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In 1987 Peter Froundjian set up a piano festival dedicated to giving rare repertoire a forum. The event has developed must-attend status among pianophiles, who flock to the north German town of Husum, near the Danish border, every August. Beyond the mainstream: The Festival ‘Rarities of Piano Music’ is a beautifully produced title, published in English and German, and a delightful companion for those visiting the festival for the first or twenty-fifth time.

My IP colleague Jeremy Nicholas is one such regular attendee, having also made several appearances on the festival stage as an orator. In his chapter, ‘Broadening our horizons’, Nicholas reflects on an article he wrote for an early edition of IP observing that musical competition appears to be more attractive than musical celebration. Husum bucks this trend, and has found a dedicated following of ‘pianoraks’ (© Nicholas) in doing so.

Elsewhere, Froundjian eloquently explains why we desperately need a festival that offers more than the ‘three Bs’ (Beethoven, Bach and Brahms), and Danacord producer Jesper Buhl offers a fascinating and honest account of his involvement recording Husum recitals (not one track has been rejected due to audience interference, which, in this age of coughing and sniffi ng, is quite remarkable). A transcription of the lecture given at the very first festival by Berlin music critic Walther Kaempfer (1899-1991) of his experiences listening to numerous legendary pianists in concert – from Eugen d’Albert to Stravinsky – is the icing on the cake.

CLAIRE JACKSON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing