One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor in Chief: Rob Barnett

AVAILABILITY
www.branarecords.com

Felicja Blumental (piano)
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)

Piano Concerto in A minor Op.54
Vienna Pro Musica Orchestra/Hans Swarowski, recorded Vienna, 1958
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)

Wedding Cake for Piano and Orchestra in A flat Op.76
Filarmonica Triestina/Luigi Toffolo, recorded Trieste, 1956
Friedrich KUHLAU (1786-1832)

Piano Concerto in C major Op.7
Salzburg Symphony Orchestra/Theodore Guschlbauer, recorded Salzburg, 1969
Felicja Blumental (piano) with accompaniments as above
Recorded 1956-69
BRANA RECORDS BR 0016 [72.13]


Brana continues its reclamation of Polish pianistís Felicja Blumentalís recorded legacy with this rather disparate trio of recordings. I think we can dispose of Saint-Saënsí ebullient and terpsichorean Wedding Cake, a ten-minute romp, which is nicely played by Blumental but in very constricted sound and less than first rate accompaniment. The Kuhlau is another rarity and cut from a much better aural cloth. Dedicated to C.E.F. Weyse, this was one of only two concertante works written by the Danish Kuhlau. A Court composer (unsalaried but prestigious) and an admired pianist whose career took him across the continent of Europe he was, compositionally speaking, on the cusp of the new Romantic aesthetic whilst retaining distinct classical procedures, as can clearly be heard in this attractive work. The Allegro opening is gallant as could be before developing some Beethovenian power (the Dane had met Beethoven and knew his music). Kuhlau throws in a fine, pompous orchestral march section, on which the piano muses and decorates prettily and wittily. Thereís some notable wind writing along the way as well. The Intermezzo has a gracious, unperfumed cantilever; melodically itís not especially individual or distinctive but has charm. The finale is light-hearted and perky with good touches for the animating left hand of the note perfect pianist.

Though she is more generally remembered for her committed forays into the contemporary and Latin American piano repertoire we have enough examples on disc to show how adept a classicist Blumental was and her ventures into the romantic literature were also rewarding. Her Schumann was recorded in Vienna in 1958 with Hans Swarowski conducting the Vienna Pro Musica Orchestra. The sound can be a wee bit papery but her playing is attractively scaled and persuasive in its avoidance of specious rhetoric.

This is another worthwhile retrieval of Blumental material; the notes are rather brief but the emphasis is rightly on a pianist who invariably has interesting things to convey.

Jonathan Woolf



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Arcodiva
Atoll 10% off
CDAccord
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Hortus
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sheva £2 off
Sheva Contemporary
Sterling 10% off
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

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.