From Praxedis with Love
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Wilhelm Tell: Overture (1829) [10:07]
Otto NICOLAI (1810-1849)
Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor: Overture (1848) [9:03]
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)
Oberon, J 306: Overture (1826) [09:11]
Richard EILENBERG (1848-1927)
Petersburger Schlittenfahrt, Op. 57 (1885-86) [3:05]
Franz LEHÁR (1870-1949)
Die lustige Witwe: Ballsirenen-Walzer (1905) [7:27]
Emil von SAUER (1862-1942)
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Samson et Dalila (1868-77): Dance of the Priests [2:18]: Bacchanal [7:49]
Louis Moreau GOTTSCHALK (1829-1869)
Ojos criollos, Op. 37 (1859) [3:05]
Duo Praxedis (Praxedis Hug-Rütti (harp), Praxedis Geneviève Hug (piano))
rec. August 2014 and September 2015, Flügelsaal Musik Hug, Bülach, Switzerland
PALADINO MUSIC PMR0080 [55:16]
Here’s the latest excursion from mother-and-daughter team Duo Praxedis. Their seventh CD pursues the areas of domestic music-making that has largely informed their previous six discs, a feeling reinforced by the relatively homely sound to be encountered in the Flügelsaal Musik Hug, Bülach. Which is not to say that the sound itself is boxy - rather it’s a well-judged salon sound that doesn’t inflate the sonorities of the harp and the piano.
Not content with one overture to start the recital, the duo presents a veritable glut in the shape of three well-known openers. There’s plenty of sonic interest in the trills and arpeggios of the William Tell overture, with which things get underway, as there is during the buoyant and colourfully textured Merry Wives of Windsor overture. By the time we reach Oberon, however, overture-itis has almost set in, notwithstanding the very different sound worlds evoked by the three. Here the dappled and reflective opening is a good fit for the harp and piano, where the overlapping lines can fool the ear into thinking it’s hearing the piano when actually the dovetailing harp has taken over. There’s certainly a degree of playfulness in this performance and a pirouetting warmth too.
Richard Eilenberg’s Petersburger Schlittenfahrt is something of a novelty in this series and it will be unfamiliar to many listeners too, I suspect. This droll (non-Richard) Straussian march has some knowing elements whereas there’s a more expansive pot-pourri from Lehár, full of his characteristic tunefulness.
Pianist extraordinaire Emil von Sauer frequently played his own Spieluhr – a live recording exists from as late in his life as 1940 – and it is a musical clock piece well suited to the new duo medium here. There are two arranged scenes from Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah featuring an especially lusty close to the Bacchanal and to end, perhaps incongruously, there is Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s Ojos criollos, a Cuban dance of some vitality.
There’s a pleasant look to this recital. Maybe there are too many overtures, as noted, but the calmly enjoyable playing shows real technical accomplishments.