This new release from MDG presents selected piano works of Hans Seeling, performed here by Karl-Andreas Kolly and presented on Super Audio CD. Seeling travelled through the salons and concert halls of mid-19th century Europe. As the cover suggests, he also stayed in Venice for some time before succumbing to the effects of a lung ailment far too early, in his hometown of Prague. Karl-Andreas Kolly has now made a remarkable selection from the highly interesting compositional legacy of the piano virtuoso. This programme sheds light on a portion of Romantic piano music that has previously been left unexplored.
Seeling's etudes reveal immediate affinities with Chopin; even the melancholy character of the Barcarole recalls one or another of the great Pole's mazurkas. Now and then one finds echoes of Schumann or the other great virtuosos of his time, from Moscheles to Henselt.
At the same time, Seeling uses wide-stretched melodic arcs of almost vocal quality. Especially the "Schilflieder" after Lenau's poems, which were extremely popular at the time. Even the etudes break away from technical exercises and become extremely distinctive character pieces.
"Memoirs of an Artist" is the title of Seeling's Op. 13, which he put to paper on his deathbed, following the testimony of a friend. The composer is silent about programmatic details; only the last two pieces, with their titles "Marche funèbre" and "Apotheose," may point to a biographical relationship.
Karl-Andreas Kolly is performing as a soloist and a chamber musician all over Europe, in Japan, China, Korea, Australia and the USA and has been invited to several international festivals. He played with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, the Basel and the Berne symphony orchestra, the Barcelona National orchestra, the Vienna Jeunesse, the Slovak Radio Symphony and many others. Kolly's huge repertoire is recorded on more than 90 CDs.