This varied Homage to Mozart represents a noteworthy effort on the part of an independent pianist; Eric Himy carves out a unique program, based partly on his own research, and it makes for an unusual tour through the hall of meanings Mozart has held for musicians at various periods in history. A transcribed aria from an early and unknown Salieri opera (examined in manuscript by the artist) serves as a curtain raiser; it's a remarkably beautiful melody easily if mistakenly identifiable as music by Gluck.
After a smooth performance of the Mozart Piano Sonata in B flat major, K. 333 (with a cadenza by Wanda Landowska at the end), Himy plunges into two contemporary works, the first of which he commissioned. The Hommage à Mozart by Spanish composer Elisenda Fábregas is an impressionist work with a very subtle range of allusion to Mozartian models -- the references range from full-blown themes to mere intervallic evocations, with the idea of laughter and the music of the unbalanced Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte serving as an unusual focus. The Variations on the Second Movement of the Mozart Sonata No. 16 in C major, K. 545, by contrast, are neo-Classic in the extreme, a sober set of variations on this familiar music that stays between early nineteenth century lines yet never seems derivative or dull. The little melody's transformation into a fugue in the fifth variation is especially artful and unexpected. Another set of variations follows, this one transcribed by pianist Wilhelm Kempff from the flute-and-keyboard Pastorale variée, K. 209b.
Turkish pianist Idil Biret has also played this transcription, but it's far from being a common presence on concert programs. If there's a complaint here it's that the Liszt Don Juan Fantasy, placed last for a big finale, doesn't have quite the power one would expect -- perhaps the artist felt that a more restrained outlook would fit better into the program as a whole. The album nevertheless offers an experience that is entirely fresh even as it delves into some old-fashioned perspectives on Mozart.
|Vieni a me sull'ali d'oro "Come to me on Golden Wings"||Eric Himy||5:40|
|Piano Sonata No. 13 in B flat major, K. 333 (K. 315c)|
|1. Allegro||Eric Himy||6:53|
|2. Andante cantabile||Eric Himy||7:05|
|3. Allegretto grazioso||Eric Himy||7:17|
|Hommage à Mozart, for piano||Eric Himy||12:18|
|Variations on the Second Movement of the Mozart Sonata No. 16 in C major K 545, for piano|
|Theme - Andante||Eric Himy||0:55|
|Variation 1 - Legato e dolce||Eric Himy||0:30|
|Variation 2 - Legato espressivo||Eric Himy||0:37|
|Variation 3 - Andante espressivo||Eric Himy||0:46|
|Variation 4 - Prelude||Eric Himy||0:53|
|Variation 5 - Fugue||Eric Himy||1:52|
|Variation 6 - Minuets||Eric Himy||1:36|
|Variation 7 - Scherzo||Eric Himy||1:04|
|Variation 8 - Chorale||Eric Himy||1:16|
|Variation 9 - Finale||Eric Himy||1:36|
|Theme - Andante||Eric Himy||1:12|
|Pastorale variée for piano (doubtful), K(2) Anh. 209b (K. Anh. C 26.01)||Eric Himy||5:16|
|Fantasie über Motive aus Figaro und Don Juan, for piano (after Mozart), S. 697 (LW A90)||Eric Himy||18:25|