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CD Feature/ Catherine Gordeladze: "Hommage a Haydn"

img  Tobias

The media have always been obsessed with Über-artists, with a type of musician taking giant steps and conquering the world over night. In contrast, I have personally always considered slowly building careers far more interesting. Catherine Gordeladze's, for example. For years, her sphere of influence consisted of a tight-knit circle around her current home base Frankfurt, winning over two of the biggest German newspapers (the conservative „Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung“as well as the left-wing „Frankfurter Rundschau“) thanks to a continous stream of well-received concerts. As the circle's diameter widened, so did her league of admirers. During a performance at the Piano Academy Lake Como in Italy, she won over Dr. Clemens Börsig, a devoted classical music fan, who made the wheels turn even faster. Thanks to his sponsorship as well as the expertise of strong local broadcasting agency „Hessischer Rundfunk“, it took a mere four months, until the entire material for this CD was recorded and just another six until it is now made available to the public – cycles of unusual brevity in this part of the artistic world.

The great thing about the combination of an instrumentalist, who has matured over years, and a refreshingly spontaneous production process is that it allows for the most accurate representation of what a musician really stands for. Catherine Gordeladze's repertoire does extend to Samuel Barber and contains a string of Ligeti pieces, but in her heart of hearts, she will always remain a classical musician in the true sense of the word. From this angle, Haydn must therefore be considered an excellent choice as the object of her first widely distributed album (the first one, which was built around Bach's „Goldberg Variations“, was a professional, yet privately released work).

For one, his piano repertoire still remains an obscurity on the international concert scene and even artists like Glenn Gould have tried in vain to draw more attention to this part of his extensive oeuvre. For anyone, Haydn's piano sonatas offer a welcome chance to tread new territory – especially so for Gordeladze, who believes firmly in the importance of personal expression. And secondly, Haydn epitomises the very essence of classical music, much more so even than his pupil Mozart. This becomes apparent in the repertoire at hand, in the clarity and rigidity of its forms, the elegance of its dancing melodies as well as the closedeness and fluency of its harmonic development. The booklet talks about the piano parts being „solid“ and for the composer, this would have been a compliment. Consequently, Catherine has withstood the temptation of lending a wayward contemporary edge to the music, nor is she approaching it from the perspective of original practise by playing on a fortepiano. Instead, her rendition is measured, carefully balanced, never overly feastful in the slow movements, nor exuberantly temperamental in the Prestos. Her interpretation is characterised by the same regularity as the works themselves. It is an ongoing quest to keep one's cool while burning with longing and of never deviating from the chosen path. The result is by no means a manifest of indifference, however. It is the golden section.

As he grew older, Haydn increasingly experimented and some of the later sonatas are marked by longer movements with plentiful side themes and variations. In turn, Gordeladze allows herself more freedom, slowing down the „Adagio“ of the Sonata Hob.52 and running euphorically through the „Finale“. And yet, her tone remains sober and void of exagerated reverb, her warblers are veritable wake-up calls which break up the ethereal texture of the compositions considerably. „Hommage a Haydn“ remains true to its title, its admirable consequence distinguishing it from releases more afraid of boring the listener than trying to present a singular vision. She might again not conquer the world over night with this CD. But something tells me that Catherine Gordeladze, too, is more interested in slowly building her career than taking giant steps.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Catherine Gordeladze
Homepage: Ars Musici Records

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