Fad or fo real?
The air to searching musicians like Furtwangler, our great Daniel Barenboim has not let himself settle for being one of the finest stage musicians, simply conducting the best or playing the greatest concert stages.
No sir. After a session with Liszt's own piano and its different stringing and voicing, Barenboim joined up with instrument maker Chris Maene and created his own grand design, with the help of Steinway and Sons. Thus, the new concert grand Barenboim-Maene was born.
Barenboim says "The transparency and tonal characteristics of the traditional straight-strung instruments is so different from the homogenous tone produced by the modern piano across its entire range. The clearly distinguishable voices and colour across its registers of Liszt’s piano inspired me to explore the possibility of combining these qualities with the power, looks, evenness of touch, stability of tuning and other technical advantages of the modern Steinway…”
A recording worth your investment? Well, a recital by Barenboim on a toy piano would be worth a listen.
Here, we get your basic designed Sonata concert, played as usual by the great man with consummate artistry, flawless technique and good taste.
Scarlatti Sonatas reveal a light touch with sparkling tempos. Does the piano sound that much different? On my Sonos system on a Tidal download, not too much. Just a gorgeous sound with fabulous playing. Nuff' for me. I'm sure pianophiles will spot the differences in touch and balance.
In Beethoven's 32 Variations in C minor, the typical sfz markings reveal a transparency that the new piano may be bringing to the proceedings, yet Beethoven's favourite mark of expression remains emphatic.
The repertoire was chosen to highlight the new sound and the wonderful DG recording does just that.
There is a clarity of line, even when things get rampant in the Liszt and Chopin's magnificent Ballade No. 1 that gives the listener a very lovely experience. Better than the new Trifanov recording banging away at a Steinway on his new release, Transcendental? Well, that'll be your choice. I like both.
Barenboim will probably return to what's old again. No matter, the more the merrier from him.
Int. Release 04 Nov. 2016
1 CD / Download
0289 479 6724 8
DOMENICO SCARLATTI (1685–1757)
1 Sonata in C major K 159 / L 104
2 Sonata in D minor K 9 / L 413
3 Sonata in E major K 380 / L 23
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
4 32 Variations in C minor on an Original Theme WoO 80
FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN (1810–1849)
5 Ballade No. 1 in G minor op. 23
RICHARD WAGNER (1813–1883) / FRANZ LISZT (1811–1886)
6 Solemn March to the Holy Grail from Parsifal S 450
7 Funérailles S 173/7
(from Harmonies poétiques et religieuses)
8 Mephisto Waltz No. 1: The Dance in the Village Inn S 514