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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Exil. Home-elsewhere.
Arvo PÄRT (b1935)

For Alina
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)

Mazurka in A minor
Mazurka in A flat major
Nocturne in C sharp minor
Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)

Four Dirges
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1953)

From Ludus Tonalis
Interludium Vivace, Interludium Moderato, Fuga Sextet in E flat and Interludium Valse
John FIELD (1782-1837)

Nocturne in C minor
Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959)

Polka in A
Etude in F
Carl Jonas Love ALMQVIST (1793-1886)

There’s a scent in Sätra Forest
Lepo SUMERA (b1950)

Piano piece from 1981
Käbi Laretei (piano)
Recorded in the Hall of the Royal Academy of Music, Stockholm, May 1994
PROPRIUS PRCD 9113 [73.09]

Käbi Laretei’s discs are themed. I won’t reprise the brief biography of the Tallinn-born ex-wife of Ingmar Bergman that I wrote in my review of another of her Proprius discs. This one, dating from 1994, a good seventeen years after the earlier record, takes as its point of departure, as it were, exile. As she is an exile, Swedish resident but having escaped from Estonia during the Second World War, so were the composers represented here. Some of the upheavals were more or less traumatic and some were, like Field’s perhaps not quite an exile but the point is made. It’s a good opportunity to embrace a wide range of composers and to construct a balanced and imaginative programme.

The best things here are the Hindemith, Bartók and the two pieces by Almqvist and Sumera. Elsewhere I find the faults that rather beset that earlier disc reappear. She certainly has a feel for Rachmaninov and the concentration and precision for Hindemith, whose pieces from Ludus Tonalis are miniatures that bring out the very best in her imagination and precision. She seems to me to be most comfortable in music that is not overtly romantic – the voicings in the Chopin C sharp Nocturne are very confused – but rather in music that relies on compression or in atmospheric music. I especially admired the elliptical otherness she finds in the Almqvist and the insistence and treble glint of the recent-ish Sumera piece.

The notes are her own and the sound, both of the piano and recording, is a vast improvement on the earlier disc.

Jonathan Woolf



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