Vera Breheda's recording of the 8 Piano Pieces Op. 76 conveys all their romance and tenderness, from the essentially intimate pieces which the composer calls "intermezzi", to the fiery and passionate ones to which he gives the deceptive title "Caprices". These last have all the breathtaking sweep and virtuosity one could desire without becoming mere virtuoso display. The subtleties of Brahms' thought are clothed in the most enchanting sounds, from dreamy repose the utmost fervour and agitation... The recorded sound is warm and spacious. The earlier Handel Variations round out the disc. These were apparently taken from a live performance and although the sound is less pristine, Breheda's performance is no less convincing, both emotionally and intellectually. This is a "must have" disc for all Brahms-lovers.
Jerry Kuderna, Berkeley, CA
Vera Breheda, born in Hamburg, Germany of Ukrainian parents, came to the U.S at age three.
She spent her early childhood in Buffalo, New YorkÂ where piano and dance consumed most of her after school time.
Her early memories were of her parents singing folk songs of their native Ukraine.
At age 11, Vera's family moved to San Francisco where she soon became a scholarship piano student of Alma Harrington, Adolph Baller, and Marcus Gordon at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Within several years, she was soloist with the San Francisco Symphony in a special youth concert.
She continued her studies with Martin Canin at SUNY Stony Brook, and Leonard Shure in Boston, and in 1983 gave her New York recital debut at Carnegie Recital Hall (Weill Recital Hall).
Performing music of many styles, from Baroque to 21st century, Vera Breheda's concertizing has taken her from San Francisco, to New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle, as well as to Germany Austria, Czechoslovakia and Russia.
Vera Breheda has appeared as soloist with the Prague Chamber Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Oakland Symphony, the Thalia Orchestra in Seattle, the Kensington Symphony, the Diablo Valley Philharmonic, and the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra.
Breheda has also been a participant in the music festivals at Tanglewood, Aspen, Banff, Florida West Coast, and the Moscow Conservatory of Music.
At Banff she was a guest artist with the Fine Arts Quartet.
Locally, her Bay Area Solo, duo piano (Kuderna Breheda Duo) and chamber recitals have been in Hertz Hall, Julia Morgan Theater, Trinity Chapel, Old First Church, St. Patrick's Church and Herbst Theater.
She has received acclaim for her recent CD release of the "Piano Works of Johannes Brahms." which is in distribution by Con Brio, a classical record label, and is available at www.ConBrioRecordings.com
A New York Times review of her Carnegie Recital Hall recital called her "a pianist who seems totally engaged in the music she plays."
Check out the artist's website:
1. Op. 76 Capriccio in F sharp minor
2. Op. 76 Capriccio in B minor
3. Op. 76 Intermezzo in A flat major
4. Op. 76 Intermezzo in B flat major
5. Op. 76 Capriccio in C sharp minor
6. Op. 76 Intermezzo in A flat major
7. Op. 76 Intermezzo in A minor
8. 76 Capriccio in C major
9. Handel Aria
10. Handel - Variation 1
11. Handel - Variation 2
12. Handel - Variation 3
13. Handel - Variation 4
14. Handel - Variation 5
15. Handel - Variation 6
16. Handel - Variation 7
17. Handel - Variation 8
18. Handel - Variation 9
19. Handel - Variation 10
20. Handel - Variation 11
21. Handel - Variation 12
22. Handel - Variation 13
23. Handel - Variation 14
24. Handel - Variation 15
25. Handel - Variation 16
26. Handel - Variation 17
27. Handel - Variation 18
28. Handel - Variation 19
29. Handel - Fugue