Klara Min

Evocation: Scriabin, Mozart, Messiaen

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Pianist Klara Min is a strong addition to the roster of the Steinway & Sons label, which specializes in piano programs that have the charisma, and general appeal, of those of the piano's golden age. Here, she offers a program of pieces on the age-old theme of night. The album's title "Evocation" doesn't exactly put this across, and the connections of some of the pieces with the theme are tenuous (the birds of Messiaen's Catalogue d'oiseaux are not specifically night birds, for example). However, Min devises an effective sequence of events. The program takes you from twilight into deep darkness, with the Piano Sonata No. 9, Op. 68 ("Black Mass"), of Scriabin as a quite intensely rendered climax. Along the way, Min manages a dramatic Mozart Fantasia in D minor, K. 397, somehow making it sound a bit like Scriabin. She's an impressive Scriabin pianist, delivering the full virtuosity of the Piano Sonata No. 2 in G sharp minor, Op. 19 ("Sonata fantasy"), but keeping the music in touch with Chopin, as well as Liszt. Steinway furnishes its usual excellent sound from New York's Steinway Hall, and all in all, one is left wanting to hear more from Min on this label.

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