One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation


absolutely thrilling


immediacy and spontaneity


Schumann Lieder


24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs


‘Box of Delights.’


J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue


GERNSHEIM Quartets
a most welcome issue


I enjoyed it tremendously


the finest traditions of the house


music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message


ground-breaking, winning release


Charpentier
screams quality


Surprise of the month


English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Availability

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Etudes, Op. 10
Leopold GODOWSKY (1870-1938)
Studies on Chopin’s Etudes, Op. 10
David Stanhope (piano)
rec. 2012, City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney
TALL POPPIES TP230 [44:34 + 47:15]

David Stanhope bills himself as “an occasional pianist” and came to the instrument after learning to play the French horn and bass trombone. He spends time both conducting and composing, making him a sort of musical Renaissance man. This makes it all the more unfair that in his free time he somehow managed to learn the piano well enough to play Godowsky’s etudes after Chopin, and play them with aplomb. Some people got more than their fair share of talent.

Stanhope is attracted to super-difficult works, like Godowsky’s, and the genre has been his recording focus. Here, he tackles Chopin’s Op. 10 and Godowsky’s variations on those études, presenting each Chopin piece followed by its Godowsky rewrites. The booklet notes explain what’s going on very clearly, but really I suggest you watch Stanhope’s videos on YouTube, where he patiently and wittily explains what’s going on, shows you just how hard the music is to play, and then plays it (link 1 ~~ link 2 ~~ link 3). That first link is especially rewarding: it may change entirely how you think about a very famous etude.

You might object to the short playing time of the two CDs (45 minutes and 47 minutes), but this turns out to be just right. 45 minutes is the exact amount of time my brain can go listening to such taxing piano showpieces before wanting to hear something else. The shorter first disc, especially, is welcome because by the end, you’ve just heard Godowsky’s seven versions of the “Black Keys” etude.

It’s a lot of fun to read the booklet as you listen along, but it’s still fun to just listen. David Stanhope is a formidable virtuoso. Generally he does not show the strain or herculean effort you’d expect ... and when he does sound stressed, can you blame him? Without use of the booklet, I’m honestly not sure if I could tell which etudes are written for the left hand alone. Godowsky’s bag of tricks is deep, and Stanhope’s ability to cope is seemingly bottomless.

I don’t know Marc-André Hamelin’s recordings well enough to compare the performers in detail, but the recorded sound for this Stanhope set has more colour and pop. Stanhope’s playing style, too, is less clinical than Hamelin’s.

Stanhope’s booklet notes are personable and honest about the music and its challenges. He does an admirable job explaining the technical feats, and he leaves his email address if you have any questions. If you like this repertoire you should get this album. If you’re not certain or worried about overdosing on piano, do try one or two of the excellent YouTube videos.

Brian Reinhart


 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger