Children Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Für Elise (1808) [3:33] Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Kinderszenen Op.15 (1838) [18:08] Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Children’s Corner (1908) [15:42] Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)
For Children – extracts; Book 1 Nos.1, 3, 5, 16, 35 Book
II Nos 18, 34 (1908) [6:20] Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
O polichinelo – Prole do Bébé No.1 [0:49] Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
The Nutcracker Suite (1892) arranged for piano, two hands,
by Dag Achatz [22:29]
rec. Nacka Aula, Nacka, April and May 1980; Studio BIS, Djursholm,
May 1983 (Tchaikovsky) BIS CD158 [68:12]
ensured a typically warm recording for Dag Achatz back in
1980 and 1983 when these performances were taped. The rubric
indicates a sequence “for children” and though Für Elise is not that and Achatz’s own two-handed arrangement of The
Nutcracker Suite sits oddly here we should be prepared to
let the rather flawed concept pass without too much objection.
is a most musicianly player but there are things about his
playing I fail to appreciate. Some of his rubati in the Beethoven
strike me as mannered, an impression that becomes more solid
when one listens to his Schumann. Tonally he’s a warm, sensitive
player but some of his tempi and phrasing are open to question.
I wasn’t convinced by the over capricious and over-nuanced Hasche-Mann and
found Wichtige Begebenheit rather heavy-handed. Traumerei is
thankfully unsentimentalised though he does progressively
draw it out, whilst the bass lines certainly ring out in Ritter
vom Steckenpferd. The final two movements are rather
cool and matter of fact. I have to admit I went back to the
old Carl Friedberg recording (now on Marston) for nourishment.
we turn to the Debussy we find there’s more of a test piece
bravura to, say, Daniel Ericourt’s (Ivory Classics) 1961
traversal of Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum. Elsewhere
there’s much to enjoy even though a specialist such as George
Copeland phrased The Little Shepherd with more incisive
and rhythm and infused it with a sense of logic and drive.
There’s a splendid if outsize Golliwogg’s Cake-walk from
little Bartók pieces are over in a flash and so is the Villa-Lobos – I’d
have preferred some more time with the Clown, who’s rather
harried here and lacking in subtlety. Achatz is something
of a serial arranger – Bernstein and Stravinsky amongst others – and
his Tchaikovsky is actually a most attractive piece of work.
There’s vigour and sentiment here in his performance and
he brings a sense of sweep and intimacy that makes for enjoyable
and rewarding listening.
rather an up-and-down affair all told. Rather difficult to
delineate a target audience as well.
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