Diana Baker's tone is sparkling, never ugly or brassy, and she navigates her way through Gubaidulina´s muscular virtuosity with the finesse of a Russian ballerina. An important recording.Haskins / American Record Guide
Richard Wagner's reputation rests on his tetralogy, Der Ring des Nibelungen, and the other music dramas he created, including Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Parsifal, which revolutionized all aspects of late Romantic music and left their mark on modern music as well. Yet there is a small body of non-operatic works that shows a more relaxed Wagner working on a much smaller scale: his Siegfried Idyll for chamber orchestra, a group of songs, and a collection of pieces for piano. This double CD by Pier Paolo Vincenzi presents Wagner's complete piano music with three sonatas, a large-scale fantasia, and eleven short pieces that show the composer's attempts at finding a more personal and intimate voice.
Jacques Ibert’s piano music isn’t exactly the most exciting part of his output, amounting to a series of short picturesque pieces written in a bland neo-classical vein, with just a hint of impressionism or humor here and there to liven up the expression. Lack of both imagination and strong features have kept these pieces away from the current concert repertoire, but on CD they make nice if quickly forgotten listening. The collection of Histoires, including the famous Le petit âne blanc (The Little White Donkey), comes off the best, along with Les rencontres, a little suite in the form of a ballet that displays some lively melodic figures underlined by slightly spicy harmonies, as in the softly swinging The Creoles. The other pieces do little else than round off the total timing of the CD. Hae-won Chang plays with charm and delicacy, with a clean and neat technique that is just what these unpretentious pieces require. The recording is well balanced and truthful.
Michael Nyman (born 1944) is one of the most famous and successful film music composers of our time. His music, although inextricably connected with the visual action of a film, has the quality to stand on its own, to evoke and express the visual emotions in sounds only. Nyman’s most famous film score is of the film “The Piano” , becoming an instant hit. Its openness and its deceptively simple musical lines appealed to a mass audience. The music featured on this recording is either originally written for piano or arranged by the composer himself. Minimal Music champion Jeroen van Veen has been fascinated by Nyman’s music his whole life, and the recording of it was a logical step. He is the ideal interpreter of this seductive, mind opening music.
Not all of the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies are flat-out showpieces like the best-known ones, so this disc makes for a better listening program than you might expect. And Jénö Jandó, who must be the hardest-working pianist in the recording business, has a real flair for this music. He plays with the combination of free rhythms and virtuosity that the music demands, and he even indulges in a bit of improvisation when the spirit moves him. This was probably something Liszt did himself, and other great Liszt interpreters such as Rachmaninov and Cziffra have done the same thing. Jandó doesn't quite have Cziffra's overwhelming virtuosity, but he plays musically and the result is a highly entertaining disc.
Leslie Howard's recordings of Liszt s complete piano music, on 99 CDs, is one of the monumental achievements in the history of recorded music. Remarkable as much for its musicological research and scholarly rigour as for Howard's Herculean piano playing, this survey remains invaluable to serious lovers of Liszt. Every known note of Liszt's piano music has been recorded and is included here: Leslie Howard's 57 original volumes plus the further 3 supplements. GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for the world s largest recording series by a solo artist.