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This recording is based on Anna Scott's ideas
The blurb says
"Recorded in the Ehrbar Saal, Vienna on authentic pianos of the period.
As a culmination of many years of research and in preparation for our recording of the Brahms piano quartets using period pianos and gut strings, we convened a four day symposium in Birmingham to workshop, debate and discuss the latest thinking in the field with Dr. Anna Scott, Claire Holden, Dr. Kate Bennett Wadsworth, Professor Ronald Woodley, Jung Yoon Cho and Job Ter Haar.
Pianist Dr. Anna Scott made a compelling case for allowing the evidence of how members of the Schumann-Brahms circle played in early recordings to “romanticise” our very conception of Brahms. Stretching and compressing pulse within an overall tempo and free expressive use of asynchronicity, arpeggiation, rhythmic alteration, agogically inflected dynamic shapes and rubato give her own performances a rich expressivity. She is also the living proof that such playing can work on the modern piano, although most keyboard players find it easier and more natural to adopt period practice on period pianos. During the symposium the Primrose used an 1850’s Wilhelm Wieck piano, having previously enjoyed access to an 1890’s Blüthner in Hampshire that was factory selected by Brahms for a student, as well as to an exceptional Erard in the former Finchcocks collection.
If pianists generally embrace the sheer beauty of early pianos, modern string players have issues with gut strings that include instability of tuning and lack of power. Fortunately these problems are mitigated by the recording process and the use of smaller pianos. Diferent types of gut ofer an opportunity to characterise diferent strings with diferent colours (just as an early piano makes no apology for having diferent colours in diferent registers). String players in the Primrose regularly use gut, and have been taught, like so many in our generation, by teachers with close and direct links back to Brahms. Discussion and experimentation with expressive slides (portamento), extreme (to modern ears) time taking and speeding up, varying colours with varied vibrato, bow speed, and bow pressure was informed by Claire Holden’s work on early recordings of the Vienna Philharmonic, which also revealed that orchestra’s ability to come in and out of pure ensemble in order to make part playing more transparent and lines freer and more expressive where appropriate. We also heard from Dr Kate Bennett Wadsworth about her preparations for her recording of the Brahms cello sonatas, using the Bärenreiter edition that she prepared with Professor Clive Brown, considering how the fingerings and bowings of contemporary cellists had interpretational implications. This informed our own work on editions, aided by observations from friends and students when we undertook additional workshops."
But see my next post.