Mirjana Rajic’s Captivating “Dances”

Review by: Jed Distler

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Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

This program devoted to piano music inspired by dance dwelled at the bottom of my “to review” pile for months. More than just months: try a whole year! Obviously it wasn’t a priority. However, a random recommendation from a total stranger piqued my curiosity. I hope it’s not too late to praise this collection and recommend it.

Pianist Mirjana Rajic consistently steers her excellent technique toward musical ends. For example, she cares more about giving the Liszt Tarantella’s notorious repeated notes a lilting lift than to dazzle with speed, while her curvaceous phrasing in the lyrical sections defines sexy singing. She strikes the right balance between classical proportion and alluring inflection throughout the Ravel Valses. Her Falla Dance is not the most fiery on disc, but her precisely turned trills and strong left hand presence more than compensate.

Rajic fully captures the volatile mood shifts from piece to piece in Schumann’s Davidsbündlertanze, and she plays the slower movements faster, less indulgently, and more cohesively than many modern-day pianists. She gauges transitions between movements perfectly, revels in the composer’s quirky accents and syncopations, pays heed to inner voices, and always imparts a sense of direction to the stepwise bass lines. One might liken Marko Tajcevic’s Balkan Dances to a less harmonically imaginative Bartók, yet the piano writing is effective, idiomatic, rhythmically alive. and frequently witty. A most captivating release, all around.



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Recording Details:

Album Title: Dances
Reference Recording: None for this collection

MARKO TAJCEVIC: Balkan Dances (1927)
FRANZ LISZT: Tarantella, from Venezia e Napoli
MANUEL DE FALLA: Ritual Fire Dance
MAURICE RAVEL: Valse nobles et sentimentales
ROBERT SCHUMANN: Davidsbündlertanze Op. 6

  • Mirjana Rajic (piano)

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