Review of Recital, September
30, 2011, Wigmore Hall
as it appeared in mvdaily.com October 5, 2011
by Bill Newman
AN OUTSTANDING EVENING
BILL NEWMAN listens to
When Rorianne Schrade, star pupil of Nadia Reisenberg and Josef Raieff, winner of countless prizes, graces the platform
of London's Wigmore Hall, audiences are in for an outstanding evening's entertainment. I use
this expression in the widest sense. Her first appearance on stage was followed by an opening speech
welcoming her audience to the concert, expressing her thanks for their warmreception. Seated near the
front, I prayed that the Wigmore Hallmanagement would furnish their artists with a microphone. So much detail is
missed, and other concert hall establishments have already corrected this problem. I gathered this [Friday
30 September 2011] was her first appearance in the UK, although her father performed in London years back.
She began with Liszt's transcription of J
S Bach's Prelude and Fugue in A minor, which could, so easily be compared with an arrangement by Busoni,
such are the organic properties of this noble music. It was tremendous! The musical line gave indications
of classical-romantic nobility, such is the masterly handling of Liszt's full-range stature as theworld's greatest pianist-transcriber.
I sat there glued to the Steinway Grand and the lady's powerful rendition. From head to toe, she
has the physique of a Titan -- with apologies to Theodore Dreiser! Such poetry and élan!
It was followed
by William Sterndale Bennett's Capriccio Op 11 No 2 from Etudes in the Form of Capriccios --
a delightful surprise to me, as I mainly associated the composer's solo piano music on
CD with Malcolm Binns, who I wish had been in attendance. What a delightful sense of touch the pianist possesses. This requirement
is typical of Juilliard trained pianists, who are encouraged to explore unusual repertoire. Schumann's Etudes Symphoniques has
been played by many artists I have listened to over the last year. So special, here, were the gradations of tone,
and those wonderful old-fashioned rubatos. It reminded me of Claudio Arrau, at the height of his performing powers.
Without concerning herself with the posthumous variations, which, strictly speaking, do not belong, each section dovetailed
with the next, to give that feeling of cogency, as the composer (and Clara) wished. The Sterndale Bennett and the
Schumann were dovetailed, Rorianne informed her audience from the keyboard, and I conjured up a setting for
an informal Friday evening's entertainment with drinks available on order! There were a few 'glitches' en route,
due to the excitement of the occasion.
Nobles et Sentimentales came after the interval. Some dustings of the keys and moppings of the brow, and Rorianne
was on her way. She described it in the programme as one of the most beautiful works in her repertory --
it was a peach of a performance. Following on directly came Liszt's Soirée de Vienne No 6,
after Schubert -- a favourite of Edith Farnadi. It could hardly have sounded better, exuding grace and charm,
with fleeting fingerwork in every bar. Then, the Grand Finale -- the same composer's Waltz from Gounod's Faust.
I have never heard it played so wonderfully, except by the late György Cziffra, at his only Royal Festival
Hall London solo recital. An encore was clearly out of place, the audience already spoilt for choice.
Afterwards, we all vacated the main hall for the Artist Green Room, where I was encouraged to see so many of her friends and
On arriving home, I played her two latest CDs, kindly supplied by her husband. Johann
Strauss II Piano Transcriptions, Concert Arabesques and Paraphrases is on Centaur CRC 2721 (recorded 12
and 13 November 2003) and features A Schulz-Evler's Concert Arabesques on Motifs by Johann Strauss II 'On the
Beautiful Blue Danube', E Schutt'sTales from the Vienna Woods Concert Paraphrase, Carl Tausig's We
Live but Once: Valse-Caprice after Johann Strauss II, Erno von Dohnanyi's Du und Du Walzer, Strauss-Schrade: The
Kiss Waltz, Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Tales of Strauss Op 21 and Leopold Godowsky'sKunstlerleben ('Artist's Life').
This would make a marvellous Christmas or Birthday present. The choice is as varied as anyone
could wish, and the playing is full of exuberance!
The other CD, for serious music lovers especially,
is Homage to Chopin: A piano recital of works composed and inspired by Frederic Chopin onImpromptu Classics (who
promoted this live recital) IC-080601 (recorded 12 and 19 September 2007). Chopin: 24 Preludes,
Op 28, Nicolas Flagello: Etude, Homage to Chopin and Rachmaninov: Variations on aTheme of
Chopin, Op 22. The compactness, poetry and brilliance of Chopin's mid-period work places this performance
high on the list ofrecommended versions, while Nicholas Flagello's approx 3 minute Etude is a lovely pastiche.
Rachmaninov's Chopin Variations are rarely performed, so this recorded performance is especially welcome.
It is based on No 20 of the Preludes Op 28 -- a Funeral March in variation writing, lasting some 25 and a half minutes.
The production and recorded sound for
both these commercial recordings, by Patrych Sound Studios of New York City, is excellent.
Copyright © 5 October 2011 Bill Newman,
...and from the Boston Musical Intelligencer:
Marvin Ward's review of an All-Liszt program performed at Sevenars
in Worthington, Massachusetts.
To read, please click here:
...and to read about Ms. Schrade's 2011 Carnegie Weill Hall Recital in honor of the 200th Anniversary
of Liszt, please click on this article by arts commentator, Roberta Zlokower.
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