Michael Endres

Carl Maria von Weber: Piano Works

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Carl Maria von Weber's piano music, with the exception of Invitation to the Dance, is not nearly as well known as his operas, but it deserves more attention. Michael Endres makes a strong case for the music in this two-disc set. The most significant works, the four sonatas, are full of drama, colorful pianism, and lyrical melodies, particularly in Endres' hands. The sonatas are on a similar scale to those of Beethoven and Schubert, with the drama built of sharp contrasts in key, humor, and dynamics, and with beautiful, cantabile slow movements. Weber, like Beethoven, also took advantage of the size and scope of the piano's sound. Endres vividly brings out the drama and the brilliance of virtuosic passages, while maintaining a sense of refinement and ease with the music. The waltzes are particularly polished, but Endres' also recognizes their folk elements and gives them a wonderful energy and sparkle. The showpieces of Weber's piano works are the sets of variations, obviously written to impress audiences. Again, Endres handles the technical challenges easily and cleanly. In the second set here, the Variations on the aria "Vien'qua dorina bella," he is always aware that the theme was originally a vocal work, playing with song-like phrasing and coloring. The sound of the recording could be a little richer, but it doesn't hurt Endres superb performance.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Piano Sonata No. 4 in E minor, J. 287 (Op. 70)
1 09:59
2 03:57
3 06:42
4 04:05
Variations (7) on an Original Theme for piano, J. 55 (Op. 9)
5 00:57
6 00:58
7 01:08
8 00:41
9 01:01
10 01:09
11 02:45
12 03:01
Variations (7) on Bianchi's air "Vien quà, Dorina bella," for piano, J. 53 (Op. 7)
13 01:34
14 01:17
15 01:06
16 00:56
17 01:23
18 01:19
19 01:53
20 03:18
21 07:17
22 08:47
Favorite Waltzes (6) of the French Empress, Marie Louise, for piano, J. 143-148
23 01:10
24 01:31
25 01:14
26 02:03
27 01:18
28 01:09
29 00:49
blue highlight denotes track pick