Slåttebrekk plays Schumann -
JOHN BELL YOUNG
'... huge-hearted, compelling and structurally intelligible ...'
As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. Certainly, for some of us, that musical wish list includes Schumann playing that is at once imaginative and fanciful, audacious and rhythmically vibrant, abundantly detailed yet tender, illusory and spontaneous.
In Sigurd Slåttebrekk, an absolutely extraordinary young Norwegian pianist who has spent the last few years in hibernation away from the piano, all that has been fulfilled and then some. In both Musical America and the American Record Guide respectively, my distinguished colleague, the late Igor Kipnis and I marveled at Slåttebrekk's consummate skill and artistry when, in the late 1990s, Simax Classics released the first of his recordings. That one was devoted to the music of Ravel, and was played with such striking originality and command of nuance that it whet our appetites for much, much more.
But Mr Slåttebrekk, disappointed and frankly fed up with the often anti-artistic commercial demands of the world of classical music, walked away from concertizing and recording, opting instead to spend time with his wife and kids, teaching a bit and writing.
Now that he's back, which music lovers everywhere can be grateful for, it's obvious that the interceding years have only enriched his playing and broadened his interpretive perspectives. Here is a bold and exceptionally passionate player who looks behind the notes and brings music to life.
Copyright © 21 July 2004
John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA