Simon Trpčeski – SCHUBERT; BACH; LISZT
This is Simon Trp∂eski’s first mixed recital disc since his acclaimed debut album for EMI in 2002 (8/02), the first after his outstanding recordings of Rachmaninov’s concertos with Vasily Petrenko (4/10, 9/11), and his first live recording. From the opening notes of Schubert’s little A major dance, you know you are in safe hands, able to sit back and relax – except in the finale of the Wanderer Fantasy and the friska of the Hungarian Rhapsody, when he has you on the edge of your seat. No need to go scurrying to scores to check some aberrant passage or idiosyncratic phrasing.
Not that there is anything production-line about Trp∂eski. Far from it. After the enchanting sequence of the 16 German Dances, he heads out to the deeper waters of the great C major Fantasy. He takes the beginning a shade too steadily (more maestoso than allegro con fuoco), an indication of his view of the work as a whole – less endearing than Edwin Fischer in his cherishable 1934 recording (APR or Pearl, 3/97), but superior in technique, allowing him greater expressive freedom and clarity in the Scherzo and, especially, the powerful concluding Allegro.
After a beautifully voiced Bach-Liszt Prelude and Fugue, sparingly pedalled, like the Fantasy (‘It sings out in all its purity like a palate-cleanser’ – Cara Chanteau in her excellent booklet), Trp∂eski gives us three different shades of Liszt: the tone-poet, the impressionist and the entertainer. They wrap up what is becoming increasingly rare to find on disc: a proper piano recital – a varied, thoughtfully chosen programme, a rewarding musical and pianistic experience one wants to return to, superbly recorded, classily presented and featuring the playing of a master pianist.