Griffes died young at the age of 38 He left behind him a handful of orchestral
works and a slightly larger reserve of songs and piano works. Many of these
piano solos receive their premiere recordings in this collection although
New World have had many of the major pieces in their catalogue for some years
The piano sonata is a revolutionary piece. It broke the Brahmsian mould and
left behind no shred of Macdowell or Liszt. It is intoxicatingly revolutionary
invoking the name of Alexander Mossolov (piano sonatas 4 and 5) and even
Gershwin. Lewin plays to this avant-garde tendency and is not tempted to
soften the impact. Remarkable are the clanging landslides of notes in the
third movement oddly mixing Rachmaninov, John Cage and Nancarrow.
The Three Tone Pieces were orchestrated but the colours are almost
tangible in this performance. There are lapping waters in the first piece,
a darkling Poe-like vale in the second and clouds of insects and hailing
pebbles flood the sound-world of the final Night Winds.
The Roman Sketches comprise: The White Peacock (all exotic
plumage even in this barer piano solo version); Nightfall (brooding);
Fountains of Acqua Paola (surely this inspired Tarrega's Recuierdos
de la Alhambra) and the floating majesty of Clouds complete with
the wrong-note clangour of raindrops.
De profundis indulges in Wagnerian complexity. Winter Landscapes broods.
The Rhapsody rushes - honouring Brahms and Rachmaninov. The
Barcarolle is none other than a transcription of the silvery
Barcarolle from Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann. The final
Prelude is Beethovenian and ordinary.
A fine collection and well worth acquiring at any price let alone bargain