Alexandra Silocea: Sound Waves
A distinctive 2011 CD containing Prokofiev’s first five sonatas (7/11) garnered positive attention for the Romanian pianist Alexandra Silocea, whose follow-up solo release ‘Sound Waves’ offers an equally stimulating though very different kind of programme. Here she presents pieces that represent myriad aspects of nature, from clouds, storms and rays of sunlight to bodies of water ranging from a calm lake and a goldfish bowl to violent ocean waves and decorative fountains. As it happens, Silocea proves to be as good a pianist as she is a programme-builder and her playing offers much to savour, especially in the Liszt selections. ‘Les jeux d’eau à la Villa d’Este’ and the Weinen, Klagen Variations achieve a satisfying fusion of power, suppleness and breadth. Silocea shapes the relentless octaves of ‘Orage’ with melodic cogency rather than banging them out, finds a wider dynamic and colouristic scope to Nuages gris than its stark keyboard-writing reveals on the printed page, and contours the ‘Der Müller und der Bach’ transcription’s melody/accompaniment in a way that suggests longtime familiarity with Schubert’s original song.
One might imagine more delicacy and lightness in Ravel’s Jeux d’eau or less cautious arpeggios in Debussy’s ‘Reflets dans l’eau’, yet the characterful energy Silocea brings to ‘Poissons d’or’ and L’isle joyeuse more than compensate. The opening selection, Eärendil by the Norwegian composer Martin Romberg, borrows from its impressionistic antecedents, seasoned with modal tinges that wouldn’t be out of place in late Puccini, plus a hint of Hindemith’s pan-tonality. In all, an attractive and well-recorded programme.