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Transfigured Bach: The Bach Transcriptions of Bartók, Lipatti and Friedman
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (BWV 565) - transc. I. Friedman
Pastorale in F Major for organ (BWV 590) * - transc. D. Lipatti
Bouree from Partita No 1 in B minor for solo violin (BWV1002) - transc. I. Friedman
Sheep May Safely Graze from Cantata (BWV208) - transc. I. Friedman
Morgenlied from 6 Schubler Chorales (BWV645) * - transc. I. Friedman
My Heart Ever Faithful from Cantata (BWV68) - transc. I. Friedman
First movement from Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (BWV1048) - transc. I. Friedman
Siciliano from Sonata No. 2 in E Flat Major for flute and Clavier (BWV1031) - transc. I. Friedman
Gavotte and Rondo from Partita No. 3 for solo violin (BWV1006) - transc. I. Friedman
Wachet auf, ruft uns die stimme from 6 Schubler Chorales (BWV645) - transc. I. Friedman
Nun kommt, der Heiden Heiland (BWV659a) - transc. I. Friedman
Sonata No. 6 in G major for Organ (BWV530) * - transc. B. Bartók
Petronel Malan (piano)
recorded in the Skywalker Sound Studio, Nicasio, California, U.S.A. January 12 - 15, 2001. DDD
HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 98.424 [65’36"]



Hänssler have been a little naughty with this disc – advertising it as ‘Bach Transcriptions of Bartók, Lipatti and Friedman’ (in that order). What I found on inspection was only one transcription each for the first two, with the rest being the work of Ignaz Friedman. This is not a problem in itself, only that it is not until one reaches the booklet inside the disc that it is apparent what Hänssler is offering.

This is the first disc made by the soloist, Petronel Malan, and it is a very good idea for a debut disc to be offered which does not compete directly with any others in the catalogue. This is the case for this disc, and it gives us the chance to hear a debut artist, playing unfamiliar repertoire.

Malan is a South African pianist, and has been winning competitions since the age of 12 albeit relatively minor competitions, and has been performing until recently mainly in her native South Africa. She made her European debut in 1987 and has performed extensively also in the U.S.A. She plays on a Blüthner Concert Grand piano, which for some may be a deciding factor.

Polish pianist and composer Ignaz Friedman (1882 – 1948) was a gifted pianist and composer who was born near Cracow was a child prodigy who, by the age of 8, was able to transpose Bach’s 3 and 4 part fugues into any key. Later, he studied philosophy, philology, history, aesthetics, musicology and composition at Leipzig University, as well as taking private lessons with Hugo Riemann. Later, he moved to Vienna, where his teacher was the legendary Theodore Leschetizky. He was apparently a considerable piano virtuoso and toured extensively throughout Europe and the U.S.A. During the war, he managed to evade the Nazis by moving via a circuitous route to Australia and New Zealand as well as Indonesia, and playing in these areas until hostilities ceased.

All of the transcriptions on this disc are very expertly done, and apart from a few missed notes, Miss Malan plays very competently with a well rounded tone and a recording which is of fairly good quality, without being outstanding.

It is sometimes difficult to spot the differences between the transcriptions done by Lipatti and Bartók, so I suppose Hänssler’s little con trick with the cover details is not so serious.

This is a disc which will provide a good reminder of Miss Malan’s undoubted gifts and Hänssler is to be complimented on taking the risk with such repertoire with a new up and coming artist.

John Phillips



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