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Rarities of Piano Music at Schloss vor Husum
see end of review for details
Daniel Berman, Boris Bloch, Philip Fowke, Peter Froundjian, Marc-André Hamelin, Rainer M. Klaas, Michael Ponti, Eckart Sellheim, Roberto Szidon, Nina Tichman, Peter Westenholz (piano)
rec. 1987-88
DANACORD DACOCD299 [73:49 + 78:02]

Experience Classicsonline


Collectors of this exploratory and extensive series will know that official recordings started in 1989. What no one seems to have known though, is that Daniel Berman, a pianist who featured strongly in both 1987 and 1988, took personal cassette recordings of some of these events. The twenty subsequent Danacord recordings have thus, at a stroke, been supplemented by these early examples of the Festival. Sound quality is an issue that should be addressed first of all, given that these are not professional recordings and readers might be justly concerned that they’re going to get the kind of ‘cough, programme turn, chair scrape and belch’ tapings that make the rounds. You needn’t be overly concerned. It’s true that the dynamic range is necessarily constricted on some of the earlier 1987 tapes but the audience - a small, connoisseur collection - is very quiet and the sound itself is not at all bad. It does also get better as we hit 1988.
 
The pianists include names both well known and less so. The programme is typically eclectic and interesting. In fact pianophiles can enjoy these two discs without very many reservations at all. Michael Ponti, hero of many a disc, essays a contrasting programme, his two Henselt Etudes playing off against each other nicely - virtuoso dynamism in the first and lyric urgency in the second. Maybe his Moszkowski Etincelles doesn’t sparkle with quite the delight of Old School performances, or maybe it’s due to the rather limited sound. Berman himself plays a convincing Andantino and Variations in the Tausig arrangement and two famous song transcriptions, one by Godowsky whose The Gardens of Buitenzorg he also plays. Rainer M. Klaas explores spookier reaches in Godowsky’s Elegy (for the left hand alone) - very cryptic - whilst Schulhoff’s Tango is bittersweet and tart.
 
Peter Froundjian conjured two evocative pieces - Chaminade’s Autrefois and Pierre Sancan’s Caprice romantique (main gauche seule). Apart from Hamelin, of whom more in a moment, Sancan was the only living composer represented. He died in 2008. There is a delightful four hand expedition from Duo Quatre Mains (Peter Rummerhöller and Manfred Theilen) who play Schmitt’s treasurable little charmers, especially Le cheval de Ferme-l'æil. Not to be outdone we have a phalanx of pianists - Froundjian/Klaas/Berman - playing Rachmaninoff’s Waltz for six hands. Pure charm suffuses the selection from Nielsen’s Piano music for young and old Op. 53 played by Peter Westenholz.
 
Nina Tichman gives us a breezy Debussy Masques whilst Klaas is on hand with some call-to-attention Alkan; Les diablotins from his Esquisses Op.63 is a real standout. One should not overlook Liszt’s Les cloches de G(enève), which we hear in its first version from Peter Froundjian. Philip Fowke extends the roll call of superior pianism with a sensitively filigreed Glinka-Balakirev The Lark. Marc-André Hamelin plays his own Etude No.12 with jazzy panache and contrasts it with the delicacy of Schumann. And Michael Struck ends proceedings with Joseph Joachim’s Variationen über ein irisches Elfenlied. To find a piano work by Joachim is very unusual. It was written in 1856 but left incomplete. The homage to Brahms includes a direct quotation from the Op.5 Piano Sonata.
 
This most enjoyable collection takes us back to the very beginning of the Festival. Are there Husum Completists out there? If so, you know what you have to do.
 
Jonathan Woolf

Track & performance details
CD 1 [73:49]
Adolf von HENSELT (1814-1889)
Etude in D minor, Op. 2 No. 1 [2:24]
Etude in D flat major, Op. 2 No. 2 [2:46]
Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925)
Etincelles, Op. 36 No. 6 [2:20]
Michael Ponti (piano)
Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-49):
Bolero, Op. 19 [7:48]
Boris Bloch (piano)
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Andantino and Variations, Op. 84 No. 1 arr. Carl Tausig (1841-71):[8:29]
Leopold GODOWSKY (1870-1938)
The Gardens of Buitenzorg [3:37]
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Ständchen arr. Godowsky [2:40]
George GERSHWIN (1898-1938)
Summertime arr. Earl Wild (1915-2010) [2:47]
Daniel Berman (piano)
Leopold GODOWSKY
Elegy (for the left hand alone) [2:58]
Erwin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942)
Tango (Cinq Etudes de Jazz)[1:46]
Rainer M. Klaas (piano)
Richard WAGNER (1813-88)
Paraphrase des Quintetts aus 'Meistersinger' arr. Hans von Bülow (1830-1894) [6:44]
Eckart Sellheim (piano)
Cécile CHAMINADE (1857-1944)
Autrefois, Op. 87 No. 4 [3:59]
Pierre SANCAN (1916-2008)
Caprice romantique (main gauche seule) [4:23]
Peter Froundjian (piano)
Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958)
Le cheval de Ferme-l'æil, Op. 58 No. 3 [1:41]
Le parapluie chinois, Op. 58 No. 7 [4:29]
Duo Quatre Mains (Peter Rummerhöller and Manfred Theilen (pianos))
Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
Waltz for 6 hands [1:37]
Froundjian/Klaas/Berman (pianos)
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931):
Piano music for young and old, Op. 53
No. 1 Allegretto [0:37]
No. 2 Andantino quasi Allegretto [0:39]
No. 3a Allegro scherzoso [0:46]
No. 3b Grazioso [1:01]
No. 4 Andantino [0:25]
No. 5 Allegro giocoso [0:49]
No. 6 Poco lamentoso [1:15]
No. 7 Marziale [0:42]
No. 14 Capriccioso [0:55]
No. 15 Adagio espressivo [1:05]
No. 17 Largo con fantasia [1:27]
No. 19 "Alla Bach" [0:46]
No. 21 Marcia di goffo [1:14]
Peter Westenholz (piano)
CD 2 [78:02]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Klavierstück in F sharp major [2:46]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Masques [4:28]
Nina Tichman (piano)
Charles-Valentin ALKAN (1813-88)
3 Esquisses, Op. 63
No. 32 Minuettino[2:31]
No. 46 Le premier billet doux [0:58]
No. 45 Les diablotins [2:10]
Rainer M. Klaas (piano)
Franz LISZT
Les cloches de G(enève), 1st version (1836) [12:19]
Emmanuel CHABRIER
Air de Ballet [3:38]
Mauresque (Pièces pittoresques No. 5) [2:08]
Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937)
Valse romantique [4:27]
Peter Froundjian (piano)
Mikhail GLINKA (1804-57)
The Lark arr. Mily Balakirev (1837-1910) [5:29]
Fritz KRESILER (1875-1962)
Liebesleid arr.Rachmaninoff [4:22]
Philip Fowke (piano)
Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764)
Elégie arr. Godowsky [4:01]
John IRELAND (1879-1962):
The Island Spell [3:34]
Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
The Floods of Spring arr. Earl Wild [3:47]
Daniel Berman (piano)
Marc-André HAMELIN (b. 1961)
Etude No. 12 (Prelude and Fugue) (1984-85) [5:43]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56)
Abschied (Waldszenen) [3:53]
Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
Ciranda No. 4 [1:31]
Roberto Szidon (piano)
Joseph JOACHIM (1831-1907)
Variationen über ein irisches Elfenlied (1856) [8:37]
Michael Struck (piano)
rec. CD 1 [1] - [16] 16-23 August 1987; CD 1 [17] - [29] and CD 2 [1] - [17] 21-28 August 1988, CD 2 [18] 20 August 1989, Schloss vor Husum

 


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