Tuesday, 10 October 2017


DAY 6: Thursday (24 August 2017)

Two reasons to visit Eutin in East Holstein: Schloss Eutin was a home of a young Princess Sophie who later became Queen Catherine the Great of Russia, and the birth-house of Carl Maria von Weber (now a cafe, but under construction), a block away from Freisch├╝tzstrasse. One reason to visit Plon: Paul Hindemith wrote a series of gebrauschmusik (utility music) works to be performed in a single dedicated day for music. My real reason for coming: I had missed my train to Lubeck, and had to opt for a shorter day-trip.

Recital 7 (7.30 pm)

In case one is wondering, the American Daniel Berman is no relative of Lazar or Boris. His ancestors came to New York from Poland, and their original surname was Bermanski. Factoid: Dan was one of the original Husumites, as he played at the very first Rarities of Piano Music at Schloss vor Husum Festival in 1987. He was then a student at the Hanover Hochschule, and was spotted by Peter Froundjian at a recital in Berlin. The rest is history.

He is a master of piano sonority. In the Marcello-Wild Adagio (from the Oboe Concerto), the delicate oboe line floats over warm cushioned chords, while the organ is simulated in the Bach-Goedicke Prelude and Fugue (BWV.541), where despite its busyness never loses clarity or focus.

I'm less captivated by the Schubert-Tausig Rondo on a French Motif, but his exuberant Granados has much to celebrate. The Allegro de Concierto is no longer a rarity (piano students in Singapore cut their teeth on it) but to hear it played with both brain and brawn, and no little subtlety despite the bluster is well worth it. The Americana offered is equally delicious: John Green's Body and Soul (in an Earl Wild cum Berman transcription) opens with Wagnerian darkness before erupting into playfulness. E.J.Collins' Rondo and Cowboy's Breakdown thrive on the American musical vernacular.

Then we go into deep Russian territory in Arcadi Volodos' wonderful transcription of the Andante of Rachmaninov's Cello Sonata and the Paul Pabst Eugene Onegin Paraphrase. The near-impossible section where the left hand plays Lensky's Aria while the right hand relives the Waltz is exactly why people come to Husum. Four encores is now a norm here: a lovely Abram Chasins Prelude (with none of the nonsense of Rush Hour in Hong Kong which has tainted his name), more Granados, Grainger's priceless voicing of Londonderry Air and Debussy's Bruyeres. Thankski, Bermanski!  

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