DONKA ANGATSCHEWA, Piano
Vogtland Philharmonie / Stefan Fraas
Ars Production 38 168 / ****1/2
THE PIANO AT THE MOVIES
SEE SIANG WONG, Piano
Sony Classical 88985353612 (2 Cds) / ****
The ability of the piano to bring out human emotions and feelings accounts for its ubiquitous use in movie music to augment real-time action on the silver screen. These two recordings mine a well-excavated vein that does not look like exhausting soon.
Not all the works in the album by Bulgaria-born pianist Donka Angatscheva was originally conceived for piano, but every bit sounds evocative. Richard Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto (composed for war movie Dangerous Moonlight) is a classic in recycling Rachmaninov's lush Romantic renderings.
Nino Rota's Concerto Soiree is a concert piece in four short movements, reliving the different styles of his movie music – the pathos-laden, dramatic and comedic. Astor Piazolla's Four Seasons Of Buenos Aires is a celebration of the sultry tango cast as a four-movement piano trio concerto, with hot-blooded passion overflowing.
Dutch-Chinese pianist See Siang Wong's double-disc of piano solos from the movies leans heavily on the New Age and minimalist groove, which makes for enjoyable lounge music.
There are tracks by Michael Nyman (The Piano), Dave Grusin (On Golden Pond), Ryuichi Sakamoto (Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence and The Last Emperor), Philip Glass (The Hours and The Truman Show), Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away) and Yiruma (River Flows In You), but not everything such as Pachelbel's Canon or Mahler's Adagietto translates equally well for piano. This is nonetheless easy listening.