Bruckner: Sonata in G minor (1st mvt); Adagio from Symphony No. 7; Stille Betrachtung an einem Herbstabend; Lancier-Quadrille; Fantasie in G; Erinnerung

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COMPOSERS: Bruckner
LABELS: BIS
WORKS: Sonata in G minor (1st mvt); Adagio from Symphony No. 7; Stille Betrachtung an einem Herbstabend; Lancier-Quadrille; Fantasie in G; Erinnerung
PERFORMER: Fumiko Shiraga (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1297
Bruckner, mighty composer of symphonies and church music, and of a handful of worthwhile chamber pieces, is here revealed as author of an even smaller handful of piano pieces, none of more than minimal interest. The majority were composed when as a young man he gave private piano lessons in Linz to eke out his earnings at St Florian.

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Four quadrilles, with quotes from operas popular at the time, are the earliest. Less painfully tedious, and from later in his career, are the two-movement Fantasy and the five-minute Erinnerung (Reminiscence); but it’s puzzling that even these – derivative, ponderous in patches, lacking in true creative spark – were thought worthy of exhumation. Fumiko Shiraga is obviously a fine pianist, with broad keyboard ommand, but all her vitality, commitment and rhythmic alertness cannot make it otherwise.

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More substantial fare occupies her gifts in the form of the piano transcription (by Cyrill Hynais) of the Seventh Symphony Adagio, which she sustains magisterially. Even so, one ends up wondering why anyone would bother to acquire this denuded, black-and-white version of great music when for the same money a CD of the real thing, in full colour, can these days be acquired without difficulty. For must-have-everything Bruckner fanatics only. Max Loppert