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<<  -- 2 --  John Bell Young    IMPASSIONED PERFORMANCE


To the evergreen Carnaval, Mr Slåttebrekk brings the spirited but informed vivacity, and above all the fantasy, that Cortot and Rubinstein did so brilliantly in their celebrated recordings. That is hardly to suggest that Mr Slåttebrekk's playing is in the least freewheeling, or glib; on the contrary, it is abundantly detailed. Not a pedal point or significant compositional event is ignored. Promenade [listen -- track 20, 1:48-2:50], for example, marches forth nobly, while Mr Slåttebrekk's pre-occupation with contrapuntal relationships -- particularly those that give shape to the bass and tenor -- disclose a great deal more about the inner workings of this famous piece than most readings. From this perspective, Mr Slåttebrekk's tender, impassioned performance, while every bit as sumptuously detailed as Michelangeli's, or Arrau's, is also more fluid rhythmically. Indeed, his rhythmic sensibility exploits each of the little motivic motors that propel the music forward and keeps it born aloft. Witness his wonderfully shaded readings of Coquette, Réplique; his elegantly drawn Chopin; and his huge-hearted, compelling and structurally intelligible excursion through the concluding Davidsbündler March.

Likewise, in Kreisleriana, Mr Slåttebrekk has no fear, pulling out all the stops in one of the more fiery performances on record. His amply developed feeling for Schumann's fantasy world is compelling and serves the music perfectly. He is also acutely aware of the work's innumerable baroque compositional elements -- those interior dialogues whose linear particles tumble in and out of each other in service of parlato, stretto, and fugue -- that Schumann brings to bear and so eloquently exploits. Listen, too [track 28, 2:44-3:49], to Mr Slåttebrekk's magical sound painting in the Sehr Langsam movements, wherein he cultivates every compositional line with the meticulous attention of a great lieder singer.

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Copyright © 21 July 2004 John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA


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