Capriccio in G
Kaleidoscope, Op.18 No.6: The Punch and Judy Show
Ramble on the love-duet from Richard Strausss Der Rosenkavalier
Concerto in D, BWV972 [from Vivaldis Op.3/9]
Far niente, Op.40/2
Caprice orientale, Op.10/2
Étude in D flat, Op.15/8
A Harrington Gibbs/Art Tatum
Anatol Ugorski (piano)
Recorded live between 21-28 August 2004 at Schloss vor Husum
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: November 2005
CD No: DANACORD DACOCD 649
Duration: 69 minutes
A splendid CD, one easy to overlook, I suspect, unless you are already smitten with what seems a really lovely series: numerous CDs (DACOCD 349 to DACOCD 619 advises this present release) devoted to piano-music rarities played at Schloss vor Husum and covering the years 1989-2003. This current issue, for 2004, includes various pianists, all of whom make memorable contributions.
Edna Stern, a pianist new to me, gives a delightful account of Haydn’s Capriccio; the music has time to breathe and its unpredictable corners are beautifully turned; she is someone, on this 6-minute ‘audition’, who I should like to hear again. Marc-André Hamelin plays three pieces; he is in sensitive and rich form for Liszt’s arrangement of Chopin. Do not be put off by Salvatore Sciarrino. Yes, he’s a Modernist, but the starting-point for Anamorfosi is Ravel and a popular song. (Think Gene Kelly … getting wet … famous film…). Anamorfosi gets a laugh, too, in its less-than-two-minutes duration. Hamelin then nips through Goossens with a devil-may-care attitude. (The composer made an orchestration of this miniature and other movements from Kaleidoscope.)
Anatol Ugorski brings breadth and a big heart to Poulenc’s Thème varié; time-taken, yes, but the composer’s wistful and interior qualities are not undermined by the largesse of Ugorski’s playing. Igor Kamenz (new, once more) brings pearly tone to Grainger; more a meditation on “Der Rosenkavalier” than a ramble, a slow-burn trajectory to passion and a dissolve to bells. Jonathan Powell persuasively introduces the nocturnal Impressionism of Joseph Marx (not recorded before), and the contribution from what sounds like a gull is not out of place.
Boris Bloch gives a Romantic account of Bach’s keyboard arrangement of Vivaldi, grand in manner and with an exquisite slow movement. Bloch then makes Liszt’s Tarantella seem easy! Yet, Jonathan Plowright’s finger-twisting is even more dextrous in Stojowski, given with terrific impetuosity; and, in between, Elena Kuschnerova (another newcomer for this listener) brings a gentle touch and spins hypnotically the long lines of César Cui. Plowright unfolds Bortkiewicz’s Étude with affection and elaborate decoration, and plays to the manner born Art Tatum’s arrangement – a cocktail ambience is suggested.
This is a lovely issue; an enjoyable mix of music, and each pianist is distinctive and in fine form; indeed, I suspect that Husum is one of those magical places where artists and aficionados come together as friends and family and those performing are nicely relaxed and give of their best. That’s what comes across here, and the tangible recording gives an excellent idea of being there. First-class presentation and annotation.