Tuesday, 8 February 2011

CD: Luiza Borac - Frühlingsglaube

It has been my privilege to hear Luiza Borac in concert – though far too infrequently for my liking – and to know her great recordings for the Avie label. Each one of these experiences reaffirms for me that Luiza is a wonderful artist blessed not only with a fabulous technique but also a deep insight into her chosen repertoire. In performance Luiza shows a constant care for the beauty of tone produced, an awareness of dynamic range and a passionate involvement with the music played that sets her far apart from most pianists on the concert circuit. Her latest CD, Frühlingsglaube, offers several live performance recordings that make these qualities palpably apparent.  

If today it seems that star soloists are only to willing to place themselves in the spotlight, only to forget the real purpose of why they are there – to put their skill and musical integrity at the service of the compositions they perform – then it is worth reflecting for a moment on the piano transcription. Could not the same accusation be levelled at Liszt or Busoni, for example? Yet it is an accusation that does not always hold fast. Liszt's transcriptions of Schubert lieder possess the means to cover a wide range of emotions and colour palettes: the dignity of Ave Maria, the intimate pathos felt in Sei mir gegrüßt or the drama of Erlkönig, all of which Luiza's performances take in their stride. Liszt increases the performing demands still further with his Mozart-influenced Réminiscences de “Don Juan”, requiring not a single voice to come through with character, but several, whilst adding a lot of his own invention as well. Luiza Borac's delightfully nuanced touch breathes life into the personalities with beguiling ease and makes light of the Lisztian extravagances. From vocal transcriptions to instrumental ones... Rachmaninov's transcription of Kreisler's Liebeslied transports us effectively to Vienna in a momentary reverie, whist Luiza Borac's own transcription of Tárrega's Requerdos de la Alhambra makes the tremolo guitar technique no less challenging and tender of sentiment on the keyboard. Often whilst listening to this recording, the words of Franz von Schober famously set by Schubert crossed my mind: “Du holde Kunst … Hast du mein Herz zu warmer Lieb' entzunden, Hast mich in eine beßre Welt entrückt!” This is music-making that enriches not just the lives of those who hear it but, due to Luiza's continued charitable commitments to her Romanian roots, those less fortunate than us who should never be forgotten.

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