for £13.50 postage paid World-wide.
*Capriccio Brillant in B minor, for piano and orchestra, op.22 (1832)
Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)
+Rhapsody for piano and orchestra, op.1 (1904) [22:05]
Max REGER (1873-1916)
Piano Concerto in F minor, op.114 (1910) [36:14]
Wolfram Lorenzen (piano)
*+SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart/*Ernest Bour; +Jirí Stárek;
St. Gallen Symphony Orchestra/Reinhard Petersen
rec. Tonhalle, St. Gallen, 11 January 1997 (live); *SDR (now SWR),
21 June 1976; +27 May 1974. DDD, *+ADD.
TROUBADISC TRO-CD 01437 [69:44]
This is Wolfram Lorenzen's seventh CD for German label Troubadour,
who have already released two more since featuring Lorenzen,
including a follow-up volume to this one, with piano concertos
by Haydn, Weber and Genzmer, again in older recordings. Though
obviously a low-profile pianist, at least outside his native
Germany, Lorenzen does have massive experience and a huge concerto
repertoire, begun even before his first prize at the Sixth International
Piano Competition in 1982.
These recordings are mostly from Lorenzen's younger days, and
the only one that is DDD is a live recording - sound quality
will therefore rightly be a consideration for prospective buyers.
Unfortunately the technical quality of the oldest recording,
that of Bartók's Rhapsody, is less than perfect. The
opening fraction of a second has been chopped off through poor
editing, background hiss is noticeable if not prominent, and
there is what sounds like an editing join a little before the
halfway point, and another just after.
Nevertheless, this work is always worth revisiting to hear the
composer Bartók never actually became - a 20th century Liszt.
Lorenzen gives an attractive rendition, even if the SWR RSO
sounds a little off colour. His performance two years later
of Mendelssohn's Capriccio Brillant in B minor, with
the help of an improved SWR RSO, serves to remind the listener
that this is a piece that deserves reinstatement in regular
concert performance, with its highly imaginative opening and
Sound quality on this disc is at its best - without being by
any means perfect - in the live atmosphere of Reger's Piano
Concerto, which has little audience spluttering or rustling
to lessen the listening experience. The only prominent cough
comes, naturally enough, in the quietest section of the slow
movement. But the recording is slightly marred by the
over-quick fade to silence at the end of the first and last
tracks, presumably to excise applause - in which case: bad editorial
Lorenzen has a particular affinity with Max Reger's music -
for Troubadour he has recorded three volumes of Reger's chamber
works with piano (TRO-CD 01413-01415), and a very recent one
of his piano pieces (TRO-CD 01438). By all accounts Reger was
a stolid, serious fellow, and his under-loved, or as he would
say, "misunderstood" Piano Concerto attests
to that from its grand, dramatic opening which would have struck
those determined not to like the unpersonable Reger's music
as pompous. On the other hand, is that a hint of humour in the
rag-like opening of the finale?
Reger saw his work as an adjunct to Brahms' D minor Concerto,
and there is much of Brahms - both concertos, in fact - in it,
particularly in the middle and final movements. The grandiose
virtuosity and royal sweeping gestures are also reminiscent
of the piano concertos of Anton Rubinstein, whose works have
suffered a similar fate of relative neglect. But Lorenzen has
a good go at regenerating Reger's Concerto with appropriately
muscular pianism, fleetness of fingers and, in the reflective,
relatively calm expressiveness of the slow movement, a good
amount of lyrical finesse. Nevertheless, with the very recent
release of Marc-André Hamelin's recording of the Concerto,
also with a German radio orchestra, as part of Hyperion's magnificent
Romantic Piano Concertos series (vol. 53: see review),
Lorenzen's version may have difficulty finding an audience.
The high-quality CD booklet has excellent detail in English
and German, and the fact that Troubadour have invested in a
native English speaker for the translations is commendable -
other labels please note.
Collected reviews and contact at reviews.gramma.co.uk