One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


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

Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Préalable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

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

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

WYASTONE releases



The Birth of Rhapsody in Blue
A superlative recreation


such a success


An outstanding performance


make acquaintance without delay


Violin Concerto
This is an impressive disc


Strong advocacy
for a British composer


Piano Music - Martin Jones
agreeably crafted


Piano Music 5CDs


Consistently fine


Rare and interesting repertoire


An excellent introduction


A Celebration on Record


An issue of importance


Richard RIJNVOS
A splendid disc


both enlightening and rewarding
additional review

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Four Fantasies
Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
Sonata No. 2 in G-sharp minor, Op. 19, ‘Sonata-Fantasie’ (1892-1897) [12:35]
Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Fantasie in F minor, Op. 49 (1841) [13:23]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Fantasie in C major, Op. 17, ‘Durchaus Fantastisch’ (1836) [31:23]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27/2, ‘Quasi una Fantasia’ (1801) [15:29]
Anna Fedorova (piano)
rec. 2018, Muziekgebouw Eindhoven
Reviewed as a stereo DSD128 download from NativeDSD
Pdf booklet included
Note: album not available on SACD
CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS41318 [72:50]

Crowdfunding is a good way of helping soloists and ensembles to underwrite that breakthrough project, so it’s no surprise that Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova (b. 1990) has done just that for her Channel debut. As with her compatriot, Valentina Lisitsa, she’s also taken advantage of YouTube to get herself noticed. I see she’s won awards and has already made several recordings for other labels. One of those, Russian Masters, with cellist Jamal Aliyev, earned a qualified recommendation from Des Hutchinson. Brahms, Chopin, Franck and Liszt feature in her other albums.

There’s no shortage of stellar talent out there, and it’s been my privilege to hear some of the finest pianists born in the past forty years. High among them must be: Gábor Farkas, whose Liszt opera and song transcriptions impressed me so (Steinway); Stewart Goodyear, whose arrangement and execution of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker was one of my top picks for 2017 (Steinway); Kirill Gerstein, whose traversal of Liszt’s Transcendental Studies is on this year’s shortlist (Myrios, via NativeDSD); Lara Downes, whose album, America Again, was one of my Recordings of the Year for 2016 (Sono Luminus, also Native DSD); and Francesco Piemontesi, whose Années de pèlerinage: Suisse soon exhausted my supply of superlatives (Orfeo).

So, how does Fedorova fare in such daunting company? The title of this recital is Four Fantasies, and the pieces chosen certainly demand a degree of subtlety, insight and a wide expressive range. Her account of Scriabin’s Op. 19 ticks some of those boxes, with attractive phrasing and a full, weighty tone. But, despite her control of the notes, there’s little individuality in the performance as a whole. I do sense, though, that Russian repertoire could be her strong suit, and I’d like to hear her in Rachmaninov, for example. Alas, her response to Chopin’s Fantasie in F minor is even less appealing; she doesn’t shape the music nearly so well, and the result is, at times, curiously foursquare. Indeed, one only has to sample Robert Silverman’s Op. 49 (IsoMike, via NativeDSD) to realise how unyielding – even awkward – Fedorova feels here.

I suppose if I had to add another box it would have to be for idiom. And if it remains unticked in the Chopin it also does so in the Schumann. The music just doesn’t leap off the page, although Fedorova does make amends with a lovely account of the closing movement. So it’s clearly not that she lacks imagination, it’s just that, rather frustratingly, she seldom modulates out of the tethering key of mere accomplishment. This is true of her Beethoven, too. As it happens, I’d just been working my way through Stephen Kovacevich’s Warner box of all 32 sonatas, so his rendition of the ‘Moonlight’ was still fresh in my mind. And while it may seem unfair to compare an artist at the start of her career with one nearing the end of his, it’s a salutary reminder that these warhorses need something special if they are to make a lasting impression.

And while these pieces all contain the word ‘fantasy’ somewhere in their titles I’m really not sure that makes them natural bedfellows. All of which leaves me feeling a tad guilty for seeming so dismissive, especially where an up-and-coming talent is concerned. In Fedorova’s favour is the fact that she’s not one of those flashy young pianists, of which, depressingly, there are far too many. Her performances here may be disappointing, but I sense a serious artist at work, and, most important, one whose priorities are musical rather than brazenly self-promoting. That, to my mind, is a good foundation on which to build. As for the Channel sound, it’s very good, if not quite up to the exceptionally high standards of recent solo-piano recordings from the likes of Myrios and Sono Luminus.

Accomplished playing, undermined by expressive reticence; odd programme, too.

Dan Morgan



We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage


a vibrant slice of life


BRITISH CELLO WORKS
stylistically assured


About Every Hill and Valley
Swedish Songs


Hallberg and Dente
interesting and most welcome


An inspired partnership
additional review


TOSCA
A valuable document



Musicweb sells the following labels

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

Sample: See what you will get

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