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Label:
  Festivo Classics - http://www.festivo.de/
Serial:
  ?
Title:
  Christoph Declara "Debüt"
Description:
  Brahms: Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor Op. 5, Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Handel Op. 24, Gubaidulina: Chaconne

Christoph Declara (piano)
Track listing:
 
Genre:
  Classical - Instrumental
Content:
  Stereo/Multichannel
Media:
  Hybrid
Recording type:
 
Recording info:
 

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Reviews: 1

Review by Fugue December 14, 2010 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
My, what an impressive "debut" we have here! Both the performer and label were new names to me, so the disc was a bit of a gamble, but it has paid off handsomely!

MUSIC: Brahms Sonata No 3, a massive, symphonic-scaled piece; Gubaidulina (1932) Chaconne (1962); and Brahms Variations and Fugue on a theme by Handel. Brahms and Gubaidulina might seems like unusual partners, but I think he chose them due to the genre
similarities: both composers offer modern takes (during their respective time periods) on Baroque themes or forms. Guibaidulina uses an original theme but the Baroque form of a chaconne, variations on a chord progression. Its angularity forms a stark contrast to the romantic lushness of Brahms, but it is a strikingly powerful piece that sounds fearsomely difficult to play in places. Tonally, it's a bit more dissonant than Prokofiev or Shostakovich (who are obviously influences), but it is not screamingly avant garde.

PERFORMANCE: Declara plays magnificently. His approach is muscular without resorting to mere pounding. Rhythms are clearly delineated, and his phrasing is very musical. Loud passages are very powerful, and the quiet ones are as dreamy and etherial as one would want.

SOUND: Excellent! The perspective is a bit more distant than I would prefer, but the extra space allows for the climaxes to fully bloom. Although the hall sounds large, details remain clear. I briefly compared this disc to Zimerman's DG (RBCD) recording of the 3rd Sonata, and I had to turn it off after a few seconds! DG's cramped, brittle tone is now unlistenable.

Bottom line, music, sound, and performances unite to produce a most wonderful recording. The only downside is that the booklet is printed in German only.

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Works: 3  

Johannes Brahms - Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5
Johannes Brahms - Variations on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24
Sofia Gubaidulina - Chaconne