Admirers of Luciano Berio's Sequenzas have long wished for an affordable, high-quality collection of these masterpieces for solo instruments, considered by some to be the core works in the composer's oeuvre. Deutsche Grammophon released Ensemble InterContemporain's fabulous set in 1994, but its relatively high price and incompleteness make it a second choice when compared with the 2006 set on Naxos, which is both reasonably priced and complete, now that Sequenza XIV for cello appears on CD for the first time. Of course, bargaining over cost and completeness is one thing, but artistic quality is another important consideration: how does the Naxos edition fare in its performances and sound quality? While Ensemble InterContemporain's terrific compilation practically guarantees accuracy and authenticity – many of Berio's original musicians were involved in the project – the performances on this triple-disc set are quite comparable and wholly convincing in virtuosic skills, lustrous timbres, and splendid recording quality; only an adept student of these pieces could note any discrepancies, and those would be minor.
Isabelle Faust has gone back to the original manuscript sources to offer us her versions of these iconic masterpieces of the violin repertoire. In Bach s time, music for solo instruments was still little explored territory, and his Sonatas and Partitas immediately established themselves as a benchmark, technically challenging and brimming with creativity.
This is Volume 4 in Barry Douglas’s monumental project to record the complete works for solo piano by Johannes Brahms. Each volume has been released to critical acclaim, the first one, in 2012, being seen by BBC Music as ‘a triumph of Brahmsian thought, with playing that gets right to the heart of the composer’. Once again, the album is presented as a stand-alone recital, prominently featuring the C major Sonata, which was Brahms’s first published work. The influence on Brahms of his early romantic predecessors Beethoven and Schubert is obvious here, not only in the virtuoso demands on the performer but also in the opening, which recalls both Beethoven’s ‘Hammerklavier’ Sonata, Op. 106 and Schubert’s ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy.
This album is the penultimate in what BBC Music has described as a ‘triumph of Brahmsian thought’, namely the survey by Barry Douglas of the composer’s complete works for solo piano. Three years after the release of Volume 1, the winner of the 1986 Tchaikovsky Competition is now performing this repertoire in the finest international venues, such as the Wigmore Hall in July 2015 and Concertgebouw in 2016, when the series will come to a highly anticipated climax with the final volume. Taking a big step further in his career with this achievement, Barry Douglas is gaining a reputation of one of the few accomplished world-class piano virtuosi of the romantic repertoire.
Barry Douglas returns for the highly anticipated third volume in his series devoted to Brahms’s solo piano music, the first two volumes having been met with widespread critical acclaim. Of Vol. 2, International Record Review wrote, ‘this is indeed Brahms playing of the utmost integrity and authority… this cycle looks set to become a benchmark. The selected Intermezzi performed here come from the collections of short piano pieces which Brahms published in 1892 – 93, his last works for piano. A sense of wistful, melancholic reflection pervades these exquisitely crafted masterpieces of Brahms’s late maturity.
Classical pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet has become a command performer much in demand on the world concert scene. He is known for his beautiful poetic musical interpretations, and his skill at evoking the atmospheric textures, colors, and moods of the music he plays…