1892 reflections - Weyand
Ars Produktion ARS 38 308
Classical - Instrumental
Debussy: Nocturne (1892)
Albéniz: extracts from Cantos de España
Grieg: Lyric Pieces, Op. 57
Brahms: Fantasien, Op. 116
Uta Weyand, piano
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Review by Adrian Quanjer - June 3, 2020
Like many on this site, I'm a great Mahler fan. Listening to one of his symphonies invigorates the mind, but taking full profit is at the same time quite demanding. Hence, absorbing more than one at the time is heavy, probably too heavy for most. If that's the case, something spiritually relaxing will help you out. That's where Uta Weyand comes in with her '1892 Reflections'. An intriguing title indeed. As it turns out, not just inspired by the first track of her recital: Debussy's Nocturne 1892, but more so because all the rest, including the Steinway & Sons concert grand, centers around that very same year.
Why is that year important? Apart from the coincidence in time between music and the grand piano, Erling Sandmo's liner notes explain to us the virtues of the chosen moment in the light of the turn of the century "marked by simultaneous interest in new music and in novelty itself: what would be the way forward?"
Against this backdrop, Uta Weyand has made a careful selection of piano solo works reflecting on what was and what will be. In fact, a perfect recital for a concert in the salon of Schloss Panker, the castle of Alexander Friedrich Landgraf von Hessen, a competent composer in his own right, who ordered in 1892 a Model-B grand for his personal use. It would have been a brilliant idea if it weren't for the fact that it is no longer there but in another castle, Schloss Fasanerie, - now a museum - where this recording was made in September last year by the skilled ARS Produktion engineering team. (Read all about the history of this grand piano in Rainer von Hessen's introductory 'Greeting').
Although a modernist and man of the world, the three Cantos de España published by Albeniz in 1892 (the other two were added in the 1898 publication) look back in nostalgia with the use of folk elements, whereas 'old hand' Grieg looks ahead with his Lyric Pieces Op. 57. Debussy's impressionistic Nocturne, represents the future, in contrast to Bramhs's 7 Fantasies Op.116, rounding off the past. It altogether makes up a positively coloured recital of delicate sentiment and dancelike motivation.
Uta Weynand's elegant and technically controlled playing is particularly suited for putting this mix in an attractive framework. She obviously knows how to handle the restored grand, extracting its warm and blooming sound, possibly because of the careful restoration of this turn-of-the-century model, to which Uta has financially contributed by giving a benefit concert, or perhaps more pertinently because of the simple reason that she fell (during that concert?) in love with this instrument. Whatever the case, this is a recital like one would love to hear more often.
Blangy-le-Château, Normandy, France.
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