Kramreiter was born in 1943 in Madrid, the son of the Viennese
architect Robert Kramreiter-Klein (1905-1965). His family returned
to Vienna in 1950. He studied at the Wiener Musikakademie, the
Salzburg Mozarteum and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He made
his début at the age of 12 and has been a specialist in the
German and Russian romantic repertoire. Previous to the present
disc he set down some Tchaikovsky for EMI Columbia; later came
Rachmaninov’s Second Sonata for Jecklin and, much more recently
(2003), a disc of music by the Swiss late-romantic Paul Juon.
He appears to be still active, though not as much as he deserves
if he still plays as well as he does here.
something rather strange happened while I was googling around
for information. One of the hits led me to a page of the Musical
Times of December 1973, listing London concerts in January 1974.
I couldn’t find the name of Kramreiter there, but I did find
the name of Joyce Hatto, whose Liszt recital on January 11 was
listed. Has somebody been having fun? To be fair, though, without
authorization I could only view the first of the pages posted
so it is possible that Kramreiter played later in the month.
Even if this were so, the fact that the hit led to Hatto as
well is curious.
haven’t looked up my original review yet, but I remember being
very impressed at the pianist’s ability to “tier” the textures,
to create that dialogue between the different strands which
is so essential in Rachmaninov. And I mean “dialogue”, not just
subjugating one line to another, though would that a good many
other pianists could do even that. This is a work that teems
with notes, yet every single one is shown to have a purpose
and a place.
remarkable is Kramreiter’s control over the structure. Each
event is fully characterized, yet he never loses shape of the
whole. The music flows, surges, languishes, but always moves
proudly onward. Patrician playing based on Rachmaninovian first
an attractive opening and some fine ideas later on, the Medtner
“Sonata Reminiscenza” appeared on first acquaintance to contain
some more workaday passages which made it seem a little diffuse.
But Medtner’s works notoriously start to haunt you only after
several hearings and the work is certainly worth the attention
of those interested in late romantic piano music. I am still
puzzled as to why anyone should have called him the “Russian
Brahms”. I am sure that the performance plays its part in removing
any Brahmsian heaviness which is potentially present, for it
shows the same textural and structural qualities to be found
in the Rachmaninov. Perhaps because I was less engrossed by
the music, I got a little tired of the slightly shallow brightness
of the Fazioli piano used, something that didn’t worry me in
the same, a very fine disc. After Nojima, Kramreiter is maybe
the most interesting pianistic find among the “Hatto” pianists
time-manipulation. The sound has been made wetter and softer
with a touch of reverb in attempt to make the Fazioli sound
like Rachmaninov’s favoured Abbey Road Steinway. The difference
at the opening of the second movement is very striking. With
a slightly vaguer sound-picture to boot the attempt may be convincing
enough to ears already primed to expect a Steinway. For better
or worse, I didn’t question it at the time. Heard alongside
each other, the tighter, drier sound of the original is more
realistic. If Kramreiter should resume his recording career,
I hope a Steinway will be made available to him.
original review of the “Hatto” Rachmaninov was mainly concerned
with Mussorgsky’s “Pictures” – now identified as Campanella
– with which it was coupled. Here is the part dedicated to the
If you look at the front cover you might think you are getting
only the "Pictures", but turn the package over and
you find there is the little matter of a fill-up – Rachmaninov’s
rare First Sonata. Since many collectors who have at least one
"Pictures" may not have this, it provides a strong
additional incentive for buying another "Pictures".
Here is an expansive, but far from sprawling work (at least
as it is played here) from Rachmaninov’s maturity. Hatto has
long been a noted exponent of Rachmaninov and she captures finely
the ebb and flow of the composer’s inspiration, neither screwing
the pressure too manically nor dawdling luxuriantly, and is
in complete control of the complex textures, replete with his
I have sometimes found that Concert Artist’s insistence on
recordings with a concert hall perspective produces slightly
pallid results but the results here are impressively full and
should disappoint no one.