CHARLES KOECHLIN: Piano Works, Vol. 3 – Michael Korstick, piano – Hanssler Classic

by | Mar 11, 2011 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

CHARLES KOECHLIN: Piano Works, Vol. 3 = Dances for Ginger, Op. 163; Sonatine, Op. 59:3; Andante con moto; L’Ancienne Maison de campagne, Op. 124; Piano Piece, Op. 83; Sonatine, Op. 59:2; 12 Esquisses, First Book, Op. 41 – Michael Korstick, piano – Hanssler Classic 93.261, 76:39 [Distr. by Allegro] *****:
I reviewed Volume 1 of this series earlier to generally good effect, though I thought that perhaps it was the wrong place to find a general introduction to this composer’s music. Volume 3 finds him still all over the map; the man was a true unabashed eclectic who took no shame in reproducing things that he thought worthwhile. For instance, his Dances for Ginger are based on the lilting and suave movements of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers—the composer was very interested in the dynamics of photography, and was certainly fascinated by the moving aspect of the visual arts as well.
The most extended piece here is L’Ancienne Maison de campagne, a series of character pieces based on his youthful remembrances on his grandfather’s county estate. I find it the most aggressively unusual as well, often departing from the copycat elements he so easily engaged in other places, and often remaining quite static in their descriptive prowess, yet still quite beautiful and harmonically daring. The two Sonatines here are indeed designed as children’s pieces, as are the 12 Esquisses. And one would be hard pressed to not hear any number of Debussy’s Preludes in the recently discovered Andante con moto from 1896—the similarity is remarkable. The Op. 83 Piano Piece was written in one day, and is quite the Debussian study of harmonic layering and atmosphere.
Michael Korstick plays magnificently here in a program much more accessible than in Volume 1, and the sound is stunning. Hanssler is on to something here, and this series should be something of a standard-setter.
— Steven Ritter