Sibelius: Youthful piano works (complete), Vol. 2

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COMPOSERS: Sibelius
LABELS: BIS
WORKS: Youthful piano works (complete), Vol. 2
PERFORMER: Folke Gräsbeck (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1202
Since Sibelius forbade performances of such fine pieces as the A minor Quartet and its successor, the B flat, Op. 4, and discouraged interest in Kullervo, his views about the appearance of the juvenilia on this disc can only be imagined. All the same, perspectives change and there is a natural curiosity about the kind of music he was composing as a student in Helsinki and Berlin, though I am inclined to think that recording his 1889 student exercises for Albert Becker is carrying reverence too far. Some of the pieces, such as the Moderato-Presto in D minor (1888) are worth hearing, but none can be said to be remotely characteristic. Some are fragments only a few seconds in duration. Two of the scraps he composed while studying in Vienna under Goldmark and Robert Fuchs are only 20 seconds long. None is in print and the performances are based on the autograph material held in the Helsinki University Library. All with the exception of the Florestan Suite of 1889 are first recordings. Folke Gräsbeck plays them with the fluent grace that characterised his earlier disc in this series and the BIS recording and documentation are exemplary. Robert Layton

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