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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ignaz Moscheles - Etudes (Piers Lane)


Composer: Ignaz Moscheles
  • (01-16) 12 Nouvelles grands études caractéristiques, Op. 95
  • (17-18) 2 Études, Op. 98
  • (19-20) 2 Études, Op. 105
  • (21-24) 4 Grandes études de concert, Op. 111
  • (25) Grande études de concert, Op. 126

Piers Lane, piano
Date: 2003
Label: Hyperion



That old dour image of Moscheles is dispelled by these graceful, fluent and engagingly affectionate performances

Here is a fine, enterprising recital to delight and above all surprise those accustomed to Harold Schonberg’s image of Moscheles as a crusty conservative, one who ‘practised the piano and watched the world go by’. Admired by Beethoven, Schumann and Mendelssohn, his Etudes, while hardly as original as the greatest examples of the genre, are sufficiently alive with interest to merit the warmest praise from Mendelssohn, though even his proverbial fluency was thwarted by their intricacies. 

Moscheles himself was aware of the advance from his early Op 70 Studies, of throwing down the gauntlet to ‘Thalberg, Liszt and all such players who will find their work cut out’. The Op 95 set, in particular, offers kaleidoscopic challenges enlivened by picturesque titles. In ‘Wrath’ a conventional idea is transformed into a series of fist-shaking gestures, and ‘Juno’ is clearly a formidable lady who bestrides the stage Allegro maestoso, very much in the style of Shakespeare’s goddess (‘Great Juno comes. I know her by her gait’). Mendelssohn must have been touched by ‘A Children’s Tale,’ a tribute to his own charm, and ‘Bacchanale’ and the Allegresse from Op 111 suggest how Moscheles sometimes longed to break into Alkanesque oddity or outrage. In ‘Affection’ the harmonic undertow is enterprising, while ‘Carnival Scenes’ recalls Schumann’s love of dotted rhythms. 

For hard-working Piers Lane, who has already recorded Etudes by Scriabin and Saint-Saëns, this demanding undertaking was clearly a labour of love and all his performances are of an enviable grace, fluency and affection. The outstanding notes are by Henry Roche, the composer’s great-great-grandson, and Hyperion’s sound and presentation (including a reproduction of ‘Moscheles’ London drawing-room’, a painting attributed to Mendelssohn) are superb.

-- Bryce Morrison, Gramophone

More reviews:


Ignaz Moscheles (23 May 1794 – 10 March 1870) was a Bohemian composer and piano virtuoso. His career in his early years was based initially in London, and later at Leipzig, where he joined his friend and sometime pupil Felix Mendelssohn as Professor of Piano at the Conservatoire. Among his 142 opus numbers, Moscheles wrote an overture, a ballet, a symphony and eight piano concertos. Moscheles also left several chamber works and a large number of works for piano solo, including sonatas and the études that continued to be studied by advanced students even as Moscheles's music fell into eclipse.


Piers Lane (born 8 January 1958) is an Australian classical pianist. He graduated with a Medal of Excellence from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, where his teacher was Nancy Weir. His performance career has taken him to more than 40 countries. His concerto repertoire exceeds 75 works. Lane has an extensive discography on the Hyperion label and has also recorded for EMI, Decca, BMG, Lyrita and Unicorn-Kanchana. Lane is a well-known voice on BBC Radio 3, having written and presented more than 100 programs, including a 54-part series called The Piano.


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