Larey’s playing evokes sweet memories of Brahms
BRAHMS: The Ballades, op. 10; Intermezzi, op. 117; & Klavierstücke, op. 118. Franklin Larey (Piano).
It is well known that Brahms had deep respect for Beethoven, and he was convinced that he would never be able to emulate Beethoven’s greatness.
His Piano Sonata no. 1, op. 1 for example, reveals his obsession with Beethoven: he uses a passage from Beethoven’s Ghost-trio.
This said, Brahms was highly individual in both his personal life and clearly in his music; this individuality can already be seen through the melodic and harmonic structures found in his first sonata.
He was himself a virtuoso pianist, and many of concert pianists (from Brahms’s day up to the present) consider themselves as specialist interpreters of his music.
A recording by Cape Town pianist, Franklin Larey, exclusively of piano music by Brahms, was recently released. Three cycles are included in the CD: The Ballades (op. 10, consisting of four ballades); Intermezzi (three works as op. 117) and 6 Klavierstücke (op. 118, comprising four intermezzi, a ballade and a Romance).
From the start, Larey’s touch and his technique immediately reminds one of Peter Frankl, the Hungarian-born British pianist who, during the second half of the 20th century, was hailed as one of the best interpreters of Brahms’s works.
The first two ballades already confirm this impression. Both have a tempo marking of “Andante”; no. 1 in D-minor and no. 2 in D-major. Larey’s Brahms leaves a strong impression, just as that of Frankl.
Swaer Gerhard was instrumental in bringing Frankl to Stellenbosch during the inauguration festivities of the Endler Hall in the new Conservatory at the university.
Frankl was at the Endler on 26 May 1978. Charles Johnman, a member of the music society, Concert Group, who presented this prestigious concert series passed away on this date, and Frankl paid homage to him with a moving rendition of an impromptu by Schubert.
The beautiful sounds emanating from the grand piano of, inter alia, his moving interpretations of Brahms’s Intermezzi continue to enthrall many.
Larey’s understanding of the Brahms idiom is clear from the introduction to the second Ballade, where his lyrical playing ensures a mesmerizing lullaby. This is followed by the “flighty” opening of the third Ballade, in which he mesmerizes with quiet pianissimo playing in the slower sections.
In this way one can go through all the works, instinctively re-listen, and in this way continue to discover and gather jewels in Larey’s revelatory interpretative skills.
One can return numerous times to this recording of Larey’s Brahms. It brings back so many memories.
- Translated by Franklin Larey