Friday, February 10, 2017

Emil von Sauer - Suite Moderne; Galop de Concert (Oleg Marshev)


Composer: Emil von Sauer
  1. Suite moderne: 1. Prélude passioné in E flat major
  2. Suite moderne: 2. Air lugubre in E flat minor
  3. Suite moderne: 3. Scherzo grotesque in E flat major
  4. Suite moderne: 4. Gavotte in C minor
  5. Suite moderne: 5. Thème varié in E flat major
  6. Aus lichten Tagen: 1. Erste Lenzesboten in A major
  7. Aus lichten Tagen: 2. An der Wiege in G major
  8. Aus lichten Tagen: 3. Interludium in D major
  9. Aus lichten Tagen: 4. Am Spinnrocken in D major
  10. Aus lichten Tagen: 5. Capriccietto in G major
  11. 3 Konzertetüden: No. 1 in F major "Terzen-Studie"
  12. 3 Konzertetüden: No. 2 in F sharp major "Etude-Caprice"
  13. 3 Konzertetüden: No. 3 in A major "Moto perpetuo in Oktaven"
  14. Galop de Concert in E flat minor

Oleg Marshev, piano
Date: 2003
Label: Danacord



Slight the music may be, but Marshev’s stylish playing makes this a valuable disc

Volume 5 of Emil von Sauer’s solo piano music continues a unique undertaking and one that includes a first recording of the Suite moderne. Once again Sauer’s amiable and discursive music pays eloquent tribute to his facility as a pianist and lovers of gentle melodies and romantically swirling figuration will feel entirely at home.

On the other hand, Sauer’s succession of salon charmers possess too many ideas that fade as quickly as they appear, too slim and derivative to imprint themselves on the mind. The shadows of Brahms, Schumann, Saint-Saëns and Moszkowski flit across their busy surfaces, and ‘moderne’ is an odd subtitle for the Suite. The opening Prelude passione remembers the virtuoso chording of the Saint-Saëns F minor Prelude and Fugue, while the over-extended ‘Air lugubre’ gets lost in its own melancholy. Again, the codas of the majority of these works prove a problem because, rather like Tchaikovsky in his solo piano music, Sauer seems uncertain how to end his argument, frequently chopping it off in mid-flight. The Etudes (of which Sauer wrote 29) are more successful, with a greater realisation that brevity can be the soul of wit. 

Less contentiously, it would be difficult to imagine these pieces played with greater authority than by Oleg Marshev. With Rachmaninov’s and Prokofiev’s complete piano concertos and Prokofiev’s solo piano music under his belt (all on Danacord), he proves himself equally at home in a less demanding and less characterful idiom. Never for a moment does he sound as if involved in a labour of duty rather than love, and even the most facile offering is spun off with enviable agility and style. The recordings are as full and resonant as the playing; this is a valuable addition to a burgeoning series.

-- 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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