Mirror Canon - Aspaas
Classical - Instrumental
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor Op. 111, Arnold Schönberg: Sechs kleine Klavierstücke Op. 19, Anton Webern: Vier Stücke für Geige und Klavier Op. 7, Alban Berg: Piano Sonata Op. 1
Tor Espen Aspaas (piano)
Kolbjørn Holthe (violin)
The First and Second Viennese Schools and their associated cultural environments constitute a fascinating, enigmatic musical terrain of strong mutual relationships. This recording seeks to explore points of tension between the two epochs by contrasting four central compositions – masterpieces which constantly inform our perception of what music is and what music can be. Two canons, mirrored in their own reflection.
Recorded at Sofienberg Church, September 2007 by Lindberg Lyd AS
Recording producer: Wolfgang Plagge
Balance engineer: Hans Peter L'Orange
Piano technician: Thron Irby STEINWAY & SONS
Editing: Jørn Simenstad
SACD-mastering: Hans Peter L'Orange
Executive producers: Jørn Simenstad and Morten Lindberg
This recording was made with DPA microphones, Millennia Media amplifiers and SPHYNX2 converters to a PYRAMIX workstation, all within the DXD-domain.
Review by John Broggio - August 7, 2008
An astonishingly well recorded and played recital of the two contrasting schools of Viennese composition from 2L and Tor Espen Aspaas.
The last sonata of Beethoven opens the disc and in many ways this is mightily impressive playing - especially so in the Arietta. This astonishing variation movement, replete with hints at ragtime!, has a wonderful sense of repose and controlled imagination in the playing that is entirely at the service of the music. The comparisons with Schnabel are to Aspaas' advantage, as he contains the same inspiration without any of the technical instabilities that are a feature of the recordings of Schnabel. The first movement is also an impressive achievement; the allegro is certainly played with brio and passion!
Aspaas' playing music of the Second Viennese School though is in a different league altogether. The "Sechs kleine Klavierstücke" from Schoenberg are wonderful gems of the piano repertoire and Aspaas has the full measure of them. The tempi chosen are unconventional, although it must be noted that pauses are often held for great lengths which accounts for some of the strange timings. Aspaas is then joined by Kolbjørn Holthe (violin) for Webern's "Vier Stücke für Geige und Klavier" (roughly contemporaneous to the Schoenberg) in which the four miniatures are given a concentrated and dedicated performance.
The closing work is Berg's one movement sonata, which is the earliest of the later composers works. In some ways, this should have been placed before the Webern and Schoenberg as it bridges the (tonal) gap between Romanticism and the atonality that two sets of pieces embody. Aspaas plays with great authority and complete conviction, managing to highlight the new tonal language whilst keeping the familiar sonata form audibly clear. Really inspirational playing of a wonderful piece from a composer who deserves a wider hearing on SACD.
The sound is remarkable by any standards and must surely set the benchmark for the tangibility of how a fine Steinway can sound - demonstration worthy indeed. This is one of those discs where the listener is "there", in situ and almost able to reach out and play the instrument oneself - we cannot not wish for more than that!
Copyright © 2008 John Broggio and HRAudio.net