Pop this album into your CD player and listen to it without consulting the liner notes and the likely assessment will be that of an adequate performance of some of the most famous short Romantic works for solo piano, from Schubert to Rachmaninoff. Open the notes and read about pianist Martin Werner, however, and you may be surprised to learn that he's all of 15 years old. Of course, there have been wunderkind of this ilk for centuries, and Werner is not notably different from most of them at this age. The true challenge will be for him to maintain his current momentum and abilities as he enters adulthood and seeks to find his own voice. These recordings heard here are solid, accurate renditions of works that could just as easily be found on an album entitled "Best of the Romantic Piano" without even having a pianist's name listed. Werner's technique is very refined but he simply has not yet found his own individual voice. It would be interesting to see how his skills develop over the next 10 or 15 years. The CD itself is quite short -- only 38 minutes -- and the recorded sound quality is not great. The piano's lower register is muddy and very dull sounding.
Martin Werner plays Schubert, Schumann, Grieg, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Felder Review
by Mike D. Brownell
|Lyric Pieces (7) for piano, Book 10, Op. 71|