Piano Rarities and a Piers Lane concert

I play the organ and many organists and enthusiasts will know the March Triumphale on Nun danket alle Gott. Fewer will know some of the other chorale-based pieces. The Sarabande on Freu dich sehr is one I regularly play whilst waiting for the action at weddings and funerals and it works well on our small parish church organ. I also like Schmucke dich. Maybe some of the progressions are a little tortuous but it does have some gorgeous moments. It needs some lingering and some moving on (ie. rubato) and it needs a more romantic organ to grade the crescendi and diminuendi.
There are few versions on youtube. Here’s one
The last one I’ll mention here is O Gott, du frommer Gott. A more funereal one and for some it will be music that gives organs and organists a bad name, but in the right setting with the right instrument is has something to say. Now I hear someone else playing it Howells D-flat Rhapsody comes to mind.

It’s taken me a long time to come to my main point. Radio 3 played Karg Elert’s Arabeske for piano the other morning and I thought ‘what a piece’ – typical romantic piano figuration and harmonies. A lollipop or encore piece. Here’s the score. There are very few recordings of it. Karg Elert Arabeske played by Piers Lane.

I happened to see Piers in Leicester last week playing Chopin Sonata no 2 and Stravinsky Petrushka. The first time I’d heard and seen the latter live. it was truly spectacular – how the fingers (and arms, of course) move so fast, so many notes to remember and so often the 2 hands would be managing 3 elements of the texture. However what I will remember most is the sheer beauty of Chopin’s D flat nocturne. Complete control of the tone and so many shades of quiet playing.

My other rarities are 2 piece by Adolph von Henselt – Voglein and Gondola. I was skimming through some old magazines before chucking them out and there was an artcle and von Henselt. Voglein appears to have been more regularly played by pianists of the past (including Rachmaninov and Eileen Joyce).

Yet again I’m thrilled to discover new pieces.