NEW: Ries Piano Sonatas on CPO

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Lance
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NEW: Ries Piano Sonatas on CPO

Post by Lance » Sun Apr 30, 2006 3:56 pm

~ New Release ~ Mini-Review ~

Ferdinand Ries 1784-1838)
Grande Sonata in D Major, Op. 9, No. 1 [29:45]
Grande Sonata Fantaisie "L'Infortuné" in F# Minor, Op. 26 [23:56]
Andantino from Sonatina, Op. 5, No. 1 [2:07]
Andantino from Sonatina, Op. 5, No. 2 [4:03]
Alexandra Oehler, piano
CPO 777 136, DDD, 60:23
Recorded in Stuttgart, Germany, March 2004

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CPO-Germany continues their outstanding series of music by Ferdinand Ries with this group of piano works.

Rie's father, Franz Anton, taught not only his son, but Beethoven. Later the younger Ferdinand Ries studied piano with Beethoven and composition with Albrectsberger, the latter of whom also taught Beethoven. It's important to emphasize that Beethoven did not teach Ries anything about composition, but what he picked up, nonetheless, is quite miraculous for another really outstanding composer emerged in Herr Ries. Ries seems to have found among the best musicians/teachers of that time for his tutelage, and it pays off in his own compositional output. Ries lived in various places in Scandinavia, England and Europe and was associated with great wealth. He was official pianist to the Counts Browne and Lichnowsky. Aside from his own pianistic abilities, he conducted a great deal throughout his lifetime.

The music on the present disc is highly original and only in the Grande Sonate Fantaisie, Op. 26, was I somehow reminded of Schubert, particularly in the mysticism of the latter's "Wanderer Fantasy." Otherwise, Ries seems to be very much on his own, not especially emulating Beethoven, as we might expect.

The Grand Sonata in D Major, Op. 9, did not find Ries confining himself to the sonata structure of the time, which was already undergoing considerable change anyway, especially with Beethoven. The Op. 9 sonata, composed between 1797-1798, is comprised of twelve individual sections, commencing with an Allegro followed by a Tempo di Menuetto, whose two sections time in at 17+ minutes (almost half the timing of the entire piece), followed by a Theme with Variationis and another set of eight variations, concluding with an Adagio. It's not your usual sonata at all. If Ries learned anything at all from Beethoven, it was how to develop a piece of music incorporating variations.

The Grande Sonata Fantaisie "L'Infortuné" in F# Minor, Op. 26, dating from around 1808, is the most fascinating piece on the disc, probably because of what I hear that is so Schubert-like and represents an even more mature (aged about 25) composer whose musical thoughts and intentions are well under control. So much keyboard—good and great keyboard music—was being written during Ries's lifetime, that to find your own path would almost seem like wasting time. Not with Ries! Again, this is quite astonishingly good music, wonderful to hear, and obviously the work of a genius.

The two Andantinos, Op. 5 don't leave a lasting impression as much as the Opp. 9 and 26, obviously being very early works where the composer was doing some experimenting.

The pianist, Alexander Oehler, is another of these young pianists who is fast making a reputation for herself. Born in Thuringia, she has already performed with leading orchestras and ensembles. Like so many other pianists, she seeks out the rarely performed piano works. She has recorded an all-Teresa Carreño disc, has recorded Edward MacDowell's works, and those of Eugene d'Albert, and yet another composer not well known today, Joseph Martin Kraus. In 2001, Ms. Oelher was hailed "Upcoming Artist of the Year." Not only does Ms. Oehler know how to play the piano, but she's got the rest of the "package" as well!

This disc will serve to introduce you to a superlative pianist who has a total command of the keyboard and who plays all these Ries works with passion, freshness and vitality. I hope she continues to favour us with additional recordings of the composer's music.

Liner notes are fine, but aren't particularly focused to each individual piece. The piano is outstanding (unidentified, but I suspect it's a German Steinway given the particular sound of the resonant, typically sounding German bass). Recording quality is first class.

This disc is another gem in CPO's catalogue, one of the most enterprising companies around today, a positive-plus for record collectors.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 18418
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
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Post by Lance » Mon May 01, 2006 11:51 am

Pianophiles and RIES followers, truly, don't miss out on this disc. Are there any RIES music lovers out there other than the one I know will want to get this disc?
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

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