Notes and Editorial Reviews
Though the Chopin Variations may be less distinctly 'Rachmaninov' than the more familiar Corelli set of roughly 30 years later, the former work presented here has undeniable merit in its lovingly crafted writing. Dedicated to the teacher Leschetizky, whose links with Russian music were connected with his lifelong friendship with Anton Rubinstein, the emphasis is on a cultured approach to virtuosity that very much looks back to the previous century for its inspiration, the work dates from 1902-03. The sardonic Rachmaninov does not surface. The work takes the sombre C minor Prelude from Chopin's Op. 28 set for its theme, although this never undergoes any very drastic transformation. Nevertheless, in Bolet's sensitive hands the piece entirely
retained my interest. I especially admired his ability here to endow the less impressive moments with seriousness and care. Bolet is adept at varying his touch and tone and so succeeds in distracting the listener from the etude-like aspects of several of the variations.
The selection of Preludes finds him very much on home ground. The way in which the hackneyed C sharp minor Prelude rises in majesty from the instrument, almost reminiscent of Debussy, allows one to hear it with new ears. The G minor Prelude, though rather austere and quite humourless in the main part, features that masterly delineation of lines in the middle section that was one of the hallmarks of the great pianists of the past. I found the Liebesleid a bit lacklustre, with the mood hardly fitting the title of the piece, and also little warmth in the Liebesfreud. Perhaps Bolet has just played them too much, I won't deny that they are skilfully done.
The Bechstein used here has plenty of overtones to exercise Bolet's wonderful control of sonority. The recorded sound has been sensitively achieved, the hushed winding-down in the coda to the Variations is superbly captured. I am not a great fan of Jorge Bolet, but this release gave me plenty of pleasure.
-- James Methuen-Campbell, Gramophone [8/1988]
Works on This Recording
Liebesleid by Fritz Kreisler
Jorge Bolet (Piano)
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