Sunday, June 11, 2017

Buchholtz, Helen. (1877-1953) Piano Works.

New acquisition.
Bought in June 2017.
First listen: 11-6-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: April 2009.
Recording venue: Großer Sendesaal des Saarländischen Rundfunks, Saarbrücken, Germany.
Recording engineer: Thomas Becher. 
Running time: 55:46.
Relevance to me: Worthwhile.

Works performed:
Barcarolle.
Vier Menuette.
Vier Tänze.
Nocturno.
Sonate in C sharp minor.

Performed by:
Marco Kraus.

I never heard of Helen Buchholtz. Not even mentioned anywhere. She was a self taught composer and did a pretty good job at it. A woman devoting herself to composing in solitary isolation without establishing contacts to the outer world or other composers. She composed about 138 works, the scores of which were almost burned by a disinterested family after she died. Luckily a nephew of her saved them in the nick of time. And he should be praised for this,.... just imagine your lives work being thrown away by the family.  Nothing was ever performed or recorded, apart from a few lieder on a label called Cid-femmes. CPO took the challenge and produced this wonderful CD with Pianoworks. That it did not sell is obvious for it landed in the super bargain bin. The music however is well worth your attention and the modest outlay should be an incentive to get it. Late romantic music, it never strays from the tonal path, and all kind of modernities are kept at bay. Which is very much okay with me. It is simply a continuation of a heritage of beautiful music from the 19th century and not at all outmoded. Do not expect great contrasts in expression or huge dynamics. It is wonderfully confiding music, unerringly paced. Soulful and deeply intimate, there is a deep seated understanding of the music of her past. Many reflective moods, through which she is carefully navigating. There is a suppleness and flexibility of phrase, and many tints and shades of tone. Subtle with a distinctive imagination, she brings in the lightness of Schumann, and the playfulness of Chopin. Marco Kraus is perfectly articulating all what is on offer, with a communicative flair. No exaggeration in expression, but the skill to apply colour and blend at the same time. All this said, I am ready to admit that I am quite taken by Helen Buchholtz music, and I hope more of her work will be recorded.
Very much recommended.



Koechlin, Charles. (1867-1950) Piano Works Volume I. ....des Jardins enchantés.

New acquisition. Bought in June 2017. First listen: 27-6-2017. Label: Hanssler Classics. Recording dates: December 2007. Recording venu...