- Conductor: Richard Bonynge
- Composer: William Vincent Wallace
- Audio CD (3 Sept. 2012)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Naxos
- ASIN: B008N66K5M
- Other Editions: Audio CD | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 343,212 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Wallace: Chopinesque (Rosemary Tuck; Tait Chamber Orchestra; Richard Bonynge) (Naxos: 8572776)
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The scintillating virtuoso pianist and composer William Vincent Wallace wrote a sheaf of memorable compositions for his instrument. He met the huge demand for sheet music by producing a series of waltzes, nocturnes, mazurkas, barcarolles, and other works dazzling in their variety, invention, wit, humour and charm. Their tone ranges from Latin American to Spanish and from seascape to melancholy reflection. Widely admired exponents of Wallaces music, Rosemary Tuck and Richard Bonynge are joined by the Tait Chamber Orchestra for the brilliant Grande Fantaisie La Cracovienne.
This latest piano collection is perhaps the best of all... Rosemary Tuck dispatches all with admirable grace and aplomb... Wallace s piano compositions are of real appeal and this generous and inexpensive collection is well worth investigating alongside Naxos s previous issues of his Opera Fantasies and Celtic Fantasies. --Andrew Lamb, Gramophone December 2012See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
The solo piano music was recorded in a rather boomy acoustic, which I'm not sure quite suits this salon-style music, but otherwise this disc can be recommended.
I would agree also with Stephen's four stars if this were a standard-price CD, but at the price, this is an unmissable purchase -- it will give far more pleasure than you will ever get from one twelfth of a tank of petrol. The value for money earns it the final star.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
This CD abounds in charm and is superbly produced. First of all, Ms Tuck plays with wonderful taste and articulation, making the most of the music. Secondly, the piano sounds beautiful, the liner notes are superb and so is the recording. If anything, this has motivated me to explore WVW operas 'Maritana' and Lurline' (both released by this beloved label). Likewise, there are two additional keyboard releases with Ms Tuck playing Wallace. Kudos.
So ok: to the music. The connection with Gottschalk seems to be more than quite coincidental. Both peripatetic, almost contemporary piano player/composers who had written mostly salon piano music (with some catchy titles) almost demonstrating where they had been at. The piano styles are not very different, very revealing of what "society" was listening (or playing) in their music rooms. If you imagine yourself in one of those salon gatherings looking at the composer playing the piece, you might certainly forget its 'superficiality', the lack of harmonic novelty, depth and transcendence, and stick to the moment and its charm.
For the price of a Naxos CD, it would be sad that this would go unnoticed when there are so many other items that have come my way that were boring or interminable to listen to. This 79+ minutes went by rather quickly for me. So if you like Gottchalk, try this!
Perhaps it is me, then? Of course it is me! I did not expect much, yet I enjoyed and learned quite a lot.
The name of this disc, surely primarily as a selling point, is 'Chopinesque.' I hear little here that comes within a country mile of anything by Chopin whose melodic, harmonic and contrapuntal mastery is not even hinted at by Wallace. It strikes me as cynical that the disc borrows Chopin's name to make it more attractive to an unsuspecting CD-buying public. There is little here that I would willingly listen to again.
That said, the performances are much better than the music they present. The first cut, 'Polonaise de Wilna', is played, surprisingly and very well, by the noted Australian conductor of bel canto opera, Richard Bonynge. The pianist for the rest of the CD is Rosemary Tuck, an Australian who was unfamiliar to me. The disc consists primarily of solo piano pieces but concludes with a new orchestration of the 'Grande Fantaisie La Cracovienne'. This work had originally been a piano-and-orchestra work but that score was lost and a solo piano reduction was all that had survived. It has been reorchestrated cleverly by Jeremy Silver. Bonynge conducts the Tait Chamber Orchestra, a group made up of Australian musicians resident in Britain. (The Australian connection arises from the fact that Wallace spent 1835-1842 in Australia where he was a founding father of classical music in the young colony.)
I cannot recommend this disc for any but the most indefatigable, omnivorous collectors.