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

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger



Classico Records

Tonya Lemoh - piano
Franz LISZT (1811-1886) La Vallée d'Obermann [11:45]
Frederick CHOPIN (1810-1849) Sonata in B minor Op. 35 no. 2 [19:17]
Charles GRIFFES (1884-1920) The White Peacock (Roman Sketches Op. 7 no. 1), The Fountain of the Acqua Paola (Roman Sketches op. 7 no. 3) [4:16; 2:55]
Niels Viggo BENTZON (1919-2000) Suite (Ouverture, Rigaudon, Courante, Sarabande, Menuet, Réjouissance, Sicilienne, Gigue) [10:08]
Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Danzas Argentinas (Danza del viejo boyero; Danze de la moza danosa; Danza del gaucho matrero) [7:49]
J.S. BACH arr F. BUSONI  Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 639 [3:27]
Tonya Lemoh (piano)
rec. live, Musikhuset Aarhus 3 Nov 2004.



What we have here is Tonya Lemoh's début concert complete. With the tension of a live event - and such an important one - we also get occasional shufflings and clearing of throats by the audience.

Lemoh’s Vallée d'Obermann is unhurried and fashioned in the spirit of Pushkin and Onegin. In this she is extremely successful though less, so I fear, in Griffes’ White Peacock which is wanting in mystery. Its languor seems too casual. By contrast the third of Griffes’ Four Roman Sketches, The Fountain of the Acqua Paola is more successful in florid Lisztian style.

Lemoh's coup in this her first CD and her debut concert in public is the eight movement suite by Niels Viggo Bentzon. This piece was performed as an improvisation by Bentzon at Roskilde Cathedral in the 1970s. John Damgaard acquired a recording of that event and passed this to Tonya Lemoh and her husband the jazz pianist Thomas Walburn who transcribed the work from tape. Bentzon gave his blessing to the making of the transcription. The resulting eight movement suite has a warmly monumental clarity and in its pages we meet the sharply etched spirits of Bach, Bartok and Debussy. There’s no room for the dissonance of the Symphonic Variations (recently recorded on ClassicO and reviewed on this site). Every page is fixed with music of honest precision yet imbued with lively fantasy. Shostakovich may also be invoked here and he certainly seems a presence in the Courante and the final Gigue.  The Réjouissance flies with hectic wings borrowed from Conlon Nancarrow. Lemoh is totally in command and the music flows with great and natural force. Very impressive.

After what I found a curiously uninvolving Chopin piano sonata things improved multifold for Ginastera's Danzas Argentinas. The highlight came in the shifting half-lights and mezzotints of the Danza de la moza donosa with its insubstantial hints of tango, smoke and La Valse. The evocation of black pattering angst-driven rain in Danza del gaucho matrero is really striking and even more so in the final hustle-bustle which draws on Cowell and Ornstein. Brilliantly done.

The envoi is the cool and calming Bach-Busoni with just that romantic patina lent by Busoni. This is the right piece to send the audience out into the Aarhus streets self-possessed and reflective.

Ms Lemoh is a doughty and imaginative pianist and her approach to choice of music is to be applauded and strongly encouraged. I hope we will hear more from her in Ginastera, John Foulds (she would be wonderful in April-England and the Essays in the Modes), Ornstein, Cowell, Ronald Stevenson, Grainger, Nancarrow, Shostakovich and of course more Bentzon. How about the complete Bentzon piano concertos?

An auspicious if not unmixed debut - outstanding in Bentzon, Liszt and Ginastera.

Rob Barnett







We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
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.