Search MusicWeb Here


selling Internationaly

aSymphonies 1 and 5 £9.00 post free

See also Symphonies 2 and 3

Vision of Judgement £9 post free

Newest Releases


Symphonies 1,2,4 £11.75 post free

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Editor-in-Chief: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

 

  • Menuhin lost tapes
  • Overtures SACD
  • Krommer Flute Quartets
  • Schubert Piano Trios 2CD
  • Menuhin lost tapes


Let me tell you


David Pia


Beethoven Rattle


Highly Impressive


Matthews Shostakovich
Sheer delight!


To live with


outstanding retrospective


A superb celebration


flair, insight, controversy


outstanding singing

 


Sheer bliss


best thing I’ve heard this year

this really exciting release

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Altus
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Prima voce
Red Priest
Redcliffe
Retrospective
Saydisc
Sheva
Toccata Classics
Wyastone


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Editor in Chief
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Joachim RAFF (1822-1882)
Piano Works – Volume 4
La Cicerenella – Nouveau Carnaval, in A minor, op.165 (1871) [8:10]
Douze Romances en Forme d'Etudes, op.8 (1843) [34:30]
Deux Pièces, op.166 (1871) [10:32]
Allegro Agitato in C minor, op.151 (1868) [5:27]
Tra Nguyen (piano)
rec. Wyastone Concert Hall, Monmouth, Wales, 12-13 May 2013.
GRAND PIANO GP653 [58:50]

Pace the otherwise highly informative Joachim Raff website, volume 3 was not after all the final disc in British-Vietnamese pianist Tra Nguyen's traversal of this still undervalued composer's music: lucky listeners now have a fourth recital to savour. Links to enthusiastic reviews of previous entries can be found below.
 
Raff wrote a copious amount of piano music, so this remains a long way off being a 'complete works' series. Whether or not it is really the last this time, this latest disc juxtaposes a substantial work from Raff's youth, the 12 Etude-Romances, and a trio of shorter pieces from his maturity. With Raff, however, it makes little difference where on his timeline the pianist or listener alights – the music is uniformly engaging, brilliant, lyrical. Indicatively, the composer has afforded the shorter works opus numbers too – salon pieces they may be in a sense, but very well written ones brimming with musical adventure and virtuosic demand.
 
The much longer Douze Romances is rightly the centrepiece of Tra Nguyen's recital. Divided into two albums and recalling both Chopin and Schumann, it is, in annotator Mark Thomas's words, “clear to see why Mendelssohn was so impressed by these products of a 21-year-old who had never had, and never was to have, any formal musical training.”
 
Nguyen has already shown herself a worthy champion of this oeuvre. Volume 1, her debut solo recording, made an auspicious start, and by now, more than two years on in a career in which Raff has often been the focal point of her recitals, she understands this music like no other. With the substantial technical requirements easily met, she is able to concentrate on creating an expressive Shangri-la for the listener, drawing nurturing warmth, half-forgotten memories, romance and a kaleidoscope of hues and fragrances from Raff's enchanting scores.
 
Both La Cicerenella and Douze Romances have been recorded rather low – the master volume could have been easily doubled without any danger of distortion. Nevertheless, audio quality is very good, as the listener has come to expect from Grand Piano – a little on the dry side at worst.
 
Thomas's trilingual booklet notes are, as in previous volumes, extremely readable and informative. The cover art is great news for fans of Norwegian artist Gro Thorsen – another one to add to this effectively free collection of prints. Those less enthusiastic of his brand of gloomy urban snapshot are unlikely to experience a Damascene conversion from this particular issue. By now, however, there should be no waverers when it comes to either Raff or Nguyen.
 
Byzantion
Contact at artmusicreviews.co.uk
 
Previous reviews in this series: Volume 1 GP602 ~~ Volume 2 GP612 ~~ Volume 3 GP634