LABELS: Wigmore Hall Live
WORKS: Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 28 in A, Op. 101; Mozart: Piano Sonata in A minor, K310; Ravel: Miroirs; Debussy ‘La terrasse des audiences du claire de lune’
PERFORMER: Imogen Cooper (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: WHLive 0018
This well-crafted Wigmore Hall live recital sets out its stall in the opening Beethoven sonata. Despite punchy trills, this is not hard-driven Beethoven. For some, the successions of chords straddling the pulse spark tension.
In Cooper’s hands the effect is less clinging onto a sense of syncopation by fingernails than of a temporary abandonment of conventional timekeeping in favour of a reverie closer to the recital’s encore, a perfumed account of Debussy’s ‘La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune’.
Cooper clearly has a vision of the architecture of each piece, and yet there is too often a lack of the edge that might be expected in a live performance. It is not just the steady-as-she-goes periods, but also that more could be made of the brief pauses, the moments of silence.
These are marginal caveats, but, despite the audience, the result periodically feels studio-bound. Against this, there is magical playing in the Presto of the Mozart and throughout much of the Ravel.
Even allowing for the rather recessed sound, Cooper is far from cautious in allowing some passages to float tantalisingly on the edge of audibility, and ‘La vallée des cloches’ ends the recital on a note of sublime beauty. Christopher Dingle