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Best Recordings of 2012 (#4)

Time for a review of classical CDs that were outstanding in 2012. My lists for the previous years: 2011, (2011 – “Almost”), 2010, (2010 – “Almost”), 2009, (2009 – “Almost”), 2008, (2008 - "Almost") 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.

# 4 - New Release

F.Schubert, Fanatsie in C, Rondo in b, Sonata in A, Carolin Widmann, Alexander Lonquich, ECM 1648702

available at Amazon
Schumann, Fanatsie, Rondo, Sonata
C.Widmann, A.Lonquich

Carolin Widmann is a household name only in households that listen to lots of Sciarrino, Boulez, or her brother Jörg’s music. But the German violinist with the most musical pizzicato in the business has a very deft hand with the romantic repertoire, too. Her Schumann Sonatas (also ECM) are a revelation; this Schubert here is equally gratifying. The way Widmann and pianist Alexander Lonquich throw themselves into the klutzy rhythms of the Rondo’s Allegro, then emerge with the sunniest, most graceful disposition as if nothing had happened, causes smiles inside. That's something no one else quite achieves that way, not even the smartest other such Schubert recording, that of Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov. The Fantasie has an assertive, feisty quality, devoid of romantic slobbering in the Andantino. And out of the marginalized A-major sonata Widmann and her accomplice make something that sounds like top-shelf Schubert.

# 4 – Reissue

F.Chopin, Nocturnes, Ivan Moravec, Supraphon 4097

available at Amazon
Chopin, Nocturnes

Ivan Moravec is a pianist’s pianist, just un-famous enough to be thought of as an insider-choice to those who knows him. In a way I see (and hear) in him a bit of a proto-Sokolov (Moravec is 20 years older). His recordings are few and far between, which helps the mystique, but at least now they’re being re-issued on a regular basis, sometimes by multiple labels.           His Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven are all of a musicality that has few peers. Although their repertoire doesn’t much overlap, the pianist that is called to my mind thinking of describing Moravec, is Clifford Curzon.

His—Moravec’s—1965 recording of the Chopin Nocturnes has been out on a variety of labels and gotten most circulation—at least in the US—on Connoisseur Society and Nonesuch. It’s considerably more famous than its proponents would like to think. Indeed it’s probably what Moravec is best known for (at least to those who have never heard him in recital), but that doesn’t make it less excellent: Unsentimental (a fine compliment to M.J.Pires’ recording, therefore) but with depth and sensitivity many shades of color, except all with hints of sepia. The sound is good, a little less harsh than it used to be (on Nonesuch) but not so much better that the old releases need replacing. Every Chopin collection would be richer for this recording, though.

-> Best Recordings of 2012 #1 - 10

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