Notes and Editorial Reviews
Piano Sonata in b.
Waldesrauschen. Vallée d’Obermann. Liebestraum
Concert Paraphrase on
Elsa’s Bridal Procession.
Tristan und Isolde:
Andrew von Oeyen (pn)
DELOS DE 3412 (72:45)
I spent an enjoyable afternoon with Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor, beginning with Horowitz (his 1977 recording from RCA Victor), Cecile Ousset (EMI), Paul Lewis (Harmonia Mundi), and finally this new recording from American pianist Andrew von Oeyen. All four are satisfying, but in different ways, of course. Horowitz’s is the most mercurial (and least self-effacing), Ousset’s is the most structurally convincing, and Lewis’s and von Oeyen’s are the most insightful, at least on a moment-to-moment basis. All of them are comfortable with the work’s technical demands. Horowitz, Ousset, and Lewis are good company for a pianist who was born in 1979, and although I had not heard of him until now, on the basis of this CD—his first solo disc?—I predict that we will be hearing more from him in the future. Delos is lucky to have signed him. He studied at Columbia and Juilliard, and his mentors have included Jerome Lowenthal, Alfred Brendel, and Leon Fleisher.
Delos does not identify what piano he plays on this CD. Be that as it may, his tone is bright and penetrating (but seldom hard) and anything but monochromatic. The
transcription, for example, seems to glow from within, and it and the
have enough sentiment to make the listener conscious of his or her own heartbeat. The latter’s climax, carefully prepared by the pianist, has all the sense of catharsis it needs, and for once one is not left regretting the absence of a soprano. The
paraphrase sparkles without losing its implicit pathos. Turning to Liszt’s original works, the
is emotionally intense, and a demonstration of both the pianist’s taste and his control over tone color.
’s spiritual and geographical isolation is handled with confidence, and von Oeyen finds all due excitement and subtlety in the nature-painting of
. In the sonata, von Oeyen pedals more than any of the other pianists mentioned, but it is not excessive.
There are too many good recordings of these works to make von Oeyen’s definitive in any sense, but this is a very impressive disc, and it should please Lisztians at any stage in their development. The engineering is excellent, and Lindsay Koob’s booklet notes add to one’s appreciation of these works.
FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
Works on This Recording
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