<< -- 2 -- Bill Newman SPARKLE AND POLISH
César Cui, regarded as a Beckmesser by colleagues, wrote some charming songs and chamber music, almost totally lost to posterity. Causerie, a charming étude of unpretentious demeanour, sets the scene. Fauré's Après un rêve, highly popular as a song, benefits from Percy Grainger's ebullient setting, while Grieg's Jeg Elsker Deg ('I Love Thee') becomes an effusive outpouring to his beloved wife. Leopold Godowsky, conversely, adds audacious touches to Schubert's delectable Moment Musical No 3.
An early Scriabin group -- Etude in C sharp minor, Mazurkas in E minor, C sharp minor and E minor -- provides gentle Chopinesque slants, but then the pianist pays homage to his teacher Ann Driver. Doll's Lullaby
[listen -- track 9, 0:00-0:40]
has a kind of simple and sad, yet intropective feeling of longing, with Sarabande motioning us with restrained harmonies. I particularly like the following threesome -- Ireland's The Almond Trees
[listen -- track 11, 2:29-3:22],
with increasing cascading brushes with wind, Vaughan Williams' The Lake in the Mountains -- a glory of modal indestructability, and -- more famous in its orchestral setting -- Griffes' The White Peacock -- a photogenic true impression of the imperious creature.
Beside them, Rheinhold Glière's keyboard music sounds vaguely classical in setting -- Prelude in E flat, Aux Champs (a take off of Grieg) and the strident Prelude in C minor. A salon appreciation with a wonderful, weaving melody comes in Tchaikovsky's Waltz in A flat, but matching the master for sheer inventiveness, Anatol Liadov's Preludes in B minor, B flat minor, and Berceuse (note the obvious crib from Chopin) set new perspectives in stature and nuance.
The prolific keyboard writer Ernesto Lecuona has more obvious claims in his carefree setting of Cordoba. Later Scriabin, Masque and Etrangeté, both possess a certain astringency, but Rachmaninov, in the early Elegie has assuredness. Bartók's Pe loc, away from the other Romanian Folk Dances stands remote, and Shostakovich's A flat Prelude is atypically Russian. Traumerei by Richard Strauss lingers in the memory -- Gieseking was fond of it. The programme ends with the favourite Artur Rubinstein encore by his friend Villa-Lobos -- O Polichinelo ('Witch Doll') from The Baby's Family.
Sparkle and polish abound throughout, and Gary Cole's sound expertise does the rest.
Copyright © 14 October 2006
Bill Newman, Edgware UK
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Off the beaten track - Piano Rarities
REGCD218 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 76'56" 2006 Regent Records
Robin Zebaida, piano
César Cui: Causerie (Etude) Op 40 No 6; Gabriel Fauré arr Percy Grainger: Après un rêve; Edvard Grieg: Jeg Elsker Deg Op 41 No 3; Franz Schubert arr Leopold Godowsky: Moment Musical Op 94 No 3; Alexander Scriabin: Etude in C sharp minor Op 2 No 1; Mazurka in E minor Op 3 No 7; Mazurka in C sharp minor Op 3 No 6; Mazurka in E minor Op 25 No 3; Ann Driver: Doll's Lullaby (Seven Blakemore Poems No 2); Sarabande; John Ireland: The Almond Trees; Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Lake in the Mountains; Charles Griffes: The White Peacock (Roman Sketches Op 7); Rheinhold Glière: Prelude in E flat (12 Children's Pieces Op 31); Aux Champs Op 34 No 7; Prelude in C minor Op 16 No 1; Pyotr Tchaikovsky: Waltz in A flat Op 40 No 8; Anatol Liadov: Prelude in B minor Op 11 No 1; Prelude in B flat minor Op 31 No 2; Berceuse Op 24 No 2; Ernesto Lecuona: Cordoba (Suite Andalucia); Alexander Scriabin: Masque Op 63 No 1; Etrangeté Op 63 No 2; Serge Rachmaninov: Elegie Op 3 No 1; Béla Bartók: Pe loc (Romanian Folk Dances No 3); Dimitri Shostakovich: Prelude in A flat Op 34 No 17; Richard Strauss: Träumerei (No 4 from Stimmungsbilder Op 9); Heitor Villa Lobos: O Polichinelo (Prole do Bebê, Book 1)