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Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures / Claudia Schellenberger

Dvorak / Schellenberger
Release Date: 08/14/2012 
Label:  Cavi Music   Catalog #: 8553228   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Claudia Schellenberger
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

DVORÁK Poetic Tone Pictures, op. 85 Claudia Schellenberger (pn) CAVI MUSIC 8553228 (56:38)

Though renowned for his late symphonies and his Slavonic Dances , a handful of chamber works, and his remarkable Cello Concerto, Antonín Dvorák also composed much music that is regrettably and unjustifiably neglected. His works for piano, including his very fine G-Minor Piano Concerto, op. 33, have never Read more really caught on in the concert halls of the world. Only now that artists are exploring more of this music in the recording studio are many of these works reaching a much wider audience. The current recording, exploring one of the composer’s larger sets of character pieces, features music that ranges from the simplicity and tranquility of the opening Nocturnal Path through to the more Grieg-like Goblin’s Dance (though a much happier sounding goblin here). As is common in most 19th century sets of character pieces, the moods of the different pieces shift constantly: One of the hardest aspects of playing a cycle of this length and diversity is the ability to switch carefully and quickly from one character to the next. Claudia Schellenberger handles this admirably. Her rendition of the Serenade takes me back to a time and a place where I could have never been—it transports me. Her more dynamic playing is also very good. She produces a beautiful tone in even the loudest and most bombastic of passages: just witness the ending of Bacchanale or the climaxes in At the Holy Mountain . The sound glows and surrounds the listener. Her moments of lyricism and reflection are equally effective. Sorrowful Reverie (which, as she writes in her program note, reminds one of Chopin) is appropriately melancholic. What I do miss in her playing is the earthiness that could be brought to pieces, such as the Peasant Ballad or Furiant . There needs to be a bit more grittiness to the attack and to the dance feel here. At other moments, I wish for more detail in the lowest dynamic registers (the accompanying arpeggios in the opening Noctural Path should be hazy rather than brilliant—almost like twilight in sound). It is not enough to simply play quietly. The pianist must pull one in—they must force the listener to hear what can only be said in a whisper: just think of Horowitz, Cortot, or Edwin Fischer at their best ppp moments. But in general this is a very fine release: exquisite music played with obvious character.

FANFARE: Scott Noriega
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Works on This Recording

Poetic Tone Pictures (13) for Piano, Op. 85/B 161 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Claudia Schellenberger (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Bohemia 

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