COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Chopin,D Scarlatti,Ginastera,Mozart,Resta,Schubert,Schumann,Villa-Lobos
WORKS: Works by Mozart, Beethoven, D Scarlatti, Schubert, Schumann, Resta, Chopin, Ginastera & Villa-Lobos
PERFORMER: Daniel Barenboim (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 5 57416 2
Golden Jubilee recitals are a comparative rarity on disc and this one, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Barenboim’s debut as a concert pianist (aged seven), is worth having simply as a souvenir d’occasion. Or, at any rate, part of it. The booklet does not reveal whether this was the entire programme, but there are only two substantial works here – Mozart’s C major Sonata, K330, and Beethoven’s Appassionata, both of which Barenboim played at his debut.
The remainder of this disc is composed of encores ‘chosen spontaneously’ (or so the booklet claims), a bold, not to say reckless approach to a landmark recital. Perhaps, with all his other activities, he didn’t have sufficient time to think about it for, it must be said, the playing disappoints with characterless, over-pedalled Scarlatti, percussively executed Schubert and Chopin’s D flat Nocturne finding true repose only in the final page.
The audience may cheer the concluding Polichinelle but Barenboim has neither the precision or élan of, say, Nelson Freire or Marc-André Hamelin in Villa-Lobos’s crowd-pleaser. The Mozart, with all the repeats except the first movement’s transition, sounds dutiful and detached. Only the Beethoven commands real attention, and here Barenboim reminds us what a fearless and individual artist he can be.
The piano roars and simpers by turn. If he only just gets away with the final presto (it would have demanded a retake in the studio), here at least this great musician rises to the occasion. Jeremy Nicholas