CD Spotlight. A Very Joyous Disc - Brahms arranged by Kenneth Woods impresses Alice McVeigh. '... this is an excellent performance representing a useful, joyful and even inspired addition to the orchestral repertoire.'
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Before music was accessible on the various recording media, from the early 78s to today's CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, compositions were only heard in theatres, concert halls and in private salons. Many composers, who were also great pianists, would play in these venues, improvising on a theme from an opera, very much like the jazz musicians of today. Later, many of these variations would be written down and published for all to perform. Usually a conductor begins his or her career as a pianist, playing for stage rehearsals, coaching singers, and on occasions accompanying them for concerts or recitals. Very few make the grade however, and many fall between two stools.
One successful artist who has managed this balancing act is the protagonist of this disc: Myron Romanul. Being the grandson of Stella Roman, a leading dramatic soprano at La Scala and the Metropolitan, has been of invaluable help, as she was able to pass on to Myron all her experience in the world of opera. This enabled our concert pianist to continue to create exciting performances in many a theatre worldwide.
With this programme Romanul brings the piano to life as an orchestra to recreate the experience of opera in the theatre. The programme includes works by great composers of the past such as Mozart, Chopin, Rossini and Liszt, while the twentieth century is represented by eminent musicians such as Gershwin and Ernő von Dohnányi.
Listen — Dohnányi: Schatz-Walzer von Johann Strauss aus 'Der Zigeunerbaron'
(track 8, 6:10-6:58) © 2012 Music & Video - Verlag Ralph Kulling :
The Russian Nicolai Kapustin (born 1937) is not so well known outside his country, but his jazzy variations, Op 41, are a fitting conclusion to this disc. What's so interesting about this compilation is the inclusion of two short evocative pieces by Léon Roques (1839-1923) and Tekla Bądarzewska-Baranowska (1834-1861) which give the programme a genuine flavour of the unusual.
Listen — Bądarzewska-Baranowska: Moditwa dziewicy
(track 6, 0:00-0:46) © 2012 Music & Video - Verlag Ralph Kulling :
Romanul's playing brims with an expressive power that generates its own excitement and self-belief, and his sense of improvisatory freedom is striking throughout. Mercurial interpretations by an artist who is truly in love with this particular repertoire.
Listen — Rossini: Marche et Réminiscences pour mon dernière voyage ...
(track 4, 7:47-8:48) © 2012 Music & Video - Verlag Ralph Kulling :
A highly enjoyable bumper disc in first-rate sound and informative annotations that should not be missed.