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Stravinsky: 3 Mouvements de Petrouchka / Hindemith: Sonata, Suite - Müllerperth

Stravinsky: 3 Mouvements de Petrouchka / Hindemith: Sonata, Suite - Müllerperth

Ars Produktion  ARS 38 257

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental


Stravinsky: 3 Mouvements de Petrouchka, Tango, Piano-Rag-Music
Hindemith: Sonata, Suite

Magdalena Müllerperth (piano)

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Review by Adrian Quanjer - October 5, 2018

According to her website, Magdalena Müllerperth’s repertoire focuses on mainstream music, mostly from the classical and romantic era. This being her debut recording, wouldn’t it have been more logical, I wonder, had she chosen to record Mozart, Beethoven or Schumann? But no, she did not. She clearly opted for a more courageous statement. With this recital she dives in the deep, taking and assuming all the inherent risks. A laudable step and we may be thoroughly grateful for her doing just that. The recital she has prepared for this recording is, indeed, unique.

Although both Stravinsky pieces are better known and also represented in the hi-res catalogue, the two from Paul Hindemith have scarcely been recorded in any format and none of them is thus far available in Super Audio. All the more reason to have a close listen.

It has become more or less customary to describe a young soloist as ‘one of the most (………) talents of his/her generation’. For serious listeners the truth of it lies not in the reading but, as it should, in the listening. In Magdalena Müllerperth’s case the dotted part reads ‘engaging’. After having listened to this disc, I cannot but concur that that’s exactly what she so eloquently demonstrates in her pianistic language. And for those unfamiliar with Hindemith (and Stravinsky, for that matter) I may add that there is no question of a-tonal music. Theirs is more a matter of allowing themselves a large degree of tonal freedom “as a means of individual expression”. Moreover, these works give not only proof of both composers’ common views from having lived together in exile in the United States, but also as a common unconventional treatment of compositional style and rhythmic structure.

So, what precisely do we get?

Interestingly, in his instructions for playing the ragtime (final movement of his Suite for Piano Op. 25) Hindemith reminds us, as does, by the way, Stravinsky in a letter to Rubinstein, that this instrument is a member of the percussion family and should therefore be treated as such. (“Consider the piano here as an interesting kind of percussion instrument and treat it accordingly”).

Müllerperth lives up to it without any hesitation. She engages with incredible precision, not sparing the hammers, one might say. But that is not to suggest that she’s happily hammering away. On the contrary. All along her recital every note is alternatively struck with care or with determination to carve out the essence of the scores, many of which are based on contemporary entertainment music, like ragtime rhythms appearing in Hindemith’s Suite for the Piano and Stravinsky’s Piano Rag Music and dancing elements in the three movements of Stravinsky’s puppet Petroushka.

In order to fully appreciate Müllepert’s satirical approach, mimicking in Hidemith’s Piano Suite Op. 26 “l’enfant terrible de la musique allemande”, and the straight forward reading in his early (reconstructed) Piano Sonata Op. 17, I suggest to listen while reading the extensive detailed and explicatory Claus-Dieter Hanauer’s liner notes (in a font so small that some may have to resort to using a loupe to read them!).

Having no comparison for the piano sonata at my disposal, suffice it to say that I find Ms. Müllerpart’s reading wholly convincing and in line with what the ‘enfant terrible’ most probably had in mind. On these grounds I believe that this sonata alone is already a compelling reason for diving with her in the deep, adding it to your collection, whilst enjoying the rest of her recital as well.

The recording is a co-production with the South West German Radio (Hans Rosbaud Studio) lending the always difficult to capture piano a realistically warm sound.

Blangy-le-Château,
Normandy, France

Copyright © 2018 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Multichannel):

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