Weber: Piano Works / Michael Endres

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Weber's four piano sonatas are packed with unforgiving and cruelly exposed passages involving octaves, double notes, unison runs, and other virtuoso challenges. Yet there's plenty of charm and elegance underneath the music's glittery surface. Michael Endres employs his scintillating technique to emphasize Weber's inherent Romanticism by way of tasteful rhetorical broadenings (usually in first-movement second subjects) and by stressing inner counterpoints and stepwise bass lines.

The First sonata's famous "Perpetuum Mobile" is a good example of Endres' approach, in that the pianist makes more of the left hand's tuneful bounty than most. Also notable are the strategically placed moments of relaxation in the fleet finale of the Fourth sonata (by contrast, Fleisher's classic mono recording bursts from the starting gate and rarely lets up). At the same time, Endres truly takes the Third sonata's Allegro Feroce to heart, though not quite matching Hamish Milne's gaunt intensity here, or Richter's crisp and supple articulation in the finale.

Endres' adherence to the Second sonata's myriad expressive markings pays memorable dividends that easily stand up to Garrick Ohlsson's more volatile recording. The variation sets, Invitation to the Dance, and Grande Polonaise sport plenty of stylish zest and effortless fingerwork, along with soft windows of color that offset the bright, slightly flinty sonics. In sum, this makes an attractively priced complement to the more expensive Milne and Ohlsson Weber sonata cycles.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com


Product Description:


  • Catalog Number: OC 357


  • UPC: 812864015591


  • Label: Oehms Classics


  • Composer: Carl Maria von Weber


  • Performer: Michael Endres