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Josef Lhevinne - The Complete Recordings [CD]

Josef Lhevinne Audio CD

Price: £6.01 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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1. Sonata in D for two pianos, K448 - Mozart
2. Toccata in C - Schumann
3. Fruhlingsnacht - Schumann arr. Liszt
4. Etude in E flat, op. 10 no. 6 - Chopin
5. Etude in G sharp minor, op. 25 no. 6 - Chopin
6. Etude in B minor, op. 25 no. 10 - Chopin
7. Etude in A minor, op. 25 no. 11 - Chopin
8. Prelude in A flat, op. 28 no. 17 - Chopin
9. Prelude in B flat minor, op. 28 no. 16 - Chopin
10. Polonaise in A flat, op. 53 - Chopin
11. Blue Danube Waltz - J. Strauss II arr. Schulz-Evler
12. Fetes - Debussy arr. Ravel
13. Ecossaises - Beethoven arr. Busoni
14. El contrabandista - Schumann arr. Tausig
15. Trepak - Tchaikovsky
16. Prelude in G minor - Rachmaninov

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Topmost Pianists of the Golden Age 19 Dec 2004
By BLee - Published on Amazon.com
Are there any real comparables in our time? Arrau is close, so is Richter or even Casadesus, all Titans of our time. But it seems obvious that as a whole, none is quite his equal. Earlier on, Dohnanyi has long been brushed aside by the younger audience, so has Hofmann and Backhaus, and Rachmaninov is simply unreachable and then Busoni's recording is so abhorring... So, Lhevinne shall for sure prevail.

Why? Give this CD a chance in telling you why. Despite the fact that this is a 30's recording is even inferior to Cortot's remastered records, it is more than adequate in touching your heart strings, if not knocking you out. Furthermore, this is Lhevinne's complete recordings. In case you are not prepared to get his Philips Great Pianist double CD album with his wife, this budget set may be the one for you.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Playing! 15 July 2005
By Robert Sorrentino - Published on Amazon.com
I first heard most of the selections contained on this CD on an LP issued in the early 1970's on RCA, "Josef Lhevinne: Master of the Romantic Piano." As, indeed, he was. I have rarely heard such outstanding, luminous Chopin playing. Rubinstein is the only one I can compare him to in that regard. The piano transcription of Strauss' "Blue Danube Waltz," which Lhevinne frequently played as an encore, is delightful, campy fun, and his duets with his wife, distinguished pianist and teacher Rosina Lhevinne, give a new dimension to his artistry. I read once that Van Cliburn, Mme. Lhevinne's most famous student, expressed his admiration of the Debussy duet to her, and was astonished to learn that the Lhevinnes recorded this complex duet as an afterthought, in one take, at the end of the Mozart session!

All in all, an excellent collection at the perfect price. Highly recommended to anyone who admires great romantic pianism at its best.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unsentimental soul 2 Jan 2009
By Anton Zimmerling - Published on Amazon.com
Although the name of Josef Lhevinne, a pupil of Vassily Safonov, is engraved on the table of the Moscow Conservatory (he graduated from it in 1892), he is largely forgotten in Russia. On the contrary, Lhevinne is remembered in the USA, where he and his wife Rosina held teaching positions at the Julliard School of Music.
This Naxos CD contains all his preserved recordings, both commercially issued and unissued: most of them are electric solo recordings made for US Victor from 1928 to 1936. In addition, there is Mozart Sonata in D for two pianos, K. 448 (1937), where Lhevinne is joined by his wife Rosina, a thrilling account of Debussy-Ravel Fêtes, also with Rosina (1935), and four short acoustic items recorded ca. 1920 for Pathé USA. Lhevinne was likely past his prime when he made his electric recordings: for the most part, all these are encores, not larger pieces. But the quality of these performances speaks for itself, and I am grateful for that the recorded legacy of this pianist is on the level of his legendary reputation. Especially impressive are Chopin Études and Strauss/Schulz-Evler `Auf der schönen blauen Donau' - paraphrase.
Piano gurus of the XX century occasionally ascribed some aspects in the style of contemporary pianists to Lhevinne's impact, but for laymen as me the picture is different: my perception of Lhevinne's sound and his interpretations is based on my previous knowledge of more recent romantic heroes. Harold Schonberg advertised Jorge Bolet as a man with `Horowitz fingers, but Lhevinne's sound', and I basically agree. Lhevinne's touch is powerful and clear at once. There are no signs of Bolet's magic legato, but the program of this CD gives no chances to show it. Another great pianist, whom I keep in mind when I listen to Lhevinne, is Wilhelm Backhaus. What unites them, is strong rhythmic discipline, powerful chords and some kind of aggressive unsentimentality - a feature not so unusual for a German pianist, but really surprising for a man from Eastern Europe. But Backhaus, the winner of Rubinstein 1905 competition, was really an atypical German virtuoso, while the 10 years older Lhevinne, the winner of Rubinstein 1895 competition, was likely an atypical Russian virtuoso. He does not resemble Rachmaninov (his almost classmate in Moscow) or Hoffmann and is worlds far from Friedman. To judge upon this CD, Lhevinne used asynchronization of hands more sparsely than all the above mentioned.
If I were to choose the absolute high points of this CD, I would recommend four tracks: Chopin's `Octave' Study in B minor (Op. 25, No. 10), Chopin's `Winter Wind' Study in A minor (Op. 25, No. 11), the Schulz-Evler Danube-paraphrase and the 1920 Schumann-Tausig transcription `Der Kontrabandiste'. For some years I could not understand, why Géza Anda who championed the `Octave' Study in the 1950-s (cf. his Op. 25 on Testament) maltreated Lhévinne as a `mechanicus'. Now I know: Lhévinne played this study even better. The `Winter Wind' (recorded in the same session, June 10, 1935) strikingly resembles Backhaus' rendition - not B's first variant (1927), but his second and last variant (1952). Both L 1935 and B 1952 offer an uncompromising and tough `Winter Wind', with rushing scales, waves of sonority and a thundering climax: these are the most grandiose versions of Op. 25.11 I know. Backhaus is more sophisticated, but Lhévinne has greater immediate impact. Carl Tausig made a wonderful transcription of Schumann's Lied in a Presto pace: when you listen, how naturally Lhévinne is shifting from the coloratura section on the text `Ich bin der Kontrabandiste' to a serenade-like line `Meine Li-i-e-be', you nearly feel the breath of a singer. Alas, most modern performers of Lied transcriptions only play the notes, but don't hear the song behind it.
Other effective performances on the CD are Fêtes (track 14), Schumann's Toccata (track 4) and Chopin's B flat minor Prelude Op. 28, No. 16 (track 11). Mozart's Sonata for two pianos (1-3) is fine, though not on the level of Fêtes. Chopin's Polonaise in A flat, Op. 53 and Rachmaninov's G minor Prelude, Op. 23, No. 5, are not to my liking.
Ward Marston's transfers are very fine.

Highly recommended
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT Complete! 7 Nov 2012
By Klaus Mueller - Published on Amazon.com
An excellent collection of the amazing Lhevinne.It is not necessary to comment on his extraordinary Chopin studies, all has been said. But also his Schumann deserves attention, since it is more nuanced then e.g. the ultrafast version of Richter. What this collection does not contain and what you also will not find on the Great Pianist of the Century collection are his Beethoven, Mondscheinsonate, a short piece of Sinding and two pieces of Albeniz. Happily these are available for free at

[...]
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy It! 18 April 2009
By Writer/Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
An outstanding recording. A true treasure for pianists and fans of piano music and Lhevinne. Lhevinne and his wife who plays in some of the pieces are phenomenal. I was given this recording as a gift and bought more copies for friends. It's a must for all pianists, especially those who don't know who Lhevinne was. This is piano playing of the most glorious kind.
Buy it!
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