Piano Works
Release Date: October 12, 2018
Catalog #: BR8954
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Solo Instrumental
Piano

Piano Works of Kenneth A. Kuhn

Kenneth Kuhn composer
Chiharu Naruse piano

Composer and pianist Kenneth Kuhn, after finding the music he wanted to hear did not exist, strove to bring his own musical visions to life. The result, PIANO WORKS OF KENNETH KUHN, is a cathartic journey through the memories and imagination of the composer. Romantic in quality, thematic, memorable, and deeply moving, Kuhn’s latest work leaves listeners feeling enriched and enchanted.

Kuhn’s compositions arose from three main sources: dreams, memories, and spontaneity. In Prelude No. 3 in G-minor, the composer describes the free-flowing second section as having formed on its own, stating “As if controlled by some external something I literally watched my hands play this without any thought in the process.” An Alpine Song formed from a dream of a young Bavarian woman singing and playing guitar in the Alps and what the composer could recall of her exotic melodies upon waking. In Ode to Memories, the composer reminisces on his own past and its ups and downs, from joyous school years to the sudden death of a dear friend. Sublime in nature and simultaneously tender and haunting, each memorable composition tells its own story.

PIANO WORKS OF KENNETH KUHN bares the heart, mind, and soul of the composer in a beautiful, sentimental fashion. With its emotional height and depth, nature-inspired melodies, and connection to the sublime, Kuhn’s collection both moves and inspires listeners.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Prelude No. 3 in G Minor Kenneth A. Kuhn Chiharu Naruse, piano 8:10
02 An Alpine Song (Arr. for Piano) Kenneth A. Kuhn Chiharu Naruse, piano 6:36
03 Fantasia on a Folk Theme Kenneth A. Kuhn Chiharu Naruse, piano 14:02
04 Prelude on a Hymn Tune Kenneth A. Kuhn Chiharu Naruse, piano 6:20
05 Impromptu No. 1 in D Minor (Arr. for Piano) Kenneth A. Kuhn Chiharu Naruse, piano 2:08
06 Ode to Memories (Arr. for Piano) Kenneth A. Kuhn Chiharu Naruse, piano 10:40
07 Song of the American Frontier (Version for Piano) Kenneth A. Kuhn Chiharu Naruse, piano 10:04

All Tracks Recorded February 9, 10, and 12 at Futura Productions in Roslindale MA
Recording Session Producer & Engineer John Weston
Assistant Engineer Jacob Steingart

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Chris Robinson

Vice President, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Engineering Manager Lucas Paquette
Recoring Session Manager Levi Brown

Design & Marketing Director Brett Picknell
Design Emily Roulo

Artist Information

Kenneth Kuhn

Kenneth A. Kuhn

Composer

Kenneth A. Kuhn (Ken) (B. 1954) is an electrical engineer specializing in electronic circuit design who had the privilege of growing up with a great appreciation of classical music. His favorite composers include Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler. Over the years classical music enhanced mental skills valuable for his engineering career.  Composing music and designing electronic circuits are very interrelated as each enhances the other.

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Big Round Artist

Chiharu Naruse

Pianist

Chiharu Naruse holds master’s degrees in Music Performance and Music Instruction from the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin.  She has participated in several international piano competitions, and won the silver prize in the Hyogo Piano Competition in Japan.  In 2002, Chiharu moved to the United States to study under Frank Glazer.

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Chiharu Naruse

Pianist

Chiharu Naruse holds master’s degrees in Music Performance and Music Instruction from the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin. She has participated in several international piano competitions, and won the silver prize in the Hyogo Piano Competition in Japan. In 2002, Chiharu moved to the United States to study under Frank Glazer. She has since performed frequently in Maine, including solo recitals, concertos, and chamber music performances with such groups as the Portland String Quartet, Da Ponte String Quartet, and Venti Cordi. She was a featured artist at the Ocean Park Music Festival and the Franco-American Heritage Center, and has also toured in France and Japan. Chiharu is a well-respected music teacher, chamber music coach, music competition adjudicator, and accompanist, with many of her students receiving competition prizes.

Notes

This work is in two parts and opens with a dramatic theme in the style of 1940s piano music for movies. The main theme is then contrasted by a lyrical subordinate theme. The second part opens with a transformation of the dramatic theme into a beautiful flowing melody with a joyous and yearning subordinate theme. The music builds to the grand conclusion first conceived as an impromptu at the piano one Saturday morning in 1979. As if controlled by some external something I literally watched my hands play this without any thought in the process. The rest of the work was then built from that impromptu and carried in my head until written in 2003. It is quite a showpiece for piano and the performer has ample opportunities for a dramatic performance.

– Kenneth Kuhn

This music first occurred to me in a dream in 1990 of a young woman playing a guitar and singing a song of peace and tranquility to a small crowd on a mountain hill somewhere in the Alps. I was in the audience and although she was singing in a Bavarian language foreign to me, I understood every word. I woke up about 2:30 that morning and fortunately had the presence of mind to jot down the melody and guitar part so this work could be written. Even without words in whatever unknown spoken language, the theme of peace and tranquility is understood by all in the universal language of music. The first version of this work was completed in 2003 and this revised version was completed in 2016.

– Kenneth Kuhn

The hauntingly beautiful melodies and motifs in this work are from familiar American folk music. The music is sad, happy, celebratory, and very introspective. The work is divided into five continuous sections: Introduction, Main theme, Reminiscing, Retrospective, and Closing. The brief introduction opens with a very recognizable three-note motif from old American folk music and different harmonies are briefly explored. The haunting main theme has a sad wistful quality that inspires nostalgia for simpler times of the past. Its happier subordinate theme recalls fond memories. A third wistful theme in counterpoint with the memory of the main theme (now silent) and its subordinate represents melding multiple memories. The reminiscing section is one long continuously evolving melody that explores the opening motif from a variety of perspectives and builds to a joyous celebration of memories relived in a magical fantasy of being transported back in time. The music then closes in a deeply introspective manner as time now becomes the present and the sad retrospective section is the realization that people and places of the past may be gone physically and can only be relived as memories. The closing section recalls the haunting main theme and the introduction now takes a new path to bring the work to a somber close. The work was conceived around 1994 although the main theme had been haunting my mind for many years. The first version of the work was completed in 2004 and this revised version was done in 2016 in preparation for its premier performance at a concert in Birmingham.

– Kenneth Kuhn

After a melodious introduction the main theme is a bittersweet melody representing fond memories. A quasi-religious subordinate theme exalts the memories. The happy introduction takes a sudden sad turn and the music transforms to the very dramatic middle section of remembrances. After that storm settles the music then takes on a yearning quality and builds to a majestic version of the main theme representing the triumph that memories live on. The work was composed in 1974 after two very happy years at a technical school prior to moving on to college. The tragic middle section was inspired by the death of a technical school classmate in a motorcycle accident shortly after I began college.

– Kenneth Kuhn

This is a tone painting composed between 1973 and 1978 inspired by scenes from American frontier history and is based on themes and motifs that evoke thoughts of that era. Thus, much of the music seems familiar even if the listener cannot identify any particular theme. The opening theme describes a grandeur scene of rolling hills and valleys with a subordinate second theme representing a river flowing through. The third theme brings to mind the majestic image of a thousand head of cattle grazing peacefully on a broad plain. The fourth theme opens with the innocence of a young girl growing up on a farm and becomes broader as she matures. The music builds to a grand cadenza leading to a recapitulation of abbreviated triumphal versions of the first two themes bringing the work to a proud close.

– Kenneth Kuhn