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a poetical dreamy quality that leaves behind pianist. Without reading the brief notes, my
forever the rigors of traditional classic struc- first response was that here was a good ama-
ture. Her playing has a freedom and sweep teur attempting to play works where the chal-
that builds its climaxes and unleashes them in lenge is simply too great. Moreover, the seem-
a most imaginative, improvisational, and ing simplicity of the Scenes From Childhood is
intoxicating way. Lisiecki, at slightly faster met by an inability to perform with any kind of
tempos, seems less willing to wallow in sound evenness of flow, either in tone or execution.
and more determined to emphasize structure Checking the notes, it would appear that
in the context of the new romanticism. He per- Wan is anything but inexperienced. The
forms brilliantly, though I lean towards a recording of her Steinway D, made at Ward
greater emphasis on the fantasy invoked by Music Hall, Lipscomb University, is a little too
Schumann’s dual personality. Part 2 of this close and boxy. It certainly does not advance
monumental work finds Lisiecki more willingly her cause.
capricious, Treutier more powerful, though In Kreisleriana I found that she does have
always seizing the opportunity to sharply dif- the technique. Perhaps her unevenness is
ferentiate the many contrasts. For me it’s a attributable to a weak finger or two. While I
toss up, and I readily accept the special quali- enjoyed her performance, it is not really com-
ties each player has to offer. petitive with the best. In the Fantasy Pieces,
The exquisite closing section is deeply felt Op.111, less pedal would have made for
by both players (how could they not?). At a greater clarity.
slightly slower speed, Treutier has the advan- BECKER
tage of her creamy smooth sound. All is heart-
breakingly lovely as touch, phrasing, and the
special qualities of the hall acoustic make this
SCHUMANN: Trios 1+2
Rhodes Trio
one of the most ravishing performances on Champs Hill 52—58 minutes
record. One might go on to indicate the top
rung of recordings of Schumann’s piano mas- The Rhodes Trio plays the first two Schumann
terwork, but suffice it to say that both of these trios with intelligence and sensitivity. The
marvelous recordings would be included. dense contrapuntal passages are executed
Lisiecki includes the composer’s brief with clarity, and while the piano is sometimes
Romance Op. 28:2 and two Brahms rhapsodies hard to hear, the engineering is otherwise
in his program. All are performed with style good.
and, in the case of the rhapsodies, sweep and While these aren’t Schumann’s best cham-
passion. That he deeply loves Brahms is obvi- ber works—surely nowhere near the level of
ous in both these terrific performances, from his great Piano Quintet—I think they are a bit
his own composition, Fantasy on a theme more interesting than these performances
from Choral Prelude, Op. 122:2, and by the reveal. Yes, this is emotionally subtle music,
subtitle of his disc: “Homage to Brahms”. and you wouldn’t want it overplayed, but for-
The (Brahms) Fantasy, after stating the tissimo is fortissimo, after all! Most of the
theme, goes off in directions inspired first by dynamics here range from mezzo-piano to a
romanticism of the period. There is little to good forte, and sforzandos are executed more
challenge the listener until he starts to pile on like mere accents. While there are some lovely
the chromatics as the music reaches a grand quiet moments, one really needs more of the
climax before settling down to a quiet close. opposite end to get the full range of Schuman-
It’s an interesting and enjoyable way to spend n’s personality.
about six minutes, though few will be inclined PAGEL
to purchase the recording for that alone. Since
the two rhapsodies must surely rank among SCODANIBBIO: Reinventions for String
the best recordings of these works, the meager Quartet
timing has little relevance. All of the notes are Quartetto Prometeo
well prepared, and the recordings leave little to ECM 18083—67 minutes
be desired. Stefano Scodanibbio (1956-2012) was a double
BECKER bass player whose compositions have recently
been coming out on records. He is an odd one.
SCHUMANN: Kinderszenen; Kreisleriana; 3 The present disc gives us a number of works
Fantasy Pieces for string quartet, including settings of JS
Ho Yan Agnes Wan, p
Bach’s Contrapuncti 1, 4, and 5 from The Art of
Soundset 1047—68 minutes
Fugue interspersed with Four Spanish Pieces
Schumann is not easy to perform, and espe- based on pieces by Tarrega, Llobet, Aguado,
cially not easy to perform well. What we have and Sor, and Five Mexican Songs. In all of
here is a brave attempt by yet another young these Scodanibbio employs a technique
American Record Guide 183

Petrenko sounds unhurried leading The good news: superb playing. that. City of Birmingham Symphony/ Andris Nelsons Orfeo 852 121—75 minutes Bernstein’s Chicago recording is nearly 32 minutes. That it does. that may not be a bad thing. II sounds The recorded sound is superb. or the late harmonics well. now as it did in the Rattle years. Haitink (Decca). Whatever recording equipment was in the Invasion or in the climactic moments of used. in speed. with no either stately or belabored—neither the right congestion or smearing of the individual lines tone. Not every gerous features. it’s not the conductor doesn’t push and pull the music dire at all—it sounds more like bureaucrats on like taffy to equate exaggeration and distortion parade. there is nothing to dislike about it. certainly Nelsons’s interpretation of the Leningrad Sym. but not bad. Less good. the folks in I. blazing in tone if not patiently builds the long crescendo with mas. ductor does lead his players right into the fray In most of II. Notes in English. but the quality Reinventions was composed between 2004 of the ensemble is as high as ever. and the concept is quite origi. instrument. Most of Scodanibbio’s music is for his all-around baseline performance. Before Birmingham’s Symphony Hall were moved. Toscanini. This is a concert recording from 1983 in Royal ment. The string playing at the sequence. since the combination of conductor is in the process of doing nothing Bach and the Spanish and Mexican material is particularly unusual and doing it extremely handled the same and yet creates sufficient well. Petrenko loses no does supply plenty of satisfaction. The last section is stoic. stealthy advance. deliberate opening before the music play itself. until the cymbals and bass drum come with expression. (Rarely does anybody point out that beginning of III is searing in the louder parts the Germans invaded Russia quickly in June and sorrowful in the quieter sections.) Nelsons middle section is urgent. SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony 7 Liverpool Philharmonic/ Vasily Petrenko D MOORE Naxos 573057—79 minutes SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony 7 Petrenko’s I is roughly as long as Gergiev’s and Toscanini’s. even when the a unit. While any stereo recoding made since 1954 and the sound drops out. Nobody builds the It’s a good recording overall. The playing and 2009 and apparently was intended to form is certainly a strong asset here. the slow grind of bureaucracy in the USSR was phony doesn’t traverse any new ground or one of its most exasperating and finally dan- bring any new insights to the music.Guides. The players handle all the 2008). The march dard CD sound. it’s light on the bot- 184 September/October 2013 . you may enjoy this. If II and III seem a bit of an anti-climax. shift to chaos and calamity. Festival Hall. That is not to say that it is music to Leningrad Symphonies I’ve heard. the orchestra is responsive. very fine stan. the fast 1942. late. Now. The LPO 69—60 minutes finale has almost as many challenges to the conductor’s pacing abilities as the first move. but Nelsons builds it to a suitably crush. Certainly. power in the counterpoint that follows. but shy of crescendo with the painstaking slowness of greatness. but this is a solid. have been through all of Petrenko’s cycle) and but in the hands of a reasonably skilled con. but doesn’t seem as angry over loss and pages have full rein before the gut-wrenching injustice as it should. I won’t let go of my Ashkenazy (Mar/Apr variety and contrast. don’t they always? Nelsons keeps the overall SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony 8 London Philharmonic/ Gennady Rozhdestvensky musical line taut so they don’t drag much. letting the goofiness of the early getic. not in a slow. Toward the end of the march. The con. almost relaxed. this is one of the best-recorded dinner by. recording can change the world. ductor the music can’t fail to bowl over the ESTEP audience. but this one terror begins to take over. though the big tutti is bril- long build-up to the big “enemy in” invasion liant. only that it seldom interrupts a may not get as much international attention conversation uncomfortably. and it is fascinating to see what he HANSEN can do with the rest of the string world. It takes the band 13 minutes to ing climax. Judging by the applause by the finally create some sense of tragedy or anger in hitherto entirely silent audience. the sonics are excellent (as they Bernstein in his second.qxd 7/24/2013 4:11 PM Page 184 replete with harmonics and relatively slow can have outstanding sound and a recent tempos that make this entire program the sort recording date is no guarantee of the best of restful music that one may comfortably eat sound. as it does here. on the high side of 28 minutes. it is flabby and wandering. news: in. it couldn’t handle the big crashes in I IV. and even then the playing is shaggy. Svetlanov (Sept/Oct 1997). recording (DG). The CBSO be ignored. nal. If you are ready for it. up to the march. IV is ener- terly skill. and an interpretation where seems to have little personality at first. he is content to let the piece with a vigorous. like fireworks.

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