Inedits Youra Guller = BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major; CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21 – Youra Guller, piano/Orchestre National de France/D.E. Ingelbrecht
Tahra TAH 719, 63:10 [Distr. By Harmonia mundi] ****:
The elusive Romanian keyboard personality Youra Guller (1895-1980) returns, courtesy of rare archival recordings from the Orchestre National de France, 1958-1959, in which Guller collaborates with the outstanding interpreter of Debussy and French repertory, D.E. Ingelbrecht. The famous German collector Ernest Lumpe made the recording available to Parnassus Records, but Tahra does not trace the etiology of their copy.
A grand illumined noblesse marks every phrase and motion in both concertos, a Beethoven G Major having already reviewed by me in 2007 from a performance with Ernest Ansermet. This performance (15 May 1958) proves elastic and lyrically refined, as per expectation. To remark on the fluency, lightness, clarity, and applied vigor of Guller’s interpretation only repeats what French critics said of her from performances with the Paris Conservatory Orchestras under Gaubert from the same period.
The Chopin Concerto (21 June 1959) seems to wait for the Larghetto to reveal the pliant mysteries Guller could impart to the melodic line, the ornaments appearing to dissipate into interstellar space. No wonder Martha Argerich insisted Guller return to the recording studios! The flourishes and bold fioritura may imply the school of Isidor Philipp and Alfred Cortot, but her poetry has its unique voice and sculpting. The dark interlude in the nocturnal Larghetto becomes a mighty introspection, with the orchestra’s supplying a sounding voice for melancholy ruminations on mortality. The lithe mazurka that constitutes the Allegro vivace brings crisp fire to the concert platform, with Guller’s seeming to relish the roulades and shifting metrics that blend with the maverick woodwind or stormy string line that accompanies the eminently vocal execution of the keyboard. The col legno strings delicately ply their trade under a declamatory Guller who maneuvers rubato and inflections of touch with a suave assurance of style.
Highly recommended as a recording of special merit.
— Gary Lemco
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