Korngold: Complete Piano Works, Vol. 1: Märchenbilder; Four Waltzes; Don Quixote

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COMPOSERS: Korngold
LABELS: Koch
WORKS: Complete Piano Works, Vol. 1: Märchenbilder; Four Waltzes; Don Quixote
PERFORMER: Alexander Frey (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 3-7427-2
All this music is enchanting – and, astonishingly, was written before the composer turned 15. The child prodigy Korngold’s proficiency is mind-boggling, and to judge from these pieces he must have been quite a pianist as well. All of these short pieces are pictorial, and so evocative and full of fluctuations of mood and image that they almost form a premonition of Korngold’s future success in composing film scores. The Märchenbilder evoke fairy-tales and their characters; Don Quixote depicts six elements of a book that the youthful composer precociously adored; and each of the Four Waltzes is named after a different young girl he liked. Pianist Alexander Frey responds with sensitivity to the rubato and general ebb and flow of Korngold’s deeply Viennese, waltz-imbued music; it’s certainly good news that this is just the first disc in what will be a complete set of the composer’s piano music. Jessica Duchen

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