Intermezzos in B minor, E minor, and C, Op.119
Rhapsodies, Op.79 in B minor and G minor
Eugenia Papadimas (piano)
Recorded on 15 & 16 May 2004 at the home of Lady Valerie Solti, Swiss Cottage, London
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: February 2005
CD No: EZ MUSIC EZPAPCD1
Duration: 47 minutes
A literally home-produced CD (one engineered by the veteran James Lock) introduces a musical pianist in a short-measure recital. Closely recorded enough for the mechanics of Sir Georg Solti’s Steinway Model D to be audible, Eugenia Papadimas begins with the Intermezzos that form three-quarters of Brahms’s Op.119 (the final Rhapsody is omitted). In the first piece Papadimas’s playing has an endearing simplicity, but she is let down by the production – a glaring edit at 1’49” and the final note is cut off before its finish. (Production values improve thereafter but edits remain noticeable.) The second, flowing piece is lightly touched, Papadimas displaying a rapport for the music’s heart, but the gossamer C major cannot withstand her fluctuations of pace and unnecessary punctuation; nobody gets near Curzon in this music, and Papadimas is further away than most.
Her account of the Rhapsodies is rather subdued: if a fault, it’s one in the right direction. She brings a certain freedom and a relaxed countenance to the B minor, which is not unattractive and sometimes poignant. The G minor opens almost apologetically, though, and when this first idea returns it does so with little ceremony and little structural integration. Papadimas needs more demonstration at certain moments and this particular Rhapsody finds her communing with the piano but not necessarily beyond that; one is too aware of her sameness of approach.
The Debussy is excellent; the Prélude got on with but not without sentiment, Papadimas opening-up in terms of communication. The Menuet has a clipped antiquity that is appropriate, although more colour would have been welcome, and Clair de Lune itself is admirably straightforward. The final Passepied is attractively articulate, the final bars wound-down effectively.
Patrick Moore’s Nocturne is Chopin re-born, early Chopin; a pleasant salon piece that denies the twentieth-century ever existed. With all due respect to Sir Patrick, Eugenia Papadimas is not, yet, “an internationally famous pianist” – but if this CD enterprise, produced by Bill Newman at the invitation of Lady Solti, allows Papadimas the exposure that her supporters no doubt wish for her, then hats off. But it’s a tough old market out there.