A distinctive 2011 CD containing Prokofiev's first five Sonatas garnered positive attention for the Romanian pianist Alexandra Siocea, who's follow-up solo release "Sound Waves" offers an equally stimulating though very different kind of programme. Here she presents pieces that represent myriad aspects of nature, from clouds, storms and rays of sunlight to bodies of water ranging from a calm lake and a goldfish bowl to violent ocean waves and decorative fountains. As it happends, Silocea proves to be as good pianist as she os a programme-builder and her playing offers much to savour, especially in the Liszt selections,"Les Jeux d'Eau a la Villa d'Este" and "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" achieve a satisfying fusion of power, suppleness and breadth. Silocea shapes the relentless ocatves of "Orage" with melodic cogency rather than banging the out, finds the wider dynamic and colouristic scope to "Nuages Gris" than its stark keyboard-writing reveals on the printed page, and contours the "Müller und der Bach" transcription's melody/accompaniament in a way that suggests long time familiarity with Schubert's original song.
One might imagine more delicacy and lightness in Ravel's "Jeux d'eau" or less cautious arpeggios in "Reflets dans l'eau" yet the characterful energy Silocea brings to "Poissons d'or" and "L'isle joyeuse" more than compensate. The opening selection, "Eärendil" by the Norwegian composer Martin Romberg, borrows from its impressionistic antecedents, seasoned with modal tinges that wouldn't be out of place in the late Puccini, plus a hint of Hindemith's pan-tonality.
In all, an attractive and well-recorded programme.
The New Releases Show with David Mellor
Alexandra is featured as Young Artist to Watch.