I listened recently to a nice CD of compositions by Haydn, Schumann, and Janacek by Viennese pianist Iris Weingartner. Ms. Weingartner studied with Roland Batik, Jacob Lateiner, Wolfgang Watzinger und Anatol Ugorski. She also teaches at the Hans-Lanner school in Payerbach / Lower Austria.
As soon as I began to listen, I was struck by the clarity of expression of pianist Weingartner. Fast areas were clear, and not played with lots of pedal to hide inaccuracies, as some other pianists do. I sure liked that! I wound up concentrating on her playing of the Haydn Andante with Variations. I may cover the other compositions on her CD at a later time.
While I was impressed with Ms. Weingartner’s accuracy, I also felt that the tempo of her playing was a bit fast. After all, the title is “Andante” and not “Allegro”. I am sure this is open for debate, but it represents my view. Keep in mind that Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809), composed his Andante con Variazioni for piano in F minor in 1793. He was 61 years old. It is believed that the work was secretly dedicated to Marianne von Genzinger, the woman thought to be Haydn’s last great love. Genzinger was a fine pianist for whom he had already written the sublime Piano Sonata in E flat major, and this masterpiece was composed shortly after Genzinger’s death at 42 early in 1793. As such, my own feeling is that this is a somewhat somber, sad piece; and it reflects Haydn’s private personal memories of her…
For those of you who enjoy comparing how the same composition is interpreted by different artists, the following is actually very interesting. While it may not be “fair” to compare artists at a different age, as well as different experience and maturity, my aim is only to compare the resulting interpretations, as follows:
First here is Iris Weingartner, performing this Haydn masterpiece:
Now here is pianist Ingrid Haebler playing the same composition:
And here is an audio recording by the late Lili Kraus: Notice how Haydn’s loss can be felt not only in the music, but also in the underlying sorrow and complexity of Lili Kraus’ playing. The listener is drawn into experiencing the highly intimate emotions in this fascinating interpretation.
Every artist is entitled to interpret a composition in their own creative way. That, of course, includes Ms. Weingartner. The listener has to decide whether any presentation is meaningful to him/her.
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