MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

and more.. and still writing ...


Search MusicWeb Here


Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1



Support us financially by purchasing this from

The Transcendentalist
Track list below review
Ivan Ilić (piano)
rec. September and November 2013, Salle Cortot, Paris.

In the liner-notes to this recording, Eric Fraad, the head of Heresy Records, points out that the word “transcendental”, in classical music, is strongly linked to Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes. He says, “It’s ironic that the word transcendental has become so strongly associated with virtuoso technique in music.” This recording looks at the older usage of the word, championed by Ralph Waldo Emerson and others in the early 19th century in New England. Emerson’s Transcendentalism was a quest for a connection with nature, with the divine that is inside each person; a search for meaning in the subtle and the quotidian. As such, this album is a collection of pieces that match that concept; rather than wowing by their dizzying pianistic skills. They present moods, feelings, and display a virtuosity of “thought and originality rather than technical prowess”.

There are also links among the four composers present on this recording. Cage and Feldman were great friends, and Feldman took piano lessons, early in his life, from a woman who had been friends with Scriabin. The young American composer Scott Wollschleger, who was a student of Feldman, follows in the footsteps of all three.

This is, therefore, a recital collection of a variety of pieces that are slow, languid, thoughtful and peaceful. The short Scriabin works are all of the type that recall Satie, or Debussy; simple, subtle, yet moving works that create miniature sound-worlds. The two works by John Cage fit well amongst the Scriabin pieces. While one is mostly familiar with Cage’s aleatoric works, or his pieces for prepared piano, the two pieces here – both composed in 1948, around the time he was writing his Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano — are tonal works, without any treatment of the piano.
Scott Wollschleger’s Music Without Metaphor also has this same feel, with a stark Feldmanesque sound. His piece is a fascinating exploration of simple melodic fragments played seemingly without rhythm. In the hands of Feldman, this could go on for an hour, but Wollschleger stops at less than seven minutes. You can view the composer’s intricate hand-written score on his website.

The final, longest work on this album is Morton Feldman’s Palais de Mari. Written in 1986 for the pianist Bunita Marcus, this 22-minute work is typical of Feldman’s late compositions, with short motifs played over and over, shifting and changing throughout. Played at pianississimo, with the sustain pedal held throughout, the tone is dreamlike, and the subtle shifts in the melodic fragments carry the listener away. Themes come and go, return and fade, creating a sound-world full of questions, rather than resolving and making statements. Ilić plays this work much shorter than most pianists - the three other versions I have of Palais de Mari run from 25 to 29 minutes – but the sound he gets from his Steinway D is rich and complex.

Ivan Ilić has created a fine program, matching up a number of composers whose music fits a certain mood. There are certainly others he could have included – Satie, some Debussy, Harold Budd, or others – showing that this type of piano music is not an oddity – but it’s true that when a pianist wants to show off, they’re more likely to want to play Liszt or Chopin than Feldman or Cage.

This should appeal strongly to those who want a piano disc to make them think. If you’re not familiar with Feldman, Palais de Mari could be the stepping-stone into his world.

Kirk McElhearn

Track list
Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)

Prelude, Op.16 no. 1 in B major [2:48]
Prelude, Op.11 no. 21 in B flat major [1:17]
John CAGE (1912-1992)
Dream (1948) [9:03]
Alexander SCRIABIN
Guirlandes, Op.73 no. 1 [4:15]
Prelude, Op.31 no. 1 in D flat major [2:28]
Prelude, Op.39 no. 3 in G major [1:23]
Prelude, Op.15 no. 4 in E major [1:11]
Scott WOLLSCHLEGER (b. 1980)
Music Without Metaphor (2013) [6:50]
Alexander SCRIABIN
Rêverie, Op.49 no. 3 [1:10]
Poème languide, Op.52 no. 3 [1:36]
In a Landscape (1948) [9:30]
Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987)
Palais de Mari (1986) [22:37]