Leslie Richford | Selsingen, Lower Saxony | 01/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The sixth volume of ?Romantic Piano Favourites? was recorded in spring and summer of 1988 and is able to escape the censure to which some of its predecessor volumes were subject. Perhaps it is because there are, with the exception of Grieg?s ?Erotik? (also reasonably done), no really slow pieces on this disc that Balázs Szokolay is able to shine: he obviously has a penchant for the technically demanding fast pieces, and these come over here convincingly. Haydn, Schumann, Schubert, Raff, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninov, Albéniz, Schulz-Evler ? all make a good impression. Chopin?s ?Barcarolle? is perhaps not quite up to the standard of the other interpretations, but this is more than compensated by the Bartók; Szokolay seems to have a particular affinity for his countryman. Schulz-Evler?s Concert Arabesque is a series of incredibly ornate variations on themes from the younger Johann Strauss?s ?Blue Danube? and makes for eleven minutes of quite fascinating listening, although I suspect that this is something of a nineteenth-century crossover piece.
The disc was recorded, like the others in the series, at Budapest?s renowned Italian Institute, and the sound is warm without being over-intimate, altogether quite enjoyable.