When Yojo Christen plays the piano, his eyes light up and you realise that for him there is nothing more beautiful, nothing more significant in this world.
The love story between the pianist and music started early because as soon as Yojo could walk, he was drawn to the fascinating black grand piano in his family's living room. Yojo was taught early on by his stepfather, the successful concert pianist and composer Franz Hummel. In his youth, Hummel himself was a student of the famous Mozarteum piano professor Hans Ehlers, who in turn was a grand disciple of Franz Liszt through his studies with Moriz Rosenthal and placed great value on teaching his students all of Liszt's secrets and playing techniques.
Yojo Christen on this CD Recording
For this CD, I have chosen a musical composition that deviates from the usual conventions. George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", a very original homage to early American jazz, is followed by a contemporary work.
It is Franz Hummel's second piano concerto with the title "War and Peace", to which he asked me to contribute the finale. From my composition IRINI (Peace), for which I won the second and audience prizes at the International Diabelli Composition Competition in Munich at the age of 18, I created an orchestral version, especially for this purpose: the third movement of the piano concerto. In 2016, I premiered the work with the Regensburg Philharmonic under Tetsuro Ban, whose recording I may publish here with the orchestra's permission. The musicians masterfully realized the truly difficult score with great dedication and profound skill.
As a third stylistic variant, I have given room to my desire for romanticism and recorded the four Impromptus op. 90 by Franz Schubert. I would like to present these natural, naïve-philosophical gems, whose profound simplicity can move one to tears, to Schubert lovers as well as to the pop-trained ear.
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
Hummel: Krieg und Frieden
Schubert: 4 Impromptus, Op, 90, D. 899