Valse Fantastique; Intermezzo in A minor; Concert Study in A flat;
Valse-Caprice in A; Melody in D flat; First Impromptu in E minor; Valsette
in E minor; Elegy in C minor; Tarantella in A minor; Graceful Dance in F;
Polish Dance in E; Melody in E flat; Mazurka in E; Reverie in A minor; Humoresque
What a pleasant surprise!
Although this may not be the greatest of music, it is full of interest. These
are late Victorian pieces and the titles reminded me of many pieces that
I played as a boy with these simple titles such as Melody and
While some listeners will waste time in trying to find influences of Chopin
and Mendelssohn in these pieces they would do far better to simply listen
to and enjoy them. The opening Valse Fantastique lives up to its name
and is played with scintillating finger work. The Valse Caprice is
a little ONE, two, three, ONE, two, three ad nauseam, à la
Johann Strauss, for my taste. The Melody in D flat has an interesting
accompaniment, a clever use of modulation and is never allowed to wallow.
The quasi cantabile style brings out the lyrical line and if people
want to dismiss this as merely salon music they must remember that
Chopin and Schubert's music often falls into that category. The
Impromptu benefits from a clever design and from easy to remember
material and lives up to the real meaning of its title.
The Elegy, which was played at the composer's funeral in 1936, is both simple
and occasionally profound with some choice modulations and a few harmonic
surprises! And, as in all the pieces on this CD, the music does not drag
and this is due to Mr Cuckston's advocacy.
The performances are gracefully and rhythmically vibrant. The recording is
sharp and crisp.
I do not recommend that you listen to all the pieces in one sitting however,
but be selective. Some of the pieces are delightful and I do hope pianists
will take them up.