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“Brahms in Transcription”
Johannes Brahms: Symphony n° 1 in C minor, opus 68 “Andante sostenuto” (trans. Max Reger) – Hungarian Dance n° 15 in B-Flat major, WoO 1 (trans. Theodor Kirchner) – Symphony n° 2 in D major, opus 73 “Adagio non troppo” (trans. Max Reger) – Hungarian Dance n° 17 in F-Sharp major, WoO 1 (trans Theodor Kirchner) – Symphony n° 3 in F major, opus 90 “Andante” (trans. Max Reger) – Hungarian Dance n° 16 in F minor, WoO 1 (trans. Theodor Kirchner) – Symphony n° 3 in F major, opus 90 “Poco Allegretto” (trans. Max Reger) – Hungarian Dance n° 7, in F major, WoO 1 (trans: Johannes Brahms) – Symphony n° 4 in E minor, opus 98 “Andante moderato” (trans: Max Reger) – Hungarian Dance n° 1 in G minor, WoO (trans: Johannes Brahms)
Robert Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-Flat major, opus 44 “Scherzo” (trans. Johannes Brahms)
Christoph Willibald Gluck: Iphigénie en Aulide: “Gavotte” (trans. Johannes Brahms)

Uriel Tsachor (piano)
Recording: Concert Hall, Voxman Music Building, University of Iowa, Iowa City (July 7-10, 2019) – 63’25
MSR Classics MS 1721 – Booklet in English

Pianist Uriel Tsachor is quoted, “In my teaching, I encourage the student to internalize the score being worked on as much as possible, before any serious technical work begins on a piece.” Such a philosophy likely mirrors the outlook of Brahms’ transcribers, Max Reger and Theodor Kirchner: there’s a discipline that’s visceral and exact. On this MSR Classics recording, we hear the former being assigned to the task of re-conveying Brahms’ Symphonies while the latter takes charge of selections from the Hungarian Dances [with exception of Dance n° 7 that’s assigned to the composer himself.]

Each of the five csárdás-flavored Hungarian Dances contribute an independent spirit, and M. Tsachor beelines, then tackles with spicy diction. All of them have clean intimacy though some are boldly-driven while others move along more passively. The Hungarian Dance n° 7 is one delightfully teased dialogue, though it’s fleeting, indeed!

‘Directness and honesty’ can be said about Uriel Tsachor when dwelling upon Johannes Brahms’ symphonic movements. They sing on varying levels of emotion: from the classical, dignified bracket of Symphony n° 2’s “Adagio non troppo” to the pondering gravity of the readily-identifiable “Poco Allegretto” from Symphony n° 3, M. Tsachor shows his unbreakable love for the Romantic in absolutes.

Not only did Brahms rely on contemporaries to re-design his music, he also assumed those duties when it came to Robert Schumann and Christoph Willibald Gluck. These writings have an abundance of beauty and candor.

Schumanns’ Piano Quintet is a distillation which has more compartmented density. The “Scherzo’s” use of inversion scales strongly brings back Carl Czerny’s training exercises with a mid-term encounter of percolation in the treble lines. A virtuosic pleaser, M. Tsachor has deft nimbleness, and he flickers unabashedly throughout.

Suave turns upon each note, Uriel Tsachor regales in Gluck’s passage with an ultimate treatment of crystalline glamour. The moment is like shimmering diamonds refracting in the sun. The middle pizzicato section of the “Gavotte” cycles the œuvre in an elegant lining of grandeur and stately formality. A guaranteed charmer.

One of MSR Classics’ World Premiere Recordings, Uriel Tsachor’s depiction of Johannes Brahms, front and back, will leave the listener with an enchanted feeling. Brilliantly thought-out with intelligence and grace.

Christie Grimstad




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