Till Fellner rescues the Reubke Sonata - an expansive work that, in a guessing game, would most probably be attributed to Liszt - in a performance of outstanding breadth, imaginative sympathy and pianistic command.
Though The Gramophone Classical Catalogue lists no fewer than eight different versions of the precociously gifted young Reubke’s C minor Organ Sonata on the 94th Psalm, his posthumously published B flat minor Piano Sonata, completed just before his untimely death at 24, has long been conspicuous by its absence. So all praise to the prize-winning Viennese pianist, Till Fellner – still only 24 himself – for rescuing it in a performance of outstanding breadth, imaginative sympathy and pianistic command. In aRead more guessing game, this expansive, thematically metamorphosed and interlinked three-movement work would most probably be attributed to Liszt (known to have included Reubke among his most cherished pupils): its prime inspirational source was undoubtedly Liszt’s B minor Sonata, not only in form but in so much of its general style of keyboard expression, and still more, its emotional questings and conflicts. As played here, not a note sounds second-hand. I was lost in admiration at the concentrated intensity Fellner brings to every one of its 29 minutes, alike in arresting challenges, soul-searching recitative, spiritual repose and majestic grandeur. For the (eventually) triumphant home-coming he draws a near organ-like fullness and depth of sonority from his instrument (very well reproduced in Austria’s Schloss Grafenegg). Not for nothing was Reubke an organ-builder’s son.
“A positively wild love is in some of the movements, and your life and mine, and the way you look.” So Schumann wrote to Clara about Kreisleriana, dashed off in a mere four days during their enforced separation. Here there is not quite the same immediacy or urgency of response as in the Reubke Sonata. Or should I say I thought Fellner more closely attuned to the visionary Eusebius than the impulsive Florestan – such as recently presented by another young prize-winner, Lars Vogt, with his faster (sometimes too fast) choice of tempos. The two dreams of Clara (Nos. 4 and 6) are questionably slow from Fellner. I also wondered if his meticulously articulated, light-fingered grace in Nos. 3, 5 and 8 was just a little too elfin to reflect some of the Kapellmeister Kreisler’s odder quirks. That said, it still remains as deeply thoughtful and searching a performance (I noted that Fellner has taken both editions into account) as it is sensitively poetic, carried out with exemplary keyboard refinement and tonal beauty. In short, an artist from whom I look forward to hearing very much more.
-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [10/1996] reviewing the original release of this title, Erato 12710 Read less
Works on This Recording
Kreisleriana, Op. 16by Robert Schumann
Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Romantic Written: 1838; Germany
Sonata for Piano in B flat minorby Julius Reubke
Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Romantic Written: 1857; Germany
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
ReubkeJune 18, 2013By William C. (San Francisco, CA)See All My Reviews"As an Organist I love Reubke's Sonata-The 94th Psalm. I did not know of this Piano Sonata until seeing it at ArkiveMusic. Now I love that too. The Schumann was new to me also. Both are brilliantly played."Report Abuse