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Schumann: The Works For Solo Piano Box set


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Product details

  • Audio CD (14 Oct 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 7
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B00006IU8T
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,573 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

DEC 4709152; DECCA - Inghilterra; Classica da camera Piano

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Fabrizio Comandini on 19 Oct 2010
Format: Audio CD
'Symphonic Studies' and "Carnaval" are musical treasures themselves , and Ashkenazy performance is vivid, warm and charmant.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful music, great playing, even better price 3 July 2007
By dm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I keep reading reviews that say things like: "Well others have played this piece better than Ashkenazy..." or "If you want a complete set of Schumann piano works then Ashkenazy is adequate and a good bargain..."

I may not have heard every version of these Schumann pieces played by every pianist in the 20th century, but I can say that Ashkenazy plays these pieces absolutely wonderfully- with both technical virtuosity and emotional depth. If you really want to cobble together a collection of the "absolute best" Schumann pieces, and spend a couple hundred dollars in the process, that's certainly your prerogative.

I just can't see how anyone can fault Ashkenazy's playing of these pieces as being lesser than others. To my ears, he plays them faultlessly. There are times during the recording where I want to stand up and applaud, others when I want to weep.

For about $5-$8 per disc (depending on who you purchase it from) you can have this wonderful music. Buy it now, and listen often!
49 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Not Ashkenazy's forte (pun on forte intended) 20 Nov 2004
By R. Lane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
On the whole, Ashkenazy just does not seem to be a gifted interpreter of Schumann. These readings, to my ear, are heavy handed, pedantic, burdensome, and lacking in the mysterious joy that pervades so much of the work of the Romantic master. Some performances are OK. The Sinfonische Etuden would probably the best of the lot. But in works like Carnaval, the Novelletten, Faschingschwank aus Wien, and the Kinderszenen Ashkenazy to my liking totally misses the target.

I much prefer the more introspective approach of Arrau, or the wild and intriguing Pollini. Even Barenboim comes closer to the heart of Schumann than Ashkenazy.

The recorded sound is often disappointing also. The sound on some pieces is so muddy I thought the microphone was behind a wall.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful collection, but it is just a collection 11 Dec 2009
By Karey - Published on Amazon.com
This is not so much of a "review," per se, as a caveat that some fairly substantial piano works are missing from here. I think it's kind of deceiving for the box to say "The Works for Solo Piano": "the" implies complete, and this box set most certainly isn't. Perhaps it's just as well -- as it is with these seven discs, there are already several works that quickly give away Ashkenazy's lukewarm affection for it. If the works that are not included weren't included because Ashkenazy didn't particularly love them, that is fine with me. One of the quirks of today's CD market is that performers often record works they don't particularly care about for that all-too-marketable and obligatory "complete piano works" title. That being said, it's still a shame that some great (and not so great) works are missing:

* Opp. 3 and 10, Paganini Etudes
* Op. 4, Intermezzi - another collection of early miniatures I love that wasn't included
* Op. 5, Impromptus on a Theme of Clara Wieck
* Op. 7, Toccata
* Op. 8, Allegro
* Op. 14, Piano Sonata No. 3 "Concert sans orchestra" - why this one wasn't included is beyond me. I love this far more than Sonata No. 2 in G minor, which is included in this set.
* Op. 68, Album for the Young
* Other minatures and late works: Opp. 32, 72, 76, 111, 118, 124, 133

For those interested in Schumann at his best and most idiomatic, the early piano works written in the 1830s are generally thought to be definitive Schumann, and this set is a fabulous way to get oriented with almost all the major works from this period. Schumann's late styles receive an inordinate amount of flack, and while I don't agree with most of the judgments made towards Schumann's late works, I can't deny that there is something in the late collections that is just missing from the early piano cycles like Papillons, Carnaval, and the Davidsbündler Dances. It would appear that Ashkenazy feels likewise - the only late cycles included are the Forest Scenes and the Bunte Blätter. I wish I could make a meaningful comparison with some other sets out there, notably Jörg Demus', but I enjoyed this set so thoroughly that I didn't feel the need to buy his set.
21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
This is well worth the price 2 Dec 2005
By Sir Butternut Longsword - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
On the whole, this set is very good. true, ash's doesnt quite match up to pollini's recent dg david or kreis, but few do. There are still many gems here, some of which i rank as the top of the list in terms of interpretation. Firstly, waldszenen is giving an account here which in a word, is simply miraculous. Listen to how well he shapes the theme in the second piece, while most are struggling just to pull off the ferociously difficult chord jumps, yet ash does it with civility. Not even richter's fifities account is as well played or shaped. The kinderszenen is also marvelous, though not the best ever, or the second best or third(or fourth).....
But what every piece does give you, what ash himself seems to offer now, is a high standard of playing, though little over the top. But dont take that the wrong way, this set is a perfect way for anyone, even those pianophiles, to imburse or reimburse themselves in Schumann's wonderful world.
1.Wald-ash,haskil, richter, kempff
2.Kinder-moise, cortot, horsz, kempff
3.Davids-Giese, Perahia, Pollini
4.Carnaval-Rach, Arrau
5.Sonata 1-Gilels, Ash, Sofronitzky
6. Symph Etudes- Richter, Richter, Richter, anda, moravec
7. Fant in C-Moise, Backhaus, Cohen, Richter, sofron
8. Humoreske-Richter-56 moscow, kempf, schiff
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Lack of poetic vision! 27 Aug 2009
By Hiram Gomez Pardo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
When one glimpses the winner pianists at the Tchaikovski Piano Festival, the name of Vladimir Ashkenazy emerges like the first heroic awarded artist in 1962, sharing the coveted Prize with John Ogdon. After him, others remarkable Russian pianists have enjoyed fame and fortune.

But like Richter, Ashkenazy played the German repertoire with distinguished authority, sealed with elegant phrasing and devoted lyrics. Stylistically speaking, the Russian pianism is ravishing, dazzling and pregnant of febrile nostalgia and profound attachment for the homeland. These are the main differences respect the late European Romanticism, nourished by a widest rank of emotions, livings and memories borrowed from the literature, painting and poetry.
That fact features a way of performing and conceiving the romantic ideal of the Russian citizen. Therefore, we should not surprise ourselves about sonorities, fingering and phrasing that would seem to obey to unspoken echoes of "a psychology of sound". The fiery staccatos and the leonine attacks on the keyboard is what it relates to composers who are not akin at all, like Rubinstein or Busoni, for instance.

The sixties was the golden decade of this prestigious pianist, who took advantage of the showy and electrifying pianism of his musical colleagues Richter and Gilels. Ashkenazy if I may embodied the best of both artists. On one hand the unpredictable temperament of Richter and the gelid precision of Gilels. That accurate blend of serenity and impetuosity gained many admirers in the Western world, specially for those great audiences avid for experiencing new interpretative proposals.

It's not a mere casualty that Ashkenazy and Richter were during the sixties, the most stubborn pianists who dared themselves to play these two minor works of Schumann with successful expectations. They covered both works of radiant splendor and exquisite charm these neglected and overlooked pieces for the most of the great soloists by then.

Nevertheless, the recording of these piano works let me absolutely indifferent. The main problem which any pianist has to deal, resides in the fact two giants of the past -like Wilhelm Kempff and Yves Nat- recorded the whole set which is by itself, challeging and daring. Ashkenazy makes the best he can but he doesn't hover the performances of dreamlike rapture,enchanted poetry and inspired lyricism demanded for the author beneath the score.

That's why I can't give this set a major score.
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