On the occasion of the 200th Birthday anniversary of Franz Liszt (1811-1886), Mr. Ritzen, acclaimed Liszt interpreter, engaged in a series of concerts in Europe and China with an extensive Program of the great master.
Mr. Ritzen choose a program of pieces for a „Bicentennial Liszt Edition“, which are rather rarely played, nowadays. The Album is centered on Transcriptions, of which the II. Ballade (composed in 1853) is the exception. Nevertheless; Rigoletto Fantasy, a Paraphrase (which differs from transcription in approach and concept!) on famous themes of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) his Opera; is perhaps the most popular, well known and most often played piece, here, on this Album.
The Tre Sonetti del Petrarcha from Années de Pèlerinage (Italy), are perfect transcriptions of earlier songs by Liszt. The 4 Transcriptions on Richard Wagner (1813-1883) his famous Opera ‚Lohengrin’ (a work, finished in 1845) are certainly the core of this recording here.
It unmistakably marks Ritzen’s prime choice as a ‚Wagnerian’ pianist. But also as a polyphonist; interpreting scores to the harmony and a labyrinth of voices, rather than the purely text. The last one, being a typical stone mark of the modern ‚competition’ pianist.
In June 2005, Transcendental Symphony Heavenly Peace went into premiere. The months before the concert events of June 4 & 6 (Taichung & Taipei), were most hectic, due to the organization (a total of 400 performers onstage!) and the many rehearsals with the different choruses scattered around the Island of Taiwan.
The composer himself, committed and devoted to a good outcome of his piece, engaged himself to visit all those chorus fractions. There were the weekly gatherings of the International Community Choir in Taipei, held at the European Academy of Music. Soloists, like Angelo Marenzi, practiced their solo parts, with holy fire! And then the conductor arrived: Meir Minsky. Mr. Ritzen went to pick him up from the airport. ‘Dear Peter, I know your score; inside outside. We will make history, my dear friend!’ The first rehearsal with ALL choruses came. The European Academy was involved in the organization of buses, arrival hours and.. a 300 lunch boxes for the volunteer enthusiasts! Maestro Minsky was overwhelmed, since he knew that many singers were not really professionals. They just had great will power. ‘And this is the miracle from Taiwan!’ he shouted in anticipation after that memorable ‘Sunday morning’. Because than only, everybody was able to attend this grand rehearsal! The composer played his symphony at ‘his’ Piano, with thunderous orchestral panache. The concert grand piano of the European Academy was especially moved to Guang Fu Ball Room, in Taipei, where the rehearsals took place. The impact was enormous and deep on the large chorus. In the intermission, lyricist SANTIAGO RUPEREZ, was literally stormed with questions (the text is in English) regarding the deeper meaning of certain text phrases, and he got ovations too!
A week later, rehearsals began with a pick-up orchestra. A combination of Taipei Symphony and National Symphony Orchestras. It was called, New Dynasty Orchestra; because we all believed: this is a ‚reborn’ a renaissance, a new dynasty, in Music! When the final concert event took place in Taipei, at the National Concert Hall, everybody, including soloists, had been through many emotions, tribulations and exaltation. Heavenly Peace has been performed again since. But this one is THE premiere. The very first successful performance. The recording tapes, went through many premaster stages, due to the large audience (it was sold out with a 2000 people attending the concert), and the giant performing group on the stage. But finally, a satisfactory product came out. And this is what people can hear today on record. A result of composing, text writing, planning, rehearsing, organizing, rehearsing again..and finally: dreaming, in the Music.
Peter Ritzen’s latest composition is called ‘Wilde Roos’. It is a Cantata in three movements, for Organ, Chorus, Percussion, Orchestra (or Piano) and Soloists. It was composed in 2011 in Beijing, China. The texts are derived from Flemish Poems of the famous Priest Poet; Anton van Wilderode (1918-1998). The piece was not performed yet, due to ‘typical’ intrigues in Ritzen’s native country, Belgium. We are nevertheless looking forwards to a hopeful premiere of another gigantic work of the maestro, which: ‘belongs to the best what I ever wrote’.. according the composer’s own words..!
Peter Ritzen is the Artistic Director of International Piano Competition Theodor Leschetizky in the year of 2000 and 2004.
May 23Concert in Cultural Square Concert Hall – Guanzou
May 24Concert in Jian Xi Grand Theatre – Nanchang
May 30 Private concert in Beijing
June 10Concert in Gulangyu Concert Hall – Xiamen
This Concert tour and Master Classes are supported by the Flemish Ministry of Culture.
Peter RITZEN with his unusual talent and charm made soon a great success with his Chinese related music, and published by International CD label NAXOS, Marco Polo.
In 1988 China Mass Missa Pro Defunctis composed on midi and released on Philips Taiwan (see CD1).
In 1992 Love for China compositions about Chinese festivals.
In 1994 Last Empress Piano Concerto ; China in the year of Dragon Piano Concerto.
Performed in Shanghai, published by Marco Polo NAXOS.
In 1995 Chinese Requiem performed in Shanghai , live broadcasted by CCTV and appreciated by millions of Chinese audience.
Published by Marco Polo NAXOS. (see CD4)
In 1997 Premier of Symphonic Poem ‘Hua-Chiao’ (Overseas Chinese) with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in Shanghai.
Piano Recital in Beijing.
In 1998 Chinese Folksongs Transcriptions composed and performed by Flanders String Orchestra.CD released (see CD5).
In 2000 Artistic Director of International Piano Competition Theodor Leschetizky (IPCTL)
invited for concerts and master classes in the Beijing Central Music Conservatory and the Shanghai Music Conservatory.
In 2004 Artistic Director of IPCTL invited for concerts and master classes in the Beijing Central Music Conservatory and the
Shanghai Music Conservatory.
In 2005 Transcendental Symphony ‘Heavenly Peace’ based on Chinese history made its world premier in Taiwan.
This Symphony is scheduled to be performed in China in 2010.
In 2009 Concert tour and Master Classes ‘Love for China’.
In 2010 and then, Peter Ritzen is concertizing regularlly in China.