Franck: Symphonie, Variations Symphoniques / Flor, Firkusny

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Firkusny gives us a performance very much in the class of Artur Rubinstein... His Czech roots give him an enlivening sense of rhythm, allowing him...
Firkusny gives us a performance very much in the class of Artur Rubinstein... His Czech roots give him an enlivening sense of rhythm, allowing him to convey high spirits with impeccable poise and style.

Claus Peter Flor leads a sober, "Germanic" performance of Franck's symphony, noteworthy for its clarity of texture and sensitivity to dynamic nuance. This is evident at both ends of the dynamic spectrum, whether in the delicate tracery of the second movement's central section, or in the distinct audibility of the trumpets in their final lick just before the work's closing chords. I do miss the rhythmic lift that Monteux brings to the finale (it's not entirely free of Teutonic heaviness, but then that's Franck's fault too), and the Royal Philharmonic strings could have a sweeter timbre now and then, but this is a good performance, strong on basic musical values. The sonics are also well-balanced and pleasing.

The Symphonic Variations is even better, and valuable for enshrining yet another telling example of the artistry of Rudolf Firkusny, whose "Indian summer" recordings for RCA comprise his most important artistic legacy aside from his Janácek piano music discs on DG. For some reason, perhaps because of its brevity and lack of virtuoso fireworks, the Variations doesn't often feature on concert programs anymore, but the piece was a favorite of Artur Rubinstein, and Firkusny gives us a performance very much in that class. The variations proper, actually the central episode sandwiched in between the dramatic introduction and the fully developed finale, have just the right serenely graceful flow, while the conclusion is simply delightful. Clearly the pianist's Czech roots give him an enlivening sense of rhythm, allowing him to convey high spirits with impeccable poise and style.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com


Product Description:


  • Release Date: June 15, 2007


  • UPC: 090266014620


  • Catalog Number: RCA60146


  • Label: RCA


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Composer: César, Franck


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra


  • Performer: Claus Peter, Flor