> Frederik van Rossum [HC]: Classical Reviews- March 2002 MusicWeb(UK)






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Frederik van ROSSUM (born 1939)
Ballade op.49 (1989)
Twelve Preludes Op.44 (1985/6)
In Memoriam Glenn Gould Op.43 (1984)
Waves Op.51 (1990)
Black and White Op.40 (1982)
Frédéric Menguy (piano)
RENE GAILLY RG 87129 [66:48]


Rene Gailly

As already mentioned in another review, Frederik van Rossum, who is also a gifted pianist, has composed a great deal of piano music, including some large-scale cycles such as Twelve Miniatures Op.10 (1964) and his more recent set of Twelve Preludes Op.44 (1985/6) which is the most substantial work in the present survey of his recent piano output.

The Twelve Preludes Op.44 is a substantial cycle in which van Rossum explores many varied contrasted moods and emotions while exploiting the pianoís expressive possibilities without ever resorting to the sort of "gimmickry" too often found (and often uselessly so) in present day piano music. This is undoubtedly his finest piano work so far.

The other pieces recorded here are generally shorter, still superbly crafted, often demanding but always hugely rewarding. In Memoriam Glenn Gould Op.43 (1984) pays homage to the Canadian pianist whose playing made a deep impression on van Rossum. It does so by alluding to some characteristics of Gouldís piano playing. Ballade Op.49 (1984) and Waves Op.51 (1990) have much in common: the big waves evoked in Waves are, as it were, echoed by the grand lyrical outbursts in Ballade.

The title of Black and White Op.40 (1982) refers to the particular playing technique used in the piece: left hand on black keys and right hand on white keys. As is always the case in van Rossumís music, formal grip and almost improvisatory freedom go hand in hand, always aiming at communication, whatever the techniques in play. This is also the reason why van Rossumís music appeals to critics, performers and audiences alike.

The young French pianist Frédéric Menguy is a gifted player and a dedicated performer of these consistently fine and attractive pieces by a composer who knows what he wants to say and how to say it in his most direct, though uncompromising way. Menguyís excellent readings are given a warm, natural recorded sound.

Hubert Culot


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