Danae Dörken


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As a form, the fantasy has always allowed free explorations, and this applies as much to performers as it does to composers. For this super audio release from Ars Produktion, Danae Dörken interprets piano fantasies by Robert Schumann, C.P.E. Bach, and Franz Schubert, bringing flexibility of tempos and expressive shadings to the music that are inspired and poetic. The immediacy of Dörken's expressions and her considered shaping of phrases give a freshness to Schumann's Fantasy in C major, Op. 17, that is lost in more theatrical or heavy-handed performances. The Fantasy in F sharp minor of C.P.E. Bach is played in a rather Romantic fashion, perhaps in keeping with Dörken's interpretations on the rest of the program, though her good taste and thoughtful handling of the material prevent it from becoming exaggerated. Dörken's most committed performance is of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy, one of the most powerful fantasies ever composed, and by virtue of its four-movement form, a sonata in all but name. Where the Schumann seemed is possibly too diffuse, and the Bach a melancholy rumination, the Schubert presents an opportunity for a full display of Dörken's physical prowess and expressive depth, and reveals her range more completely and satisfactorily than the first two selections could. The sound of this hybrid SACD is quite close and clear, giving Dörken realistic presence and the notes utter clarity.

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