Uta Weyand’s Uneven “1892” Program

Review by: Jed Distler


Artistic Quality: 7

Sound Quality: 7

All of the works on this disc date from 1892, as well as the vintage Steinway concert grand used by pianist Uta Weyand. The instrument doesn’t have the rounded evenness that one associates with modern Steinways, yet I find its pronounced registral differentiation and plangent timbres interesting. Given the idiomatic flair of Weyand’s complete Falla piano music survey on Profil, her stylish affinity for Albéniz doesn’t surprise; she brings exactly the right heel-clicking snap to Seguidillas, while the Prélude’s repeated notes convey an ideal flamenco lilt. Debussy’s Nocturne can absorb Weyand’s leisurely pace and curvaceous phrasing, even if I prefer Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s leaner, forward-moving account.

She takes her time over the slower Brahms pieces, while tending to mark phrase ends with tenutos or caesuras: I suspect this is more out of habit than intention. You notice similar hesitations in Op. 117 No. 7’s heroic coda. Some listeners may like the pianist’s heavy and brooding Grieg more than I do, yet her readings of the six Op. 57 Lyric Pieces pale next to Hakon Austbø’s faster tempos, lighter touch, and playful intimacy. In essence, Weyand’s Debussy and Albéniz selections prove to be this uneven program’s keepers.

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Recording Details:

Album Title: 1892 - Reflections
Reference Recording: Brahms Op. 116: Hough (Hyperion), Grieg Op. 57: Austbø (Brilliant Classics)

ISAAC ALBÉNIZ: Chant d'Espagne Op. 232 Nos. 1, 4, & 5
EDVARD GRIEG: Lyric Pieces, Book 6 Op. 57
JOHANNES BRAHMS: Klavierstücke Op. 116

  • Uta Weyand (piano)

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