Music Of A Bygone Era / Frank Glazer

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Frank Glazer's rich and varied musical life as touring virtuoso, teacher, music director, television host, annotator, and much else is enough for five careers. The 91-year-old pianist's long resume includes everything from studies with Schnabel and Schoenberg to playing in vaudeville houses and, believe it or not, the Icelandic premiere of Brahms' second piano concerto. At 85, he recorded a recital of once-fashionable/now-frowned-upon encores, the type of repertoire Arthur Loesser used to call "cream of corn". Few pianists today have a genuine feeling for such pieces, save, of course, Earl Wild (Glazer's slightly younger contemporary) and perhaps Stephen Hough or Marc-André Hamelin. However, Glazer's beautiful, robust tone and innate charm are exactly what this music needs.

The disc opens with a curvaceous and ravishingly sung out account of Mendelssohn's Spring Song, followed by Alfred Grünfeld's pretty if overlong Romanze and Grieg's Papillon, which is fuller in body and less cameo-like than we often hear. Glazer pays heed to the inner voices in Godowsky's Alt-Wien, although it doesn't quite attain the tonal magic of Shura Cherkassky's recently reissued 1974 recording. Although Sinding's Rustle of Spring, Moszkowski's E major Waltz, and Rubinstein's Melody in F would benefit from a lighter touch and more rippling accompanimental figures, Glazer's legato scales and subtle tonal shadings--using remarkably little pedal--in Liadov's Musical Snuff-Box are worthy of the old Hofmann and Rosenthal recordings.

Rubinstein's Kamennoi-Ostrow moves too slowly to sustain the music's bland harmonic appeal, while Paderewski's Menuet in G and Macdowell's Witches Dance are a shade heavy-handed and lacking in élan. Glazer accommodates the prevalent thick textures of Dohnanyi's "Nalia" transcription by taking overly slow tempos, yet the pianist's sustaining power prevents them from sounding labored. On the other hand, Glazer's fingers sound 60 years younger in Stephen Heller's fluffy transcription of Schubert's "The Trout", while Liszt's Third Liebestraume is direct, elegant, and free of treacle. All told, a lovely disc.

--Jed Distler,

Product Description:

  • Release Date: June 06, 2006

  • Catalog Number: BCD9194

  • UPC: 090404919428

  • Label: Bridge Records

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Composer: Alfred Gruenfeld, Anatole Liadov, Anton Rubinstein, Christian Sinding, Edvard Grieg, Edward MacDowell, Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt, Ignace Jan Paderewski, Léo Delibes, Leopold Godowsky, Moritz Moszkowski, Stephen Heller

  • Performer: Frank Glazer