Brahms in Transcription (Uriel Tsachor)

Record and Artist Details

Genre:

Instrumental

Label: MSR Classics

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: MS1721

MS1721. Brahms in Transcription (Uriel Tsachor)

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Symphony No. 4 Uriel Tsachor
(21) Hungarian Dances Uriel Tsachor
Symphony No. 2 Uriel Tsachor
Symphony No. 3 Uriel Tsachor
Symphony No. 1 Uriel Tsachor
Quintet for Piano and Strings Uriel Tsachor
(21) Hungarian Dances Uriel Tsachor
(21) Hungarian Dances Uriel Tsachor
(21) Hungarian Dances Uriel Tsachor
(21) Hungarian Dances Uriel Tsachor
Symphony No. 3 Uriel Tsachor

During December 1914 and January 1915 Max Reger transcribed five Brahms symphonic slow movements for solo piano, which he deemed ‘utterly playable’. Here these transcriptions receive their first recordings, and prove to be ‘utterly listenable’ in the cultivated hands of the Israeli-born American-based pianist Uriel Tsachor.

He takes the First Symphony second movement’s sostenuto directive to heart, spinning out the long lines with tonal amplitude and a burnished legato, while keeping the polyrhythmic textures in fluid perspective. His animated and flexible shaping of the Second Symphony’s Adagio prevents Reger’s difficult-to-voice octave doublings from becoming turgid. The same can be said in regard to Tsachor’s handling of the chordal climaxes in No 3’s Andante. The Poco allegretto movement sounds particularly pianistic in that Tsachor’s playful turns of phrase and buoyant yet discreet rubato would be difficult to conduct. By contrast, Tsachor follows more of a literal trajectory in the sterner, less affectionate Andante moderato of the Fourth Symphony.

Tsachor wisely places solo versions of Hungarian Dances in between the Reger arrangements, including first recordings of Theodor Kirchner’s two-handed Nos 15, 16 and 17. In Brahms’s own solo versions of Nos 1 and 7, Tsachor channels his considerable technique towards poetic and whimsical ends, as opposed to Julius Katchen’s scintillating bravura.

Just two half-quibbles. Solid and assured as Tsachor’s performance may be of the Scherzo from Schumann’s Piano Quintet as ‘de chamberised’ by Brahms, I prefer this pianist’s slightly faster and more incisive earlier recording for Divox, filled out with his own wonderful solo transcriptions of the Quintet’s remaining movements. And his impetuous inflections in the Gluck/Brahms Gavotte strike me as too abrupt and impatient, lacking the simplicity and proportioned eloquence distinguishing the old Josef Hofmann and Ignaz Friedman recordings on 78s. But these teensy reservations should not prevent you from investigating this enchanting and intelligently programmed release.

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