Originally published on September 24
Whether played on a grand piano or an upright, this recital makes for diverting and instructive listening. Two CDs, twenty-two pieces on each one that are identical in title and ordering. It’s a programme of contrasts, which makes for satisfying continuous listening – of surprises, re-imaginings (arrangements) and trusted favourites, ranging from the scintillating to the sublime, whether sacred, folksy, meditative or innovative (be prepared), and where sleep and dreams are neighbours as are flora, fauna and feathered friends, with an Intermezzo or two courtesy of Brahms. First listening was through the Steinway grand versions (just under fifty-two minutes) whereas the upright tapings (just over) with “permanent soft pedal” are more full-toned than expected (maybe Víkingur Ólafsson over-uses the sustaining pedal on both instruments) and there are some mechanical noises from the unidentified upright that may or may not matter, although some selections are to be preferred via this device. DG 486 1681 (2 CDs) is released on October 7. For background and the repertoire please click on the following link.