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Posted October 1, 2010
I wasn't quite sure what to make of this disc on first hearing it. The recording quality is excellent, and has good dynamic range. Initially, though, it was difficult for me to avoid the inevitable comparisons with Fanny's brother Felix. However, upon a second and third listening on my home stereo, the talents of both Fanny and Heather Schmidt (the pianist) made themselves readily apparent. This recording contains pieces from various points throughout Fanny's all too short life, and clearly demonstrate the talents of a growing composer as well as those of a more mature developed individual, despite the fact that she was discouraged from publishing because of her gender.
Make no mistake, Fanny has something to say. The turbulent Allegro molto in C minor is defiant, with whirlwinds of chords that travel up and down the keyboard, which contrasts nicely with the more wistful three movement Sonata in C minor, the latter being dedicated to her brother "in his absence". And a marvelous example of a more mature composition can be found in the Piano Sonata in G minor, a strong yet not too forceful work that grabbed this listener by the ears and made him stop what he was doing until the fourth movement had finished. Darker harmonies, albeit strangely warm at the same time, can be found in the Sonata o Capriccio, yet another piece on this disc that I liked a great deal. And there is no denying that the Notturno in G minor, written by a more mature Fanny, shows why this composer is worth exploring and listening to. Yes, this is a composer with something to say. And with Heather Schmidt bringing the pieces to life, Fanny's compositions do indeed have a voice. This listener wants to hear more.