June 2017 CD Reviews

May 2017 CD Reviews
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet plays Haydn Piano Sonatas, Volume 6 [Chandos]
June, 2017 |  The most comprehensive information is given in the booklet, where, with the utmost clarity, Marc Vignal explains the complications of the numbering of Haydn’s keyboard Sonatas. The system used here is from the accurate catalogue by Christa Landon while retaining Hoboken’s numerals. Vignal then gives a most perceptive analysis of the works recorded and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet contributes a further essay on the subject, describing his thinking behind the interpretations. 
Dimitar Nenov – Piano Concerto & Ballade No.2 – Ivo Varbanov/Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Emil Tabakov [Hyperion]
June, 2017 |  Dimitar Nenov (1901-53) is one of the great unknowns of Eastern European music, a multi-gifted individual whose music is barely known, even in his native Bulgaria. On the strength of this Hyperion release it is clear that his neglect is wholly unwarranted... ... It is not easy to describe Nenov’s language as exemplified in his Piano Concerto, but I believe if you are attracted to the work of, say, early Schoenberg, Busoni, Reger, Szymanowski, Sorabji, Berg, Scriabin (even very late Liszt) – music from later in that period and not wholly unlike an admixture of such disparate styles – then you will be, as I am, fascinated by the breadth and strength of this music... ... Ballade No.2 (twenty-one minutes) was composed during the War (1942-3), but was not heard until after the composer’s death. Ostensibly lighter in intent, it is based upon a folk-like theme, heard at the outset on horn, and is a far more ‘approachable’ work, brilliantly composed... 
The Romantic Piano Concerto – 71: Carl Czerny; Howard Shelley & Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra [Hyperion]
June, 2017 |  Pupil and champion of Beethoven, the vastly influential teacher of Liszt, Thalberg and Leschetizky, Carl Czerny (1791-1857) has never enjoyed much of a press. ... Howard Shelley, whose Hummel outings for Chandos have been such a source of pleasure, enlightenment and discovery, brings crisply informed insight to this Czerny release for Hyperion, tapping as much into the drama and decoration of the music as its swings between drawing-room and occasionally earthier pastures. 
Paradis sur terre – A French Songbook – Caplet, Lili Boulanger, Debussy, Chaminade – Nicky Spence & Malcolm Martineau [Chandos]
June, 2017 |  I am delighted with this release, definitely one for lovers of French song and notable singing. Nicky Spence’s choice of music is as rare as it is delightful. Opening with the mysteries and moonbeam harmonies of André Caplet’s Les Prières... ... They would pass for the work of Debussy, represented here by Trois Mélodies de Verlaine... ... The biggie work on this Chandos release is by the short-lived and multi-talented Lili Boulanger (1893-1918), the younger sister of the equally gifted and influential Nadia (1887-1979); musically blest siblings with very different fates. 
Steven Osborne plays Ravel’s Piano Concertos and Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain [BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Ludovic Morlot; Hyperion]
June, 2017 |  What a good idea to couple Maurice Ravel’s two contemporaneous if very different Piano Concertos (both premiered in January 1932) and add Manuel de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain (first heard in 1916) and to engage Steven Osborne to play them. 
Music by George Antheil – BBC Philharmonic/John Storgårds [Chandos]
June, 2017 |  Although early in George Antheil’s autobiography, Bad Boy of Music (1945), the author tells of his friendship with Stravinsky (there’s a photograph of them in a street in Paris), his self-confidence must have taken a battering when he heard the put-down of ‘making a mountain out of an Antheil’. ... Over the Plains (1945, this is its first recording) is an effective piece of Americana... 

 

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