Magazine article Gramophone

Hofmann: Charakterskizzen

Magazine article Gramophone

Hofmann: Charakterskizzen

Article excerpt

Hofmann

Charakterskizzen, Op 40. Etude for the Left Hand Alone, Op 32. Mazurkas--Op 16 No 1; B minor; D minor. Piano Sonata, Op 21. Theme with Variations and Fugue, Op 14

Artem Yasynskyy pf

Grand Piano (F) GP675 (69' * DDD)

Josef Hofmann was one of the very greatest pianists of the so-called Golden Age. He was also an inventor (when he died in 1957 he had more than 70 patents to his name, including one for the car windscreen wipers we use today) and composer. Little of his music has made it on to disc, so this release, whatever its shortcomings (and they are few) sheds a welcome extra light on one of the most naturally gifted musicians in history. Hofmann's most recorded work is 'Kaleidoskop', the last of his four Charakterskizzen composed in 1908 and dedicated to Godowsky. It's a dazzling tour deforce demanding extreme agility and imaginative tonal colouring. The Ukrainian pianist Artem Yasynskyy (b Donetsk, 1988) takes it at the more measured tempo (4'51") of Shura Cherkassky (Hofmann's pupil, for whom it was a favourite encore) rather than of Hofmann himself (4'25" live in Casimir Hall, 1938), let alone (the too fast?) Hamelin (4'14"--Hyperion, 12/01). Yasynskyy, with exemplary articulation, phrases the piece beautifully. …

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