The Deceptively Easy Mastery of Gilbert Kalish

In this recording of Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert, Gilbert Kalish presents an appealing program of works he knows well. The opening and closing works are the final piano sonatas of their respective composers — Haydn and Schubert, with a selection of short works by Beethoven in the middle.

Haydn’s Sonata No. 62 in E-flat (Hob.XVI:52)  was composed for a gifted performer, and is one of Haydn’s more complex piano works. Nonetheless, Kalish keeps things light and elegant. His well-rounded phrasing and subtle emphasis captures Haydn’s reserved elegance perfectly.

Kalish also plays Franz Schubert’s Piano Sonata No. 21 in B-flat, D. 960 in a slightly reserved fashion — but it works. Rather than overwhelming the listener with emotion, Kalish’s performance reveals the beautiful construction of the work. One hears the intricate patterns and lines of the sonata, rather than a furious rush of notes.

The Bagatelles, Op. 119 of Beethoven balance nicely with the two sonatas. These are short, relatively simple works (by Beethoven standards). Each bagatelle is lovingly performed by Kalish, turned into miniature gems by his musicianship.

Kalish plays with the fluid assurance that comes from a lifetime of music-making. He isn’t trying to prove anything, or even assert his personality. He just plays, and it sounds like he’s enjoying every moment. As did I.

Franz Joseph Handy: Sonata No. 62 in E-flat, Hob.XVI;52; Ludwig van Beethoven: Bagatelles, Op. 119; Franz Schubert: Piano Sonata No. 21 in B-flat, D.960
Gilbert Kalish, piano
Bridge Records

More Recent Posts

  • new jazz adds, october 15, 2014

    charlie haden/jim hall.  eponymous.  impulse.  Best of the week is from the past:  1990, july 2 @ the Montreal Jazz Festival, duets between elegant guitarist jim hall, and musical omnivore, bassist charlie haden.  nothing i can say can convey more insight than the crisp liner notes of pianist ethan iverson.  a recording both romantic and […]

  • new jazz adds october 21, 2014

    jazz connie evingson.  all the cats join in.  minnehaha.  Minneapolis-based jazz singer evingson teams up with gypsy jazz guitar master john jorgenson + quintet for a django-esque recording where the standouts are eclectic– john williams’ moonlight, mccartney x 2;  bonfa’s black orpheus, and trad’s jardin d’hiver.   evingson, recording since 1995, wears many stylistic hats to […]

  • WTJU sponsoring a screening of “Finding Fela” at the Paramount, Nov 2

    On Saturday evening, November 2, WTJU is proud to sponsor a screening of a new documentary on the life and legacy of Fela Kuti, “Finding Fela,” which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film. Finding Fela” tells the story of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s life, his music, his social and political importance. He created a […]

  • Boris Papandopulo – Croatian Master

    Boris Papandopulo was one of most prolific composers in Croatia, with over 440 works in his catalog. And thanks to a new release from CPO, his music might gain the wider audience they deserve. Papandopulo (1906-1999) eschewed the atonal revolution of the 20th century, and instead developed his own form of tonal composition. To my […]

  • Your Friday Breakfast Buffet: Enchanting Music!

    Nino Rota and Christoph Weyse We have a superb buffet of Friday morning music for you on this week’s Vivace.  We begin with music of Italian composer Nino Rota, his Symphony of Love Songs, followed by the delightful Morning Songs by Danish composer Christoph Weyse.At 7 am, we’ll hear one of those splendid rondos by […]

  • WTJX DJs of the Week: Jim Clarke and Andrew Kovalenko (Jim and Andrew in the Morning)

    Jim and Andrew’s Saturday morning radio show has become impressively popular. Why is this? Perhaps it is because they read Jaden Smith tweets on air. Perhaps it is because they play pirate songs (no joke). Perhaps it is because they spread the false hope that they will play your requests. Perhaps it is because their […]