09 October 2016

Erik Levi reviews Rachmaninov Piano Works, Vol. 3 by Artur Pizarro in BBC Music Magazine

“Pizarro is at his most expansive in the [First] Sonata, delivering many passages of wonderfully reflective playing… ” Erik Levi 

RACHMANINOV Piano Works, Vol. 3: Piano Sonata No. 1; Etudes-tableaux; Morceau de Fantasie ‘Delmo’ – Fughetta; Prelude in D minor; Fragments – Oriental Sketch Artur Pizarro (piano) Odradek ODRCD 317 196:50 mins (3 discs)

The most substantial items in this final volume of Artur Pizarro’s Rachmaninov piano music series come in the second disc which couples the mighty First Sonata with the first set of Études-tableaux. Pizarro is at his most expansive in the Sonata, delivering many passages of wonderfully reflective playing, especially in the central slow movement, but refuses to let rip in the more full-blooded passages. There is also a tendency, mirrored in his performance of the Second Sonata in an earlier volume, to meander unduly, thereby sacrificing the structural coherence of the work as a whole.

Yet Pizarro conjures up some marvellously rich sonorities in the slow-tempo third of the Étudestableaux, and elsewhere in this particular set, approaches the elaborate multi-voiced textures with a level of refinement and subtlety that places the music closer than usual to Debussy and Ravel.

The other two discs offer a mixture of short works without opus numbers and transcriptions, the latter performed with great finesse, but occasionally lacking the last ounce of bravura. Pizarro is particularly persuasive in the precocious epigrammatic pieces Rachmaninov composed as a teenager. It’s fascinating to discover that even at this stage, the composer’s personal voice is already very evident. Likewise, the few fragments that survive from the fateful year 1917, when the composer left his beloved Russia, provide a tantalising indication of potentially new avenues of harmonic exploration.

Performance – 4 Stars

Recording – 5 Stars 

BBC Music Magazine Erik Levi

November 2016

01 – Nicolaus Bruhns – Praeludium in E minor (the Great) // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan
  1. 01 – Nicolaus Bruhns – Praeludium in E minor (the Great) // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan
  2. 02 – Jesper Madsen – Five Preludes – I Molto tranquillo // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan
  3. 03 – Jesper Madsen – Five Preludes – II Moderato // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan
  4. 04 – Jesper Madsen – Five Preludes – III Maestoso // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan
  5. 05 – Jesper Madsen – Five Preludes – IV Adagio // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan
  6. 06 – Jesper Madsen – Five Preludes – V Poco rubato // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan
  7. 07 – Rued Langgaard – Kristi Himmelfartsdag (Ascension Day), BVN 264 // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan
  8. 08 – Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann – Allegro maestoso, from Sonata in G minor, Op. 58 // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan
  9. 09 – Leif Thybo – Sumer is icumen in, Theme with six Variations // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan
  10. 10 – Tore Bjorn Larsen – Fynsk forarspraeludium // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan
  11. 11 – Kevin Duggan – Acclamations // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan
  12. 12 – Kevin Duggan – Hymne til Aero // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan
  13. 13 – Carl Nielsen – Commotio, Op. 58 // Hymne til Ærø - Kevin Duggan