piano music

BENEDETTI-MICHELANGELI - PIANO ARCHIVES    TAHRA 631

Arturo Benedetti-MichelangeliArturo Benedetti Michelangeli was born in Brescia, Italy, in 1920. He began music lessons at the age of three, initially learning the violin but soon switching to the piano. He entered the Milan Conservatory at the age of ten and studied medicine for a brief period before beginning his international musical career by entering the 1938 Ysaÿe International Festival in Brussels. A year later he earned first prize in the Geneva International Competition, where he was acclaimed as ‘a new Liszt’ by Alfred Cortot, a presiding judge. Apart from his musical activities, Michelangeli claimed to have been a qualified doctor, pilot, racing car driver and member of the anti-Fascist resistance during the Second World War, although he is known to have served in the Italian armed forces. He also is said to have traced his ancestry back to St. Francis of Assisi. Although regarded as among the most commanding and individual piano virtuosos of the 20th century, along with Horowitz and Richter, his repertoire was surprisingly small pianist of such stature. Owing to his obsessive perfectionism relatively few recordings were officially released during Michelangeli’s lifetime, but these are augmented by numerous bootleg recordings of live performances. This new album features recordings made in the mid-1950s of concertos by Schumann (with the Orchestra della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera Italiana, conducted by Hermann Scherchen), Liszt (No. 1, with the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale di Firenze and Dimitri Mitropoulos) and Rachmaninov: (No. 4, with the Orchestra di Roma della RAI, and Franco Caracciolo - previously unissued). The liner notes were written by Professor Clémenty, a cardiologist who operated on Arturo Benedetti-Michelangeli following his heart attack during a recital he gave in Bordeaux in 1988. They soon became friends and Professor Clémenty draws a sometimes intimate portrait of the famous pianist. Other new releases in Tahra’s excellent Piano Archives series include CLARA HASKIL PLAYS MOZART (TAH 628) with performances of his piano concertos Nos. 19 and 20 and CORTOT & PERLEMUTER (TAH 610) with recordings of Beethoven’s Piano concerto No. 1 (previously unissued and the only known one of Alfred Cortot playing this work), Ravel’s Trio for piano, violin and cello in A minor (with Vlado Perlemuter, Jeanne Gautier and André Lévy) and a marvelous interpretation by Perlemuter of two Legends by Franz Liszt.

AMY BEACH – PIANO MUSIC, VOL 1    GUILD GMCD 7317

Amy BeachApart from the Mass in E flat Major, her compositions include the Gaelic Symphony, a violin sonata, a piano concerto, the Variations on Balkan Themes, a piano quintet, several choral and chamber music compositions and the opera Cabildo, as well as many songs and piano pieces. Her writing is mainly in a Romantic idiom, often compared to that of Brahms, although in her later works she experimented by moving away from tonality. This compact disc contains all of Amy Beach’s early works for piano, written from childhood through her mid-twenties. Mamma’s Waltz, Menuetto, Romanza, Petite Valse, Air and Variations and Bal Masque are world première recordings. The pieces are fresh and accessible, full of charm and grace. Pianist Kirsten Johnson masterfully captures the essence of the music with flair and imagination, backed by her extensive research into this repertoire. This CD is a must for serious collectors, but is also a treat for all who enjoy listening to piano music composed in the romantic style.

BROWNS IN BLUE – THE 5 BROWNS    RCA RED SEAL 88697-11322-2

The 5 Browns clean-cut Browns are a classical music phenomenon who first caught the public’s attention in 2002 when People magazine called them the ‘Fab Five’ - the first quintet of siblings to study simultaneously as the prestigious Juilliard School. After appearing on 60 Minutes and Oprah, they released their hugely successful debut album in 2005 and were hailed by Entertainment Weekly as ‘five young Mormons who all play scorching piano. Thundering down on five Steinways together, they’re button-down cute and somewhat otherworldly’. Ryan, Melody, Gregory, Deondra and Desirae are now back with a new album of romantic and jazz-inspired piano music drawn from a wide variety of sources and performed with their usual sublime virtuosity. With Browns In Blue, The 5 Browns extend their individual and collective mastery of the piano and their command of classical repertoire through a series of emotionally complex interpretations of works ranging from the romantic tonalities of Rachmaninoff (Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini,18th Variation), Chopin (Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48), Debussy (Clair de lune), and Saint-Saëns (Carnival of the Animals: ‘The Swan’ and ‘Aquarium’, featuring violin virtuoso Gil Shaham) to the jazz-influenced contemporary masterpieces of Gershwin (Embraceable You and from An American In Paris, Home Blues) with special guest performance by trumpeter Chris Botti) and W.C. Handy (Aunt Hagar’s Blues) to the fiery dynamics of Piazzolla (Tango) and the brooding smoldering passion of Brahms (Intermezzo, Op. 118 No. 2). Included as a special bonus track is the newly recorded ‘Everybody Loves Somebody’ featuring the vocals of Dean Martin. The 5 Browns also play newly-commissioned five-piano piece, John Novacek’s sparkling, folk-inspired Reflections on Shenandoah. These gifted young pianists play with remarkable virtuosity, blending classical and jazz traditions together to produce a unique sound that is pure music.

MARTINU – COMPLETE PIANO MUSIC, VOL. 3   NAXOS 8.557919

The Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) was educated in the classic romantic style and was much influenced by Twentieth Century neo-classicism as well as Czech folk songs and jazz. He was extraordinarily prolific, writing many chamber and choral works, 6 symphonies, concertos (including five for the piano), 15 operas and 14 ballets, becoming with Dvorák, Janácek and Smetana one of ‘The Great Four’ Czech classical composers. Most of his orchestral works include a prominent part for piano, including his small concerto for harpsichord and chamber orchestra. This third release in the Naxos complete Martinu solo piano music series represents the most mature style of his work. It begins with two masterworks for the genre: the Fantaisie et toccata, written as he made his escape from Paris in 1940, and the solitary Sonata, his largest and last major work for solo piano. The three sets of Etudes and Polkas were composed while Martinu was living at Cape Cod. Although they hark back to Smetana, Dvorák, and Czech folk roots, they also bear the individual, distinctive voice of a mature Martinu, filled with both a post-War optimism and a longing for a native land to which he would never return. Volumes 1 and 2 of this series are available on Naxos 8.557914 and 8.557918. The Prague-born pianist on these recordings is Giorgio Koukl, who gives brisk, unshowy performances of this technically challenging music.

LIGETI-SCHUBERT – AN EXPERIMENTAL RECITAL   COL LEGNO 20102

György Sándor Ligeti (1923-2006) was a Jewish Hungarian composer born in Romania who later became an Austrian citizen. Many of his works are well known in classical music circles, but among the general public, he is probably best known for his opera Le Grand Macabre and the various pieces which feature prominently in the Stanley Kubrick films 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut. Ligeti’s earliest works are an extension of the musical language of his countryman Béla Bartók but his music also reveals the influence of composers and musicians from many different centuries, countries and cultures, from 15th century composer Johannes Ockeghem to American mavericks Harry Partch and Conlon Nancarrow. This experimental recital by the brilliant German piano duo of Andreas Grau & Götz Schumacher brings together Ligeti’s Three Pieces for Two Pianos, not in successive order, interspersed with two large-scale Schubert four-hand works (Fantasy in F minor and Sonata in B flat major). The contrast between Ligeti’s concentrated dynamism and Schubert’s more leisurely style is fascinating and provocative, and the performances by Grau Schumacher are stunning. Ligeti rocks! Also just released is another CD, WORKS FOR PIANO & HARPSICHORD (COL LEGNO 20501) featuring two capriccios written by the 19-year-old Ligeti, his ‘Musica ricercata’, the first volume of his legendary Ètudes, and three pieces for harpsichord, all brilliantly played by Erika Haase.

PETER WISHART – COMPLETE WORKS FOR PIANO    PRIORY PRCD881

The composer, conductor, accompanist and distinguished academic Peter Wishart was born in Crowborough, England, in 1921 and studied music at Birmingham University then with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He taught at Birmingham University and the Guildhall School of Music before being appointed Professor of Music at the University of Reading in 1977. He was also an accomplished composer, writing several operas (most notably The Clandestine Marriage) as well as impressive orchestral, choral and chamber works. His carol ‘Alleluya!’ is by far his most popular piece, having been recorded by many choirs throughout the world. After Peter Wishart’s death in 1984, third wife, the mezzo-soprano Maureen Lehane Wishart, launched an annual festival dedicated to his memory and in 1993 the Jackdaws Educational Trust, a natural development of the festival, was founded. This recording, made in the excellent acoustics at St George’s, Brandon Hill, Bristol, is the first to feature all of Peter Wishart’s piano works: Opheis Kai Klimakes Op.35 (Snakes and Ladders), Partita in F sharp Op.10, and the Sonata for Piano Duet in B flat Op.5. The CD also includes CD premiere recordings of two pieces by Constant Lambert: Suite in three (continuous) movements, and Prize Fight, arranged for piano duet by the composer. The acclaimed pianist is Mark Tanner, joined by Allan Schiller for the three duets. These are subtle and diverting performances of music by a composer whose style was patrician yet often passionate.

RAMEAU – KEYBOARD SUITES       HYPERION SACDA67597

French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau was born in Dijon in 1683 and spent the first half of his life mostly in the provinces. He was a violinist in the Lyons Opera and held organ posts in Avignon, Clermont and Dijon. During a visit to Paris he published his first book of harpsichord pieces and settled there permanently from 1722 until his death in 1764, teaching and writing harpsichord pieces, cantatas and music for the theatre. As well as being one of the most important music theorists of the Baroque era, Rameau replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera, provoking great controversy between the traditional Lullistes and the forward-looking Ramistes. Rameau’s treatise ‘On the Technique of the Fingers on the Harpsichord’ remains essential reading and his intellectualism combines in his music to produce passion and tenderness - in his own words ‘true music…the language of the heart’. Sixty of his keyboard works are known, sorted by key into five suites, and on this new disc from Hyperion the award-winning Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt performs three of them. Courtly dances (including the famous Tambourin) are included alongside more programmatic movements (such as Les sauvages - Rameau had just seen two Louisiana Indians performing at the theatre) in these engaging and deceptively catchy miniatures. Angela Hewitt was named Artist of the Year at the Gramophone Awards in 2006 and her playing here is stylish and mesmerising as she revels in the colour and energy of these infectious pieces. This excellently produced hybrid SACD can be played on any CD player.

GRAHAM WHETTAM – PIANO MUSIC      DIVINE ART 25038

Graham Whettam was born in 1927 and has devoted himself to composition since 1948. Self-taught, he studied the work of great composers, especially Bartok and Mahler, and found his musical ‘voice’ by listening critically to his works played by leading musicians and orchestras. J. Arthur Rank commissioned him to write the orchestral score for the famous film ‘Genevieve’ in 1953, and two years later a Children’s Film Foundation production with music by Whettam won a Premier Award at the Venice Film Festival. On this CD the husband and wife duo The Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow play five pieces by Graham Whettam: Night Music for piano solo (Anthony Goldstone), Ballade hébraïque piano duet, Prelude, Scherzo and Elegy piano solo (Caroline Clemmow), Fantasy piano duet, and Prelude and Scherzo Impetuoso piano solo (Caroline Clemmow). Graham Whettam’s exuberant yet accessible music deserves to be much more widely known and these exceptional performances should help bring that about. ‘Graham Whettam is that now rare kind of composer, a natural symphonist; his ideas fall readily into patterns of conflict and resolution’ - The Sunday Times.

DEBUSSY - THE COMPLETE PIANO MUSIC, VOL. 1    BRIDGE 918

Claude Debussy was one of the most important composers of the early 20th century and his harmonies, considered radical in his day, were influential on other major composers, including Stravinsky, Messiaen, Boulez, Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Debussy’s Children’s Corner suite for solo piano was completed in 1908 and dedicated to his daughter Emma-Claude, who was three years old at the time. The six pieces are wonderfully evocative of childhood, the last one - Golliwog’s Cakewalk - being the most famous. Debussy’s Préludes are two sets of pieces for solo piano, divided into two separate livres, or books, of twelve preludes each. The composer never intended them to be performed in a series, but thought of them as individual works. The titles, often poetically vague, were given to create images or sensory associations for the listener. This excellent CD is the first in a projected series by Bennett Lerner that will feature all of Debussy’s music for piano - a total of 83 works representing one of the great pianistic legacies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Included on this first volume are Book II of the Préludes, the Children’s Corner suite, and six other pieces, including Danse bohémienne, The Little Nigar, Rêverie, and the recently discovered Intermède, written in 1880. Bennett Lerner is well known as a performer of new music and has premiered works by composers such as Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and Virgil Thomson. His teachers have included the Chilean virtuoso Claudio Arrau, Arrau’s assistant, Rafael de Silva, and the Argentine virtuosa Arminda Canteros. He has lived in Thailand since 1990 and currently teaches music at Payap University in Chiang Mai.

BACH - RUMMEL PIANO TRANSCRIPTIONS - 6    HYPERION CDA67481/2

Born in Germany in 1887, Walter (Morse) Rummel had a glamorous career in the early 20th century as a pianist and composer. He was the son of another well-known pianist, Franz Rummel, and his wife, Cornelia Morse, who was the daughter of the inventor of the telegraph, Samuel Morse. Walter Rummel spent part of his childhood in the United States of America, becoming a citizen there in 1907. His most important teacher was Leopold Godowsky and from his earliest concerts, the handsome and charismatic Rummel was a great success with both audiences and critics. A good friend of Debussy, he played all of the of composer’s music in addition to Bach, Beethoven, and the 19th century Romantic composers. He began composing at an early age and moved in intellectual and artistic circles that, in addition to Debussy, included Isadora Duncan, Ezra Pound, W B Yeats and Rabindrath Tagore. This sixth volume in Hyperion’s invaluable series of piano transcriptions of Bach masterpieces features the twenty-five surviving transcriptions by Walter Rummel. The majority are based on Bach’s choral works, with Rummel mastering the difficulties inherent in condensing numerous musical lines of a choir and orchestra into a meaningful piano score. Jonathan Plowright’s exquisite performances embody the tradition of that golden age of pianism from which these transcriptions emerged - in Rummel’s own words: ‘The composer bewitches music, holding it captive behind the prison of five lines; but the interpreter breaks the spell that holds the bewitched princess, he frees Music.’

PIANO MUSIC BY CHABRIER - ANGELA HEWITT    HYPERION SACDA67515

The composer, pianist, and conductor Emmanuel Alexis Chabrier (1841-1894) was born in the Auvergne region of central France. Although passionate about music, he was almost forty before he made composition his full time career after working at the Ministry of the Interior for eighteen years. Despite this late start and a lack of formal training, Chabrier’s music showed great brilliance and wit, influencing Maurice Ravel as well as Les Six, a group of young composers who typified the emerging French nationalism in the following generation. Before breaking free from his routine job, Chabrier had written only two works of note: the operettas L'Étoile and Une Éducation manqué. One of his first works after becoming a full-time composer was Dix Pièces pittoresques for piano (1881), the Idylle from which hugely impressed Francis Poulenc, who wrote, ‘Even today I tremble with emotion in thinking of the miracle that was produced: a harmonic universe suddenly opened in front of me, and my music has never forgotten this first loving kiss.’ He also described Pièces as being ‘as important for French music as the preludes of Debussy’. On this new album, Angela Hewitt performs the contrasting and evocative Pièces as well as several other charming short piano works by Chabrier, including Impromptu and Ronde champêtre. All are played with warmth, style and affection. As the composer was closely associated with the Impressionist painters and purchased the famous ‘Bar at the Folies-Bergère’ by his friend Édouard Manet, it is entirely appropriate that this delightful picture is reproduced on the cover of this disc, available as a conventional CD as well as in multichannel hybrid SACD format.

PAUL BADURA-SKODA - SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE RECITAL   KLEOS KL5140

Paul Badura-Skoda is a legendary performer who has played in all the world´s great concert halls and for many years was the pianist who had the largest number of records available in the market. His musical personality is characterised by complete immersion in music, a passionate search for the essential, and a sense of artistic responsibility. he entered the Vienna Conservatory in 1945, two years later winning first prize in the Austrian Music Competition and a scholarship to study with Edwin Fischer. Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan became aware of Badura-Skoda’s outstanding talent and invited him to play concerts that virtually made him a world-famous artist overnight. Since then, Badura-Skoda has performed regularly at the most important music festivals and been a soloist with some of the world´s most prestigious orchestras. In addition to Furtwängler and von Karajan, he has collaborated with conductors such as George Szell, Karl Böhm, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Georg Solti, Kent Nagano and John Eliot Gardiner. Badura-Skoda’s vast repertoire of recordings consists of more than 200 LPs and dozens of compact discs, including complete cycles of the piano sonatas of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. On this recording of a recital at the Sydney Opera House in 1982, he gives typically intelligent and beguiling performances of works by Bach, Brahms, Bartok and Debussy.

TZIGANE - ANTHONY GOLDSTONE    DIVINE ART 25033

Anthony Goldstone was born in Liverpool and studied with Derrick Wyndham at the Royal Manchester College of Music then in London with the great Maria Curcio, making him a sixth-generation pupil of Beethoven (Maria Curcio was a favourite pupil of Schnabel). His career has included many acclaimed broadcasts and recordings, and on this CD he shows both his virtuosity and musicianship in ten works with a distinctly Romany theme. Music is one of the ways in which gypsies have traditionally made a living, playing and singing in typically passionate and uninhibited style and inspiring many mainstream composers. There are four world première recordings here and three exciting arrangements by the performer, resulting a sparkling display of the highest quality. The works are by Kodály (Dances from Galánta), Haydn (Gypsy Rondo, with cadenza by Schubert), Liszt (Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6), Busoni (Chamber Fantasy on Bizet’s Carmen), Brahms (Hungarian Dance Nos. 11 & 2), Dohnányi (Rhapsody in F sharp minor), Falla (Fantasia Baetica), Holmés (Rêverie Tzigane) and Enescu (Romanian Rhapsody No. 1). This appealing, accessible music is played by a musician at the top of his form.

MOZART - ZEYNEP UCBASARAN     EROICA JDT 3222

The brilliant Turkish-born pianist Zeynep Ucbasaran entered the Istanbul Conservatory aged only four - one of the youngest ever to be admitted - and studied in the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, as well as at Hochschule für Musik, Freiburg, Germany and at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Since 1996 she has been living in Santa Barbara, California, and become internationally acclaimed for her solo recitals, concerts and chamber music performances. She has previously recorded the music of Liszt and Schubert and this new CD features assured and vital performances of two Sonatas and two Fantasias by Mozart, plus Variations on a Minuet by Duport. Zeynep Ucbasaran also plays with great poise on another new CD of piano works by Scarlatti and Beethoven, together with three twentieth century composers: Ahmet Adnan Saygun, Leonard Bernstein and Robert Muczynski (EROICA JDT 3223). Both discs feature virtuoso performances that are never too flamboyant or hurried from a pianist of world class.

PHILIP GLASS - METAMORPHOSIS     KHA 005

Philip Glass is perhaps the best known member from a school of American composers known as the minimalists. Others include Terry Riley, Steve Reich and La Monte Young, but Glass has been the most commercially successful due to his music’s accessibility and simple melodies. Glass was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1937. After graduating from the University of Chicago, where he majored in mathematics and philosophy, he moved to New York and Paris to study music. After researching music in North Africa, India and the Himalayas, he returned to New York, renouncing his previous music, and applying eastern techniques to his own work. As well as his opera, Einstein on the Beach, he has written music for dance, theatre, chamber ensemble, orchestra and film. His most recent film score for The Hours received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. Metamorphosis, based on the book of the same name by Franz Kafka, is one of Glass’s most famous compositions for piano. On this recording it is played with expression and conviction by the gifted young Italian pianist Alessandra Celletti.

BACH - GOLDBERG VARIATIONS    CLAVES 50-2407

J S Bach’s ‘Goldberg’ Variations is the last of a series of keyboard music works that the composer published under the title of Clavierübung. Many people consider this the most serious and challenging composition that has ever been written for harpsichord. Based on a single bass theme, the variations prove Bach’s profound understanding of many musical styles as well as his exceptional performing technique. This largest of all clavier pieces encapsulates the whole history of Baroque variation, as Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations later did for the Classical period. It requires a performer capable of virtuoso techniques and this outstanding recording the work is by the brilliant young Swiss pianist Cédric Pescia, gold medallist of the 2002 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition held in Salt Lake City. His performances during the competition also earned him a $30,000 prize, the peer jury prize, and worldwide concert and recital opportunities. As well as appearing at many leading music festivals he is a soloist with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, the Utah Symphony, the Festival Strings of Lucerne, and the Sinfonie Orchester Berlin.

PHILLIP SCHROEDER - MUSIC FOR PIANO    CAPSTONE CPS-8742

The Canadian-born pianist Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi gives assured performances of works for piano by Phillip Schroeder, who has been a guest composer, lecturer and performer at festivals, conferences and universities throughout the United States and Europe. Born in northern California, he has previously written music for orchestra, wind ensemble, live-electronics, chamber ensembles, choir, instrumental solos and voice. His music has a sparkling clarity allied to melodic peacefulness - qualities no doubt influenced by his interest in Taoism. The works here are Twelve Pieces for Piano, the serene No Reason Why, Floating (a sensual ‘sound painting’), From the Shadows of Angels, and Moons (the moon reflected in its four phases). This is resonant music played with exceptional grace.

SCHUBERT - FOUR-HAND PIANO WORKS, VOL. 2    SUMMIT DCD 404

Schubert wrote many piano works for four hands, the first such pieces dating from 1810 when he still was a child. During the summers of 1818 and 1824 he worked as a piano-teacher for Count Esterhazy in Hungary, where he wrote several of his finest piano works for four hands. An unusual feature in them is that the arms of the players often cross, probably an intentional way to make physical contact with the young Countess Karolin with whom Schubert had expressed affection. On this enjoyable double CD collection Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem give elegant and compelling performances of the Divertissement a la Hongroise, Variations sur une Theme Original in A Flat Major, Six Grandes Marches et Trios, Vier Landler and the Sonata in C. Major.

THROUGH THE YEARS - DMITRY PAPERNO     CEDILLE CDR 90000 074

The Russian pianist, teacher and writer Dmitry Paperno (born in Kiev in 1929) emigrated to the USA in 1976 and has performed to acclaim throughout the United States and Europe. He has also recorded extensively and on this latest disc performs miniature masterworks by an extremely wide range of composers, from pieces by J S Bach (born 1685) and Jean Philippe Rameau’s ‘Bird Calls’ to Alexander Scriabin’s lyrical Two Poems and a delightful Humoresque by Rodion Schedrin (born 1932). Other works are by Domenico Scarlatti (Sonata in C minor), Beethoven (Andante in F major, ‘Andante favori’), Schumann (Intermezzo in D minor), Chopin, Liszt, Grieg (From Early Years), Debussy (Hommage à Rameau), Gottlieb Muffat/Béla Bartók (Fugue in G minor), Albéniz/Leopold Godowsky (Tango, from España), Borodin (‘In a Monastery, from Petite Suite) and Tchaikovsky (the bittersweet Dialogue, perhaps his last piano piece). ‘Paperno is unquestionably one of the major talents of his generation’ - Fanfare.

MUSIC FOR TWO PIANOS AND ORCHESTRA       KLEOS KL 5121

The critically acclaimed duo-piano team of Joshua Pierce and Dorothy Jonas, together with the Polish Television and Radio Orchestra, perform Francis Poulenc’s beautiful Concerto in D minor as well as two world premier recordings: a Fantasie by the Russian composer, Nikolai Berezowsky, and a Concerto for Two Pianos by Paul Creston. Joshua Pierce and Dorothy Jonas have been playing as a piano duo since 1978 and many of their recordings and performances have featured world premieres, including works composed for them by Miklos Rozsa. Their performance on this album of Poulenc’s delightful concerto is passionate, witty and exhilarating. Berezowsky’s energetic Fantasie and the excellent Creston Concerto are also played with great brilliance and virtuosity, making this an invaluable addition to this prolific duo’s recorded repertoire. ‘Crisp, clean performances...consistant high spirits. It was delightful to encounter it in a performance of this stature’ - The Chicago Sun-Times.

HAYDN - AIRS, VARIATIONS AND DANCES     BIS CD-1323/1324

Volume 10 of Ronald Brautigam’s pioneering survey of Haydn’s solo piano music features those works by the composer which are not labelled sonatas. These include an exciting mix of dances, marches and sets of variations – including a keyboard version of one of the most famous sets of variations in musical history, namely the one based on ‘Gott erhalte Franz, den Kaiser’ from the ‘Emperor’ Quartet. As well as such substantial works, there are many delightful miniatures, sometimes barely a minute long and often in the shape of dances. Haydn’s musical genius is readily apparent even in the smallest format, and Brautigam plays with consummate musical imagination and virtuosity. This exceptional CD set comprises three discs for the price of two and adds to the already glowing reputation of the series.

CHOPIN - COMPLETE BALLADES AND SCHERZI      MOVE MD3283

Internationally-renowned pianist Ian Holtham is no stranger to Chopin and impressed many Melbourne audiences with his marathon concert recitals of the complete etudes, which he has also recorded for Move (MD3134). For this outstanding new CD he turns to Chopin’s ballades and scherzi, undoubtedly among the composer's most individual, characteristic and dramatic works. As well as performing throughout Australia, England, Ireland, Switzerland, Italy, France, Austria, Hungary, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Korea, Ian Holtham has broadcast regularly with the ABC and is currently Head of Keyboard Studies and Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Music at The University of Melbourne. ‘Shows the mastery and control of the keyboard which makes Holtham such an exciting performer...Melbourne is indeed lucky to have such a resident talent’ - 3MBS-FM Libretto.

AARON COPLAND - MUSIC FOR PIANO     DIVINE ART 25016

This impressive CD features all the major solo piano works by one of America’s most revered composers, including his Passacaglia, Piano Variations, the hauntingly beautiful Piano Sonata and an ambitious Piano Fantasy. The pianist is Raymond Clarke, whose recordings so far have specialised in twentieth-century music, and on this new disc the four Copland works are played in chronological order. The performances throughout are exemplary, each note being played with great precision and delicacy. ‘For anyone who has yet to experience the wonders of Copland’s music for piano, here is the place to start’ - Musicweb. ‘Clarke’s impressive technique is placed entirely at the service of the music, bringing lucidity even when the page is black with notes, never diluting the percussive qualities of the Piano Variations, or smoothing the jagged quality of the Sonata’ - Yorkshire Post.

SIX DEGREES OF TONALITY - ENID KATAHN     GASPARO GSCD-344

This fascinating album, subtitled ‘A Well Tempered Piano’, is pianist Enid Katahn’s follow-up to Beethoven in the Temperaments (Gasparo GSCD-332). On this admirable new recording she explores six different historical tunings in six well-known classical compositions for piano - all performed with intelligent poise on the modern concert grand. The works are by Scarlatti (Sonata, D, K. 96), Mozart (Fantasie, D mi), Haydn (Sonata, Eb), Beethoven (Sonata, Ab, Op. 110), Chopin (Fantaisie-Impromptu) and Grieg (Glochengelaute). ‘The CD is a valuable addition to the library of all pianophiles, performers and listeners alike’ - American Record Guide.

STORIA - PHILIP AMALONG      EROICA JDT 3119

‘Storia’ means ‘history’ or ‘story’ in Italian, and the music played on this cleverly though out disc by Philip Amalong tells the story of the piano from Bach to the present day. The pianistic tradition has evolved through various eras and styles and many pieces have ‘extra-musical’ stories or ideas associated with them. The works here range from the B-flat minor Prelude and Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier Book I of J.S. Bach (composed around 1725) to Rondo Capriccioso, a piece written for Philip Amalong two years ago by Angelo della Picca. Other works include two of the Ballades, Op. 10 of Brahms, Sonata No. 1 by Alberto Ginastera, Romeo Bids Juliet Farewell, from Ten Pieces from Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev, and The Maiden and the Nightingale by Enrique Granados. When this enhanced CD is played on a computer drive an interactive window opens with a menu that offers program notes about the pieces and composers, as well as useful web links and additional credits. The CD also plays normally in any CD player.

REYNALDO HAHN - EARL WILD          IVORY CLASSICS 72006

The remarkable, Grammy award winning Earl Wild gives masterful performances of works for solo piano by French composer Reynaldo Hahn. This world première two disc recording includes his rare collection of 53 compositions entitled, Le Rossignol Éperdu (The Bewildered Nightingale). Recorded here in its entirety for the first time, these charming poèmes for piano were composed between 1899 and 1911. Each was inspired by great poets such as Verlaine, Molière, Baudelaire and Hugo. The Le Rossignol Éperdu consists of four suites: Premiere, Orient, Carnet de Voyage and Versailles. This extraordinary group of miniatures reflects varying impressions, sketches and thoughts during Reynaldo Hahn's countless travels and the music is played here with suitably passionate Belle Époque elegance. ‘Wild’s performances are exquisite in every category – technical, interpretive and aesthetic’ - St. Petersburg Times. ‘Not to be missed’ - American Record Guide.

BRAZILIAN MOSAIC - CLELIA IRUZUN/LONTANO     LONTANO LNT115

This album is filled with exhilarating compositions by Brazilian composers. With the exception of the first two pieces (Francisco Mignone’s beguiling Fantasia Brasiliera No. 3 for piano and orchestra, and the Bachianas Brasilieras by Villa-Lobos), the others are played solo by the distinguished Brazilian-born pianist Clélia Irizun. She is particularly effective in Edino Krieger’s classic-influenced Sonatina, with its alternating brightness and serenity. The other works here are by Villa-Lobos (‘the three Marias’), Barrozo Netto (Minha Terra), Ronaldo Miranda (Concertino) and Marlos Nobre (Concertante do Imgaginario). The Cuban-born, American-raised Odaline of la Martinez and her ensemble Lontano are also in impeccable form on this delightful panorama of Brazilian music.

BEETHOVEN PIANO SONATAS - PIZARRO      LINN RECORDS  CKD 209

The exceptional young pianist Artur Pizarro plays four of Beethoven’s most popular and impassioned sonatas: the C minor Pathétique, C sharp minor Moonlight, D minor Tempest and F minor Appassionata. The performances throughout this exemplary album are wonderfully fresh and impeccably conceived. ‘...he captures the uncanny quality of the pedalled recitatives in the Tempest, and his Pathétique is sterling’ - The Sunday Times.

PIANO GEMS & MASTERPIECES - RADOSLAVOVA       EROICA JDT 3080

Bulgarian-born Pavlina Radoslavova plays a most enjoyable and accesiible selection of the world's best-loved miniatures and piano pieces. Inspired by Robert Schumann's work ‘From Foreign Lands & People’ (Scenes from Childhood), this recording features 23 works from 17 composers in 10 countries; ranging from the Baroque through to the modern. The music includes Bach’s Chorale ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’, Beethoven’s Fur Elise and Schubert’s Serenade in D minor, as well as pieces by Scarlatti, Mozart, Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Khatchaturian, Bulgarian composer Pancho Vladigerov (Rustic Dance), Albeniz, Bartok, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninov and George Gershwin (Prelude in E flat minor). Recorded in ‘The Great Hall’, Dartington, England this album captures a raw, unedited piano sound that reveals the nuances, power and rich depth of the instrument.

VIRTUOSO SCHUBERT - ZEYNEP UCBASARAN        EROICA JDT3108.
The gifted young pianist Zeynep Ucbasaran began her musical studies at the age of four at the Istanbul Conservatory. On this rewarding CD recorded at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, she plays two works by Franz Schubert: his profound and noble Sonata in A major and the visionary Wanderer-Fantasy. Both pieces are awe-inspiring in their scope and demanding for the performer but Zeynep Ucbasaran plays superbly and intelligently throughout.

EDWARD WOOD - 21 VARIATIONS ON A THEME      EROICA JDT 3095

The brilliant American musician Edward Wood plays 21 Variations on a Theme of Andrew Wood, a work composed by the pianist in honour of his son’s 21st birthday. Along with the theme iself, the inspired variations consist of Poco Allegro / Meno Mosso / Allegro /Meastoso / Barcarole / Energetic / Andante poco / Adagio Andante / Allegro / Twin: Andante / Twin: Andante / Homage to Rachmaninoff, from England: march / Fughetta / Commodo / Poco Allegro / Meno Mosso / Adagio / Allegretto / Allegro con Brio / Barcarole / Listesso Tempo / Andante Serioso. Edward Wood is well-known for his spellbinding performances of PIANISSISSIMO by Donald Martino, one of the most extraordinary and difficult pieces of music ever written.

KEYBOARD FANTASIES - CURT CACIOPPO       CAPSTONE  CPS-8713

This CD features three inspired fantasies for piano solo by the outstanding American composer Curt Cacioppo. These adventurous works are his Contrapuntal Fantasy on John Newton’s “Amazing Grace” (Kenneth Fearn, pianist), Ostinato-Fantasia on “All Creatures of our God and King” (Paul Orgel, pianist) and Fantasy-Choruses on “This Little Light of Mine” (Charles Abramovic, pianist). There are also two fantasy works written for the organ and played here by Robert Gallagher: “di cibo celeste” (ciaconna-fantasia on themes from Mozart's Don Giovanni) and Visione delle Crociate (Vision of the Crusades).

STEPHEN FOSTER - PIANO WORKS        PRO PIANO RECORDS PPR224535

Sara Davis Buechner, plays the Complete Piano Works and assorted transcriptions of Stephen Foster, one of America’s best-loved composers. The pieces include Three Melodies transcribed by Elinor Remick Warren (Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair, Beautiful Dreamer, De Camptown Races), Old Folks at Home (Theme and variations), Maria Bach Waltz, The Tioga Waltz, Soirée Polka, The Village Bells, The Holiday Schottisch and Santa Anna's Retreat from Buena Vista. This rewarding CD also features Walter Niemann’s Louisiana Suite based on popular Songs from the Southern States of North America (The Mississippi Steam-boat's in Sight!, My Old Kentucky Home, The Interrupted Serenade, Longing for Home, Carnival in New Orleans).

SCHUBERT - FOUR-HAND PIANO WORKS, VOL 1       SUMMIT RECORDS 339.

This masterly recording is the first in a series that will feature all the piano music Schubert wrote for four hands. The workss here are played by Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem, two musicians who are married to each other and have been closely associated with this repertoire for more than 25 years. On this first volume of Schubert’s four-hand works they lucidly perform six delighful pieces composed between 1818 and 1828, including the Rondo in A Major, Duo in A Minor (‘Lebenssturme’) and Fantasy in F Minor.

BENNO MOISEIWITSCH PLAYS CHOPIN, VOL. 2        APR 5576

This second volume of Benno Moiseiwitsch’s recordings from APR features tracks made between the years 1925 to 1952. There are outstanding performances of the Four Scherzi as well as Nocturne No. 19, Polonaise No. 9, Four Etudes, Ballade No. 3, the Barcarolle in F sharp minor, Waltz No. 14, Impromptu No. 1 and Moiseiwitsch’s last 78rpm record, the Fantasie-Impromptu in C sharp minor. These are rare recordings which will justly celebrate a brilliant performer.

MANUEL DE FALLA - MUSIC FOR PIANO             ENSAYO ENY-CD-9735.

The spell-binding Spanish pianist Esteban Sánchez plays exhilarating music by Manuel de Falla, including Fantasía bética, Cuatro piezas españolas, Pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas, Serenata andaluza, Nocturno, Vals capricho, Canción, Canto de los bateleros del Volga.

CHOPIN PIANO WORKS, VOL. 1 - FELIPE BROWNE       CLAUDIO CR5149-2.

The superb young Chilean-born pianist Felipe Browne performs a thoughtfully chosen selection of works by Chopin. These include four Ballades, the Fantaisie Op.49 in F minor, Etude Op.10 No. 12 in C minor, Prelude Op.28 No.24 in D minor and Nocturne Op.48 No. 1 in C minor. The highly accomplished playing is intelligent and elegant throughout. ‘Browne dazzled the crowd with his keen sense of articulation, brilliant finger speed and tempering of power with eloquent sensitivity’ - The Washington Post.

ALBÉNIZ - ESTEBAN SANCHEZ                  ENSAYO ENY-CD-9731.

Esteban Sánchez, piano, gives a monumentally impressive performance of España by IsaacAlbeniz (1860- 1909). Other irresistible Albeniz compositions included here are Asturias, Córdoba, Cádiz, Granada, Castilla, Cuba, Mallorca, Sevilla and the wonderful La Vega. ‘Record of the Month’ - Ritmo Magazine

JUANA ZAYAS - PIANO               EROICA JDT 3096.
Cuban-born pianist Juana Zayas performs a well chosen selection of piano masterpieces. The music is by J.S. Bach-Busoni (Organ Chorale Prelude arranged for piano), W.A. Mozart (Sonata in C major), Ludwig van Beethoven (Sonata in F minor), Franz Liszt (Two Legends:. St. Francis of Assasi - The bird sermon and St. Francis of Paola walking on the waves) and Claude Debussy (L'Isle joyeuse). ‘Her playing is crisp, and she has enormous verve’ - The Art of the Piano.

JUANA ZAYAS - CHOPIN               EROICA JDT 3098.

The brilliant, internationally renowned pianist Juana Zayas is particularly well-known for her performances of works by Frederic Chopin. On this outstanding recording she plays his Sonata in B-Flat Minor (Marche funebre), Nocturne in C Minor, Trois Nouvelles Etudes, Berceuse and Sonata in B Minor. ‘Zayas simply must be heard by all who appreciate piano playing - and Chopin playing - on the highest level’ - American Record Guide.

 

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