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Brahms: Handel Variations; Ballades, Op. 10; Rhapsodies, Op. 79 / Roge

Pascal Roge
Release Date: 03/25/2010 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 433849   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Pascal Rogé
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Pascal Roge, 42 this year, has recorded the Handel Variations before for Decca (1/79—nla). JOC found that earlier performance slightly disappointing, but this new account deserves a welcome: clearly the work means much to him and indeed I have been aware of his feeling for Brahms's music since hearing him play the two Rhapsodies in a recital at around the time of that earlier disc. The Four Ballades are youthful pieces, yet also among the composer's most introspective music. So it is perhaps no coincidence that the dramatic No. I, inspired by a gruesome Scottish ballad, is in the same key as his stormy First Piano Concerto. Roge is powerful here, though I wonder if the middle section (admittedly marked Allegro) would have still more force Read more if taken a mite slower. Elsewhere in the Ballades he rightly blends sternness and affection, and these are strong and likeable performances, though in bars 20 and 21 of No. 2 his way of spreading the right-hand chords disturbs the rhythm.

The Handel Variations are clean and crisp, with the right touch of baroque mannerism where the music calls for it and greater depth elsewhere as appropriate. Nothing is pushed, tone- or tempo-wise, and Roge's civilized playing, including admirably judged pedalling, is matched by a recording that does justice to his sensitivity and, in forte passages, has impact without harshness. Only in Vars. Nos. 19 and 22 do reservations temper my enthusiasm, for the mordents could be less obvious in the one and the tempo nimbler in the other (both Katchen and Ashkenazy, also on Decca, offer strong alternatives). Since the two Rhapsodies have the same fine blend of sensitivity and strength, this disc earns a warm recommendation.

-- Gramophone [4/1993]
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Works on This Recording

Ballades (4) for Piano, Op. 10 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Pascal Rogé (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854; Germany 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales 
Length: 23 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Variations and Fugue for Piano in B flat major on a theme by Handel, Op. 24 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Pascal Rogé (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861; Germany 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales 
Length: 28 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Rhapsodies (2) for Piano, Op. 79 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Pascal Rogé (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; Austria 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales 
Length: 15 Minutes 33 Secs. 

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