Notes and Editorial Reviews
Debussy's characterization of Grieg's short piano pieces as "bon-bons filled with snow" is happily contradicted by Kyoko Tabe's crisp, purposeful pianism. She projects the lyric impulse informing the pieces within the Op. 1, 3, and 28 groups with plenty of color and sensitivity, yet the music's backbone remains firmly intact. Notice, for example, the fluttery evenness of her rapid, detaché runs in Op. 3's last two selections, her piquantly etched turns that give Op. 28 No. 3 its waltzing lilt, or the Op. 1 Mazurka's subtle kicks on the upbeats.
The Sonata also fares excellently in Tabe's expert hands, especially in how she points up the Finale's dotted rhythms while keeping her chords balanced and
full-bodied. She doesn't quite let herself go in the manner of Leif Ove Andsnes, who commands a wider dynamic range and emphasizes the music's rustic, elemental qualities by stressing the bass lines and truly digging into the composer's frequent left-hand "drone" effects. The seven Fugues are essentially student exercises, and Tabe's clear, straightforward renditions match their austere beauty in a manner that contrasts to Pletnev's warmer, more songful approach (DG). All told, a worthy addition to the immense Grieg piano music discography, and beautifully recorded too.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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