Cynthia Raim

Brahms: Handel Variations; 3 Intermezzi; 8 Klavierstücke

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AllMusic Review by

This performance by Detroit-born and -bred pianist Cynthia Raim stands with the finest recordings of Brahms' piano music ever made by the most echt Deutsche player. The 2008 collection, combining the mighty and majestic Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, the darkly tragic Three Intermezzi, and the soulful but subversive Eight Piano Pieces, is performed as brilliantly as could be hoped. Raim's technique is virtuosic, a prerequisite in the composer's tremendously difficult music, and her tone is nuanced, likewise a prerequisite in his immensely subtle keyboard writing. While it is wonderful that Raim can tackle the robustly boisterous fugue that concludes the Handel Variations, as well as the ingeniously balanced textures of the late Intermezzi, it is her ability to project the music's controlled but powerful emotions that makes her a great Brahms player. She not only expresses all the 25 Handel Variations' kaleidoscopic moods, but the Eight Piano Pieces' more complicated emotions and the Three Intermezzi's complex, almost contradictory feelings of assertion and resignation. Recorded in clean if not especially evocative digital sound, Raim's disc should be heard by anyone who reveres Brahms.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Variations (25) and Fugue on a Theme of Handel, for piano, in B flat major, Op. 24
1
0:55
2
0:52
3
0:42
4
0:53
5
0:53
6
1:04
7
1:02
8
0:38
9
0:38
10
1:20
11
0:36
12
0:50
13
0:57
14
1:39
15
0:43
16
0:46
17
0:38
18
0:30
19
0:52
20
1:07
21
1:17
22
0:57
23
1:00
24
0:35
25
0:37
26
0:42
27
5:14
Intermezzi (3) for piano, Op. 117
28
5:25
29
4:52
30
5:54
Pieces (8) for piano, Op. 76
31
3:49
32
3:48
33
2:51
34
2:20
35
3:29
36
4:04
37
3:16
38
3:41
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