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Martin Roscoe: A celebrity recital from the Fifth Chetham’s International Summer School and Festival for Pianists
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Four Ballades (1831-42): No.1 in G minor, Op.23 (1836) [8:53]
Robert KEELEY (b.1960) Ballade (2001) [7:58]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Kreisleriana, (Eight Fantasies), Op.16 (1838) [29:57]
Martin Roscoe (piano)
rec. The Whiteley Hall, Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester, 23 Aug 2005. DDD
DUNELM DRD0247 [47:18]

Full marks to Dunelm Records for producing a third CD of another excellent piano recital in the Fifth Chetham’s International Summer School and Festival for Pianists. The recital recorded here was given by Martin Roscoe another of our leading pianists with a fine reputation. Peter Lyons prepared the Steinway D piano.

The great value of this enterprising series of CDs is that it brings these splendid performances to far more people than could attend the recitals.

Roscoe’s performance of Chopin’s Ballade No.1 in G minor, Op. 23 (1835) is outstanding, bringing out the many contrasts to full effect, from great delicacy to superb eruptions in the powerful passages. There is much sensitivity, beauty of sound, effective rubato which is fully in control and at the service of the music. A memorably poetic interpretation.

It is good to have here a 21st century Ballade to follow that of Chopin, and the CD booklet quotes Martin Roscoe’s helpful comments on Robert Keeley’s work of 2001, indicating similarities and differences between the two works. I had not heard this before but found it an immediately compelling, unified work here given a convincing, brilliant performance. The many contrasts between flowing and florid music are brought out, sometimes with splendid humour. After a powerful climax comes a cleverly worked quiet ending.

Schumann’s Kreisleriana (8 fantasies), Op.16 (1838) comes over most effectively again with Martin Roscoe in full command of the amazing contrasts which are such an important characteristic of this work ranging from calm reflective playing to vigorous power, along with humour at times. The bass lines in some of the pieces are well projected whilst the unusual ending is given a fine interpretation.

The recorded sound of the piano, and ambience, are excellent; I feel as though I am sitting in the audience ... from which no sound emanates to distract the listener. The CD booklet contains useful notes and some photographs. Very highly recommended.

Ian Milnes



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