THE COMPLETE PIANO WORKS OF CARL GOLDMARK
„World Premiere” 1st recording cycle, Hungaroton Classic
Tihamer Hlavacsek was awarded ’Outstanding Young Artist of the Year’ (category award of Hungarian Classic Award) by Gramofon in 2006 for his ’World Premiere’ recordings of Karl Goldmark's complete piano works.
Vol.1 of the set was nominated for MIDEM Award in Cannes, France in ’Best solo recording’ category, in 2006.
Karl GOLDMARK (1830-1915) became a highly esteemed figure in Vienna’s cultural life, a significant personality of the cultural circle alongside Brahms, Hanslick, Rubinstein, claimed as ‘one of the Danube monarchy’s most prominent representatives’. Goldmark became the most famous Hungarian-born composer after Liszt at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His opera The Queen of Sheba earned world fame for him, it was performed in main opera houses across Europe and America. He was named a ‘European celebrity’ by Max Kalbeck, (Brahms’ biographer) and considered ‘the greatest living music-drama composer since Wagner’s death by Karl Kraus. Goldmark and Brahms developed friendship which lasted for decades, until Brahms’ death.
Excerpts from Hungaroton interview, 2006 – Fidelio.hu:
- According to the label on the cover of the CD these pieces have not been recorded up to now. How is it possible, since certain works of Goldmark are frequently performed Worldwide?
T.H.: It was unexpected to me also that Goldmark’s piano works could not be found in the catalogues of recording labels. That was really surprising because a large number of less significant masters' works have been recorded. However, it is true that certain works of Goldmark are frequently performed, but always the same works: The Queen of Sheba , the Rustic Wedding symphony and his Violin Concerto which has been favoured by the most outstanding violinists from Jascha Heifetz to Itzak Perlman and Joshua Bell.
- How is the series of complete recordings of Goldmark's piano works structured?
T.H.: Our intention was to group the compositions according to Goldmark’s compositional periods. For the first dics, issued recently, we selected mature works from Goldmark's late years. We are in a fortunate position because the largest part of the Goldmark bequest can be found at the National Széchényi Library (Budapest)...Besides his published piano works I am going to record (or I’ve already recorded) compositions which remained unpublished and can be found only in manuscripts.
- What are these works like?
T.H.: Interestingly, the impact of Romantic masters – for example Schumann, Brahms, Liszt – is obvious but, at the same time, these works were not born by epigonism. Goldmark was exceptionally open-minded as a composer but always preserved his originality.
International reviews, coverage on the CD series:
The International Piano (London) recommends Hlavacsek's recordings of Goldmark Complete Piano Works Vol.1-3.
"...(Hlavacsek) dives into the music with evident enthusiasm: he manages to accomodate both the Schumannesque Schwung and the Mendelssohnian textural delicacy.....three hours of pleasure - and a rich repository for pianists looking for some audience - pleasers with which to enrich their repertoire."
American record Guide :
This CD from Hungaroton introduces us to Karl Goldmark's (1830-1915) piano music and the recorded playing of Tihamer Hlavacsek. Both prove to be good. Hlavacsek is a young Hungarian who has already performed in Boston, Washington, and New York. He has won numerous competitions and has a master's degree from Yale, where he studied under Peter Frankl. His playing is brilliant and well suited to Goldmark's late-romantic, often Brahmsian style...
Muzsika ( Budapest )
"The composer and the performer have fortunately discovered each other which is proven by the high level of the interpretation, the excellent technical execution, which convincingly presents the qualities of the music."
„...Tihamér Hlavacsek's crystal-clear and perfectly structured performance”....characterized by „distinctive expressiveness, deeply worked out, particularly transparent playing...”
All Music Guide (Vol.1)
These are all character pieces, some sounding more like etudes than others, but all with distinct moods and personalities, a few even narrative in nature. The variety of the music is also unique. There are traces of the great composers such as Chopin , Liszt , Schumann , and Brahms in it, but there is also an originality that is hard to describe.
The Ungarische Fantasie makes use of folk rhythms, but rather than a rhapsodic dance like other Hungarian Fantasies, it alternates slow contemplative sections with faster showier ones in a mesmerizing way.
Hlavacsek is a superbly sensitive player who seems to be entirely in control of and yet easily comfortable with the changeability of the music. Klage has soft, almost feathery, passages, but also direct statements, which Hlavacsek makes powerful without harshness. Hlavacsek 's performance and the interesting qualities of Goldmark 's music make this intriguing listening.
All Music Guide (Vol.2)
Goldmark was not a pianist, and this music doesn't have the natural line on the keyboard that characterizes the piano works of the nineteenth century's great composer-virtuosi. It is, however, strikingly forward-looking in some ways, and it will be of a good deal of interest to listeners intrigued by the ebb and flow of large trends in the piano music of the nineteenth century. The chief influence on the young Goldmark (the music here was written early in his career) was Schumann, and the general mood of inwardly recollected experience greatly resembles that of Schumann's famous programmatic sets. Goldmark, though, adds something new: close study of J.S. Bach 's music and even the music of earlier eras than that. The result is sets of short pieces that don't have quite the internal consistency of Schumann's, but also sound quite unlike him or anyone else at times.
Pianist Tihamér Hlavacsek doesn't try to smooth out the music's rough edges, and he's a competent and sympathetic interpreter throughout. Another winner in Hungaroton's ongoing effort to resuscitate the lost repertories of central Europe.
“…[Mr. Hlavacsek] young talent performs once passionately, once sensitively, once virtuosically, once seriously, deserves more attention. It is worth taking a closer look around – not only in the infinity of music literature but in the expanding world of talented musicians also.”