Related Links

Recommended Links

Give the Composers Timeline Poster



Site News

What's New for
July/August 2014?

Site Search

Follow us on
Facebook    Twitter

Affiliates

In association with
Amazon
Amazon UKAmazon GermanyAmazon CanadaAmazon FranceAmazon Japan

ArkivMusic
CD Universe

HBDirect

JPC

ArkivMusic

Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

CD Review

Johannes Brahms

Antes 31.9009

Piano Music

  • Ballades Op. 10 (1854)
  • Fantasias Op. 116 (1892)
  • Intermezzos Op. 117 (1892)
Burkard Schließmann, piano
Antes Edition Classics BM-CD 31.9009 DDD 64:54
Find it at Amazon UK

Schließmann's Brahms series continues with the Op. 10 Ballades and a brace of later pieces. I previewed them on tape a before the CDs were released; now they are here and in voluptuous sound. The German Steinway has a beautiful resonance, like the Bechstein, but with a more uniform treble.

The Op. 116 Fantasies are serious, emotionally charged miniatures. It is amazing what Brahms can compact into the concise ternary form. The harmonic language is proto-Janáček, without being so discursive and disturbing (a less frightening walk down The Overgrown Path ?). Schließmann's approach – generally slower tempos, rubatos – concentrates the melodic lines by dilating the sense of time. Playing slowly is the easiest way to impart false "meaning" to a piece, but in almost every case, Schließmann shows that he has something in mind. The Intermezzo Op. 116, #2 invites the listener into a dream; there is a sense of spaciousness, of moving within another realm. Ivan Moravec finds that all the time in his ultra-slow Janáček readings.

The last two Op. 117 Intermezzi, if one had a chance to put music to movies or TV, might show up in an episode of "The World at War." They evoke desolation, and somehow, peace – the same way the Bach adagio limns the aftermath of the bombing of Dresden (in the Glenn Gould-produced soundtrack for Slaughterhouse Five).

Schließmann's "Edward" Ballade rises from self-reflection to a carefully rendered climax that is massive, yet non-percussive. It's an impressive performance. The other Ballades are also quite nice. Stay tuned!

Copyright © 1998, Robert J. Sullivan

Trumpet