Jan‡cek, Tchaikovsky, Weber, Brahms, Mariotte, etc

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Brahms,etc,Janacek,Mariotte,Tchaikovsky,Weber
LABELS: Danacord
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Rarities of Piano Music at Schloss Vor Husum, 2000
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Konstantin Scherbakov, Marc-André Hamelin, Marie-Catherine Girod, Roberto Cominati, etc (piano)
This disc aims to capture some of the atmosphere of this annual piano festival, though as a self-contained CD it is a mixed bag. There are masterful contributions from Hamelin – outstandingly delicate and tender in Janácek and some rather good music of his own; a deeply glowing Brahms chorale prelude from Tal and Groethuysen; and Roberto Cominati’s Piazzolla is deliciously sensual. Konstantin Scherbakov gives us a desperately mannered ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’, though he dazzles with his fast fingerwork in his Weber encore; but Francesco Libetta’s ugly crashings through what should have been a mazurka could have been safely omitted. There’s welcome light relief in three cabaret songs performed by Hamelin and his wife, singer Jody Applebaum – the fiercely witty Hollaender number is unforgettable. I was surprised, however, to read some scathing comments in the booklet about an exceptionally fine pianist who not only could not be recorded for contractual reasons, but also had the temerity to change his programme and play the Diabelli Variations, ‘hardly the repertoire which draws the connoisseurs to Husum’. The Variations would be worth several hundred of the insufferably portentous Sonata by Antoine Mariotte (admirably played, however, by Girod). Danger! Should good music really be dismissed because it is familiar, and bad pieces promulgated simply for being unknown? Jessica Duchen