DEBUSSY: Préludes, Book I (Danseuses de Delphes,
La cathédrale engloutie. La danse de Puck. Minstrels. La vent dans
la plaine). La plus que lente.
Esampes (La soirée dans Grenade). Children's
Corner (Doctor Gradus ad
Parnassum. Jimbo's Lullaby. Serenade for the Doll. The Snow is Dancing.
Shepherd. Golliwog's Cake Walk). D'un cahier d'esquisses.
GRANADOS: Goyescas (Los requiebros. Coloquio en
la reja. El fandango de candil. Quejas o la Maja y el ruiseñor). Danzas
españolas (Andaluza, Valenciana, Melancólica). Valses
Sonata No. 9 in B Flat
RAVEL: Valses nobles et sentimentales. Sonatine (first
and third movements only, recorded 1913 for Welte-Mignon). Miroirs
(Oiseaux tristes. La Vallée
des cloches). Pavana pour une Infante defunte (recorded 1922,
1928 and 1922 for Duo-Art).
Boléro (recorded 1930 for Polydor)
CHOPIN: Scherzo, Op. 31. Nocturne, Op. 48. Scherzo, Op. 20.
Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 35. Waltz, Op. 70 No. 1. Waltz, Op. 64 No.
1. Nocturne, Op. 27 No. 2. BEETHOVEN: Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op.
111. Turkish March from The Ruins of Athens (arr.
MOSZKOWSKI: La Jongleuse, Op. 52 No. 4.
Fruehling, Op. 57 No. 5. SCARLATTI-TAUSIG: Pastorale/Capriccio. BROCKWAY: Serenade. RUBINSTEIN: Barcarolle, Op.
30 No. 1. SCHUTT: Croquis et Silhouettes, Op. 87 No. 4. MENDELSSOHN:
ohne Worte, Op. 62 No. 4. CHAMINADE: Le Retour, Op. 134. BRAHMS: Rhapsody,
Op. 119 No. 4. d'ALBERT: Suite, Op. 1 (Gavotte and Musette). BACH-TAUSIG:
Organ Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.
Telarc has issued two CDs of Ampico piano roll recordings by
Sergei Rachmaninoff (see REVIEW) featuring
Wayne Stahnke's highly successful computer-processed transfers of information
on the originals. These
have the distinct advantage of playback on a superb Bösendorfer
290SE concert grand with the resulting "performances" digitally recorded
the highest quality equipment.
The Debussy CD contains all known recordings as listed above—and what a pleasure to hear the composer playing La cathédrale engloutie! A plus is inclusion of Debussy's 1904 Gramophone and Typewriter Co. disk recordings of a brief (1:47) excerpt from Pelléas et Mélisande and three Ariettes Oubliées. Mary Garden, a legendary interpreter of Debussy's music, was in her prime when these recordings were made, although she might not have been aware how sensitive the primitive recording equipment was—several times she can be heard coughing or commenting.
Ravel's CD contains all of his recordings for Welte & Soehne and Duo-Art as well as his famous 1930 Polydor disk recording of Boléro made just two years after the music was composed. The Lamoureux Orchestra has a wonderful "French" sound so appropriate for this music, but their performance is quite ragged, with some strange accents (see REVIEW) that the composer apparently approved. And the tempo is right, a tad more than 16 minutes which is at least a minute longer than most other recordings. Ravel perhaps didn't take his piano roll recordings very seriously; as pointed out in the CD booklet, there are some mistakes including repeated notes, and it is assumed he didn't play the middle movement of Sonatine because it was too difficult.
The Granados recordings, recorded in 1913 three years before the composer drowned in the English channel when the British ship Sussex was torpedoed by the Germans, are valuable for their sense of improvisation. Lengthy detailed CD notes are provided by Douglas Riva who is in the process of recording all of the composer's piano music for Naxos.
Of major importance for collectors is this twin-CD set of recordings by Australian-born American pianist Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler (1860-1927) who studied with Theodore Leschetizky. She enjoyed a highly successful career with many solo recitals as well as appearances with major orchestras in New York, Berlin, Chicago, London and Vienna. Small in stature, Zeisler amazed audiences with her power and energy; Anton Rubinsein said he had never heard his Concerto No. 4 played "with such perfection." She didn't like the acoustic recording process but did have three sessions for Welte-Mignon, in 1908 and 1912 in Freiburg, and in 1924 in New York. These CDs contain major works of Beethoven and Chopin as well as an assortment of lighter works including salon pieces by Moszkowski and Chaminade. This set gives collectors their only opportunity to hear Zeisler.
The next issue in the series will be a CD devoted to performances by Alexander Scriabin, with many more recordings by famous pianists of the past, all artfully reproduced from Welte-Mignon originals, planned as well.
R.E.B. (October 2003)