Ravel, Granados, and Gershwin may have been contemporaries in the broadest sense, but their unique voices couldn’t be more heterogeneous. And yet, the selection of works presented here is unified by a common aspect: Each of the piano pieces presented acts as little, thoughtfully-crafted vignette, highly programmatic and illustrative – one could say: reflective, in both meanings of the word. 

— HyeJin Kim