Blacher: Complete works for piano

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: Thorofon
WORKS: Complete works for piano
PERFORMER: Horst Göbel, Liu Xiao Ming (piano)
Despite its fierce intellectualism, the piano music of Boris Blacher (1903-75) is disarmingly communicative. On this release, Göbel effectively rediscovers Blacher’s background in mathematics and architecture – most apparent in the variable metres of the Ornaments and the symmetrical arrangement of the Preludes – with meticulous phrasing and engaging rhythmic alertness. He is likewise winning in his portrayal of the kaleidoscopic patterns in the Toccatas and witty charm in the Sonatinas. The closely focused recording is generally well suited to this music’s remarkable expressive concision, but I would have preferred a warmer acoustic for the delicious jazz sonorities in the Three Pieces and the more reflective of the Ornaments and Preludes. Göbel and Ming’s persuasive account of the piano-duet Sonatina is an added bonus. Nicholas Rast