This most enjoyable collection takes us back to the very beginning of the Husum Festival.
Collectors of this exploratory and extensive series will know that official recordings started in 1989. What no one seems to have known though, is that Daniel Berman, a pianist who featured strongly in both 1987 and 1988, took personal cassette recordings of some of these events. The twenty subsequent Danacord recordings have thus, at a stroke, been supplemented by these early examples of the Festival. Sound quality is an issue that should be addressed first of all, given that these are not professional recordings and readers might be justly concerned that they’re going to get the kind of ‘cough, programme turn, chair scrape andRead more belch’ tapings that make the rounds. You needn’t be overly concerned. It’s true that the dynamic range is necessarily constricted on some of the earlier 1987 tapes but the audience - a small, connoisseur collection - is very quiet and the sound itself is not at all bad. It does also get better as we hit 1988.
The pianists include names both well known and less so. The programme is typically eclectic and interesting. In fact pianophiles can enjoy these two discs without very many reservations at all. Michael Ponti, hero of many a disc, essays a contrasting programme, his two Henselt Etudes playing off against each other nicely - virtuoso dynamism in the first and lyric urgency in the second. Maybe his Moszkowski
Etincelles doesn’t sparkle with quite the delight of Old School performances, or maybe it’s due to the rather limited sound. Berman himself plays a convincing Andantino and Variations in the Tausig arrangement and two famous song transcriptions, one by Godowsky whose
The Gardens of Buitenzorg he also plays. Rainer M. Klaas explores spookier reaches in Godowsky’s Elegy (for the left hand alone) - very cryptic - whilst Schulhoff’s Tango is bittersweet and tart.
Peter Froundjian conjured two evocative pieces - Chaminade’s
Autrefois and Pierre Sancan’s
Caprice romantique (main gauche seule). Apart from Hamelin, of whom more in a moment, Sancan was the only living composer represented. He died in 2008. There is a delightful four hand expedition from Duo Quatre Mains (Peter Rummerhöller and Manfred Theilen) who play Schmitt’s treasurable little charmers, especially
Le cheval de Ferme-l'æil. Not to be outdone we have a phalanx of pianists - Froundjian/Klaas/Berman - playing Rachmaninoff’s Waltz for six hands. Pure charm suffuses the selection from Nielsen’s Piano music for young and old Op. 53 played by Peter Westenholz.
Nina Tichman gives us a breezy Debussy
Masques whilst Klaas is on hand with some call-to-attention Alkan;
Les diablotins from his
Esquisses Op.63 is a real standout. One should not overlook Liszt’s
Les cloches de G(enève), which we hear in its first version from Peter Froundjian. Philip Fowke extends the roll call of superior pianism with a sensitively filigreed Glinka-Balakirev
The Lark. Marc-André Hamelin plays his own Etude No.12 with jazzy panache and contrasts it with the delicacy of Schumann. And Michael Struck ends proceedings with Joseph Joachim’s
Variationen über ein irisches Elfenlied. To find a piano work by Joachim is very unusual. It was written in 1856 but left incomplete. The homage to Brahms includes a direct quotation from the Op.5 Piano Sonata.
This most enjoyable collection takes us back to the very beginning of the Festival. Are there Husum Completists out there? If so, you know what you have to do.
-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International Read less
Caprice romantique, for pianoby Pierre Sancan Performer:
Peter Froundjian (Piano)
Venue: Festival at Schloss vor Husum Length: 4 Minutes 29 Secs.
Une semaine du petit elfe ferme-l'oeil, Op. 58by Florent Schmitt Performer:
Eckart Sellheim (Piano)
Duo Quatre Mains
Period: 20th Century Written: 1912; France Venue: Festival at Schloss vor Husum Length: 6 Minutes 16 Secs.
Pieces (2) for Piano 6 Handsby Sergei Rachmaninov Performer:
Rainer Maria Klaas (Piano),
Daniel Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic Written: Russia Venue: Festival at Schloss vor Husum Length: 1 Minutes 44 Secs.
Decorationsby John Ireland Performer:
Daniel Berman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century Written: 1912-1913; England Venue: Festival at Schloss vor Husum Length: 3 Minutes 39 Secs.
Songs (12), Op. 14by Sergei Rachmaninov Performer:
Earl Wild (Piano),
Daniel Berman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century Written: 1894-1896; Russia Venue: Festival at Schloss vor Husum Length: 3 Minutes 54 Secs.