Vanessa Benelli Mosell SCRIABIN - STOCKHAUSEN

Vanessa Benelli Mosell studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen in his old age. Whether this makes her an authoritative interpreter of the Klavierstücke, specifically the one here extracted from the giant Licht (Light) opera cycle, may be debated. But she certainly gets the energy in this work, one of Stockhausen's most accessible, and she enters enthusiastically into its jazz accents and exotic vocal effects. The bulk of the program here, however, is devoted not to Stockhausen but to Alexander Scriabin. The "light" theme is intended to apply to both composers, but the early works of Scriabin performed here, the 24 Preludes for piano, Op. 11, and the even earlier 3 Pieces, Op. 2 and Etude, Op. 8, No. 12, carry little hint of the synaesthetic experiments to come later in Scriabin's career. Mosell seems to admit as much in the interview-style booklet, where she turns first to the totalizing tendencies of these composers. Nevertheless, the program holds together reasonably well on its own (and it's noteworthy to see the name Stockhausen on a major-label release). Mosell has a rather explosive style in the Preludes, which see the composer breaking out into his mature idiom. You could sample one of these very short pieces, such as the 47-second "Allegro agitato," for a taste of Mosell's style. The more Chopin-esque pieces in the middle of the program then take on the character of an interlude before the more extreme sound world of Stockhausen. This is the kind of release that makes you want to hear more from the performer involved, even if it does not succeed in every respect. (James Manheim)

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