Jan Panenka Recital/Panton C

Review by: Jed Distler

Artistic Quality: 6

Sound Quality: 5

Best known to American collectors for his chamber music recordings, pianist Jan Panenka’s talents as a soloist are showcased in this reissue. His dry sonority and symmetrical outlook impart a caustic overtone to Beethoven’s mercurial Op. 126 Bagatelles. The G major Rondo a capriccio gets an attractively trim and compact reading. Of the two Chopin tracks, I’ll pass over the pianist’s rather bony and matter-of-fact Polonaise-Fantaisie in favor of his spirited Introduction and Rondo. The latter, however, falls short of Horowitz’s galvanizing virtuosity. If the outer movements of Panenka’s Schumann F-sharp minor sonata lack color and dramatic heft, the Aria is poetically sustained. I also like the pianist’s effortless transition from the breezy Scherzo into a swaggering, Polonaise-like Intermezzo. Sonics vary from metallic 1957 mono (the Schumann) to good, but not outstanding 1972 stereo (the Beethoven).

Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Chopin, Horowitz (Sony), Schumann, Perahia (Sony)

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN - Six Bagatelles Op. 126; Rondo a capriccio in G major ("Rage over a Lost Penny")
FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN - Introduction and Rondo in E-flat major Op. 16; Polonaise-fantaisie in A-flat major Op. 61
ROBERT SCHUMANN - Piano Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp minor Op. 11

  • Jan Panenka (piano)

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