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Tansman: Piano Works / Fingerhut

Release Date: 06/30/2009 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10527   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Alexandre Tansman
Performer:  Margaret Fingerhut
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

TANSMAN Recueil de mazurkas. Sonata rustica. Troisième sonatine. 3 préludes en forme de blues. 4 nocturnes. Album d’amis Margaret Fingerhut (pn) CHANDOS 10527 (73:59)

Though known today as a composer, Tansman was trained from his youth as a concert pianist. Winning three top prizes at the 1919 Composers’ Competition (organized by Paderewski, and the first of its kind in a newly independent Poland) set his future course. He subsequently moved to Paris, became a French citizen, and crafted a Read more compositional style that combined Gallic neo-Classicism with Romantic sensibilities. But Tansman remained active as a pianist, and wrote music for the instrument throughout his life. Fingerhut has made an interesting selection of it here, dating back to 1915–1928 with his Recueil de mazurkas and concluding in 1980 with his Album d’amis.

Continuity is apparent from the start. Though Tansman did intensify the level of dissonance in some of his orchestral works during the late 1940s—his final two symphonies from 1948 and 1958 respectively provide evidence of that—little change is apparent in the spare, Ravelian Quatre nocturnes of 1952, dedicated to Stravinsky. The language and structure of the nine varied miniatures that comprise the Album d’amis are still more approachable and typical of the composer throughout his life: heartfelt or witty, exuberant or melancholy, always elegantly phrased and flawlessly crafted—sufficient to supply the needs of a composer whose imagination was not so impoverished that it repeatedly required reinvention through new musical systems over the years.

One would look in vain among these works for the profundity of his best orchestral slow movements, such as those that grace the Second and Seventh Symphonies. The sound world of his piano music was formed from the likes of Ravel and Debussy, with secondary influences that included Stravinsky, Gershwin, and (in the bookend movements of the Sonata rustica ) Poulenc. The span of these movements is relatively short, their manner intimate rather than monumental. Their message is meant to touch, and delight. Admirers of Tansman’s models could do far worse than discover his œuvre.

Margaret Fingerhut is a consistently sensitive, intelligent performer. There are pieces here, such as the Quatre nocturnes , which could benefit from a more pointillistic approach, and others, among them the Sonata rustica , which might benefit from less gentility and more high spirits. But overall, she brings a strong technique and musicianly instincts to her performances, turning in a fine performance as Tansman’s advocate. Some of the highlights on this disc include her playfully stamping third mazurka in the Recueil de mazurkas ; the bluesy, slow movement of the Troisième sonatine played with refreshingly straightforward lyricism; and the clarity of cross rhythms and accents in the Étude from the Album d’amis.

With good sound, a fine selection of music, and attractive liner notes, this is easily recommended for both its music and its performer.

FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

Mazurkas for Piano, Bk 1 by Alexandre Tansman
Performer:  Margaret Fingerhut (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1928; France 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwichk, Suffolk, England 
Length: 16 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Sonata for Piano no 1 "Rustica" by Alexandre Tansman
Performer:  Margaret Fingerhut (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; France 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwichk, Suffolk, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Sonatina for Piano no 3 by Alexandre Tansman
Performer:  Margaret Fingerhut (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933; France 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwichk, Suffolk, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Preludes (3) in the form of Blues by Alexandre Tansman
Performer:  Margaret Fingerhut (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwichk, Suffolk, England 
Length: 8 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Nocturnes for Piano by Alexandre Tansman
Performer:  Margaret Fingerhut (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwichk, Suffolk, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Album d'amis, for piano by Alexandre Tansman
Performer:  Margaret Fingerhut (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1980 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwichk, Suffolk, England 
Length: 15 Minutes 21 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Recueil de Marurkas: No. 1. Oberek: Vivo
Recueil de Marurkas: No. 2. Moderato - Piu lento - Tempo I
Recueil de Marurkas: No. 3. Oberek: Molto vivo
Recueil de Marurkas: No. 4. Andante espressivo
Recueil de Marurkas: No. 5. Modere (a Jan Smeterlin)
Recueil de Marurkas: No. 6. Moderato
Recueil de Marurkas: No. 7. Moderato
Recueil de Marurkas: No. 8. Moderato
Recueil de Marurkas: No. 9. Oberek: Molto vivace - Molto meno mosso
Recueil de Marurkas: No. 10. Berceuse: Lento
Sonata rustica: I. Allegro agreste
Sonata rustica: II. Cantilena: Largo
Sonata rustica: III. Danza Festiva: Molto allegro
Piano Sonatine No. 3: I. Pastorale: Anime
Piano Sonatine No. 3: II. Hymne: Lento
Piano Sonatine No. 3: III. Rondo (perpetuum mobile): Presto
3 Preludes en forme de Blues: No. 1. Lento cantabile
3 Preludes en forme de Blues: No. 2. Moderato
3 Preludes en forme de Blues: No. 3. Moderato
4 Nocturnes: No. 1. Moderato
4 Nocturnes: No. 2. Moderato
4 Nocturnes: No. 3. Moderato
4 Nocturnes: No. 4. Lento
Album d'amis: I. Notturno (a Beatrice Decamps): Moderato
Album d'amis: II. Tempo di Blues (a Philippe Marietti): Andante cantabile
Album d'amis: III. Tempo di Mazur (a Janusz Cegiella): Allegro con moto
Album d'amis: IV. Canzonetta (a Pierre Hasquenoph): Lento
Album d'amis: V. Caprice (a Eugene Indjic): A piacere
Album d'amis: VI. Pastorale (a Irene et Tadeusz Zielinski): Lento
Album d'amis: VII. Etude (pour Monique [Haas] et Marcel Mihalovici): Allegro vivace
Album d'amis: VIII. Hommage a Liszt (a Lulu et Vladimir Jankelevitch): Andante cantabile
Album d'amis: IX. Berceuse polonaise (a la Direction et au Personnel des Editions Max Eschig): Tres lent

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