Alban's Blog

Echo Klassik Award 2009

Silent for 50 days and now three entries within 10 minutes – I know, inflationary, but what can one do, I had a long flight (from Berlin via Munich and Philadelphia to Puerto Rico) and tons of time to kill. Sorry for this overload of blog entries, but I thought I should write my astonishment and excitement about the latest award I have received. More than two years ago, April 5 2007 I wrote the following blog:

and now, about 10 days ago, this recording, the Double-Reger-Whopper (2 cd’s), won the Echo Klassik Award 2009!On the one hand is exciting news for me because it is, at least in Germany, great PR for free; on the other hand I was really amazed that “strange” and not really loved repertoire like the Reger Sonatas and Suites would stand a chance against all these wonderful recordings out there. To be honest, my  pianist Markus Becker and me were hoping for the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, just because this rare German repertoire hasn’t been recorded together and the fact that we did it well enoughto be able to attract some nice reviews – but no, they chose something more mainstream. That the jury of the Echo Award “found” us was therefor so much more surprising especially since Hyperion cd’s traditionally don’t receive this honour too frequently (it’s a different market, I guess).

I am also very happy for poor old Reger himself who is more and more recognized as the difficult but highly talented composer he was. No, he was no Brahms nor Berg, but for me he was an important composer during that crucial time, the turn from 19th to 20th century, and his contribution shows very well the struggle of many artists trying to find themselves in that pre-World-War decadent Europe. I struggled immensely learning these 7 pieces (4 sonatas with piano and 3 solo suites), almost became depressed by going deep into this multi-level musical bunker, and it feels very nice to know that it was not for nothing. Thanks!


  • Michael Chen

    Gratuliere Alban und Herr Becker! As a piano player, I have lots of respect for Reger naturally.

    Glad you enjoyed your collaboration with Maestro von Dohnanyi in Hamburg. I understand that he has quite a controversial reputation with some orchestra musicians – his very first engagement with the Boston Symphony here resulted in his withdrawl after the first performance if I remember correctly but his relationship with the orchestra has improved/recovered. Nowadays he is a regular guest and has given many memorable performances. I still vividly remember an absolutely stunning performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto with a fantastic Frank Peter Zimmermann several years back. Thanks for the accounting of the Chin concerto. Perhaps you’ll be able to persuade the BSO to play it here some day.

    Hmmm you flew via Philadelphia from Muenchen….I hope you’re NOT on US Airway! Last time I flew on them, I considered filing a report on Amnesty International!:)))

    Have a great vacation with great food and diving in Puerto Rico:)


  • Manfred van Os

    Lieber Alban Gerhardt,
    herzlichen Glückwunsch!
    Man staunt immer wieder, was Sie musikalisch schaffen.
    Alles Gute weiterhin

  • Alban

    Thanks, Michael, for the congrats! Dohnanyi told me about his first performance there in Boston – I forgot the story, but there was quite a good story behind why he withdrew. He definitely is a man with high principles and a very strong character – an honour to work with him! Oh yes, we are working on the BSO in regards with the Chin Concerto; there is a general interest, but you know how it is with modern music – it’s not so easy to sell to the general audience, and neither me nor Unsuk are really mainstream artists who sell out a hall by themselves…
    Yes, it was US Air, and yes, it was not the most pleasant experience in my life.

    Best wishes and you are right, the food is great, my mother-in-law is a phantastic cook!!!


  • David

    A well deserved award for the Reger set (there should have been others long before this) – I play it often.

  • Alban

    Glad you like it, David – I haven’t really listened to it yet since the first edit because it stirs too many tough memories, but with a bit of distance I will give it another listen…
    All best,


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