The latest SACD release from this enterprising Norwegian label with high technical standards is a piano recital by a young pianist who has been well-received in his home country as well as abroad, and who has assembled a program typical of what one might hear in Norway – there’s quite a bit of Grieg in it. The variety of music is welcome; the liner notes even make a sort of connection between Rachmaninoff and Grieg. The Prokofiev sonata is nothing like most of the spiky Russian’s other piano sonatas; in fact it got negative comments when premiered that the composer should get with it and write more modern-sounding music.
The seven Grieg piano pieces are played with great taste and expression. I remember being jealous of a fellow piano student when I was a child, and at our first group recital she tore thru Wedding Day at Troldhaugen with great gusto. Horn makes it a more laid-back wedding day. However, he strikes me as a bit too laid back in the Rachmaninoff Preludes, some of which should rock more than they do. Too polite, perhaps. The piano is miked very naturally and not too closely, and the hall is either not large or the audience is small. Their applause is some of the most astoundingly realistic I have heard on any hi-res surround recording, and that is one of the best test sources you could find.
– John Sunier