Astonishing Maturity

CD Review by Thomas Gehrig on, February 19th 2017

Hanna Bachmann’s debut CD shows promising perspectives for the future.

The young Austrian pianist Hanna Bachmann has already won several prizes at competitions; prominent musicians like Kirill Petrenko have highly recommended her already. She has just released her first CD with the label Tyxart, demonstrating an extremely various repertoire.

Full of Energy
She plays the first movement of Leos Janacek’s sonata ‚1.X.1905’ with the title ‚The Presentiment’ showing already a highly concentrated emotional intensity. She shows the energetic paradox between the fragile melodical line and the eruptive bursts with an enormous skill, consistently crossing the borders of tonality. Likewise in the second movement she permanently keeps the musical, thematically planned tension within the piece. Her interpretation of Beethoven’s sonata ‚Les Adieux’ in E flat major is just simply brilliant. Filled with spirit and without any technical effort during the fast scales and passages with chords she forms the Allegro-part of the first movement. The ‚Wiedersehen’ of the last movement just bubbles with energy. In the introduction of the first movement as well as in the ‚Andante espressivo’ she expressively shapes lyric cantilenas – all in all it is an interpretation that can be easily compared to the ones of Beethoven-experts.

Newly Discovered Curiosities
She adds a rarity to her programme with Viktor Ullmann’s (1898-1944) seventh sonata, composed as one of his last pieces in the Terezin ghetto before being deported to the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz, where he was finally murdered. She plays in a varied musical style which is from time to time harsh, even turbulently torn apart, which sometimes leads to a melancholic silence. Nevertheless she plays with obvious joy of the diversity of the different musical forms and motives and underlines them ideally. In the fifth and last movement she also shows her skills in the polyphonic spheres of the ‚Variations and Fugue on a Hebrew Folksong’, making the different voices and lines well audible.
She also interprets Schumann’s sonata in g minor op. 22 astonishingly masterfully. There are not too many recordings of this sonata and her interpretation can be easily compared to the one by Wilhelm Kempff – in the first movement she even outshines his recording with regard to tempo and agogics. As a bonus track she even adds the original version of the last movement – a discovery absolutely worth being listened to. No matter in which version these works are played, Bachmann achieves the goal one may ask, namely, why these pieces are not heard in concert halls more often.