Notes and Editorial Reviews
Sophisticated in terms of avoiding late romantic cliches while simple in terms of displaying just the right balance of form and content in what is essentially a neo-romantic style. But there's more, the music is downright beautiful.
Svend Erik Tarp (1908 - 1994) is hardly known to the majority of serious music collectors outside Denmark yet there are a great many listeners who would delight in these clear-cut, unassuming miniatures and dramatic larger scaled Sonata if only they were familiar with this album. Even the jaded listener, who might raise an eyebrow at descriptions such as "poetic" or "melodious" applied to a 20th Century composer, would likely be greatly surprised and impressed by the
sophisticated simplicity in these keyboard works. Sophisticated in terms of avoiding late romantic cliches while simple in terms of displaying just the right balance of form and content in what is essentially a neo-romantic style. But there's more, the music is downright beautiful. Every idea flows logically and movingly without excess or artifice. This expressive quality is enhanced by the pianist, Tonya Lemoh. Her instrument has a beautiful tone quality and is very well recorded, placing the listener in the front row but not inside the piano. Her technique is equally sensitive to the music and as the album plays, one appreciates such fine musicianship in harmony with the score.
Tarp's Thema (Carillon) and Variations op. 43 which opens the album is described by the notes as his masterpiece and a work that should attract many pianists and it "is a mystery as to why the piece has been mostly overlooked by pianists". Indeed, the piece has instant appeal, for it is a set of well-crafted variations on a timeless theme that both Scarlatti or Stravinsky could have used and though quite tonal, the piece is both conservatively romantic and modern in refinement. A piece you will want to hear again soon after first listening.
In Tarp's miniatures, such as the lovely Sonatinas on this album, he tended toward refined restraint but in his Piano Sonata of 1947, Tarp lets the music fly off into a realm of Prokofiev meets Bach, with other influences here and there. The music is invigorating and arresting. Tarp was also a symphonist composing 10 symphonies that have been said to continue in some ways the Nielsen tradition. His Piano Concerto was once popular in Europe and is perhaps due to be rediscovered. This piano album is one of those few discoveries that could light up the phone if played over classical radio. Highly recommended to all lovers of good keyboard music of any era and if you're a pianist, grab this CD, listen and seek the scores, you'll find this music to be greatly rewarding.
- Greg La Traille,
Works on This Recording
Suite for Piano by Svend Erik Tarp
Tonya Lemoh (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
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