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Christie Grimstad, January 2013

The selection of works is a persuasive summary of Wallace’s life which Rosemary Tuck briskly unfurls with lyrical synchronization. Tuck masterfully unveils Wallace’s A-B-A format, well realized in several compositions such as in the vibrant waltzes…Wallace shines with jubilant musical imagery in his poetic sketches…effervescent mazurkas…pensive nocturnes, and an opening polonaise…only to be suddenly transformed into a sheen of peppery limelight (Richard Bonynge performs this piece.) Tuck is accompanied by the Tait Chamber Orchestra in the conclusive “Grande Fantaisie La Cracovienne.”…the music allows Tuck to amplify her talents through repeated variations with alternating melodic and harmonic lines featuring softened woodwinds, strings and horns.

Frédéric Chopin audiophiles who’d like a bit of an edge will find Rosemary Tuck’s Chopinesque pleasingly infectious. © Read complete review

Andrew Lamb
Gramophone, December 2012

This latest piano collection is perhaps the best of all…The joyful, passionate Nocturne mélodique is especially winning, as is Au bord de la mer, but there’s much more to enjoy in this substantial and varied collection, which Rosemary Tuck dispatches all with admirable grace and aplomb.

Wallace’s piano compositions are of real appeal, and this generous and inexpensive collection is well worth investigating alongside Naxos’s previous issues of his Opera Fantasies and Celtic Fantasies. © 2012 Gramophone

The Munster Express, November 2012

The acclaimed Australian pianist, Rosemary Tuck was in the National Concert Hall in Dublin recently to give a concert celebrating the Bicentenary of William Vincent Wallace. Waterford’s leading Wallace authority, Dr. David Grant gave a lecture as part of the event, at a lunchtime concert. Ms. Tuck played from her latest Wallace cd, Chopinesque, now available on the Naxos label.

This cd gives a wonderful flavour of the styles and influences of a composer who travelled widely in the 19th century. There are operatic gems or extracts, some Latin American , Spanish and American influences as well as a nod toward Paganini and Chopin. Hence the title Chopinesque. Richard Bonynge and the Tait Chamber orchestra contributed to a few tracks as well.

Wallace was a virtuoso pianist and composer and he contributed to a worldwide demand for sheet music from an era before recorded versions were readily available. There are waltzes, nocturnes, mazourkas, barcaroles and dazzling, expressive passages.

There is a great passion and turbulence in, Nocturne Melodique, at a time when his marriage had broken down and he was threatened with blindness. A Spanish dance tone to La Sympathie, reminds of the Gitana song in Maritana, in waltz time. Another nocturne, Le Zephyr, recreates the harp tune from the same opera.

Varsovie, a mazourka, is passionate and romantic and was one of Wallace’s most popular pieces for piano. The Grand Fantasie, La Cracovienne with the Tait Chamber Orchestra is a 13 minute gem. it opens like an opera with a romantic piano and developes into glittering ripples, before the brass establishes a dramatic melody, that hinted of, Yes Let Me Like A Soldier Fall. Rosemary Tuck’s technique on this piece is wonderful and she brings her considerable love for Wallace’s work to the fore, with the joy and delight in the piece. I have played this over and over and it transports me to a beautiful musical place, a Waterford of music, a place to be proud of, and to be proud of Wallace’s contribution to a city of music.

Towards the end of his life, Wallace wrote another mazourka, Souvenir de Cracovie, and the Chopin influence is so strong. Peter Jaggard, a Wallace expert like David Grant, considers this piece a masterpiece. © 2012 The Munster Express

Cinemusical, October 2012

What makes Wallace’s music so unique is that is moves effortlessly from works of great virtuoso display to more simple piano pieces designed for home enjoyment. The title of this new Naxos release suggests his “Chopin”-like output. Other similarities may be heard in his delightful exploration of the piano. After a few selections that allow the listener to get a taste of early 19th-century style comes the striking nocturne, “Le Zephyr.”

The titles of some of Wallace’s works also seem to have a parallel descriptive quality to those Gottschalk would also attach to his piano works. Though the disc moves back and forth from earlier to later pieces, one can still hear how the pieces show a consistent command of piano writing. The later “Souvenir de Cracovie” features a great deal of little chordal moments set against strong melodic content. Spanish flavored sounds appear in “La Sympathie-Valse” dedicated to a Mexican woman and featuring an almost guitar-like accompaniment. One might also hear some of this influence in the nocturne “Woodland Murmurs” from a set published in New York in 1844. It is on great display though in the 1848 “Valse Brillante.” Striking as well are Wallace’s descriptive titles, often Impressionistic in nature and in narrative content. The first of these is the truly gorgeous “Le Chant des Oiseaux” (1852) inspired by the Persian poet Sadi and complete with bird call imitations and depictions of flying. Another nocturne, “Au Bord de la Mer,” is an appropriately wave-like barcarolle.

Releases such as this one can introduce rather unusual repertoire to new people and in this case there is much here to enjoy. Very few solo piano releases are as good as this one and there is plenty of music to enjoy here. Rosemary Tuck performs these pieces with great skill and does so without trying to overlay the style of more familiar Romantics of the period. The result is that Wallace’s music can be enjoyed for the great music that it is on its own. The release comes highly recommended and can allow another way to explore the development of solo piano music in the first half of the 19th-century. © 2012 Cinemusical Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2012

One of the most prolific purveyors of domestic piano music, the Irish-born composer, William Vincent Wallace, is now known only for his opera Maritana. A life pictured with his hurriedly leaving behind him a trail of women and financial debt has been a little exaggerated, though he seldom stayed in the same place for long, and was to make his transitory home in Australia, Chile, Mexico, United States, Germany, England and finally in France. At the height of his popularity it was said in a New York paper he had ‘literally sown the world with his compositions’. He was gifted in creating pleasing melody, and was also a master of pastiche, the present disc, called ‘Chopinesque’ , presenting 16 tracks of solo piano music, including Nocturnes, Walzes, Mazukas and a solitary Polonaise, the great Polish composer being the recurring influence. At times they call for a technique that would have stretched the average amateur pianists entertaining friends and family. But to make for a pleasant disc you need the advocacy of someone who believes in their worth, the Australian pianist, Rosemary Tuck, having already shown her predilection to the music in a previous Naxos disc. Never inflating the content, but allowing it to be light and pleasing in texture, she arrives at the final track where things are very different. The Grande Fantaisie La Crocovienne was in the Liszt tradition and started life as a work for piano and orchestra, but only published as a piano solo. That orchestral accompaniment has been recreated by Jeremy Silver and played by the London-based ensemble, the Tait Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Richard Bonynge. It is not a masterpiece, but it gives Tuck the chance to demonstrate her very agile dexterity. Reliable sound engineering. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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