Fuchs Piano Sonatas, Vol.2
This disc complements and completes Marco Polo's excellent first volume of Fuchs's piano sonatas which I reviewed in June and which once again offers a tantalizing mix of tradition and novelty. The Third Sonata is not without incidental felicities (though there is nothing as memorable as the haunting second movement Allegro from the First Sonata) yet it really does suggest reject Brahms or at any rate music he might have put on ice for later consideration. Even those who live and breathe the atmosphere of late nineteenth-century Vienna will find the finale hard going and agree that the Sonata as a whole is apt to collapse under its own weight. The 12 Waltzes on the other hand show a strong Schubertian bias, though you will only hear a few of the subtleties—the poetic light and shade—of Schubert's incomparable dance sequences. No, the real treat is the Jugendklange, music glowing with all sorts of affectionate surprises. ''Bogey Man'' is an Alkanesque oddity and ''The Rain Drizzles'' is an intriguing foretaste of impressionism. But ''Butterfly in the Meadow'' and ''Merry Month of May'' are irresistible; the first an evocation of some long-past summer idyll, the second a Schumannesque, harmonically piquant re-telling of custom and ceremony. Seekers after unusual encores need look no further. Yet nothing is without interest in this recital, particularly the revelation that Fuchs comes into his own in miniatures rather than epics. No grumbles about the vivid recording, and Daniel Blumenthal is a warmly assured and dependable pianist.'