Classical Music Sentinel

This CD is a live recording of Christopher Langdown , capturing his recital at Wigmore Hall in London, in June of 2009. If anything, it presents to us a young pianist whose versatility could lead to a bright future on the world stage of pianism. He has already received various awards and collaborated with many chamber music groups.

The variety of styles and periods comprising this recital could have been a challenge to some pianists, but Christopher Langdown seems to feel right at home no matter which composer he tackles. Some of the highlights of the evening include very atmospheric Book II Preludes by Claude Debussy . A solid interpretation of the Piano Sonata in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 (Tempest) by Ludwig van Beethoven . A rarely recorded but eloquent Dramatic Fantasia by Frank Bridge which I had not heard before. It is harmonically rich and uses the keyboard’s full range very effectively, and Langdown seems to relish the demands it puts on the player. There are seven Etudes by my favorite composer for the piano, Alexander Scriabin , which are very well shaped although the profound sadness is lacking in Op. 8 No. 11, and the extremely demanding Op. 8 No. 12 is missing the fiery passion and bravura it requires to really take flight. When Vladimir Horowitz would play this dramatic work, his disposition immediately following its performance would show a man who had just attained nirvana. The recital concludes with a very Islamic sounding Gnossienne No. 1 in F minor by Erik Satie . And if that was not enough of a varied program, the recital also includes a few pieces by Moritz Moszkowski and one of Christopher Langdown’s own creations, a very harmonically rich and neo-romantic work titled Deo Omnis Gloria .

Collectors of piano recordings should definitely obtain this strong snapshot of a pianist captured live at the beginning of what points to be a strong concert and recording career. The variety of the pieces on this recording is enough to satisfy any piano lovers appetite, and might even present new discoveries to some and certainly shed some new light on old favorites. The Divine Art recording fully captures the recital’s atmosphere and nervous energy, and delivers a focused and solid sound throughout.

—Jean-Yves Duperron