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Showing 1-1 of 1 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on April 5, 2010
So I'm not even going to lie to you about this. Yeah, I was pretty impressed with Alice Sara Ott's Liszt Transcendental Etudes, her debut on disc. She wasn't on the Arrau/Gekic/Cziffra level, but she was good. But the main reason I ended up buying this disc is... because as far as looks go, I find her to be the bee's knees. Yes, dear reader--sheer animal desire drove me to buy the disc at hand. I was sitting on the proverbial fence about buying this disc, but her looks won me over. Thank you DG marketing team! But don't stop and just admire her pretty pic in her waify, hipster Red Riding Hood garb on the cover. Take a look inside the booklet and you'll find plenty more glamour shots of Ms. Ott and a scant, puff "interview" that does insult to the notion of "liner notes." A rambling, cutesy little thing that tells you nothing about Chopin and makes Ott sound like a clueless ditz. But she is a cutie, no doubt about it. But what of this recital? Well...

I own at least some 20 to 30-odd Chopin waltz recitals. This may be one of the very worst I've ever heard from a major artist and label. Had you never heard what these pieces were called, you'd hardly believe they were waltzes as they barely dance at all. Galumph about is more like it. Ott's perverse rubato and leaden tone must be heard to be believed. I'm not at all against a more romantic approach to these gems. Cortot's recital is numbered among my favorites. But what sounds magical and sparkling in Cortot's hands sounds lumbering and mannered here. The famous opening fanfare of the E-flat waltz sounds sounds as if the waltzers at this particular salon imbibed the champagne and absinthe a bit too generously. Another pirouette and these dancers will spin themselves away into a drunken stupor. Yes, not everything is so bad. She does a fine stab at the A minor waltz. But the highpoints, modest as they are, cannot compensate for this recital's general mediocrity. A portentious ritardando and a sudden accelerando every few bars does not romantic pianism a la grand manière make. After listening to all this herky jerky, stop-and-go routine, I was fumbling around my medicine cabinet for some Alka-Seltzer to stave off the motion sickness.

As I said, Chopin waltz recitals can be found a-plenty. My personal favorites are Anda, Anievas, Lipatti, Cortot, Tharaud, Darré, Brailowsky, and Rubinstein's 1950's era set. You'll have your own favorites, I'm sure. Whatever they are, stick to those ones and don't bother with Ott. You're better off tossing this turkey aside. Don't tell me I didn't warn you.
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