Author Topic: Marie-Luise Hinrichs: An Angel Among Us?  (Read 1175 times)

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Offline Todd

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Marie-Luise Hinrichs: An Angel Among Us?
« on: July 06, 2017, 06:29:48 AM »



It was time to listen to Marie-Luise Hinrichs' transcription of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater.  The opening movement is somewhat startling in its austerity, simplicity, and its almost eerily steady bass line; coming at this from the pianist's Soler and, especially, Bingen transcription recordings, the great beauty and nuance and flexibility of those discs seem almost AWOL.  The second movement picks things up a bit, with grander scale, more beautiful harmonic invention, and more attractive pianism.  However, it is with the third movement, O quam tristes et afflicta, that Hinrichs' playing more fully assumes the qualities that make her Bingen so captivating.  So, too, does the first two thirds of Quis et homo, which is nothing shy of devout sorrow transcribed to the keyboard, with Pergolesi's original the medium.  Hinrichs throws in some discreetly ornamented and slightly more pointed playing in the seventh and eighth pieces, and it's about at this point that one realizes that six and seven pieces have been played through completely.  And it also becomes obvious that all of the traits that Hinrichs displays on her prior recordings are present, though to a slightly lesser degree.  There is fine dynamic shading, but it seems less pervasive.  There is rhythmic variegation, but it sounds constrained much of the time.  There is tonal lustrousness, but it is purposively toned down a fair amount of the time.  (In other words, Hinrichs adjusted her writing and playing styles to the music, which requires something in addition to her more standard interpretive arsenal.)  Come the Inflammatus et accensus, there is more energy and color and rhythmic vitality, which is followed by an achingly beautiful and somber and simple Quando corpus morietur, at least until the rapturous coda. 

Immediately prior to listening to this disc for the first time, I listened to Claudio Abbado's second recording of the main piece.  The transcription is both very successful and not so successful.  It is not so successful in taking a beautiful, very operatic duet and creating a solo instrumental equivalent.  It is very successful indeed, though, in taking the beautiful music and the somber text and creating a vast, baroque-modern hybrid keyboard suite that does a superlative job of evoking the emotional aspects of the underlying subject in a serious manner almost entirely devoid of unnecessary virtuosic display.  I have no doubt that quite a few pianists could take the piece on, but it seems very personal, and Hinrichs obviously chose to transcribe to her strengths.  The work is not as successful overall as her Bingen disc, but then, that is an unfair comparison.  That disc is a work of inspired genius.  This seems the work of slightly exhausted genius.  Unlike with the Bingen disc, I did not listen back to back; I did, however, listen to it first thing four mornings in a row.  I don't do that very often, either.

The disc includes five Domenico Scarlatti sonatas as filler.  Given the success of her two Soler discs, I figured these would be superb, and so they prove to be.  Her playing doesn't display the pianistic bravado of some other players (Pletnev, say), but it does maintain a lyrical, nuance-filled seriousness of some others (Schiff, for instance).  When the final piece on the disc arrives, K380, Hinrichs dispatches all others - even the mighty Pletnev, who for the last sixteen years has been untouchable in this sonata in my collection - with a gentle beauty that leaves the listener, or at least this listener, wanting more.  I most definitely wouldn't mind hearing more Scarlatti from her.

I doubt many listeners would be as taken with this disc, or Hinrichs' other discs, as I obviously am, though some might be.  She's just got my number.  I can't entirely explain it.  More so than even Sheila Arnold, I feel Marie-Luise Hinrichs can do no wrong.  I doubt I ever get to hear her play in person, but if ever I do, I would jump at the chance, and I even have the perfect venue in mind - Mt Angel Abbey in Mt Angel, Oregon.  I heard a sacred choral work program there recently, and the acoustics would suit Hinrichs' playing, and so would the setting.  (In the real world, I'd have to head back east or to some Euro festival to hear her in person.)  She has joined the likes of Michel Block in my pantheon of artists.  Maybe she will eventually join St Annie.

Sound is near SOTA, though maybe just a tad too close, with damper noise audible in quieter passages.  A nice tube or single-ended solid state Class A headphone amp makes the playing sound even more appealing than a more unforgiving rig.
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Online Alek Hidell

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Re: Marie-Luise Hinrichs: An Angel Among Us?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2017, 08:43:38 AM »
I always enjoy reading your detailed, knowledgeable posts on piano recordings, Todd. I've added the Bingen disc to my wishlist.

I see that Hinrichs has also recorded a disc of Eberl pieces. Have you heard it?
"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist." - Hélder Pessoa Câmara

Offline Todd

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Re: Marie-Luise Hinrichs: An Angel Among Us?
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2017, 08:50:07 AM »
I see that Hinrichs has also recorded a disc of Eberl pieces. Have you heard it?


No, not yet.  Shouldn't be too long.  Internet scuttlebutt has it that some of Eberl's compositions were passed off as Mozart way back when, though I haven't checked with any reputable academic sources on that.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Marie-Luise Hinrichs: An Angel Among Us?
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2017, 09:18:06 AM »
I just listened to the Eberl this morning, which includes two sets of variations which had been falsely passed off as Mozart's. The sonata is OK, the variations genuinely quite enjoyable (the first set on the disc delves deeper, the second is more about virtuosity/technique), although anybody who hears them and thinks "Mozart!" should have their head examined.

Offline Todd

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Re: Marie-Luise Hinrichs: An Angel Among Us?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2017, 09:24:39 AM »
although anybody who hears them and thinks "Mozart!" should have their head examined.


In an age of unlimited music streaming and thousands of recordings and free scores and centuries of academic research available with a few mouse clicks, I think this is fair, but in the 1780s it might have been a bit different.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline romulo

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Re: Marie-Luise Hinrichs: An Angel Among Us?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2018, 04:30:28 AM »
Todd - thank you so much for your fantastic review, I am Marie-Luise's manager and yours is the best review of her music I have ever read. I appreciate how much you love her music and how closely you listen to it. Marie-Luise is planning to make her first visit to Oregon in October this year (2018) so you might want to make the trip. She has a house concert scheduled in Portland so far, and a live radio appearance on All Classical Portland. I will share your review with Marie-Luise. I especially like that you think her playing is better than Pletnev at one point! I truly believe that Marie-Luise is one of the greatest pianists in the world, (although she doesn't like it when I tell her that) and I am so happy when I find other people that recognize her talent. Her Vocation CD is a miracle - truly a gift from God. When she worked on that, she did truly feel that she was guided by a spirit that was not her own. She just recorded a Mozart sonata and a collection of personal original compositions devoted to and inspired by animals. She may publish these independently if she can't find a publisher for this recording. Next she is working on William Byrd and Sweelinck.

Offline Todd

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Re: Marie-Luise Hinrichs: An Angel Among Us?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2018, 07:11:21 AM »
Marie-Luise is planning to make her first visit to Oregon in October this year (2018) so you might want to make the trip.


Most excellent news.  I will make it a point to attend any public performance I can.  KQAC typically showcases visiting musicians on Thursdays @ Three, so I will plan on at least listening and perhaps absenting myself from work to attend in person. 
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Marie-Luise Hinrichs: An Angel Among Us?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2018, 05:04:49 AM »
In the Pergolesi transcription, I enjoyed  Vidit Tuum Dulcem Natem most - I like the way that, out of the blue, about a minute before the end, we hear a strong dramatic dissonance - the surrounding music both on this track and elsewhere is comparatively  sweet and poised. The relevant text, I think, is

Quote
She saw her sweet child
die desolate,
as he gave up His spirit.

O Mother, fountain of love,
make me feel the power of sorrow,
that I may grieve with you.

I don't know if Pergolesi has a major musical event like this in the same place, or whether this is part of Hinrich's interpretation.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen