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Thew Warren - Piano (b. 1927)

Biography of Thew Warren:

Warren Thew was born in Fairport (New York) in 1927, and studied at the Eastman School of Music. In 1951, he made both his concert debut (in Washington D.C.) and his recording debut (with world première recordings of works by Sergei Rachmaninov). In 1956, Thew moved to Zurich, where he studied with Max Egger. Thew remained in Zurich, and from there he gradually built up an international concert career. From 1956 to 1972 he taught the solo class at the Zurich Music Academy. Thew played piano music from every epoch. Besides his interest in modern music (such as the works of Max Kuhn), he also gave concert series of old music on original instruments. Thew was also active as a composer, artist and poet. His collection of poems in Rumansch that appeared in 2000 was received to great critical praise. Warren Thew died in 1984. With the present recording, his interpretative art can be heard on CD for the first time.

Warren Thew was a rounded personality - rounded in every way: round his head, round his body. Yet everything that had to do with his inner being was also rounded - not just with regard to his musicianship, but just as much with regard to his independence as a poet, his gifts as an artist, and, finally, with particular regard to his humanity. His life-affirming personal magnetism made him the centre of a circle of friends in which men and women of the most varied background, upbringing and manner of thinking were united. I can’t quite remember any more where or through whom I got to know Warren. I expect that it was in the early 1960s. In any case, the world première of Hermann Haller’s Second Piano Concerto on 16 January 1964 was the first time we worked together. That was the beginning of a period of almost twenty years in which we regularly shared the podium. Working with Warren was always exciting. If he was in an environment that he knew and that was sympathetic, then he relaxed and really blossomed if the results were promising, no matter how intensive the rehearsals might be. But what could turn out to be of real interest was a house concert with a small circle gathered round, when Warren used late works of Brahms (the Intermezzi) to explain to his listeners, using both music and words, the transition from the Romantic era to the musical world of the 20th century. Many people still find that development difficult to understand today, but at such moments, it suddenly became something comprehensible and natural. And explaining was something that Warren Thew could do wonderfully. It was never a problem for him to find the right expression or the correct explanation, in whatever language was necessary – indeed, it was something he relished. Only this can explain his affinity to the Rumansh language of the Lower Engadine – an affinity that he himself discovered late in life – and that is documented by over two hundred poems, written in the last year of his life. He also left behind an enormous number of poems in his mother tongue and some thousand drawings, though his compositional oeuvre seems modest in comparison. And yet, who can wonder at this, when the man had so many different interests to which he devoted himself seriously – and this besides his daily practising rota? His creative energy was exceptional, but his life was obviously too short in order to bring to fruition all the possibilities that he saw before him. Räto Tschupp

CD's with Thew Warren
Piano Concertos by Joseph Haydn & Max Kuhn

ArtNr. GMCD 7206

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