J.S. Bach: English Suite No. 2; Haydn: Piano Sonata No. 62; Schumann: Carnaval, Op. 9

J.S. Bach: English Suite No. 2; Haydn: Piano Sonata No. 62; Schumann: Carnaval, Op. 9

by Myra Hess
     
 
Dame Myra Hess was certainly a "great performer of the twentieth century," as the packaging for this disc proclaims, but if the music here qualifies her as a "BBC Legend" is another question. The performances here, recorded between 1950 and 1962, are a mixed bag of interest to collectors but not a top choice for those desiring an introduction to this pianist beloved

Overview

Dame Myra Hess was certainly a "great performer of the twentieth century," as the packaging for this disc proclaims, but if the music here qualifies her as a "BBC Legend" is another question. The performances here, recorded between 1950 and 1962, are a mixed bag of interest to collectors but not a top choice for those desiring an introduction to this pianist beloved of connoisseurs. Hess illuminated paths through complex polyphonic music, beguiling live audiences especially with a mixture of intimacy and spirituality. In a way, she was a relative of Glenn Gould even if she had an English reserve that made her completely avoid Gould's outrageousness -- she aimed toward a sort of intellectual-spiritual ecstasy in her playing. Something of that quality comes through in the Johann Sebastian Bach selections on this 1956 recording; her "English Suite No. 2 in A minor, BWV 807," is one of the most carefully controlled available from an era that still tended to let Bach go all over the map. The other two selections on the album are less successful although they are interesting items for Hess fans. The 1962 performance of Haydn's "Piano Sonata in E flat major, Hob. 16/52," was Hess' last of any kind; it occurred after she suffered a stroke that did not impair her technically, but it features an inexplicable alteration of the opening phrases of the piece. Hess' spirit is recognizable in the final performance of the Schumann "Carnaval, Op. 9," but buried under distorted sound that even the best remastering does nothing to disguise. Hess did not record prolifically and it's not easy to assemble a true picture of her talent, but keep an eye out for occasional reissues of the Dame Myra Hess -- A Cameo compilation CD.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/30/2007
Label:
Bbc Legends
UPC:
0684911420128
catalogNumber:
4201
Rank:
123513

Tracks

  1. Prelude and Fughetta, for keyboard in G major, BWV 902 (BC L79): Prelude
  2. English Suite, for keyboard No. 2 in A minor, BWV 807 (BC L14)
  3. Keyboard Sonata in E flat major, H. 16/52
  4. Carnaval for piano, Op. 9

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Myra Hess   Primary Artist

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