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No matter how good Dirk Joeres’s performances of Brahms might be, the interest in this CD will be directed first and foremost at the works by the theorist Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935), who began his career as a composer. His credentials were of a high order: he studied piano with a pupil of Chopin and harmony with Bruckner, and his compositions attracted the interest of musicians of the stature of Busoni and d’Albert. But he had barely turned 30 when, around 1900, he renounced composition and devoted his life to analysis. The 18 minutes or so of Schenker’s music on this disc make that decision a cause for regret: the Fünf Klavierstücke are written sub specie Brahms but the phrasing is refreshingly quirky, and the Zweistimmige Inventionen show an independent view of Bachian heritage. Joeres makes an excellent case for this music.

MARTIN ANDERSON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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