> DRANGOSCH Piano music and songs [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- Oct 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Ernesto DRANGOSCH (1882-1925)
Piano Music and Songs
The Drangosch Group, Argentine Composers Collection, Volume 1

Three Piano Pieces (1904-5)
Blas González (piano)
Aire de Tango (1921)
Tango (1921)
El Perseguido (Tango) (1925)
Tres Tangos Criollos (1908)
Estela Telerman (piano)
Habanera (1895-7)
Guillermo Cárdenas (piano)
Fantasía en forma de un tiempo de sonata (1904-5)
Luis Semeniuk (piano)
Entschluss (Ludwig Uhland) (1903)
Abendgang (Grafin Sterbenburg) (1903)
Ein lied ... So Schön (Friedrich Albert Meyer) (1903)
Amemos (Amado Nervo) (1920)
Zwei Augen (Max Bewer) (1914)
Silvina Martino (sop); Federico Oro Vojacek (piano)
rec May 2001, Jan 2002 DDD
World Premiere Recordings
CAMU 0004 [53.30]

Drangosch, a concert pianist, conductor and teacher as well as a composer, was born in Buenos Aires. His parents were from Germany. He studied under Alberto Williams (remember Williams who wrote nine symphonies one of which was recorded on Arte Nova - reviewed here in 1999). He went to Berlin to study with Barth, Joachim and Ansorge at the age of fifteen. He was a soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic variously conducted by Joachim, Busoni and d'Albert. He was a veritable dynamo of musical endeavour when at the age of 22 he returned to Argentina and was extremely active concertising and teaching. He evangelised classical music by playing Beethoven symphonies in picture palaces as accompaniments to silent films. He died of pneumonia shortly before he was to leave for Europe to perform as pianist and conductor and to record for RCA.

The Drangosch songs are four-square within the lied-troubadour tradition rather than the morose depressive strain (the latter beloved of Schoeck, up to a point by Marx and the Swiss late romantics). Drangosch's lieder lean slightly towards the delightful operetta strain of Lehár mixed with qualities typified by Marx's Marienlied. They are most lovingly shaped by Silvina Martino and Federico Oro Vojacek. Amemos is of a quite different order. This is a most striking setting which blends fine Hispanic allure with the Gallic subtlety of Bonnal, Ravel and d'Ollonne. The piano music is not at all impressionistic. There is lighter late romantic fare (tangos and a habanera) taking a small step forwards from people like Macdowell, Flury, Joplin, and Gottschalk. It must have found a ready market and still has the power to charm. The Three Pieces are rather grander jeux d'esprits which are rampant with Bachian energy, the vigour and sensibility of Chopin, sentimentality (as in the Minuett) and even the gambols of the Unhatched Chickens courtesy of Mussorgsky. The Fantasia is rife with the spirits of Chopin and Schumann. It develops a much more original manner towards its close - always agreeably sentimental.

I have heard Drangosch's Piano Concerto in E major courtesy of the one of the principal moving spirits behind this disc, Lucio Bruno-Videla. The Concerto was written between 1906 and 1912. That 1948 private recording had the concerto played by Delia Drangosch and the conductor was George Andreani. It is a rip-roaring late-romantic work which would fit like a glove within the Hyperion Romantic Piano Concerto series. The cross-references to Tchaikovsky's three concertos and Scriabin's delectable and early isolated essay are clear enough. Add a dash of Saint-Saëns' glitter and there you have it. This is an insultingly simplistic description by me but will give you some 'handle' on what to expect. I hope that it and other works from the Argentinian classical heritage will begin to find a place on CD and ultimately in concert. Going by tapes I have very kindly had by Sr Videla the following works are also well worth consideration: Gilardo Gilardi (1889-1963) Gaucho with new boots (1936), Celestino Piaggio (1886-1931) overture (1914), Pascual de Rogatis (1880-1980) Dance from the opera Huemac (1916), Carlos Lopez Buchardo (1881-1948) Argentine Scenes - a symphonic poem (1919-1920) and Luis Gianneo (1897-1967) El Tarco en Flor - another symphonic poem (1929). We already know something of Gianneo from the three volumes of solo piano music issued by Marco Polo.

This disc is well documented (Spanish and English), produced and very nicely recorded. It could, to our advantage, have had another twenty minutes of music added.

Thanks must go to the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany for their sponsorship of this disc. I hope it will be the first of many and will snare the attention of both Marco Polo and Hyperion.

Lieder in the lyric Germanic tradition, light dance solos and two works, Amemos and the Fantasia that give eloquent signs of a much more potent imagination at work.
Rob Barnett



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