£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


CD REVIEW



Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

alternatively Rubedo Canis Musica

 

 

Colors
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Carnaval op. 9 [26:09]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Funérailles (“Harmonies poétiques et religieuses” no.7) [11:43]
SCHUMANN
Fantasie in C op. 17 [28:49]
LISZT
Mephisto Waltz No. 1 [11:21]
Daniel Pollack (piano)
rec. 28-30 June 2006, Alfred Newman Hall, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
RUBEDO CANIS MUSICA RCM 12007 [78:25]

The name of Daniel Pollack was new to me but I was reassured by the full, rounded tone he brings to the beginning of “Carnaval”. He leaps into the “Piů moto” with plenty of vitality though over the page he slows down more than many pianists find necessary. This has the effect of revealing some wistful Schumannesque poetry which most artists reserve for later on. Some will welcome this, some will regret the sudden drop in verve.

“Pierrot” is a hard piece to bring off. Pollack tries some odd voicings, bringing out the lower octave rather than the higher one in the right hand in the first repeat. It didn’t do much for me. And so he goes on, achieving some poetry in “Chopin” and “Aveu”, plenty of drive in the “Marche des Davidsbündler”, but also bulldozing through “Lettres dansantes” at a heavy-fisted forte – Schumann’s marking is “piano, leggerissimo” – that had me shaking with anger. And Pollack must belong to some sort of Society for the Suppression of Repeats in Classical Music. Not since the days of 78s, I venture to suggest, has a “Carnival” been set down with so many omitted repeats.

Not a recommendable version, but piano fanciers with big collections might find some good ideas in it among the bad ones.

Liszt might seem safer terrain for this sort of style and “Funérailles”, if not the most blistering ever, has considerable grandeur. A few opportunities for “piano” are missed, at least according to the Hungarian edition I used.

The first movement of the Fantasie is effective when it’s loud. One or two rhythmic placings disturb. But when the meltingly beautiful and tender F major music comes at the end of the exposition, Pollack pitches in with a steady mezzo forte. I could hardly believe my ears that anybody could be so insensitive. Sheer duty compelled me listen to the end of a disc which couldn’t possibly be recommended.

The second movement is spirited but Pollack sometimes – though not invariably – allows the dotted rhythm to slacken into lazy triplets, blunting the character of the music. At the beginning of the famous coda he hardly increases speed at all, though he does at a few points later on. The fact is that certain parts of this notorious coda are harder than others and by carefully varying the pace and applying a few delayed beats, Pollack ensures that the harder bits go slower, the easier bits go faster.

The last movement is fairly swift but with little sense of gradually building fires. The fruity tone of the melody in the middle voice at the beginning gives away far too much far too soon. Particularly objectionable is the magical (in most other performances) harmony change with its drop to pianissimo arpeggios, interpreted here as a full-throated forte. Ghastly things like this set at nought anything that’s good in the performance.

There’s plenty of barnstorming virtuosity in the Mephisto Waltz, in a rather bull-at-the-gate sort of way. Again, opportunities for contrast are missed and the central musings, so poetic in the best performances, are merely hum-drum.

Pollack, I learn, got into the finals of the 1958 Moscow Tchaikovsky Competition that was won by van Cliburn. He was immediately asked to stay on for a concert tour and returned in 1961, becoming the first American pianist to record for Melodiya. Back in America his career never really blossomed. He tells us in the booklet that “These works are particularly close to me for they evoke profound emotions among their myriad colors. This is what music is about for me – not technical prowess, not stylistic exactness, not traditional interpretations as in ‘this is how it has always been played through the generations’ – but how it reaches the listener, what chord it touches in the heart”. The notes by Peter Rutenberg refer to “the rare talent and genius of American pianist DANIEL POLLACK”. Did they slip the wrong disc in the jewel-case?

Pollack’s Melodiya recordings have been reissued on Cambria and are reviewed on this site by Don Satz. He found a good deal more to enjoy than I did here, but he was discussing performances set down almost half a century earlier. The implication would seem to be that Pollack has not built on his earlier achievement.

Christopher Howell 

 

 

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review 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.