Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Variations in F on the Name Abegg, op.1 (1829-30) [7:51]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Ballade no.2 in B minor, S.171 (1853) [13:52]
Isoldens Liebestod aus Tristan und Isolde, S.447 (1867/1875) [7:04]
Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Andante Spianato in G - Grande Polonaise Brillante in E flat, op.22 (1830-34)
[3:48] - [9:50]
Ballade no.4 in F minor, op.52 (1842) [11:01]
Alexandra Dariescu (piano)
rec. Music Room, Champs Hill, Pulborough, England, 5-7 September 2011. DDD
CHAMPS HILL CHRCD 035 [53:26]
This is the debut recording of young UK-based, Romanian pianist Alexandra Dariescu.
She has chosen a programme of core Romantic repertoire, which is both a good
thing - there is already a large captive audience, potentially - and a bad one:
hardly a day goes by without a new release of solo piano music by any permutation
from Chopin, Liszt and Schumann.
Still, the composers are as dear to her as they are to any pianist, and her
selection is a varied, objectively attractive one. Dariescu has also performed
this programme in concert, which surely contributes to the confidence she radiates
in these recordings. Fleet of finger, elegant of phrase and pianistically bright,
Dariescu uses rubato freely but intelligently - no expressive excesses to make
a name for herself. Above all, she communicates through her playing what is
already clear from the CD photos - that she is enjoying herself. The listener
Ultimately, Dariescu will get more from Chopin's Ballade in F minor, one of
his most subtly poetic works, and give more to it as she performs it more, but
for a first recording hers is already a mature reading - affecting but not affected.
Shortly after Chopin's death Liszt wrote his B minor Ballade, and it is perhaps
here that Dariescu shines most vividly. Very comfortable with the substantial
demands Liszt makes of the pianist's hands and mind, she brings luminescence
and a sense of wistful joy to the composer's tribute to his great if ungrateful
Sound quality is very good. The accompanying booklet has more photos of Dariescu
than is strictly necessary, but the English-only notes by Daniel Jaffé
are detailed and well written, and there is a nice foreword from Dariescu that
rightly appreciates the support and encouragement given by the Champs Hill team.
The only minor quibble is the rather short playing time.
Collected reviews and contact at artmusicreviews.co.uk
Luminescence and wistful joy.