Search MusicWeb Here


selling Internationally

aBantock 4CDs £16 post-free

 

2CDs £9 post-free

New! CRD


£9 post-free

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Editor-in-Chief: Rob Barnett

CD REVIEW



Some items
to consider

 

  • Groundbreaking Weber
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Groundbreaking Weber

MWI RECORDING
OF THE YEAR


CD review L Wright
BBC Prom
CBSO Birmingham

MWI Editor In Chief
Recording of the Year


Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear


vital imagination


Henrik HELLSTENIUS
A harum-scarum springboard


Always expect the unexpected


 

 

 

Ferdinand RIES (1784-1838)
Piano Sonatas Op. 1: No. 1 in C (1806) [29:18]; No. 2 in A minor (1803/04) [23:14]
Susan Kagan (piano)
rec. Concertgebouw De Doelen, Rotterdam, 1 July 2005. DDD
RAPTUS 305.05.03 [52:32] 

 


 

The low running time of this disc is perhaps balanced out by the rarity of the material it contains and the excellence of both the playing and the recording. These are dubbed as World Premiere recordings, and I cannot find any evidence to contradict that. Ries is best known perhaps for his devotion to Beethoven. He was a pupil, but also acted as secretary and biographer. Here Susan Kagan presents two of Ries' fourteen piano sonatas.

The first is dramatic in a distinctly Beethovenian sense. Certain parts sound as if this is a reduction of a string quartet (admittedly the same could be said of Beethoven's Op. 14/2 of which there is actually a quartet version!). One can play the game of spotting Beethoven quotes in this music if one wishes if fact it is basically unavoidable, as I will demonstrate below) but it is worthwhile also appreciating the fact that Ries is trying to hew his own way in the familiar sonata territory.

The first movement of the C major has an opened-out quality to it (particularly the development) that recalls Beethoven's Op. 2/3. Kagan has all the technical, intellectual and musical means at her disposal to delineate the structure and lead the listener through the changing territory with ease. There are moments of Schubertian charm here, surrounded by the oak-like strength of the Beethovenian trees.

The slow movement marked 'Adagio ma non tanto' has some links to the slow movement of Beethoven's great Op. 10/3, at least at first. It does not quite plumb the same depths (it would presumbly be much better known and recorded if it did!), but it is a notable piece in its own right. Talk of Op. 10/3 is particularly apt as some of the right-hand figuration seems derived from Beehoven's Largo e mesto. The next movement, a Menuetto, does not seem keen to break the spell of the Adagio (the same thing happens in Op. 10/3, where the third movement creeps in from the silence that followed the lonely repeated low Ds that concluded the slow movement). Ries is, if anything, more melancholy than Beethoven in his continuation. The finale begins with a figuration that could easily form the basis of the accompaniment of a Schubert Lied before the slightly, but affectingly, pecking subject enters.

The second sonata on this disc is perhaps the more imaginative of the pair (although this is not to downplay the first's delightfulness). It is in only three movements, and begins with a calm serenity that is much more closely related to Schubert's sonatas than Beethoven's. Kagan changes her game in response, introducing melting phrasing to her expressive first-movement armoury.

There is no equivalent slow movement here. Instead, Ries pens an 'Andante quasi Allegretto scherzando'. The scherzando element seems to lie in the appealing, prevalent staccato which Kagan realises so touchingly (particularly when Ries adds appoggiaturas!). The finale returns to the cosy, no-hurry feel of the first movement, juxtaposing orchestrally conceived sonorities with muchmore delicate, clear-cut ones. Kagan relishes it all.

The recording is excellently focussed. A superb release.

Colin Clarke

 


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Altus
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
CRD
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce
Red Priest
Redcliffe
Retrospective
Saydisc
Sheva
Sterling
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Editor in Chief
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger
 

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.