SCHUMANN Symphonic Etudes. Sonata in g, op. 22 • Malcolm Frager (fp) • FRYDERYK CHOPIN INSTITUTE 100 (43:18)
This compelling disc comes from a series produced by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute (I am honoring the spelling preferred by this production) dedicated to performances of music from the time of Chopin played on period instruments. The Institute has already released a number of recordings of the music of its namesake. This particular edition is aRead more re-release of a recording made by the late Malcolm Frager in a Polish castle in the early 1970s, originally on the Veriton label. He plays on a wooden framed instrument made by Peter Rosenberg in Vienna in 1945.
Frager’s interpretations of both pieces respond to the generally muscular profile of the music. Schumann famously described his artistic personality as a combination of the exuberant Florestan and the contemplative Eusebius; this material is dominated by Florestan. To some extent, this quality is softened by the tonality of the instrument, which, not surprisingly, is much more delicate and even sweeter than a modern piano. Frager, though not a specialist, was interested in historical keyboard practices, so this performance is not a novelty. There is an especially alluring and detailed quality to the texture of the harmonies that can be heard on these pre-steel frame pianos, and Frager brings that out nicely. The actual instrument sounds like it is in decent repair, and is extremely well tuned.
Notable Malcolm Frager raritiesAugust 15, 2013By robert pincus (studio city, CA)See All My Reviews"American pianist Malcolm Frager plays this Schumann program on a 1845 fortepiano. It is much more than a curiosity. The instrument has a wood (not metal) frame and thus lacks the brilliance of the modern grand. But note: it doesn't have the boxy sound other CDs of the fortepiano often have. The recorded sound, from the 1970s, is warm, and it is welcome to have Schumann's musical intricacies revealed in detail. The Fryderyk Chopin Institute produced the new release. Frager was known for his trenchant musical honesty and unforced musicality. ArkivMusic would serve his memory well if it were to find a way to re-release his late 1950s Prokofiev second piano concerto with Rene Leibowitz and the Paris Conservatoire, coupled with the big Haydn E-flat sonata."Report Abuse