Wessel van Wyk (piano)
Piano Favourites Volume 3
Reviewed by Neville Cohn
JNSD126 TPT: 65:57
It takes a very courageous pianist to embark on a recording project featuring some of the repertoire’s most loved and frequently heard works. Consider Liszt’s La Campanella. There are literally dozens of recordings of it available, many by some of the greatest pianists. How, I wondered, would van Wyk’s recording stand up to close aural scrutiny?
I’m happy to report that it comes across with sincerity and seriousness of purpose, its filigree traceries unfailingly clearly defined.
Scarlatti’s ubiquitous Sonata in C, K159 sounds newly minted with its bright-toned fanfares (although piano tone in the high treble register verges on the tinny) and Albeniz’s very tricky Asturias (also know as Leyenda) is beautifully essayed, its floodtide of semiquavers expertly and musically marshalled. It is a highpoint of this collection.
Van Wyk’s nimble fingers are no less accurate in Mendelssohn’s Bee’s Wedding in an agreeably buoyant, rhythmically controlled presentation.
Some of the offerings border on the prosaic such as an arrangement of Kreisler’s Schon Rosmarin which is curiously lacking in Viennese lilt; the same might be said of Kreisler’s Liebesleid in the Rachmaninov arrangement.
But two Chopin offerings more than make up for this. The poignancy of the Nocturne in C sharp minor, opus posthumous, is well evoked – and an account of the Heroic Polonaise is informed by an altogether appropriate hauteur.
There’s a pleasing bucolic touch to Grieg’s Norwegian Dance from opus 35; it engages the attention in a most satisfying way although recorded sound is rather too bass-heavy.
Other items in this charm-laden compilation include Liszt’s Un Sospiro, an admirably tranquil reading of Myra Hess’ famous arrangement of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Mendelssohn’s On Wings of Song and Albeniz’s famous Tango in D in arrangements respectively by Liszt and Godowsky.
This CD is obtainable for $AU27 (including postage and packaging) from JNS Music, P.O.Box 11387, Brooklyn 0011, South Africa or visit firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright Neville Cohn 2006