Pnina Salzman, Vol. 5 = CHOPIN: Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Op. 35 “Funeral March;” Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58; Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante; Fantasie in F Minor, Op. 49; Valse in G-flat Major

by | Nov 12, 2005 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

Pnina Salzman, Vol. 5 = CHOPIN: Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat
Minor, Op. 35 “Funeral March;” Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58;
Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante, Op. 22; Fantasie in F
Minor, Op. 49; Valse in G-flat Major, Op. 70, No. 1

Doremi DHR-7862  78:21 (Distrib. Allegro) ****:

A series of live performances, 1967-1983 by Pnina Salman (b. 1924), the
Israeli keyboard virtuoso whose pedigree includes Alfred Cortot and
Magda Tagliaferro. Considering the strength of her technique, the
poetry in her temperament, and the range of her repertory, one must
wonder why no major record company has documented the splendors of her
art.

Salzman’s Chopin is supple and muscular, certainly a par with the
playing of Martha Argerich, but with a decided French color, with a
long, clean line that fills out the cadences with sensuous landings.
While I find her Funeral March Sonata (6 June 1979) rather linear in
approach, the B Minor Sonata (15 October 1975) has improved sound and
enjoys all sorts of subtle, expansive niceties of pedal and rhythm
which recall masters like Robert Casadesus. Salzman has her own ideas
about tempo and transitions; and the opening movement, with its huge
scale, emanates a nervous energy on a par with Lipatti’s classic
rendition. She lingers most effectively in the trio of the Scherzo; the
Largo receives a reflective, pointed, highly personalized reading –
quite compelling. The Finale is all fire and muscle, nothing ladylike
here.

At several points in her tumultuous Fantasie (15 May 1975), I likened
Salzman’s approach to Jeanne Marie Darre, especially in the finely
etched arioso passages, the clean martial lines of the marcato figures.
A bit of too-close miking has the sound of the compressed pedals. The
Andante Spianato (17 December 1983) might pass for a performance by
Horowitz or even Hofmann, when his fingers were reliable. It has a
diaphanous patina and an inexorable pulsation which combine for some
scintillating Chopin, the Polonaise phrased in a style which Artur
Rubinstein once categorized as an “iconoclastic classicism.” The dainty
Waltz in G-flat (14 November 1967) simply and elegantly captures
Chopin’s romantic, salon mystique after the colossal passions of the
Fantasie. Record producer Jacob Harnoy provides not one sound of
applause from any of these concerts; you’ll have to add that yourself.
Remarkable Chopin playing which reminds me why I collect records!

–Gary Lemco

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