Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Anderszewski Beethoven on Virgin Classics

Piotr Anderszewski, conductor and pianist: Beethoven Bagatelles Op. 126; Piano Concerto # 1. (Virgin Classics).

Gerry: This was an album that I actually bought, Bryant, do you think I spent my money wisely?

Bryant: Probably not. You could've saved at least $5 had you chosen iTunes.

Gerry: Do you think any of this music is dainty?

Bryant: Some of those early sonatas are; even the second concerto has bars of horse and buggy daintiness. But no, dainty doesn't come to mind in this recording.

Piotr Anderszewski is a Pole. Do you think he's more at home in the Chopin recordings or in these German works?

Gerry: Well, his first recording was of the Diabelli Variations, then Bach, so obviously he regards these as important. He was a student of Perahia & Brendel as well and the whole Marlboro school is in his background. That said I think the Chopin disc he produced came from the soul, so obviously he's got the blood. I think the mixture is what makes him somewhat unique. Used to be artists didn't mix the two.

Bryant: In regards to Perahia, he's gone back to Bach and now wants to play little else. He just a released a disc on Sony of the Partitas 2-4. What do you think of veteran pianists going back to well-worn repertoire when they could be recording some other composer's latest work? Are they obligated to find balance?

Gerry: I don't obligate any performer to any course of action...that said, I am not convinced his Bach performances are driven by great passion or originality. Maybe he needs this time to lie fallow and he'll go into the French repertoire or maybe some underperformed German school composer like Wainberg or Reger -- which is where Rudolf Serkin went in his later years. I contrast Perahia with Peter Serkin, who is always exploring unusual repertoire, and yet coming back to the standards with renewed insight. Maybe some artists just lose their curiosity with age. But they do have to follow their own muse and not pay any nevermind to folks like us who inhabit different skins.

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