Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ho hum, an absolute gem

Here's the latest album from "the great and mysterious Russian pianist Daria Gloukhova", as Lynn René Bayley calls her in Fanfare; "she is so good, that for me at least each release is like a gift from above". Or, as Brent Auerbach said in American Record Guide last year, "Some promise can be seen in the playing of this young Russian pianist, but not enough for me to recommend that you seek her out". This year, Auerbach says "I criticized her for "scrabbly" playing and immature pacing. Although these elements are not yet fully expunged, here they plague only the first work on the program, the Grieg sonata".
Oh dear, Lynn, is the Grieg bad? "one is sucked into Gloukhova's very personal sound world from the very first notes". Well, that doesn't quite answer the question. "This is great piano playing". Ah. Brent? "it quickly becomes clear that even this modest work is too big for her... There is not enough excitement in this performance to even fill a salon, let alone a concert hall". Oh.
What about her John Field? "Even if they were executed perfectly", Auerbach tells us, the nocturnes "might not strike us as much more than quaint". Or, to put it another way, as Bayley does: "That she can be consistently lyrical, yet lack any preciousness or bathos, shines through gloriously in her equally unique readings of John Field's nocturnes".
And the Mendelssohn Fantasy? "a work that she invests with every ounce of her heart and soul", says Bayley. "padding", says Auerbach. Tell us about the first movement! "In the opening Con moto agitato", Bayley says, "one almost feels she is baring her own emotions through the music, so potent is the headlong rush of the agitato passages. The music cascades down the descending 16ths toward a pit of emotional blackness". I'm sorry, I'll read that again, this time using Auerbach's voice: "more dreamy than it is agitated, sounding lost sometimes".
What's the poor consumer to do?-

Sunday, June 17, 2012

An Ars nova mix

Again I'm going to use A History of Classical Music through Recordings as my excuse for not blogging. This latest one took about a month - three days of good ideas, followed by two weeks of absolutely nothing, followed by a week of hard work. The post isn't up on yet.