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Anika Vavic Plays Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin & Prokofiev

Release Date: 07/13/2010 
Label:  Gramola   Catalog #: 98889   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Robert SchumannFrédéric ChopinSergei ProkofievLudwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Anika Vavic
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata in D, op. 10/3. SCHUMANN Kreisleriana. CHOPIN Ballade No. 3. PROKOFIEV War and Peace: Waltz Anika Vavic (pn) GRAMOLA 96889 (72: 12)

In this interesting program, Anika Vavic, who was born in Belgrade and lives in Vienna, plays music Read more that was inspired, one way or another, by literature. Beethoven said that the slow movement of his Sonata in D, op. 10/3 was affected by Klärchen’s death in Egmont; Kreisleriana is meant to evoke the moods of the E. T. A. Hoffmann character in Katers Murr; Chopin was inspired by the Polish poet Adam Mickeiwicz; and the Prokofiev waltz was, of course, meant to be part of the composer’s opera based on Tolstoy’s War and Peace. That proves, certainly, that Anika Vavic has a literary bent. Interestingly, she talks in her notes about art as a way of slowing down, or suspending, the rush of (post)modern life, of finding perhaps the still point at the center of the music.

At least that is what I understand of her writings. What I hear is an intriguing, even bold, program played masterfully, with character and yet often with gentleness. Her Schumann, for instance, is not so bright and striking as the recent recording of Kreisleriana by Pollini. Yet I find it also satisfying in its (relatively) muted colors. The Beethoven with which the program begins is stately and sensitive, the astonishing slow movement taken not quite as slowly as did the masterly Schnabel, but with a steady sobriety that does not lose tension. Beethoven’s music can be many things, including eccentric. My only quarrel with the Vavic performance comes in the quirky last movement, with its (to me) odd rushes and hesitations. I think she underplays, or smoothes over, the playfulness. Even if I am used to hearing the opening bars of the Chopin Ballade played with more tension, the piece nonetheless responds well to her style and modest tempos. (Again, Pollini stands out in my mind among recent performances, as does Perahia.) The Prokofiev is charming. I find myself, however, most wanting to recommend this disc for the Beethoven and the Schumann.

FANFARE: Michael Ullman
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Works on This Recording

Kreisleriana, Op. 16 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Anika Vavic (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Germany 
Venue:  Studio Tonal, Vienna 
Length: 33 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Ballade for Piano no 3 in A flat major, B 136/Op. 47 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Anika Vavic (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; Paris, France 
Venue:  Studio Tonal, Vienna 
Length: 8 Minutes 18 Secs. 
War and Peace, Op. 91: Waltz by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Anika Vavic (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941-1942; USSR 
Venue:  Studio Tonal, Vienna 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Sonata for Piano no 7 in D major, Op. 10 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Anika Vavic (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Studio Tonal, Vienna 
Length: 23 Minutes 58 Secs. 

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