FEINBERG: Piano Sonata No. 1 in A, Op. 1. Piano Sonata No. 2 in A minor Op. 2. Piano Sonata No. 3 in G minor/ G sharp minor, Op. 3. Piano Sonata No. 4 in E flat minor, Op. 6. Piano Sonata No.5 in E minor, Op .10. Piano Sonata No.6 in B minor, Op. 13.
Marc-André Hamelin, piano
HYPERION CDA 68233 TT: 74:35
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FRANCK: Prelude, Choral and fugue (XFF24). Prelude, aria det final (CFF 26). Prelude, fugue et variation (XFF 308). Choral pour grand orgue No. 2 in B minor (CFF 106)
Nikolai Lugansky, piano
HARMONIA MUNDI 902642 TT: 66:35
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ADÈS: Piano Music
Han Chen, piano
NAXOS 8.574109 TT: 69:43
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Russian composer Samuel Feinberg (1890-1962) was considered to be a major figure on the musical scene during the first half of the 20th Century—although based on this new CD I cannot imagine why. . During his earlier days he was one of the first pianists to play Rahmaninoff's Concerto No. 3, and he gave concerts when he played Bach's complete Well-Tempered Clavier. He also was respected as a teacher, and as a composer focused on music for he piano, including nine sonatas and two concertos, as well as a violin sonata and vocal music. Marc-André ´Hamelin here plays the first six of the sonatas. One of them, No, 6, is in the unusual key of E-fat minor. The music is generally rhapsodic and lyrical, surely not of virtuoso display. Hamelin does what can be done for this music, but these are hardly major works, often sounding like Scriabin rejects. For me, there is nothing of major interest here. The recordings were made December 2018 in Teldec's Studio in Berlin, and engineers have done their job well.

Russian pianist Nicolai Lugansky, born in Moscow in 1972, has won some major prizes and made a number of recordings early in his career, most no longer available. In recent years he has recorded concertos of Rachmaninoff (REVIEW), and Tchaikovsky (REVIEW), and solo music of Rachmaninoff (REVIEW). Now he is recording for Harmonia Mundi (Debussy / Rachmaninoff), and his is hiss third CD for the label devoted entirely to keyboard music of César Franck. The composer's masterpiece, Prelude Chorale and Fugue, is featured along with Prélude, Aria et Final, Prelude, Fugue and variations, ending with Franck's organ masterpiece, the Chorale for large organ, here heard in Lugansky's own transcription. Lugansky plays all of this with beautiful tone, but this performance of the major work is rather bland. To hear this mighty work in its splendor, check the amazing 1952 Artur Rubinstein RCA recording which sets the standard for all others. If you'd like to hear all of Franck's major keyboard works, here they are. Recordings were made July 2019 in Switzerland's Salle de Mourgues.

Thomas Adés (b. 1971) is one of today's leading compose sr on the cutting edge of contemporary music. His operas (The Tempest, Powder Her Face, and The Exterminating Angel) have attracted much attention. . The latter was a hit at the Metropolitan opera and is available on DVD (REVIEW). As well as operas, Adês has composed a wide variety of music including orchestral, choral, and chamber music. This new disk is devoted to piano music written 1992 - 2015.We have four concert paraphrases on music from the opera Powder Her Face, Still Sorrowing, Op. 7, Darkness Visible, Blanca Variations, Traced Overhead, Op. 25 (Sursum/artheria / Chori), three Mazurkas, Op. 27, and Souvenir,which is taken from Adés' first film score, Colette. . Paul Conway's program notes give details of each work and the composer's intentions. This music is played by young Taiwanese pianist Han Chen, who specializes in contemporary music. Adés' music has countess sometimes violent clusters of sound and must be very difficult to play. Chen has the necessary virtuosity, although I doubt if many could ell if there were mistakes. The recording were made April 2019 in New York's Oktaven Audio, Mount Vernon. An intriguing and unusual issue.

R.E.B. (May 2020)