Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH




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
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Mili BALAKIREV (1837-1910)
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor (1900-1905) [25:55]
Nocturne No. 2 in B minor (1901) [7:02]
Mazurka No. 1 in A flat major (1861/1884) [4:14]
Mazurka No. 2 in C sharp minor (1864/1881) [2:54]
Valse-Caprice No. 2 in D flat major, after Alexander Taneyev (undated) [6:11]
Waltz No. 4 in B flat major (1902) [6:17]
The Lark, after Mikhail Glinka (1864) [5:39]
Scherzo No. 1 in B minor (1856) [7:22]
Polka in F sharp minor (1859) [3:33]
Danny Driver (piano)
rec. March 2010, Henry Wood Hall, London, UK
HYPERION CDA67806 [69:07]

Experience Classicsonline

Balakirev’s ‘Oriental fantasy’ Islamey is probably his best-known piano piece, and hearing Freddy Kempf play it – review - reminds me just how different it is to anything written by other members of the ‘Five’. While the Piano Sonata No. 2 lacks the overt exoticism of Islamey one could be forgiven for thinking it was cast from a Lisztian mould. Indeed, all the works recorded here look west of the Urals for their inspiration – to Chopin in particular. But whatever their origins or leanings, these bravura pieces demand fearless interpreters. Given that the British-born pianist Danny Driver has only recorded C.P.E. Bach and York Bowen thus far, one might wonder whether he’s an obvious choice for late Romantic Russian repertoire.

All doubts evaporate minutes into the sonata. The measured, quasi-baroque flavour of the opening statement is light years away from the free-flowing, rhapsodic pianism one might expect from such a work. But there’s magic in the air, and Balakirev transforms this austere theme into music of real feeling and rare delight. Driver brings warmth and spontaneity to every bar. The subtleties of phrasing and colour are faithfully caught in this lovely, mellow recording. As so often with Hyperion’s piano discs, perspectives are very natural, and there are no sonic nasties at either end of the audio spectrum.

The second movement – a mazurka adapted from an early sonata – is no less appealing. Once again that formal opening gives way to music – and playing – of disarming brilliance. That’s not as paradoxical as it sounds, for restraint in music that lends itself to self-aggrandisement is most welcome, especially when there are so many details to be unearthed along the way. That’s certainly true of the Intermezzo, where Driver’s burbling rhythms and judicious control of dynamics are very impressive indeed. Even in the mercurial writing of the Allegro, he balances virtuosity with vision, a talent that’s all too rare in a field where technique is often worshipped to the exclusion of all else.

The B minor Nocturne begins with that deceptive – but now familiar – air of simplicity, before modulating into something altogether more virile. Yes, comparison with Chopin is inevitable, but behind this muscular music beats a gentle heart, a duality that Driver brings out most beautifully. The two mazurkas that follow are just as vigorous – what clarity and precision – but in the second Driver digs deep and finds an extra degree of inwardness, of melancholy, that is very special. Indeed, it’s that ability to articulate these inner tensions that makes this such a rewarding recital, adding substance to music that some might dismiss as lightweight or just plain derivative.

The coruscating Valse-Caprice should silence such criticism; true, it’s more overtly virtuosic than anything we’ve heard thus far, but Driver rises to the occasion with playing of controlled passion and power. Even here he finds humanity and warmth behind the cascade of notes. The B flat major Waltz is no less accomplished and those hesitant rhythms are wittily done. Really, Hyperion have done a sterling job with this recording; there’s no unwelcome glare or hardness in the effervescent treble or loss of focus in the weighty bass.

The Lark – based on a song by Glinka – is sketched with the lightest of strokes, Driver sounding wonderfully refined throughout. This captivating piece makes the strongest possible contrast with the Scherzo and Polka that follow. Now this really is unbridled virtuosity but, as always, Driver has enough of a grip on the reins to ensure brisk – but orderly – progress. In his excellent liner-notes David Fanning likens the final Polka – en passant at least – to Gottschalk’s Le bananier. Intrigued I took down my copy of the relevant Philip Martin CD – Hyperion CDA66459 – and I must agree. Incidentally, inquisitive pianophiles would do well to investigate that excellent series, which is also very well played and recorded.

I haven’t enjoyed a piano recording this much since Marc-André Hamelin’s 12 Études in all the minor keysreview – which made it onto my shortlist of picks for 2010. It’s clear from this collection that Danny Driver is a pianist of exceptional skill and promise. Indeed, I look forward to any future collaborations with Hyperion, whose fine piano recordings make them an ideal fit for an artist of this calibre.

Dan Morgan


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


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






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.