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

 

CD REVIEW

 

Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!


Quite splendid


Winning performances


Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!


Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 

 


AVAILABILITY Plum Records

Sergei RachmaninoV (1873-1943)
Thirteen Preludes for Piano Op. 32 (1910)
No. 1 Allegro vivace [1:43]
No. 2 Allegretto [3:45]
No. 3 Allegro vivace [3:00]
No. 4 Allegro con brio [6:35]
No. 5 Moderato [3:24]
No. 6 Allegro appassionato [1:49]
No. 7 Moderato [2:54]
No. 8 Vivo [2:10]
No. 9 Allegro moderato [3:25]
No. 10 Lento [5:40]
No. 11 Allegretto [2:34]
No. 12 Allegro [2:44]
No. 13 Grave [5:24]
Kenneth Saxon (piano)
rec. 2005
PLUM CDS PLUM052 [45:12]



At one time the concept of complete sets of Rachmaninov Preludes, either Op.23 or Op.32, meant Moura Lympany. Today there are a couple of dozen recordings of the Op.32 available and here we have another, performed by the soloist/accompanist Kenneth Saxon.
 
Mr. Saxon teaches at the University of Texas and has been closely identified with the works of Kawai Shiu. He has also worked with Sir Harrison Birtwistle. On this disc he is playing very different music, which Mr. Saxon handles with variable results.
 
The Preludes Op.32 are among the composerís most important works and though punishing in their demands on the pianist are inspired not so much by Liszt as by the short, polyphonic works of Schumann. Mr. Saxon handles the opening Allegro vivace with a light, but not weak touch, leading to a well-played coda. The playing of the second Prelude is more variable, with the same sureness of touch and also great clarity in the polyphonic lines, but he could have injected a little more excitement overall. I was not greatly impressed by the rendition of the third and fourth Preludes, although an excellent touch was again to the fore. The fifth (moderato) was much more impressive both in the pianistís finger-work and his maintenance of polyphonic clarity. These positive features continue in the well-known sixth Prelude with some dramatic effectiveness added.
 
The more gentle seventh (Moderato) and eighth (Vivo) Preludes are well-handled and really bring out what seem to be Saxonís strong points: fineness of touch, a penchant for gentle as opposed to dramatic music and excellent handling of polyphony. These are all especially noticeable in No.8. The more dramatic requirements of the famous ninth and tenth preludes are somewhat beyond his scope, although the latter shows an excellent understanding of Rachmaninovís conception of musical architecture. The eleventh Prelude is also not too excitingly played, but Saxon excels with the best-known Op. 32 Prelude, the mysterious and passionate twelfth. This is arguably his best playing of all the Preludes, especially given that the twelfth is almost ubiquitous. The soloist continues his fine playing with the last Prelude, especially in the second half of the piece.
 
As can be seen, Mr. Saxon is a pianist notable in less dramatic works, although his technical proficiency extends to all types. It would be worthwhile to hear him in Schumann or perhaps Szymanowski more than Rachmaninov.
†††††††††††
No venue or date is listed for this disc but the recording engineer, Mathew Snyder has done a fine job. However, as the disc includes only the forty-five minutes of the Preludes and no other music, it will probably not be a first choice among recordings of these pieces except among fans of Mr. Saxon.
 
William Kreindler
 




 

We are currently offering in excess of 51,800 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


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

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
Postmaster
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.