LABELS: Nimbus Grand Piano
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Composer Plays
WORKS: Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue Stravinsky: Piano Sonata Prokofiev: Toccata, Op. 11, Granados: Danzas Españolas, Nos 2, 5, 7 & 10,
CATALOGUE NO: NI 8813
These ‘reproducing piano’ rolls, originally released between 1916 and 1933, were made by the old Aeolian Company, and they have recently been re-recorded from the rolls as part of Nimbus’s Grand Piano series. All the composers represented were pianists of the rarest distinction. Granados considered himself primarily a pianist, and his performances of his own music are unsurpassed and unsurpassable. His rubato is subtle, his use of the pedal uncannily apt, and his control of tone is nothing short of miraculous.
Prokofiev, another master pianist, makes much of the varying moods of his Op. 12 pieces, is brittle in two of his Sarcasms and percussive in the Toccata. Stravinsky’s brief three-movement Sonata, with its inexorably trudging slow movement and neo-Baroque moto perpetuo of a finale, finds the composer well in control.
When Gershwin recorded the solo piano version of Rhapsody in Blue, he dubbed a duet part on to the original piano-roll to increase its range. The result is spectacular, the whole disc a triumph. Wadham Sutton