The Audio Video Club of Atlanta just published a very nice review of Delos’ recent CD compilation, The Boesendorfer Sound (DE 3460), containing selections from three of pianist Carol Rosenberger’s highly acclaimed previous releases: Water Music of the Impressionists (1979 – DE 3006), Night Moods (1988 – DE 3030), and Singing on the Water (1994 – DE 3172).
As the author points out, the album’s purpose is to showcase the unique sounds and effects of Carol’s cherished personal instrument, “Boesie” – her affectionate nickname for her especially fine example of the Bösendorfer Imperial Grand, Model 290. Aside from that, the album serves as a particularly appealing reminder to the musical public of Carol’s “Ravishing, elegant pianism” (New York Times).
This particular model (the world’s largest grand piano) is the “flagship” of the Bösendorfer line. It has nine extra keys/notes (going down to the “C” below a normal piano’s low “A”): the result of the company’s efforts in 1909 to design an instrument for Italian pianist-composer Ferruccio Busoni, to accommodate his need for extra bass notes in performing his famous transcriptions of Bach’s organ works. The Imperial’s extra-large soundboard and structural design give it an especially pure, warm, resonant and flowing sound that makes it especially suitable for the sorts of nocturnal and “watery” effects in the selections heard here.
Let me digress long enough to tell you that working to help prepare this compilation was a particularly personal project for me. I had the great good fortune to spend my early teenage years in Vienna, where Bösendorfer pianos are painstaking crafted almost completely by hand. While I didn’t get a chance to play an Imperial Grand while there, I was blessed when my family lucked into a smaller Bösendorfer grand – which made my own piano studies all the more joyful and memorable. You can read Carol’s personal “Boesie Story” (and my own) in the album’s liner notes.
Back to the review at hand: the author – after pointing out much of what I have mentioned above – goes on to discuss the album’s repertoire (works by Debussy, Ravel, Bennett, Liszt, Granados, Griffes and Chopin). In the process, the comment below is especially telling:
With (Boesie’s) soft hammers and ability to blend tones, it has at times what Rosenberger terms “an almost ‘attackless’ sound.” You can imagine yourself flowing as you listen to it, a quality which, together with Carol Rosenberger’s consummate musicianship, makes it ideal for the present program of music by composers for whom softly beautiful sound and resonance could be paramount.
Among connoisseurs of piano sound, Carol’s total output of eight solo piano albums performed on Boesie are the stuff of musical legend – as are her matchless playing style, interpretive acumen, and ability to touch the hearts and stimulate the imaginations of her listeners. So – particularly if you don’t already own any of them – order a copy (at the special sale price of $9.98; offer good through the 19th.)
It’s only fair to warn you, however, that this intoxicating compilation of piano “cherries” may well turn out to be addictive – and we therefore cannot be held responsible for any compulsive decisions to order any (or all) of the rest of Carol’s albums showcasing her beloved Boesie!
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