Saturday, 3 August 2013

Some Piano Recordings by DANIEL GLOVER

FRANZ LISZT The Profound & The Profane
DG2 Recordings 73885 06702 / TT: 77’02”

From the sublime to the ridiculous, the piano music of Franz Liszt (1811-1886) encompasses it all. Glover begins with three popular movements from his Harmonies poetiques et religieuses, from the chord-laden Invocation, the serenity of Benediction de Dieu dans la solitude (arguably Liszt’s greatest single movement, after the Sonata in B minor of course), to the tolling bells of Funerailles, with its central section of galloping hoofbeats. Glover’s immense technique is equal to all these grand landmarks. The Two Legends of St Francis of Assisi (preaching to the birds) and St Francis of Paolo (walking on the waves) follow along this path of spirituality and virtuosity to great effect. The relatively obscure closes Ave Maria (The Bells of Rome) the profound segment. The last 20 minutes is reserved for the most vulgar pages of Liszt thought possible, dutifully serving as the editor and compiler of the infamous Hexameron, variations by six composers (Thalberg, Pixis, Herz, Czerny and Chopin are the others) on a melody from Bellini’s I Puritani. Liszt provided the introduction, intervening segments and a suitably rowdy finale. Glover convincingly brings out the trumpets, cannons and fireworks, warts and all. After all the bluster, his encore is suitably sublime, the nocturne which we all know as Liebestraume No.3.

DG2 Recordings 673885 05832 / TT: 76’45”

Glover has an innate and sympathetic feel for the Spanish idiom, which can be heard in five movements from Isaac Albeniz’s 12-part suite Iberia. He plays Book One complete, and one can feel the warmth of Evocacion, the rhythmic beat of El Puerto, and the religious procession in Corpus Christi en Sevilla, where he struggles a little in its pages. There is much to enjoy in Triana, arguably its best known movement, and further dances by Manuel de Falla. Granados is represented by the sensuous Maiden and the Nightingale and the virtuosic showpiece Allegro di Concierto. There are two works by non-Spaniards, Debussy’s Soiree dans Grenade (from Estampes) and Liszt’s riproaring Spanish Rhapsody, based on two popular Spanish melodies: La Folia and Jota Aragonesa. Here Glover provides an alternative flashy finish of his own. The encore is Mateo Albeniz’s Sonata in D major, a gem of Scarlattian brilliance, which is often heard on Symphony 92.4 FM broadcasts.

DG2 Recordings 73885 05022 / TT: 76”47”

This is my favourite of the three discs, original and transcribed music that captures the quintessential Russian soul - from the melancholic to the virtuosic. Early Scriabin – the popular C sharp minor Etude (Op.2 No.1) and the Nocturne for left hand (Op.9 No.2) – opens the disc on a soulful note. Whoever thought of putting Liapunov’s Lesghinka and Balakirev’s Islamey on contiguous tracks? All those coruscating Central Asian dervishes are surely too much of a good thing. Glover shows that even their most fearsome passages do not faze him in the least. There are two “bird songs”, Glinka’s Lark (transcribed by Balakirev) and Alabiev’s Nightingale and two true rarities, songs by Boulkov and Wielhorsky, transcribed by Liszt. The Rachmaninov transcriptions are short but delightful, the best being that of Tchaikovsky’s Nocturne Op.16 No.1, originally a song. All the Tchaikovsky heard here is transcribed, a special pride of place goes to Paul Pabst’s Eugene Onegin Paraphrase which headily dovetails the Waltz and Lensky’s Aria by sleight of hand. That ghostly magical minute sounds like three hands playing together! The disc closes with the Eugene Onegin Polonaise (by way of Liszt) and a truly delicious confection in Percy Grainger’s intoxicating transcription of the Waltz of the Flowers from Nutcracker. This is just one disc to really treasure and play over and over. 

DANIEL GLOVER will perform a piano recital at
Esplanade Recital Studio on
Monday, 19 August 2013, 7.30 pm

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