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


Mahler symphony 6 Nott


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



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

Rhapsodies for Two Pianos
Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958)
Three Rhapsodies (Française; Polonaise; Viennoise), Op.53 (1903-04) [21:06]
Alexander ARUTYUNIAN (b.1920) and
Arno BABADJANIAN (1921-1983)
Armenian Rhapsody (1950) [5:57]
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Russian Rhapsody (1891) [9:45]
George GERSHWIN (1898-1937)
Rhapsody in Blue (1924) [17:21]
Franz (Ferenc) LISZT (1811-1886)
Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 (arr. Kleinmichel, cadenza by Yuval Admony) (1851) [10:28]
Tami Kanazawa, Yuval Admony (piano)
rec. 2001(Schmitt)-2003, Rolston Recital Hall, Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada
ROMÉO RECORDS 7276 [64:37]

Experience Classicsonline



There is some excellent playing here, but it took me some time to warm to this disc. This was mostly due to the music that opens the program, and takes about one third of its length: three Rhapsodies by Florent Schmitt. Schmitt’s music has experienced somewhat of a revival in the last few years, and his name has started appearing in release lists. I happen to know some of his music, and much of it is good. The composer seems to have fallen in the pit between the pillars of Debussy and Les Six, but if judged solely on the evidence of the three works presented here, I’d say he had better stay forgotten in this pit.

The three Rhapsodies are subtitled Française, Polonaise and Viennoise, but they have neither enough diversity nor national character to earn these labels. More or less, these are three bourgeois Waltzes, with some salon melancholy and salon comfort, and a lot of circus pomp and bravura. Don’t follow the square tunes: there is little to follow there. If you want to spend your time better, listen to the music that surrounds the tune: some of the accompanying touches are quite intricate and stimulating. There are episodes with soft, caressing harmonies, and with glittering quicksilver runs; there are overblown Romantic climaxes and hushed, elegiac moments. However the main musical content is plain, and the melodies usually just rise up – and go down, up – and down. Schmitt certainly gave a lot of work to the pianists, and I am sure this can be great music to watch – especially when performed with such poise and assurance.

Armenian folk music is very melodic, and some of its characteristic twists and turns can be already familiar to you from Khachaturian’s works. Two of his younger compatriots – Arutyunian and Babadjanian – collaborated on the Armenian Rhapsody. The beginning is slower and darker – like a ballad. The music goes higher and louder, and the tension grows. After a short climax the music calms down, and we move into the brisk and lively second part. It brings to mind the main theme of the first movement of Khachaturian’s violin concerto – with the same lightness and fervor, insistent rhythmic pressure, and a similar nervous “saw-teeth” melody. The music is memorable and, compared to other works on this disc, seems too short. It comes, it rolls past you – and is gone, like a swift dance.

The Russian Rhapsody of Rachmaninov was written when the composer was just 18. It is essentially a set of variations of increasing density. The theme is very Russian, and it seems as if we have already heard it in some of Tchaikovsky’s music. It is simple, but does not sound square, and provides a rich base for variations. The strong influence of Tchaikovsky is clearly felt, but there already is a lot of Rachmaninov’s forming self, with its characteristic chanting and shimmer. The slow variation is very beautiful. Kanazawa and Admony give an excellent performance, worthy of the Russian piano school. Different performers usually emphasize different traits in this music: Kanazawa and Admony highlight its sunny, playful side.

Can one still enjoy Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue without Grofé’s sparkling orchestration? Surprisingly, yes: the main meat of this music, Gershwin’s rhythmic and melodic invention, is still there. The composer said about this composition: “I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness”. It’s all present in the two-piano arrangement – though it is hard to be without the famous opening clarinet glissando, or without all the wild orchestral tutti that we have become accustomed to. The playing is brilliant, though at the same time it seems a bit over-cautious. Maybe a more unbuttoned performance would better suit this brave new music. The “love theme” is wide and expressive, but outside it there is much hard staccato. Still, I was left with an overwhelming cinematographic feeling, just as after a good performance of the orchestral version. It’s the longest work on the disk, but it just flies by effortlessly.

The pianists show excellent synchronization in Liszt’s famous Hungarian Rhapsody No.2. In its ever-changing tempos they navigate as one living organism. The performance has all the necessary bravura and is technically very impressive. It is grand and childish exactly where needed. The cimbalom effects are well done. Again, it sounds too staccato to my taste, as if the pianists played it with mallets, not fingers. Also, here, as in other works, they are a little let down by the rather shallow and uninteresting piano sound.

I do not know who wrote the liner-note, but it is informative and engaging. It mostly speaks about the works present on the disk, on a rather accessible level. The recording quality is good and clear, but lacks some depth. As a whole, this is an interesting collection – though at some point I started skipping over the Schmitt pieces; I just can’t take the whole 20 minutes of golden oompah. The performance tends to be percussive, which is good for some works, less so for others.

Oleg Ledeniov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.