Your Cart

Carl Czerny
1. Variations on a Theme by Rode ”La Ricordanza”, Op. 33

Francis Poulenc/Antonio Pompa-Baldi
2. Les chemins de l’amour

Gabriel Dupont
From ”Les heures dolentes”
3. No. 5. Après-midi de dimanche

Vincenzo Bellini/Sigismund Thalberg
4. Fantasy on Casta Diva (From Bellini’s Opera Norma), Op. 70

Frédéric Chopin/Leopold Godowsky
5. Nouvelle Etude No. 1, F Minor

Marc-André Hamelin
6. Toccata on ”L’homme armé”

Paul Hindemith
From “Ludus tonalis”
7. Interludium (Vivace)
8. Fuga quinta in E (Vivace)
9. Interludium (Molto tranquillo)

Richard Wagner
10. Elegie in A flat Major, WWV 93

Leonid Desjatnikov
From ”Reminiscences of the Theatre”
11. No. 5 Rondo-Chase

Abram Chasins
12. Prelude in E flat Minor, Op. 12, No. 2

Percy Grainger
13. Irish Tune from County Derry

John W. Green/Earl Wild/Daniel Berman
14. Body and Soul

Dmitri Blagoy
Fairy Tale Sonata
15. I. Andantino
16. II. Moderato
17. III. Allegretto vivace

Misha Levitzki
18. Arabesque valsante, Op. 6

Vladimir Drozdow
19. Scherzo-Valse

Arno Babadjanian
20. Elegy

Fikret Amirow
From 10 Miniatures
21. Nocturne
22. Lullaby

Alejandro Dolina/Pablo Ziegler
23. El Vals del Duende

HUSUM CD 2017 ©
By Jesper Buhl

Every year since the inaugural concert in 1987, Danacord has released a CD with highlights from the Rarities of Piano Music Festival. Each CD, and we are now talking over 30 releases, features a snapshot of the music performed and a sample of the art of the pianists. Space rarely allows for longer works to be included, however there are sufficient shorter works to give an idea of the plethora of works performed at “Schloss vor Husum”. These works are rarely, if ever, played in the famous concert halls all over the world. Collectors of piano music snap up the annual CD release and those lucky enough to get tickets to the performances bring back a CD-memory from Husum.

The general view is, that if a piano piece is not heard frequently in a concert hall, performed by a world famous pianist, then it is not worth listening to. It was as retaliation towards this attitude that the artistic leader Peter Froundjian began his week-long concert series in the North German town of Husum. The annual CD release spread rumours all over the world of a festival where first class pianists performed anything other than Mozart, Beethoven and the usual suspects. Audiences flocked to Husum and the town became known as a piano mecca. It is still an uphill struggle to get the lesser-known composers into the larger concert halls, but Husum has proven that, even with less-than helpfulreviews, there is a worldwide interest from audiences all over Europe, the US and Asia. The annual Husum CD still confuses reviewers, though – the latest release scolded by BBC Music Magazine’s reviews editor for having too many rare piano pieces on it (!!). Unbelievable, but true.

Antonio Pompa-Baldi, the first pianist on this CD, was recommended to Peter Froundjian by British music critic Bryce Morrison, and was duly invited to give a recital in Husum. The recommendation proved successful; in the audience at this opening recital was another highly respected English critic, Jeremy Nicholas, who was so bowled over by the performance of the Variations on a Theme by Rode that we had to include this brilliant show piece on this CD. Czerny wrote nearly 800 opus numbers and many were forgotten or simply never played. It was Vladimir Horowitz who brought Czerny into the public arena with his 1944 recording of the Rode Variations for RCA Victor. Horowitz’s slightly shortened version was praised by the German music critic Joachim Kaiser in his book “Grosse Pianisten in unserer Zeit” (1965) and was surely the inspiration also for Horowitz pupil Ivan Davis’s recording from 1990. Czerny takes the theme from the violin virtuoso Pierre Rode which reflects the voice of the soprano Angela Catalani. It was a stroke of genius to imitate the human voice and the violin, and it needs a certain pianist to be able to keep the singing line shining against the glittering runs and decorations. Needless to say Pompa-Baldi succeeded and he was duly invited again to give a concert in Husum the year after.

It was far from easy to select from the cornucopia of song transcriptions from the first half of Pompa-Baldi’s evening, however the Les chemins de l’amour is one of the most popular works by Poulenc. It is from Jean Anouilh’s theatre play “Léocadia” of which Poulenc wrote the original music. Yvonne Printemps (1894-1977), a Parisian theatre star, sang it for the first time on December 1, 1940. Many singers later recorded this little pearl, such as Danielle Darrieux, Jessye Norman and Felicity Lott.

Émile Naumoff presented a recital with works by Fauré and the two sisters Boulanger plus a real rarity, the complete Les heures dolentes by Gabriel Dupont, a composer who would have been better known had he not died early from tuberculosis. In fact this set of 14 piano pieces depict a sick pianist in bed hallucinating about his life, with the first piece in the dark C minor and finishing in the angelical C major. Dupont did compose operas, but they are all forgotten today. The fifth piece of the cycle, ‘Après-midi de dimanche’, is with its harmonic progression close to what Debussy would later develop and harks back to the technically intricate piano works by Fauré.

It is the tradition in Husum to have a Sunday matinee where all things piano are discussed, presented or lectured on. The petite and elegant Finnish pianist Satu Paavola gave a presentation on the composer Sigismund Thalberg with a slide show and numerous illustrations, which resulted in a more varied picture of this fascinating composer. Thalberg was more than a competitor to Liszt. The Fantasy on Casta Diva is probably Thalberg at his most restrained and a far cry from the overly decorative opera phantasies he dazzled his audiences with. Paavola kept the tension going and projected the melodic line with subtle righthand decorations.

Few pianists have performed more often in Husum than Marc-André Hamelin. Practically since his very first concert in 1988 he has been invited back nearly every second year. He can be heard on over 15 CDs in this Rarities of Piano Music Series. Always open to new repertoire and always keen to please the faithful Husum audience, Hamelin doesn’t mind the least to dash off from a successful concert in the South of France and drive several long hours to Husum, arriving a few moments before the piano recital, then leaving the next morning for a weekend concert in Montreux playing the G Major Ravel piano concerto under Charles Dutoit. Talk about regular supporters of the festival, and few will beat the steadfastness of Hamelin.

This year, it was to the Husum audience that Hamelin addressed his short speech before he performed as an encore, the Chopin Nouvelle Etude. As he explained to the audience, a number of unfinished Godowsky manuscripts came to light only a short time ago one of them being this etude. Hamelin decided to finish what Godowsky did not or could not, and the result was this performance, played for the first time at Husum. As is known, Godowsky made his elaborate arrangements of most of the Chopin Etudes, some for left hand alone and others combining literally one etude in one hand and another in the other. Hamelin himself even melded together the three A minor Chopin etudes, the performance of which can be heard on the Husum 1989 release (DACOCD 349). As always with Hamelin, the musicality comes first, and there is never any sign of pure showing-off.



EAN: 5709499799000