COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Debussy,Gershwin etc,Wagner
LABELS: E One
WORKS: Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 5, Op. 24 (Spring); plus works by Debussy, Wagner, Gershwin, Duke, Kosma, Pritsker, Schnittke and Fauré
PERFORMER: Anne Akiko Meyers (violin), Emmanuel Ceysson (harp), Reiko Uchida (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: EOM-CD-7780
Seasons… dreams… is another fine disc from Anne Akiko Meyers. She starts and ends in explicit reverie. Like Janine Jansen’s recital (see Chamber Choice review) she includes Debussy’s ‘Clair de lune’ and ‘Beau Soir’ along with Fauré’s ‘Après un rêve’. But for these, and Wagner’s ‘Träume’, there is a magical twist, for she is partnered by harpist Emmanuel Ceysson.
The delectable mood infuses much of the disc, with Reiko Uchida providing a sympathetic pianistic foil. Few could resist Meyers’s swooning charms in ‘Summertime’, the pairing of Kosma’s ‘Tenderly’ and ‘Autumn Leaves’, or Vernon Duke’s ‘Autumn in New York’, but she typically throws in some spicier fare as well. Gene Pritsker’s Variations on Sakura Sakura glint and beguile, while Schnittke’s acidic arrangement of Stille Nacht is a deliciously subversive antidote to Christmas kitsch.
The most substantial work here, Beethoven’s F major Sonata, technically gatecrashes the ‘Seasons’ theme, for its well-known subtitle Spring was added only after the composer’s death. Meyers may regard it as the ‘anchor’ of this programme, but it sits rather awkwardly amid the various seductive versions of vocal works, like a guest in formal dress at a bohemian party.
Meyers is uncharacteristically strait-laced, the playing being graceful and assured, but making some of Beethoven’s passagework feels like so many notes. A pity, for the rest of the disc is an absolute delight. Christopher Dingle