Fini Henriques: Piano Pieces

review christina bjørkøe x1 cong

Listening to this rather delightful CD we thought it resembled a sampler of piano pieces for amateurs to play along to, and learn; not novices, but neither the highly advanced.

When we read the sleeve notes, they report that, of Henriques’ works for piano, the majority can be divided into music for children and music for adults. The former category includes a work on here: Billedbogen (The Picture Book, 1899), which after a brief (1m 20) piece comprises the first work on this CD.

His works for children — 106 in all — outnumber his adult piano pieces, 55. The adult works include Aphorismer (Aphorisms), the short opening piece being number six of these, written when he was nine, as well as Sex Klaverstykker, Op1 (stop sniggering, it’s just Six Piano Pieces) and Erotik, Op 15 (Eroticism, 1896) (you can snigger now), which closes this programme.

Melodiske Profiler, Op 38 (Silhouettes, 1911) is the other adult piece on here.

The sleeve notes state that Henriques became “one of the best-known Danes of his age”, and a composer whose works appealed to “practically everybody, high or low”.

So: child-friendly and appealing to all — this is not a collection of difficult music. The tracks are short and the music easy to digest. There’s everything you might want on here, too, from playfulness to dance and moments of solemnity. It’s all easy on the ear and enjoyable to listen to; there’s a charm and warm-heartedness to it all — those words, say the sleeve notes, applying to Henriques as a person: “complete agreement between the man himself and his music”.

He sounds a splendid fellow, and this is a splendid, if untaxing, CD.

Christina Bjørkøe plays and (we guess) delivers Henriques as he’s meant to sound.

Out now on Dacapo 8.226150.

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