Notes and Editorial Reviews
Piano Sonata No. 26
, “Les Adieux.”
Fantasy in C
, D 760, “Wanderer.”
Der Wanderer; Die Post; Der Leiermann—Täuschung; Gute Nacht; Der stürmische Morgen—Im Dorfe.
Aux Cyprès de la Villa d’Este; Les Jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este; Rigoletto Paraphrase.
March of the Dwarves
class="ARIAL12">, op 54/3.
Invitation to the Dance
Barbara Moser (pn)
GRAMOLA 98820 (2 CDs: 87:29)
This is a live recording of a recital presented by the interesting and gifted Austrian pianist Barbara Moser in June 2008 in the Brahms Saal of the Vienna Musikverein. Her intelligent program is built around the thematic concept “Voyagers,” and includes, along with the more obvious choices of Beethoven’s “Les Adieux” Sonata and the Schubert “Wanderer” Fantasy (prefaced by Liszt’s transcription of the song
from which the Fantasy derives its name), six seldom encountered Schubert-Liszt songs from
, and two pieces from Liszt’s third book of
Années de pèlerinage
. The Grieg and Weber pieces as well as the
Paraphrase on the second disc are encores.
Technically prodigious, Moser tosses off the treacherous left-hand octaves near the end of the first movement of the “Wanderer” Fantasy and negotiates the fugal finale as though they were her daily warm-up. Yet there is nothing facile in her approach; the slow movements of both the Beethoven Sonata and the Schubert Fantasy achieve a genuine rhetorical eloquence. The fact that Moser devotes considerable career energies to collaborations with singers stands her in good stead with the Schubert-Liszt songs. The sonorous topography of each song is exquisitely proportionate and each evokes its own self-contained expressive world. This feeling for the singing line, which seems second nature in Moser’s playing, also informs the
Paraphrase, lending it a freshness of utterance that often eludes other pianists. However, it is in the two pieces from the third
that Moser is most impressive. Rarely have the austere and bereft beauties of Liszt’s cypresses at the Villa d’Este been more atmospherically delineated; one can almost hear the mournful wind through their branches. And while many pianists are content to savor the shimmering surfaces of
Les Jeux d’eaux
, Moser plumbs the mystical depths of this Impressionist masterpiece. At the point in the score where Liszt famously inscribed the words from the fourth chapter of St. John, “The water that I will give them will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life,” Moser creates a textural clarity suggestive of the most sublime simplicity. Nowadays, when perhaps more pianists than ever before are exploring Liszt’s vast output with sympathy and understanding, Moser may well be considered a Liszt player of distinction and insight.
My sole reservation of these beautifully conceived and probative performances is Moser’s penchant for extremely fast allegros. She certainly has the technical wherewithal to pull off any speed she chooses without loss of clarity. However, in the Weber
for instance, while the headlong pace is undeniably exhilarating, it sacrifices a great deal of the work’s charm in the bargain. But this is a quibble in the face of so much original and satisfying music-making. Despite her already demonstrable achievements, Barbara Moser is one of those artists whose future growth and development one can’t help but eagerly anticipate. Warmly recommended.
FANFARE: Patrick Rucker
Works on This Recording
Der Wanderer (Schubert) for Piano, S 558 no 11 by Franz Liszt
Barbara Moser (Piano)
Written: 1837-1838; France
Date of Recording: 06/11/2008
Venue: Wien, Musikverein, Brahms-Saal
Length: 5 Minutes 20 Secs.
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