Friday, February 10, 2017

Emil von Sauer - Piano Sonata No. 1; Propos de Bal (Oleg Marshev)


Composer: Emil von Sauer
  1. Propos de Bal (Liebeswerben in Balisaal) in B flat major
  2. Konzert-Polka (Böhmisch) in E flat minor
  3. Approche du printemps (Frühlingsnahen) in A major
  4. Valse Impromptu in A flat major
  5. Quand vient l'été (2ieme sérénade francaise) in C major
  6. Romance sans paroles in F major
  7. Scherzo in B flat minor
  8. Piano Sonata No. 1 in D major: I. Moderato assai
  9. Piano Sonata No. 1 in D major: II. Molto vivace
  10. Piano Sonata No. 1 in D major: III. Intermezzo. Andante con moto
  11. Piano Sonata No. 1 in D major: IV. Tempo giusto

Oleg Marshev, piano
Date: 1999
Label: Danacord



Oleg Marshev’s well-recorded, stylish playing brings out the best in Sauer’s picture-postcard miniatures

Emil von Sauer (1862-1942) was a Liszt pupil who achieved an enduring celebrity status as a pianist. Alas, with few exceptions, his compositions are mostly undistinguished, apt to chatter on long after they have run their course. At the same time one is grateful to Oleg Marshev’s stylish and eloquent advocacy, though even he cannot make you believe that the sonatas’ derivative material deserves such a strenuous workout.

Miniatures were better suited to Sauer’s slender gifts, and lovers of a gentle picture-postcard charm will delight in Propos de bal, with its Spanish salon flavour, and in the Konzert-Polka, where Marshev whirls his partner across the floor, so to speak, like a professional ballroom dancer. Approche du printemps is charming, with its final flurry of spring blossom, and so is the Valse impromptu, with its perhaps too obvious memory of Liszt’s waltz of the same name. Then there are the Courante et Trio and Gavotte et Musette, pleasant examples of pastiche, while the elegantly tripping Serenade francaise and luxuriant Barcarolle are, arguably, more adventurous.

But if the musical demands are slight, the technical know-how required is considerable, and Oleg Marshev, a pianist with a rapidly expanding discography (he has recorded such substantial fare as the complete Prokofiev piano music) is as persuasive as humanly possible. He is excellently recorded and, although one is grateful for such an unusual offering, I would now like to hear him again in music more worthy of his outstanding gifts.

-- Bryce Morrison, Gramophone

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Emil von Sauer (October 8, 1862 – April 27, 1942) was a notable German composer, pianist, score editor, and music (piano) teacher. He studied with Nikolai Rubinstein at the Moscow Conservatory between 1879 and 1881. He was also a pupil of Franz Liszt and one of the most distinguished pianists of his generation. Sauer was considered as emphasizing the original Liszt approach to pianism.  Along with editing the complete piano works of Johannes Brahms, Sauer wrote piano concertos, piano sonatas, concert études, piano pieces and lieder.


Oleg Marshev (born 1961 in Baku, Azerbaijan) is a Soviet and Russian pianist. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Mikhail Voskresensky. Now he is a resident of Italy. He has recorded over 30 CDs for Danacord label,  featuring works by Schubert, Brahms, Strauss, Rubinstein, Rachmaninov and others. He has made the world premier recording of Emil von Sauer’s piano music in 6 volumes. Another result of the artist’s abiding interest in little-known or forgotten music is a recording of Danish romantic piano concertos in 4 CDs.


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  2. Never heard of but very good. Thanks for all your treasures.

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