Magazine article Gramophone

Bersa: 'Complete Piano Music, Vol 1'

Magazine article Gramophone

Bersa: 'Complete Piano Music, Vol 1'

Article excerpt

Bersa

'Complete Piano Music, Vol 1' Piano Sonata No 2, Op 20. At the Strand (Na zalu). Notturno, Op 38. Ora triste, Op 37.

Fantaisie-impromptu, Op 27. Ballabile. Bagatella, Op 16. In the Old Way (Po nacinu starih). Marcia trionfale. Op 24

Goran Filipec pf

Grand Piano (F) GP767 (56' * DDD)

Until this disc arrived for review, my only exposure to the Croatian composer Blagoje Bersa (1873-1934) was through his exuberant, breathtakingly orchestrated tone poem Suncana polja ('Sunny Fields'). So where has his amazing piano music been hiding all these years? It's colourful, unabashedly virtuoso and quite substantial.

The 1897 Second Sonata in one continuous movement might be described as Strauss's confidently soaring melodies and Rimsky-Korsakov's exoticism served up by Rachmaninov, Busoni and Medtner jostling for room on the piano bench. Much of Na zalu ('At the Strand') consists of ravishing and slithering chords anchored by a D flat pedal point, while the lyrically oriented Notturno and Ora triste sometimes hint at Spanish Impressionism, especially in the climactic outbursts. As the booklet note suggests, the Fantaisie-impromptu is clearly inspired by Liszt, although I'd call it Liszt on steroids, just as the Bagatella, Op 16, belies its title in regard to its seven-minute length and meaty piano-writing. …

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