Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915): Impromptu, Op. 14 No. 2 [4’28]. Two Poèmes, Op. 32 (1903) [5’15]. Feuillet d’album, Op. 45 No. 1 (1904/5) [1’32]. Nuances, Op. 56 No. 3 (1907) [1’42]. Piano Sonatas – No. 5 in F sharp, Op. 53 (1907) [12’39]; No. 7 in F sharp, Op. 64, ‘White Mass’ (1911) [14’40]. Caresse dansée, Op. 57 No. 2 (1910) [1’28]. Fragilité, Op. 51 No. 1 (1906) [2’06]. Etude in D sharp minor, Op. 8 No. 12 [2’42]. Leo TOLSTOY (1828-1910) Waltz [0’38]. Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor – Adagietto (1901/2) [10’26] (arr. Young). Hugh DOWNS (b. 1921) An Old Familiar Air which has its Own Tuxedo and will Travel [1’45]. Michel BLOCK (b. 1937) Un beau jour [12’55].
John Bell Young (piano).
Rec. John Addison Concert Hall, Fort Washington, Maryland, USA, on July 19th-23rd, 1999. DDD
AMERICUS AMR19991013 [72.18]

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John Bell Young is clearly a pianist with a taste for the obscure: he has also recorded piano works by Nietzsche (no less) on Newport Classics NPD85513. Here, in the evocatively titled recital, Prisms, he matches Scriabin with Mahler, picking up a tiny piece by Tolstoy (yes, that one) on the way. His booklet note makes for scintillating reading in itself, spurring one on to try the actual sound-experience of the disc itself.

Young establishes his credentials right from the very start, with a fluent account of the post-Chopinesque Impromptu, Op. 14 No. 2 . His sensitivity comes to the fore in much of this music (the tender Op. 32 No. 1 and the fragile Caresse dansée, Op. 57 No. 2 are good examples), but it is equally obvious that Scriabin’s more obvious technical difficulties pose few problems, either. The Seventh Sonata demonstrates Young’s affinity for late Scriabin sensuous textures, delineating them well without losing their all-embracing sonic perfume . Whimsy and tenderness go hand in glove with quasi-mystical mists to make the disc recommendable for the Scriabin alone.

The next three items are curios. Tolstoy’s little Waltz is a delightful fragment (only 38 seconds!), a pretty period piece and worth hearing . Astonishingly, Bell carries his own arrangement of the famous Mahler Adagietto off very well, using up his gamut of tonal resource in the process. If Hugh Downs’ An Old Familiar Air which has its Own Tuxedo and Will Travel is appealing Americana, at least Young presents it as such. Finally, Michael Block was a pianist who won Artur Rubinstein’s approval in the Warsaw Chopin Competition in the same year that Maurizio Pollini won the coveted award (Young refers to him as ‘one of the great pianists of the twentieth century’). His six-movement Un Beau Jour is pleasant, sometimes slushy (as in the first movement), sometimes reminiscent of other composers: Ravel (‘Autoroute du Sud’) and Scriabin (if not on one of his better days, in ‘Rendezvous manque’) both make their marks felt.

A more thought-provoking disc than most, and one which will bring its fair share of rewards to the more adventurous listener.

Colin Clarke

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Impromptu no2 op14

2 Poems op32 - Andante cantabile

2 Poems op32 - Allegro. Con eleganza. Con fiducia

Feuillet d'album op45 no1

Nuances op56 no3

Sonata no7 op64 (White Mass)

Caresse dansee op57 no2

Fragilite op51 no1

Sonata no5 op53

Etude in D sharp minor op8 no12


Adagietto from Symphony no5 (trans. J. Bell Young)

An Old Familiar Air which has its own Tuxedo...

Un Beau Jour - Dis Moi

Un Beau Jour - Te souviens-tu ?

Un Beau Jour - Autoroute du sud

Un Beau Jour - Rendez-vous manque

Un Beau Jour - Viens...

Un Beau Jour - L'heure revee

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