Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Papillons Op.2 (1829-31) [18:36]
Waldszenen Op.82 (1848-49) [23:50]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
KlavierstŁcke Op.118 (1892) [24:26]
Dejan Lazic (piano)
rec. September 2007, Muziekcentrum Fritz Philips, Eindhoven

This is a paradoxical recital. So much here is played with a lovely tone, warm balanced chords, and sensitive instincts, but so much is also hobbled by quixotic decisions as to tempi and rubati, that one hardly knows how to review such playing. Iím not sure quite what lies behind, for example, the lame trailing-off phrases in the first of the Brahms op.118 set. The narrative spine of the music is immediately stressed beyond repair. I know that to cite Backhausís 1932 recording [Naxos 8.111041] may seem tangential but I will do so as a necessary corrective to the kind of unschematic waywardness that seems to befall this talented young musician from time to time. The same strictures apply to the second Intermezzo and even more to the third, where he gets terribly bogged down. And then what happens? His Romanza is delightful, the best playing of this set of six Ė unaffected in the main, and not out to make points. Why didnít he play like this earlier?

Papillons again reveals a gulf between his approach and aesthetic and that of, say, Cortot. In the Introduzione they could as well be playing two different pieces of music; Cortot all caprice and firefly, Lazic laboured and moody. Heís similarly bad tempered in the first of the set, where Cortotís wit is marvellously nuanced. I would characterise Lazicís playing of Papillons as altogether too gruff and almost belligerent. Waldszenen goes better though there are lacklustre moments such as to make one wonder if he is wholly dedicated to the pieces equally. Lonely Flowers could be more insightfully and poetically articulated but Jagdlied has some go about it for sure. Inconsistency is the result, regrettably.

I have no complaints about the SACD recorded sound quality, though Iíve not been able to experience it beyond conventional means. My own impressions of Lazicís playing may not be shared by others, who will welcome the opportunity to audition his playing.

Jonathan Woolf

This is a paradoxical recital.