Reicha Rediscovered, Volume 2 – Études dans le genre Fugué, Op 97; Fugue, Op 36 No 12

Reviewed on Mon 10 Sep, 2018

This rich, rewarding recital is delivered with consummate grace, Ivan Ilić fully alert to Reicha’s pleasing idiosyncrasies, stillness and sly humour.

This second volume in Ivan Ilić’s enterprising championing of the forgotten piano music of Antoine Reicha (1770-1836) is every bit as good as its predecessor (reviewed 2 October 2017). Arguably even better. It’s given over in its entirety to a baker’s dozen of the 34 Op 97 Études dans le genre Fugué, the Op 36 No 12 Fugue – a quietly dazzling miniature traversing seven keys – a delightful encore. Composed as a teaching aid, each of the Études contains a fugue preceded by a prelude-like ‘introduction’ and all contain diverting surprises to test the dexterity of even as experienced a pianist as Ilić. With echoes of Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Schubert and an anticipation of Philip Glass and Morton Feldman, this rich, rewarding recital is delivered with consummate grace, Ilić fully alert to Reicha’s pleasing idiosyncrasies, stillness and sly humour. No hesitation in recommending this latest instalment in what is fast turning out to be the discovery of the year.
–Michael Quinn