The four pieces on this superb issue not only highlight the versatility of the composer, but also the melodic fluency, harmonic invention and formal command with which von Bülow was blessed. Written in 1871, the "Carnevale di Milano" is the most substantial piece on the programme. Dedicated to the ballerina Elvira Salvioni, the Suite comprises a sequence of ten dances and intermezzos depicting various aspects of Elvira's stage persona. Overflowing with colour and dance rhythms, the piece demonstrates the composer's skill at taking a genre piece and infusing it with his own brand of humour and vigour. The final fiery Galop is a fine example of von Bülow's breadth and variety of his keyboard writing.
The 1854 Ballade is, maybe, the next most important piano piece in the composer's keyboard repertoire, and although it contains echoes of Wagner and Liszt, it firmly confirms an individual sound-world and evolves through its own persuasive logic. The two remaining miniatures highlight the composer's acumen to etch short descriptive ideas with superb craftsmanship.
Mark Anderson is a passionate advocate of this music, and his performances are consistently stylish and perceptive. This music is an emphatic statement from a musician more famous for his conducting than his composing. If you want to embellish further your CD collection, don't miss out. A peach of an issue in first-rate sound and presentation. Gerald Fenech, Classical Net
"This is a lovely disc, and one that also plugs some important gaps in the repertoire… Great stuff, undemanding and pleasing." Colin Clarke, Musicweb-international
"The recorded sound is given a healthy, lively bloom, yet we are still given a good crispness of attack and appreciable dynamics to lend the playing a natural, unforced quality." Mark Tanner - International Record Review
"Once again Anderson delivers the goods in a rip-roaring way and he has been excellently recorded." Jonathan Woolfe, musicweb-international.com