Schubert: Klavierstücke, D946; Ländler, D790; Hüttenbrenner Variations

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Schubert
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Klavierstücke, D946; Ländler, D790; Hüttenbrenner Variations
PERFORMER: Luba Edlina (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9860
The booklet photo shows Edlina bejewelled like a dowager dressed for dinner on a Cunard liner in the Thirties. A Russian grande dame indeed. Curiously, her playing is modest – she ain’t Gina Bachauer, that’s for sure. Mainly known as a chamber musician, Edlina was pianist of the Borodin Trio for years and now teaches at Indiana University. Her touch lacks depth and her rhythmic grasp is sometimes weak – in variations 1, 6 and 12 of the Hüttenbrenner set, for instance – but at least her approach is straightforward, for this is all music which amateur pianists can enjoy by playing themselves. Having said which, the Three Pieces, D946, are stuff for the greatest, the second being particularly broad as well as discursive. Here Edlina lacks charm in the mild outer sections, and is short on temperament in the first episode, while she gets bogged down in the second. Her playing never quite gets airborne, and the whole disc is worthy and a bit dull. The recording is unusually dry and close for Chandos, but that’s no bad thing. Adrian Jack

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