Hot Tracks: Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor pays tribute to Bach and the Romantics

There are two separate tributes in British wunderkind Benjamin Grosvenor's latest solo disc.

The first is an homage to Johann Sebastian Bach's legacy, which opens with Busoni's famous transcription of the Chaconne In D Minor (from Bach's Violin Partita No. 2). It is a glorious performance that builds up arch-like through a series of climaxes while sensitive to many subtle nuances.

This is followed by two of Mendelssohn's Prelude & Fugues (Op. 35), Romantic updates of the contrapuntal writing celebrated in Bach's Well- Tempered Clavier and Cesar Franck's well-known neo- Bachian Prelude, Chorale and Fugue, which are no less impressively rendered.

The second tribute features the musings of Romantic composers on the sunny climes of Italy. Chopin's Barcarolle finds Grosvenor in cantabile heaven in this Venetian gondolier's song.

In Liszt's Venezia E Napoli (from Years Of Pilgrimage), the song-like thread continues for Gondoliera and Canzone before erupting in free-wheeling coruscations for the vertiginous Tarantella.

Liszt employs several popular Venetian and Neapolitan songs, which are turned into a feast of pianism where Grosvenor obliges with obvious relish.



    Benjamin Grosvenor, piano

    Decca 483 0255

    5/5 stars

Another highly pleasurable listen beckons.

Chang Tou Liang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2017, with the headline 'Hot Trailers'. Print Edition | Subscribe