One of the most grown-up review sites around

50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Anderson Choral music

colourful and intriguing

Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble

one of Berlioz greatest works

Rebecca Clarke Frank Bridge
High-octane performances

An attractive Debussy package

immaculate Baiba Skride

eloquent Cello Concerto

tension-filled work

well crafted and intense

another entertaining volume

reeking of cordite

Pappano with a strong cast

imaginatively constructed quartets

the air from another planet

vibrantly sung

NOT a budget performance

very attractive and interesting

finesse and stylistic assurance

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Friedrich GULDA (1930-2000)
Variations on ‘Light My Fire’ (1970) [14:47]
Play Piano Play, '10 Pieces For Yuko' (1971) [30:44]
Prelude and Fugue (1965) [4:43]
Sonatine (1967) (17:56]
Für Rico (1974) [2:46]
Für Paul (1974) [3:08]
Martin David Jones (piano)
rec. 2015, Recital Hall, University of South Carolina
GRAND PIANO GP759 [74:17]

I became aware of Friedrich Gulda's name in the early 1970s. He was the pianist in Decca's cycle of the Beethoven piano concertos - Vienna Phil conducted by Horst Stein. Gulda seemed out of the ordinary rut. His predilection for popular music and his indulged inclination to trample along the boundary between classical and jazz disrupted stuffy conventionality. He was something of an early Kennedy among the grey-haired or grey-hair-praised musical establishment of the day. That image and reputation is confirmed by the generous selection of Arthaus DVDs reviewed on this site. Gulda's Cello Concerto - written for Heinrich Schiff - has been recorded by BIS and is well worth the effort and time. It's something of a sentimental pastiche-collage, moving between visceral rock-vehement and Mozartean Dresden-delicacy. The Swedish composer, Svante Henryson’s piece for cello and full orchestra, Songs from the Milky Way, is in a related and equally effective idiom.

So we turn, not for the first time, to Gulda as composer but this time for the piano, his own instrument. These six works were written between 1965 and 1974 and should reach out welcomingly to those who, for example, like Kapustin. The galloping jazzy, cool, sly and casual Variations on ‘Light My Fire’ is in a single track. This exultantly tousled and woolly disquisition around The Doors' song is easy to like even if you kick against the scene that gave rise to The Doors. Play Piano Play, '10 Pieces For Yuko' is a cavalcade of loose-hipped, street-suave, almost Joplinesque episodes. Some are lichen-strewn, impressionistic and plangent while others have that characteristic jazz stride and life-vigorous vibrancy. Yuko Wakiyama was Gulda's second wife.

The Prelude and Fugue comprises two short elements. The first is driven by the urgency of city life while the louche Fugue is more 'down' and dirty. The three-movement Sonatine is bejewelled and restlessly active. That said, the smoke hangs in the air in the central movement (tr. 15). There it's not static; rather its motion is languid and lazy. Rico and Paul are two of Gulda's sons. The Rico piece has Gulda making himself at home in the style of Bach. We are told that Gulda on occasion performed this on the harpsichord. The Paul score is a glycerine soft-focus sentimental piece. It's all very 1970s cinematic romance with a closing section at first steeped in the Detroit street-scene but returning to the yielding and swaying opening style.

The liner-note is in English and German and is by the pianist Martin David Jones. The sound captured by the Grand Piano engineers is atmospheric and clear and the performances are adroit and convincing.

One can fully understand the pianist when he says that he "gravitated to Gulda's music because it is electrifying, modern, and yet beautiful and accessible.”

Rob Barnett

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger