Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

MusicWeb has suspended the sale of Concert Artists discs until it can be resolved which were actually recorded by Joyce Hatto


Encore! An anthology of recital encores
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)

Invitation to the Dance Op. 65
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

Rondo a capriccio in G minor Op. 129 (pub. 1828)
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

Marche Militaire arr. Tausig
Hark, Hark the Lark arr. Liszt
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)

Widmung S566 arr. Liszt
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)

Lyric Pieces – Book Six; Heimweh Op. 57/6 (1893)
Lyric Pieces – Book Five; March of the Trolls Op. 54/3 (1891)
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)

La Plus que lente (1910)
Arabesque in G major (1888/91)
Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925)

Caprice espagnole Op. 37
Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

Humoresque in E minor Op. 10/2 (1871)
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)

Vocalise Op. 34
Étude-Tableau in E flat minor Op. 39/5
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)

Liebesleid - transcribed Rachmaninov
Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937)

Étude in B flat minor Op. 4/3 (1902)
Joyce Hatto (piano)
Recorded [2002?]


It’s good to see that Joyce Hatto can let her hair down for Concert Artist. This is the first volume in what looks like a series and I’m sure that the next volume will be as creatively and imaginatively selected as this one. It has hallmarks of Golden Age pianism – with Weber, Moszkowski and plenty of virtuoso hyphenation on board – as well as highlighting Hatto’s well-known strengths in the Francophile and Russian repertoires. So there’s plenty to stimulate the ear and an incidental and by no means unpleasurable by-product has been to send me scurrying to my shelves to listen to the very pianists for whom this repertoire was encore fodder on shellac in the 1920s and 1930s.

Here are a few highlights and thoughts then. Moszkowski’s Caprice espagnole was a Hoffman speciality but it was also something essayed by a pianist cut from rather craggier cloth, Wilhelm Backhaus. Hatto is full of energy here, charmingly pointed, witty and articulate with trademark passagework precision; I especially like the way she turns the elegant rococo of the central section. Backhaus by contrast tends to make heavier weather of it in his 1923 HMV – less fluent and fleet. Her Schubert-Tausig Marche Militaire is not rip-roaringly animated – rather it’s quite serious with great delicacy in the contrastive sections. Levitzki turned it into a tumult of heavy left hand accents and galloping vigour with a quipping central section. Her Schubert-Liszt Hark, Hark the Lark is one of those pieces everyone played, even violinists. Compared with Friedman’s characterisation and volatile pianism or the young Arrau’s more vocalised impress Hatto does tend to be straighter though maybe the rather smooth and unlingering tempo militates against her.

She is characteristically powerful and impressive in Rachmaninov’s Vocalise, abjuring sentimentality. Kissin brings out the left hand melodies better but he plays a simplified arrangement on his RCA disc and I wouldn’t recommend him. Her Schumann Widmung has simplicity and generosity a-plenty – Backhaus mixes up the voicings in a much quicker and purely pianistic reading – but she is relatively slow whilst her Grieg playing is both delicate and wittily phrased, as is her Debussy. I’ve never thought Rachmaninov’s arrangement of his colleague Fritz Kreisler’s Liebesleid really works and fine though her playing is, Joyce Hatto can’t convince me of it either.

This set makes for an attractive pendant to her more heavyweight literature on the Concert Artist label. The notes are entertaining and the programme well worth the revival.

Jonathan Woolf

see also JOYCE HATTO - A Pianist of Extraordinary Personality and Promise Comment and Interview by Burnett James


The entire Concert Artists catalogue is available through MusicWeb


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