|GRIEG: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16. (Rec.
Oct. 1941 - Hallé Orch/Leslie Heward, cond.). LISZT:
Fantasia on Hungarian Folk Themes (Rec. Nov. 1939 - London
Philharmonic Orch/Constant Lambert). SAINT-SAËNS: Piano
Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22 (Rec. April 1947 - London Philharmonic
Orch/Basil Cameron, cond.)
Benno Moiseiwitsch, pianist
NAXOS 8.110683 (B) (ADD) TT: 64:43
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sous la pluie. Clair de
lune. Pour le Piano: Toccata. RAVEL: Jeux d'eau.
Le Tombeau de Couperin: Toccata. GRANADOS: Spanish
Dances Op. 37 Nos. 5 and 6. IBERT: Histoires: Le
petit ‰ne blanc. POULENC: Mouvement perpetuel No.
1 in C. STRAVINSKY: Etude in F#, Op. 7 No. 4. PROKOFIEV: Suggestion diabolique Op.
4 No. 4.
VALLIER: Toccata. GODOWSKY: Concert Paraphrase on Die
Fledermaus. CHASINS: Flirtation in a Chinese Garden,
Op. 5. Rush Hour in Hong Kong, Op. 6. PALMGREN: Rococo,
Op. 47 No. 5. Refrain de berceau. West Finnish Dance.
DELIUS: Piano Concerto (Rec. Aug. 1946 - Philharmonia Orch/Constant
For the fifth and sixth releases in their Moiseiwitsch series Naxos features four major concerted works and a fine collection of 20th Century solo music. There's plenty of virtuosity indeed in these performances of the Liszt, Saint-Saëns and Grieg showpieces, but always at the service of the music. Delius' Piano Concerto was a favorite of the pianist throughout his career; in an interview he stated the music "gives him...a tremendous emotional kick" and he "felt like shouting from the housetops that everybody must listen...it is one of the most beautiful modern concertos - the wealthy of colour, the wealth of emotion, poetry..." In spite of his advocacy, the concerto has never taken a place in standard repertoryand for good reason. It has its lovely moments indeed but little memorable takes place. There have been few recordings over the years since this one recorded in 1946. The same year another performance was recorded with Sir Thomas Beecham and his wife, Betty Humby Beecham as soloist, one of the conductor's less-successful recording enterprises. The last Schwann/Opus lists only the EMI Piers Lane recording.
Among the shorter works there are some gems (Ravel, Debussy) and some surprises - two rather hasty Granados dances, a rather charmless Poulenc miniature and a subdued performance of Prokofiev's Suggestion diabolique. We also have a brilliant reading of one of the pianist's favorite encores, Stravinsky's Etude Op. 7 No. 4, one of Moiseiwitsch's finest recordings, the Godowsky Fledermaus paraphrase, and a group of rather inconsequential miniatures. Fine program notes by Jonathan Summers, and superb transfers by Ward Marston.
R.E.B. (March 2003)