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WESSEL VAN WYK PIANO FAVOURITES VOL. 2 (article first published : 2003-12-4)

Popular and engaging pianist, Wessel van Wyk became the first pianist to receive a DMus (Performing Arts) from the University of Pretoria (2001). Having won the first prize in Vienna’s Bösendorfer Piano Competition, he has been in Austria for three years, He’s now back home in South Africa where he is well-known as a versatile classical and popular musician.

Following the success of his CD released in 2002, Wessel van Wyk plays Piano Favourites, he has now produced a sequel of short and accessible piano works that he holds dear. As he says: “Most of these melodies have achieved enduring popularity because of their directness, charm and wit.”

In the CD cover of Wessel van Wyk Piano Favourites Vol.2, he pays tribute to one Elizabeth Riding for making him “believe in moonbeams and dreams” and he performs the Chopin Fantaisie Impromptu, one of the melodic phrases of which was later to be turned into I’m always chasing rainbows.

The programme he has chosen for his latest CD certainly contains the stuff of which moonbeams are made, such as Beethoven’s disarming Minuet in G – one of the first pieces taught to aspiring piano students. This is followed by the sparkling and vivacious Allegro from Mozart’s Sonata in C, K.545. A recording by the young childhood prodigy Marian Friedman formed part of Wessel’s 33rpm collection and it formed the basis of his piano arrangement for Christopher Torr’s song Stuur groete aan Mannetjies Roux which became a national hit for Laurika Rauch.

Not all the numbers on the CD are gentle and understated – there are some fireworks as well in items such as Grieg’s Anitra’s Dance and Chopin’s Etude op.10 (“Revolutionary”)

I particularly liked his interpretation of Liszt’s Consolation No.3 and the tensions in Hungarian Rhapsody No.2. The CD also features works by Schubert, Rubinstein, Sinding. Granados, Albéniz and Debussy.

This is a highly enjoyable CD to put into the music system at the end of the day; kick your shoes off, pour a glass of wine and lean back in your favourite chair to do some serious relaxing. It is music to be listened to in the quiet of evening as the chaos of the day fades and the night eases in.

Wessel van Wyk Piano Favourites Vol.2 is released under the JNS label and retails at R110. – Caroline Smart




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