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It was Brahms who arranged the Bach solo-violin Chaconne for left-hand piano alone, thus preserving some of the tour de force element that makes the piece an Everest of violin music, the scaling of which is certainly arduous to the performer and often agonising enough to the listener. Busoni's way was different. Much of the time his two hands are meticulous with Bach's text, and again one admires the restraint of a crack pianist. From time to time, though, the fireworks coruscate to display more bravura technique than structural integrity. Such a Mephistophelian moment occurs for the first time thus [listen -- track 4, 2:50-3:59]. Busoni's challenges are here effortlessly met. Maybe Franck approximates most closely to the CD's title. Saint-Saëns spent some time proving 'The chorale is not a chorale, and the fugue not a fugue.' It is precisely Franck's achievement to have produced a masterpiece by devoted allusion to the past yet with striking originality. Nothing is more impressive than Franck's combination towards the end of both non-chorale and non-fugue. It is a triumph of musical thinking and pianistic daring, as this performance so eloquently demonstrates [listen -- track 7, 5:30-7:00].

Copyright © 10 July 2003 Robert Anderson, London UK


Romantic Baroque

TA 002 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 62'09" 2002 TeslArt Ltd

Marina Milic-Apostolovic, piano

Beethoven: 32 Variations on an Original Theme in C minor, WoO 80; Bach transcr Liszt: Prelude and Fugue in A minor BWV 543 / S 462 No 1; Bach arr Myra Hess: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring: Chorale in G from Cantata No 147; Bach transcr Ferruccio Busoni: Chaconne in D minor from Partita No 2 for solo violin BWV 1004; Franck: Prelude, Chorale and Fugue in B minor


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