Clavier Companion - May/June 2017 - 70
CD & DVD Reviews Steven Hall, Editor
Les mains nues
Mompou * Boulanger * Chaillou
Moisès Fernández Via, pianist
Urtext Digital Classics JBCC 231
[Total Time 60:04]
"My hands and I live alone in a
small apartment in the rue du Jardinet..." is an arresting
phrase from Via's short story "Bare Hands," written for this
CD. The story is published in the liner notes, and, together
with the pieces performed by Via, contributes to an unusual
concept recording featuring compositions by Frederic
Mompou, Lili Boulanger, and David Chaillou. Chaillou's Les
main nues (Bare Hands), an evocative four-movement work
commissioned by Via, depicts what Chaillou describes
as "common [musical] ground" between Boulanger and
Mompou (who never met). Mompou's Variations sur un
thème de Chopin vibrates with the warmth and simplicity
of the composer's aesthetic, and to hear Boulanger's
beautiful Prelude en re-flat and her Thème et Variations, with
its haunting, chant-like theme, is to bemoan the composer's
tragically short life. Via's performances are deeply felt
and colorful, producing a rewarding hour of listening and
- Denise Parr-Scanlin
Mozart for the People
Friedrich Gulda, piano
ARTHAUS Musik 109174
[Total Time 96:10]
Friedrich Gulda was an eccentric,
nonconformist classical and jazz artist,
regarded as an important mentor to Martha
Argerich. Gulda's playing is fascinating in this 1981 allMozart recital, now available on Blu-ray. He plays Mozart's
first-movement repeats in virtually every sonata, relishing
the opportunity to augment the repeated sections with
improvised embellishments; these additions are a delight.
The playing is at times brilliant (as in the last movement
of K. 332) and at times deeply poetic (as in the exquisitely
phrased soft playing in the a piacere sections of the
closing movement of K. 457). The ornaments might be
bothersome to stylistic purists, as Gulda begins trills
on the main note and grace notes before the beat. In
addition, the close microphone placement robs the piano
sound of some warmth. The performances, however, are
thoroughly creative and captivating throughout.
- Stephen Pierce
Scarlatti * Chopin * Liszt * Ravel
Lucas Debargue, piano
Sony Classical 8875192982
[Total Time 77:22]
Recorded live at the Salle Cortot
in Paris, Lucas Debargue's debut
recording for Sony introduces the enormous musical
personality discovered at the 2015 Tchaikovsky Competition.
Awarded both the fourth prize and the Moscow critics'
award for his "artistic vision and creative freedom,"
Debargue quickly became the most talked-about pianist of
the competition. This recording of his first recital after the
competition verifies the impression of a gripping individuality
that commands attention. The opening Scarlatti sonatas
combine pristine articulation with fiery technical display.
Debargue's performances of the Chopin Ballade No. 4 and
the Liszt Mephisto Waltz follow, telling familiar stories with
fresh and engaging twists and setting up the centerpiece
of the disc, Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit. Debargue's rippling
arpeggios, extraordinary textural control, expert pedaling,
and utmost clarity accentuate Ravel's light and darkness.
Grieg and Schubert encores are played with great subtlety
and panache. Debargue is a twenty-six-year-old pianist you
- Laura Melton
This issue's contributors:
Laura Melton is the Coordinator of Keyboard Studies
at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. A frequent
recitalist and clinician throughout North and South
America, Asia, and Europe, her recent CD recordings are
on the Naxos and Albany labels.
Denise Parr-Scanlin is an Assistant Professor of Piano
at West Texas A&M University and teaches piano and
chamber music at the Lutheran Summer Music Festival.
She has performed and adjudicated in the U.S., Europe,
and Asia, and recorded Sam Jones's Sonata for Cello
and Piano for Naxos Records.
Stephen Pierce is Assistant Professor of Keyboard
Pedagogy at the University of Southern California.
He has performed in the Czech Republic, Canada, the
United States, and South Africa, and published in Clavier
Companion, The South African Music Teacher, and Music