Pieces by Albéniz, Bartók, Brahms, Chopin, Dvořák, Fitkin, Guarnieri, Ginastera, Lecuona, Piazzolla, Satie, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky and Villa-Lobos
Kathryn Stott (piano)
Recorded 14 & 15 April 2008 in Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, UK
Reviewed by: Mike Langhorne
Reviewed: October 2008
CD No: CHANDOS CHAN10493
Duration: 68 minutes
It’s always a pleasure to welcome a new release from this fine artist. This one, entitled “Dance”, is a fiftieth-birthday present to Kathryn Stott courtesy of Chandos. It comprises 16 works (23 movements in all) in dance-form chosen by the performer from around the world by composers both well known and rather more exotic. It features as well as European styles such as the waltz, polka and mazurka a number of Latin American ones including tangos and even a conga.
To play 23 dances of any form on the trot would be pretty indigestible so it is best to sample a few at a time to savour the individual styles. Kathryn Stott, as we know from previous releases, has a fine sense of rhythm and the ability to bring out the individual flavour of each piece.
To be particularly admired, therefore, is the South and Latin American clutch from Ginastera, Villa-Lobos, Piazzolla and Guarnieri (the latter a real foot-tapper despite being marked Soturno, gloomy!) and a favourite composer of the pianist’s – Ernesto Lecuona. Collectors will recall a Stott EMI disc devoted entirely to his music. It is he who provides the conga (de media noche) on Chandos’s disc and EMI’s. Stott plays it on both with wit and piquancy – but I’ve been in a few midnight congas that were rather more raucous!
Brahms’s Hungarian Dance (No.1), a Chopin Mazurka (the fourth of the Opus 17 set), Dvořák’s Dumka (opening his Opus 12) and Tchaikovsky’s Polka peu dansante all receive well-judged performances, but Sibelius’s own transcription of his Valse triste is not a success – lumpy and lacking in atmosphere. Dances by Shostakovich (Fantastic, Opus 5) and Bartók (Romanian) fare well, as does Old Style, specially written for the birthday-girl by Graham Fitkin, in which there is nothing to frighten the horses!
With this recommendable birthday jollification out of the way – it is superbly recorded, rich and sonorous, subtle and filigree – I hope Chandos will now persuade Kathryn Stott to tackle rather more demanding repertoire. One remembers her superb Fauré cycle for Hyperion as well as Rachmaninov, Debussy and Chopin recitals for Conifer. Perhaps some Brahms or Schubert next?