The music of the Swiss pianist-composer Emil Frey (1889–1946) reflects the stages of his career: studies with Fauré, friendship with Enescu, teaching in pre-Revolutionary Russia and mature familiarity with developments back in western Europe. This first survey of his music also reveals a virtuoso’s understanding of the piano and a sense both of drama and of fun.
Luisa Splett, piano
Sonata dramatica, Op. 27, in D minor:
Kleine Slawische Suite, Op. 38:
Catalogue No: TOCC0339EAN/UPC: 5060113443397Release Date: 01.02.2016Composer: Emil Frey Artists: Luisa Splett
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Rob Barnett :
“Prime Toccata territory again. Where would we be without this most adventurous and cobweb-defying label? … The Berceuse is almost Medtnerian; indeed Frey spent some years in Russia. The Humoreske is strong on Brahmsian charm and polish. As for those Variations, they are faintly folk-like and have a sinuous Eastern European mystery. They are the most subtle work here: delicate yet not unconfident. Their delicacy is not to be mistaken for fragility and Frey ends the piece with a conventional yet effective rhetorical flourish. The half-hour Sonata Dramatica is the ‘big bill’ item. It’s in three movements which drip the nectar of grandiloquent romance. … Luisa Splett is an articulate advocate and more than rises to the challenge. She also supplies the English-only essay which will serve as more than an encyclopaedic entry for Frey. There’s nothing token about it as is invariably the case with Toccata: no short measures in timing or quality. The work that goes into these essays and the accomplishment should be recognised. … No great revelations but there is no doubting that this is a well constructed recital…” –Music Web International, March 2016
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