Notes and Editorial Reviews
Impromptus: Nos. 1–4,
Cordelia Williams (pn)
SOMM 0127 (79:49)
There are some CDs of such beguiling beauty you don’t want to stop listening to them long enough to write about them. This is one of those CDs. Schubert’s impromptus need no special pleading. It’s impossible
for a composer, even of Schubert’s towering genius, to have improvised such perfect gems while sitting at the piano entertaining friends; yet each of the impromptus does spin its spell with a feeling of spontaneous song.
Cordelia Williams was unknown to me when I received this new release, as she will be to readers as well, for this is her debut album. If photos are to be believed (one can perform miracles with Photoshop these days), Williams is quite young—24 going on 25, actually—yet this British artist already has a couple of competition trophies on her mantel, and has appeared in solo recital and concerto performances throughout the UK and in France, Italy, Norway, Austria, China, Thailand, and the U.S.
If ears are to be believed (much harder to fool), Williams is also an exceptionally talented artist. Her playing on this disc is simply entrancing. Schubert’s singing melodies, flowing left-hand accompaniments, and arresting harmonic changes in direction ripple under Williams’s fingers like gently undulating waves. I’ve enjoyed many recordings of these pieces—those by Radu Lupu, Murray Perahia, Wilhelm Kempf, and Alfred Brendel, to name just a handful that come to mind—but Cordelia Williams has a special way with this music, a magical touch that exudes pure poetry taking wing.
The 17 miniature
—they average 40 seconds apiece—are no less achingly beautiful for their brevity, or played with any less tenderness by Williams. This is a disc that will simply hold you spellbound from beginning to end. Urgently recommended.
FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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