Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Andrew Palmer
Group Editor
1:13 PM 18th June 2022

Classical Music Album: Reynaldo Hahn Poèmes & Valses

Reynaldo Hahn Poèmes& Valses
Selections from Le Rossignol Éperdu (53 Poèmes pour piano) & Premières Valses

Played by Pavel Kolesnikov (piano)

Frontispice; Andromède résignée; Passante; Liebe! Liebe!; Les deux écharpes; La danse de l’amour et de l’ennui; Chérubin tragique; Les rêveries du Prince Églantine; La Fête de Terpsichore; Avec élégance; Ninette; Valse noble; Assez vite; La feuille; Sans rigueur; Éros caché dans les bois; Les noces du duc de Joyeuse; Narghilé; Le pèlerinage inutile; Berceuse féroce; Soleil d’automne; Hivernale; Le jardin de Pétrarque; Le réveil de Flore; Ouranos.

Hyperion CDA68383

Available as an MP3, iTunes, CD or FLAC and ALAC formats

The cover photograph from the series of ‘Scattered Dreams’ by Susannah Baker-Smith sums up the spirit of this album. Hahn’s beautifully evocative and delectable miniatures are ethereal which Pavel Kolesnikov conveys so brilliantly. Their fragility is mesmeric and Kolesnikov delicately takes on a 71-minute magical journey with a well-controlled technique only occasionally waking us from our slumber, as in the beginning of Valse noble, but we soon settle down again.

Kolesnikov says Hahn’s oeuvre for piano is studded with short works and that his music encapsulates and manipulates emotion like that of the Impressionists and he is not speaking of musical Impressionism. It is an apt description as these compositions have a reverie feel leading the listener into a trance-like state which comes from the premise for this recording.

Kolesnikov went back to a similar starting point he used for his recording of the Goldberg Variations on the Hyperion label (CDA68338) where he imagines the performer to be present and to welcome some kind of internal listening.

These may be smaller scale compositions, the shortest, Ninette is only 48 seconds long, but they are graceful and adorable, the playing elegant and impeccable, enhanced by the recoding engineers who ensure the mysteriousness and intimacy never wane. Kolesnikov plays a Yamaha CFX.

In a world of turmoil and disorder where everything is taken at full tilt with no let up, Kolesnikov and Hahn slow the pace of life down for a short while.