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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925)
Vingt Petites Etudes pour piano Op. 91
Johannes BRAHMS (transcribed MOSZKOWSKI for solo piano)

Hungarian Dances Book 1
Full details at foot of review
Esther Budiardjo (piano)
rec. Pro Piano Hall, 7-8 Dec 2001
PROPIANO PPR224536 [55.58]



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It was a good day for Ricard de la Rosa's ProPiano label when Mlle Budiardjo came to his attention. Of course they also chose their repertoire well. The first disc welcomed here was of Godowsky's Java Suite. Those fragrant piano 'postcards' were done exquisitely and the CD remains well worth seeking out amid the drifts of new releases.

In the present case Esther Budiardjo takes on Moszkowski's glittering challenges. Here was a composer who was born in East Prussia and who died in Paris. He held the public gaze throughout Europe as a tiger of the keyboard. Then the old story turned its basilisk gaze towards the unfortunate composer. Fashion shied away from Moszkowski's decorative style. The Great War wiped out his investments. Friends in the USA eased his final years with benefits concerts but his high days and holidays had gone forever. Moszkowski was married, by the way, to the sister of the French composer, Cécile Chaminade.

Budiardjo excels in this repertoire. Her playing is tight yet pliable. Her rhythmic and dynamic instincts are highly developed. In the ten Hungarian Dances (quite a few old friends here!) she is apt to the music's wayward caprice and improvisatory character. She relishes the cheeky F major dance (No. 3), rolls out the grand manner in the second dance and takes careful pleasure in the slyness and grandeur of the D flat major. The neglected E minor dance is an exercise in unselfish grace. Then comes some pure Moszkowski in the Vingt Etudes. These are predominantly scintillating variously evocative of Bach, Mozart and Liszt though some betray a very personal romantic heart and lofty manner. The cascades and rhythmic torrents contribute a certain sameness but there are diversions in the shape of the B minor (No. 8), G minor (No. 10) and E flat major (No. 17) where the moderato or andante pacing suggests quiescent pools of tranquillity. The pianist's Kawai EX 2186001 is warmly recorded.

I rather hope that Budiardjo will tackle a complete set of the Rachmaninov Etudes-Tableaux, the Medtner Skazki, the preludes by Roger Sacheverell Coke and the Essays in the Modes by John Foulds.

The notes are in French and English.

The disc is rather short on playing time but piano fanciers already on the trail of Scharwenka, Moszkowski and Godowsky should not be without this disc which is most beautifully done. These are world premiere recordings.


Rob Barnett



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