Karl WEIGL (1881-1949)
Six Fantasies (1942) [25.30] (Spring Evening (Andante) [2.23]; Burlesque (Allegro) [5.43]; Remembrance (Adagio mesto) [3.25];Capriccio (Allegretto) [6.53]; Longing (Adagio) [3.34]; Halloween (Allegro) [3.28])
Toteninsel (Isle of the Dead) (1903) [13.12]
Bilder und Geschichten (Pictures and Tales), Op. 2 (1909) [13:03] ( Es war einmal (Once upon a Time) [2:34]; Schneewittchen (Snow-white) [1:56]; Storch, Storch, Steiner (Stork, lanky Long-legs) [1:05]; Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf (Sleep, child, Sleep) [3:23]; Dornroschens Grab (Sleeping Beauty's Grave) [1:33]; Im Mondschein (By Moonlight) [2:31])
Tanz der Erinnyen (Dance of the Furies) (1937-38) [5:21]
Nachtphantasien (Night Fantasies), Op. 13 (1911) [21:35] (Langsam [5:19]; Heftig [2:35]; Langsam, innig [4:56]; Unruhig, drangend [2:37]; Zart bewegt [6:08])
Joseph Banowetz (piano)
rec. Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California, 9-10 November and 18 December 2009. DDD
NAXOS 8.572423 [78.49]
An interesting disc of piano works composed between 1903 and 1942 by the Austrian composer, Karl Weigl, here performed by American pianist Joseph Banowetz.
It commences with Six Fantasies, in which I felt the pieces were slightly let down by the performance: the third movement Remembrance calls for more depth of sound in the melodic line - particularly in the ‘alto’ register - this would then contrast better with the higher registration. The following Capriccio was rather staid, with its central section requiring much more colour contrast. The ends of some of the phrases seem a little half-hearted, especially when two phrases are separated by a sudden harmonic change. I also found the recorded sound somewhat odd - lacking in warmth, with a dry acoustic background and a failure to capture the resonance of the higher register of the piano. 

(Isle of the Dead) follows. With such an evocative and descriptive title, I would have hoped for more fervent and imaginative playing, yet the performance doesn’t really express the pictorial element with enough conviction. It lacks colour and spirit, particularly in the opening section, which needs a far greater sense of menace. 

Bilder und Geschichten
(Pictures and Tales) features some really rather wonderful music, with its fantasy-like opening Es war einmal, and rather Grimm-flavoured final movement Im Mondschein (By Moonlight). The character of this movement belies the expectations set up by its title - far from being tranquil and reflective it is redolent of sinister mischief; but again, this should really be brought out more by the pianist.
After a rather too gentle Tanz der Erinnyen (Dance of the Furies), Nachtphantasien (Night Fantasies) concludes the disc, and again the performances don’t really do the music justice: Heftig needs a much greater sense of fierceness and focus, whilst Langsam, innig feels too superficial - more could be made of the falling semitones, for example.
Disappointing: some colourful and really lovely piano works let down by performances that lack conviction, imagination and passion.
Em Marshall-Luck 

Disappointing: some colourful and really lovely piano works let down by performances that lack conviction, imagination and passion. 

see also review by Paul Corfield Godfrey