WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Veress: Hommage À Paul Klee, Etc / Schiff, Holliger, Et Al


Release Date: 01/19/1999 
Label:  Teldec   Catalog #: 19992   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sándor Veress
Performer:  Dénes VárjonAndrás Schiff
Conductor:  Heinz Holliger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Schiff’s performance is naturally sympathetic, while his droll accounts of the six pre-war Csardas – contrapuntal miniatures that possess something of Copland’s boldness and candour – round off a rare and unexpected musical treat.

Initial impressions are misleading: a comfortably crescendoing string chord followed by simple keyboard chiming, a bit like a fragment from a soap-opera soundtrack. But then the fun really starts: the two pianos combine or converge, the ray of string tone finds some pizzicatos for company, and the chiming starts to sound like a page out of Lou Harrison. “Mark in Yellow” had me phoning round my musical friends with the good news of some accessible music that has real quality (not a daily
Read more happening, you will agree).

The first of the “Fantasies for two pianos and string orchestra” that comprise Sandor Veress’s 1951 Hommage a Paul Klee strikes a tone that could as well have been achieved within the last two or three years by, say, Rautavaara, Hovhaness or indeed Harrison. The second piece, “Fire Wind”, blows in like a hurricane, shivering or snapping to col legno strings and pizzicatos; the third is an “Old Sound” that superficially resembles the slow movement of Rodrigo’s much-loved Concierto de Aranjuez (the soloists open with the principal melody and the strings plunge in with their passionate response at 1'37''), then there’s the dry weaving of “Below and Above”, the guitar-like strumming of “Stone Collection”, the textural richness of “Green on Green” and a lively “Little Blue Devil” to close. Andras Schiff and Denes Varjon leave no phrase open to question, and the Budapest Festival strings under Heinz Holliger play brilliantly – and lusciously – throughout. Teldec thoughtfully reproduce photographs of the original Klee pictures, so you can check your own visual reactions against those of the composer.

So, who exactly was Sandor Veress? He was born in Hungary in 1907, assisted Laszlo Lajtha at the Budapest Ethnological Museum, worked with Bartok in the folk music department of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, emigrated to the West, received various prizes towards the end of his life, and died in 1992.

He evidently enjoyed concocting sweet-toned first subjects: the Concerto for piano, strings and percussion (1952) again opens with disarming lightness and simplicity. The first two movements are in ternary form, while in the third, “the scurrying writing is controlled by a twelve-note row” (as Andreas Traub’s excellent notes remind us). Bartok is a strong influence, especially in the first movement’s driving rhythms and the atmospheric music of the central Andante (very reminiscent of Bartok’s Second Piano Concerto). The string writing is highly distinctive, though the percussion part tends occasionally to be of the crash-bang-wallop variety (witness the finale’s opening).

Schiff’s performance is naturally sympathetic, while his droll accounts of the six pre-war Csardas – contrapuntal miniatures that possess something of Copland’s boldness and candour – round off a rare and unexpected musical treat. The recordings are excellent.

-- Gramophone [11/1998]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Hommage à Paul Klee by Sándor Veress
Performer:  Dénes Várjon (Piano), András Schiff (Piano)
Conductor:  Heinz Holliger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951; Switzerland 
2. Concerto for Piano, Strings and Percussion by Sándor Veress
Performer:  András Schiff (Piano)
Conductor:  Heinz Holliger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; Switzerland 
3. Csárdás (6) for Piano by Sándor Veress
Performer:  András Schiff (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; Hungary 

Customer Reviews

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