Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924)
Konzertstück in D minor, Op. 31a/K236 (1890) [20'01].

Joseph Joachim RAFF (1822-1882)

Konzertstück in G, Op. 76, 'Ode to Spring' (1857) [14'40]
Piano Concerto in C minor, Op. 185 (1873) [34'37].
Jean-François Antonioli (piano)
Lausanne Chamber Orchestra/Lawrence Foster
Rec. in Salle Communale d'Epalinges, Lausanne, on January 19th-22nd, 1988. [DDD]
CLAVES CD50-8806 [69'18]
CD available for post-free online mail-order or you may download individual tracks. For some labels you can download the entire CD with a single click and make HUGE savings. The price you see is the price you pay! The full booklet notes are available on-line.

NOTE • Click on the button and you can buy the disc or read the booklet details • You can also access each track which you may then sample or down load. • Further Information.

Here is a fascinating and rewarding coupling of two composers whose works perhaps deserve more acknowledgement than they actually receive. The programming works remarkably well, a fact due in no small measure to the commitment of the performers. The recording is fairly detailed and close, but the orchestra is somewhat boxy when at its loudest. The sound is a little low on depth overall (this is particularly significant in the Andante slow movement to the Raff Piano Concerto).

The Busoni 'Konzertstück' (dedicated to Anton Rubinstein) is very obviously of late-Romantic origins. When Busoni concentrates on the piano's lower registers, the influence of Liszt springs to mind (try the piano's ominous initial entry). Antonioli plays with intensity, a definite plus in music which can so easily seem melodramatic in the wrong hands. Both Antonioli and Foster present the piece unapologetically and with real vigour, so that the contrasts inherent in Busoni's composition are laid bare to the listener (including the rather severe counterpoint starting at 18'04).

Joseph Joachim Raff makes rather fewer demands on his audience. His music is superbly crafted, harmonically safe and unfailingly (often delightfully) inventive. There are distinct nods towards Mendelssohn in the Konzertstück in G (originally titled, 'Ode to Spring'), both in the orchestral lightness and in the sparkling piano writing. The opening Larghetto finds Raff at his most eloquent: notice also the entry of the solo cello, reminiscent of Liszt .

The Piano Concerto is a substantial work of some 35 minutes duration. The opening, for woodwind and brass, is arresting. Antonioli possesses a singing right hand and one can hear this at its best in the first movement : note also the glittering right-hand piano figurations. The slow movement (Andante quasi larghetto) is on the light side, expressive without being overly emotive. Perhaps more flights of the imagination would have bettered this movement, but there is nevertheless much touching writing here. A pity, then, that the finale seems rather empty. Despite the best efforts of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the march-like themes do not quite work.

Despite this last caveat, the concerto remains a fascinating work and the disc as a whole is worth hearing. Try Trio opus 8's recordings of Raff Piano Trios on CPO 999 616-2 and 999 800-2 to experience committed accounts of some of this composer's chamber music.

Colin Clarke


CD Price: £ 14.00 Post-free Air Mail World-wide
- Download Price:
£ 9.70
Buy CD:
Download all tracks:

(minimum 30 secs)

Concert Piece in D minor, Op.31a

Concert Piece in G major, Op.76

Piano Concerto in C minor, Op.185
Andante (quasi Larghetto)
Finale: Allegro

You require QuickTime to listed to samples.

Get a free QuickTime download here

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION • You can sample only 30 seconds (or 15% if that is longer) of a given track. Select from the View tracks list. Each sample will normally start from the beginning but you can drag the slider to any position before pressing play. • PLEASE NOTE: If you are behind a firewall and the sound is prematurely terminated you may need to register Ludwig as a trusted source with your firewall software. •You will need Quicktime to hear sound samples. Get a free Quicktime download here • If you cannot see the "Sample All Tracks" button you need to download Flash from here.

Return to 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.