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Hahn: Le Rossignol Eperdu / Yoonie Han

Release Date: 04/05/2019
Label: Steinway & Sons Catalog #: 30108
Composer:  Reynaldo Hahn Performer:  Yoonie Han Number of Discs: 2

Given Reynaldo Hahnís high profile with the patrons of Parisís pre-war artist salons, itís not surprising that his original works for piano include a good number of short character pieces that exude charm. His magnum opus in this genre, the "53 poèmes pour piano" collectively titled Le Rossignol éperdu is the early 20th Centuryís answer to Mendelssohnís Songs Without Words.

R E V I E W:

Reynaldo Hahn's 53 miniatures, collectively titled Le Rossignol Éperdu (The Distraught Nightingale), were written over several years, but the title and an overarching four-part structure suggest that the composer thought of them as a single work. Even though they're not technically
Read more challenging singly, they pose difficulties for the pianist attempting the whole set, as Yoonie Han does here; it's hard to keep them from collapsing into a shapeless, slightly chromatic mass. Han offers a precise reading of the group that is only seemingly dry. She carefully differentiates each line and each detail, and she brings out the differences among Hahn's four large sections: "Première Suite," "Orient," "Carnet de voyage," and "Versailles"; the pieces generally get simpler as the overall set proceeds. These are mysterious enough, and the titles of the individual works, mostly in French but sometimes in German or English, are more mysterious still. Hahn's pieces have been called (for instance, in the graphics) the early 20th century's answer to Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, and indeed they seem to suggest the evocation of some unseen text. Sample "Éros caché dans les bois" (Eros hidden in the woods) for a random instance. In Han's hands they do even more. The pieces in the Première Suite, especially, seem to carry an uncanny quality of vocal discourse, of an actual text unfolding as the music develops. Steinway & Sons contributes fine sound from its own New York City auditorium. This is a strong, and perhaps definitive, reading of Hahn's cycle of miniatures.

-- AllMusic Guide
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