Piano Works

Album cover art for upc 760623224763
Label:
Catalog: 9042247-6
Format: SACD

Karl-Andreas Kolly

In the best Bohemian-Jewish virtuoso tradition, Hans Seeling traveled through the salons and concert halls of Europe in the mid-19th century. As the cover suggests, he also stayed for some time in Venicee before succumbing far too early to the effects of a lung ailment in his hometown of Prague. From the highly interesting compositional legacy of the piano virtuoso, Karl-Andreas Kolly has now made a remarkable selection that sheds illuminating light on a corner of Romantic piano music that has hitherto been completely in the dark. Very little is known about Seeling's life, even about his piano teachers. His music, however, reveals role models: His etudes reveal immediate affinities with Chopin; even the melancholy character of the Barcarole recalls one or another of the great Pole's mazurkas. Now and then one finds echoes of Schumann or the other great virtuosos of his time, from Moscheles to Henselt. At the same time, Seeling draws on wide-stretched melodic arcs of almost vocal quality. Especially the "Schilflieder" after Lenau's poems, which were extremely popular at that time, almost immediately invite to sing along. And even the etudes break away from technical exercises to become extremely distinctive character pieces. "Memoirs of an Artist" is the title of Seeling's op. 13, which he put to paper on his deathbed, following the testimony of a friend. The composer is silent about programmatic details; only the last two pieces, with their titles "Marche fun├Ębre" and "Apotheose," may point to a biographical relationship. It is fascinating how Seling understands how to take the listener directly with him on his life's journey: A sounding vita, which was snatched from oblivion by Karl-Andreas Kolly in the most loving way and with almost casual virtuosic elegance.

Price: $30.98