Sound Waves

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Debussy,Liszt,Ravel,Romberg,Schubert
LABELS: Avie
ALBUM TITLE: Sound Waves
WORKS: Piano works
PERFORMER: Alexandra Silocea (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: AV2266

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This concept album from the young Romanian pianist Alexandra Silocea centres on water in all its forms: marine, reflected, fountains, clouds, rain, tears and, in Schubert’s hands, a source of deathly consolation. It’s a nice idea, but watery pieces are often very – well, watery, using showers of notes to suggest cascades, flow, and so forth, and variety sometimes comes out in the wash. The programme’s success therefore depends on whether the performer can evoke a sufficient range of colour and atmosphere.

Silocea is perhaps strongest in the Liszt selection: here she shows powerful virtuosity, storming the Swiss heights of ‘Orage’ from the Années de Pélérinage and bringing dark tone and seriousness of purpose to the ‘Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen’ variations. And the Romberg piece, Eärendil, the Mariner, works well as a quirky, imaginative opener.

Still, she does sometimes become bogged down in the welter of watery detail. In the French repertoire particularly, one becomes very aware of every droplet rather than the whole lake or fountain – the equivalent of not quite seeing the wood for the trees. Standing back, seeing the bigger picture, providing deeper perspective (which would require better enhanced layering of contrapuntal sound levels from Silocea), is more essential than ever.

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Jessica Duchen