Robert Schrade at Carnegie Hall, Vol.
Sonata; Barber: Excursions; encores
Impromptu 110101 - 67 minutes
(PO Box 20446, NY 10021)
Alas! My colleague James
Harrington, who reviewed Volume 1 (May/June 2010) will have to wait for this volume since it was sent to me, His rave review
and expression of "I can't wait!" are amply justified.
Bloch's Sonata from 1935 is
an impassioned work that is now rarely performed. Schrade projects the turbulent and difficult music of his friend with power
and strength. Although a world apart from the composer's more Judaic aspirations, both music and performance are gripping.
Barber's Excursion also make a rare appearance and remind us what
we have been missing. From boogie-woogie to blues, a cowboy ballad and a hoedown, the music holds to a strong profile without
any digression to the tasteless. It is all sharply characterized; and Schrade, who also befriended Barber plays with accuracy
and high spirit.
The balance of the program is
actually a series of encores that ony whet the appetite for more. Brahms' Capriccio in G minor, Op. 116: 3 is played with
just the right amount of zest and lyricism. 'Une Barque sur l'ocean', perhaps a bit more crystalline than usual, makes one
yearn for the remaining movements of Miroirs. Fauré's Barcarolle 5, here getting its Carnegie Hall premiere,
is forthright in its angular phrasing, and 'Triana' by Albeniz quite virtuosic at a slick speed that allows for little in
the way of nuance. This almost flippant approach is the only misjudgment in the otherwise splendid recital.
'La Tartine de Beurre' (Mozart) , with its glissandos and instructions
for the right hand to use one finger only, must have been humorous to watch. Like so much of this program, it is rarely heard
these days, but sorely missed. A Rondo by Hummel and one by Dussek complete the program, except for an all too brief piece,
'Solitude', from the Little Acorn Suite by Schrade's wife, Rolande Young. Now that I have heard Volume 2, I will have to look
into Volume 1.
ALAN BECKER, American Record Guide,