WALTER NIEMANN (1876-1953): Piano Sonatas No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 60 "Romantic" and No. 2 in F, Op. 75 "Nordic", 3 Compositions, Op. 7, Fantasie-Mazurka, Op. 53.
Catalogue Number: 01Q041
Label: Grand Piano
Description: The Romantic conservatism on display here is exactly what you'd expect of a composer who, as a critic, enjoyed excoriating such avant-garde radicals as Richard Strauss, Mahler, Schoenberg and Reger (the latter threatened him with a libel suit in 1910). This is hidebound mid-19th century Romanticism with a will: the 1919 Romantic sonata's first two movements have an out-of-time quality of brooding, eternal gloom, mystery and grand gesture which evokes some of the great piano-only scores of early 1960s black-and-white Italian horror films (and that's a good thing!); pity the final movement cheers up a bit. There's nothing folk-Nordic in the Nordic of 1921, just that feeling of timelessness and vast landscapes you get in Sibelius. The latter, Pfitzner and Edward MacDowell recieved high praise from Niemann and that also tells you what you're going to get here. I hope there's a Volume Two! Bing Bing Li (piano).