Holiday Shop


WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Recital Favorites By Nissman, Vol. 7

Beethoven / Bartok / Liszt / Prokofiev / Nissman
Release Date: 10/25/2011 
Label:  Pierian   Catalog #: 44   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenBéla BartókFranz LisztSergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Barbara Nissman
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
This title is currently unavailable.



Notes and Editorial Reviews



RECITAL FAVORITES , Volume 6 Barbara Nissman (pn) PIERIAN 0043 (75:40)


CHOPIN Ballade No. 1. RAVEL Gaspard de la nuit. BUXTEHUDE Prelude and Fugue in d. PROKOFIEV Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Old Grandmother’s Tales. SCRIABIN Piano Sonata No. 5. MENDELSSOHN Etude in F, op. 104/2. SCHUMANN Piano Sonata No. 2. RACHMANINOFF Prelude, op. 23/10


RECITAL FAVORITES , Volume 7 Barbara Nissman (pn) PIERIAN 0044 (72:48)


BEETHOVEN Diabelli Variations. BARTÓK Rumanian Dances, op. 8a. LISZT Ricordanza. PROKOFIEV Prelude, op. 12/7. Love for Three Oranges: March


I’ve been impressed with Barbara Nissman’s pianism ever since I first encountered it about two years ago, and I have been hoping that I would have the opportunity to go “on the record,” as it were, about it in Fanfare . Now that opportunity has come, and I feel no inclination to withdraw my earlier appraisal. There is no doubt about it: Nissman is a first-class pianist, and these two discs show off the breadth and depth of her talents. For what it’s worth, however, Fanfare colleagues Adrian Corleonis and Colin Anderson are less impressed than I. Anderson reservedly praised a Schumann CD (“there is more to admire than not”). Lion-hearted Corleonis’s take on an all-Liszt disc (the one that really sold me on Nissman, I might add) was that it was “best left to Ms. Nissman’s friends and pupils.” Ouch.


I can’t find Nissman’s year of birth anywhere, but she graduated from the University of Michigan’s School of Music in 1966, so make of that what you will. She appears to be a Prokofiev and Bartók specialist, and also is associated with the music of Alberto Ginastera. (He dedicated his last piano sonata to her.) Given these affinities, one might not expect her to excel in the Classical and early Romantic repertory. Truth to tell, I find her performances in these areas to be less consistent, although none of them are failures. Mendelssohn’s breathless etude comes off with élan, but without the innocence I expect from this composer. On the other hand, Nissman’s Diabelli Variations are outstanding. From the opening statement of the theme, which she treats with rough humor, and the pompous first variation, one knows that this is going to be a highly characterful reading. The Bellini-like bel canto of the 31st variation is a particular highlight. Those who feel that this work is not among Beethoven’s most inviting might change their minds after hearing Nissman’s ingratiating performance. Schumann’s Piano Sonata No. 2 and Liszt’s Ricordanza (from the Transcendental Etudes ) are a little emotionally cool, perhaps, but Nissman’s performances suggest that she is a master of the controlled burn, and by the time the Liszt ends, one is left impressed by its gleaming precision. The Schumann ultimately impresses through Nissman’s technique; nothing is obscured or smudged. The Chopin ballade, not always as mellifluous as these in its fingerwork, is unquestionably a warmer affair, although the pianist’s “stop-and-go, hurry-to-wait” impetuosity (to borrow a phrase from Corleonis) does impede the work’s overall line somewhat. Gaspard de la nuit , on the other hand, is a sensation. I can’t hear the first piece in the set without remembering a pianist friend of mine, now deceased, who railed against Ondine rather personally, using a term I would prefer not to use here. Nissman does not exactly make light of “Ondine”’s challenges, nor are we allowed to forget them, but her risk-taking playing pays off big, and “Ondine”’s grand and passionate climax inspires awe. “Le Gibet” often fails because pianists make it too monotonous; Nissman succeeds by creating a thousand shades of black here. And, in bringing out the Spanish rhythms implied in “Scarbo,” she strengthens the music’s obsessive flavor. Volume 6 ends quietly with a Rachmaninoff prelude, and Nissman’s poise, shading, and cantabile playing create a very effective closing indeed.


Nissman takes a slower than usual tempo in Prokofiev’s familiar march. I don’t know how the composer would have felt about it, and I don’t know if it would work in the context of the opera. As an independent encore, however, it displays the pianist’s wit and control over color, as well as her willingness to rethink well-worn material. The Prelude from Prokofiev’s op. 12 is bright and witty, with very clean articulation. The Old Grandmother’s Tales is played with affection and, again, with a fine sensitivity for the music’s shadings. Prokofiev’s arrangement of Buxtehude’s organ work is a surprise indeed; Nissman plays it straight, and brings out the music’s Germanic strength. Bartók’s Rumanian Dances is played with finely judged savagery and with a motoric drive that attracts rather than repels. In the Scriabin sonata, the composer, according to Nissman, “goes right to the edge of the cliff emotionally and carries us along with him.” That’s certainly what we get here. Scriabin’s piano music seldom makes a deep impression on me, but Nissman’s feverish playing makes the music more surreal and more frightening than I remember it being.


Both discs carry the following note: “No compression has been used in this recording. Therefore, to capture the full frequency range one must listen at a higher than normal dynamic level.” I am not sure what raising the volume has to do with capturing frequencies. I do second that emotion, however. In other words, turn these suckers up! The sound will blossom and seem more natural if you do. Also, the booklet notes are by Nissman herself. She is no less articulate here than in her performances.


Pierian has released 15 other Nissman recordings before these. It is unfortunate that so few of them have been reviewed in Fanfare . I hope this review will encourage listeners to explore not only the present two releases, but also their predecessors. Nissman is another one of those pianists, like Gabriel Chodos, who has not been taken up by the star-making machine, but who, all in all, yields nothing to most of the big names with big-label recording contracts in front of the public today.


FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Variations (33) for Piano on a Waltz by Diabelli in C major, Op. 120 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Barbara Nissman (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1819-1823; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Romanian Dances (2) for Piano, Op. 8a/Sz 43 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Barbara Nissman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910; Budapest, Hungary 
3.
Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139: no 9, Ricordanza by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Barbara Nissman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
4.
Pieces (10) for Piano, Op. 12: no 7, Prelude in C major by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Barbara Nissman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906-1913; Russia 
5.
Love for Three Oranges: March, Op. 33b no 1 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Barbara Nissman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; Paris, France 

Sound Samples

33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Theme: Vivace
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 1: Alla Marcia, maestoso
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 2: Poco allegro
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 3: L'istesso tempo
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 4: Un poco piu vivace
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 5: Allegro vivace
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 6: Allegro ma non troppo e serioso
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 7: Un poco piu allegro
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 8: Poco vivace
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 9: Allegro pesante e risoluto
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 10: Presto
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 11: Allegretto
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 12: Un poco piu mosso
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 13: Vivace
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 14: Grave e maestoso
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 15: Presto scherzando
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 16: Allegro
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 17: (Allegro)
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 18: Poco moderato
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 19: Presto
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 20: Andante
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 21: Allegro con brio
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 22: Allegro molto
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 23: Allegro assai
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 24: Fughetta - Andante
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 25: Allegro
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 26: (Piacevole)
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 27: Vivace
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 28: Allegro
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 29: Adagio ma non troppo
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 30: Andante, sempre cantabile
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 31: Largo, molto espressivo
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 32: Fuga - Allegro
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations": Variation 33: Tempo di Menuetto, moderato
2 Romanian Dances, Op. 8a, BB 56: No. 1. Allegro vivace
2 Romanian Dances, Op. 8a, BB 56: No. 2. Poco allegro
12 Etudes d'execution transcendante, S139/R2b: No. 9 in A flat major, "Ricordanza"
10 Pieces, Op. 12: No. 7. Prelude
The Love for Three Oranges Suite, Op. 33bis (version for piano): The Love for 3 Oranges Suite, Op. 33bis: III. March (version for piano)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In