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Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87

Keith Jarrett Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 21.65 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Over the past 40 years, Keith Jarrett has come to be recognized as one of the most creative musicians of our times - universally acclaimed as an improviser of unsurpassed genius; a master of jazz piano; a classical keyboardist of great depth; and as a composer who has written hundreds of pieces for his various jazz groups, plus extended works for orchestra, soloist, and chamber ... Read more in Amazon's Keith Jarrett Store

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Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87 + Handel: Suites for Keyboard + Bach: Goldberg Variations
Price For All Three: 49.36

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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 Dec 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: ECM New Series
  • ASIN: B000006MTX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,064 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: I. Prelude & Fugue in C Major 8:11Album Only
Listen  2. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: II. Prelude & Fugue in A Minor 2:100.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: III. Prelude & Fugue in G Major 3:290.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: IV. Prelude & Fugue in E Minor 7:240.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: V. Prelude & Fugue in D Major 4:050.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: VI. Prelude & Fugue in B Minor 5:220.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: VII. Prelude & Fugue in A Major 3:110.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. 24 Preludes And Fugues, Op. 87: VIII. Prelude & Fugue In F-Sharp Minor 6:220.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: IX. Prelude & Fugue in E Major 3:480.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: X. Prelude & Fugue in C-Sharp Minor 6:190.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: XI. Prelude & Fugue in B Major 3:220.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: XII. Prelude & Fugue in G-Sharp Minor 6:520.99  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. 24 Preludes And Fugues, Op. 87: XIII. Prelude & Fugue In F-Sharp Major 7:030.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: XIV. Prelude & Fugue in E-Flat Minor 7:030.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: XV. Prelude & Fugue in D-Flat Major 4:200.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: XVI. Prelude & Fugue in B-Flat Minor 8:590.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. 24 Preludes And Fugues, Op. 87: XVII. Prelude & Fugue In A-Flat Major 5:140.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. 24 Preludes And Fugues, Op. 87: XVIII. Prelude & Fugue In F Minor 4:350.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: XIX. Prelude & Fugue in E-Flat Major 4:170.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: XX. Prelude & Fugue in C Minor 8:060.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87: XXI. Prelude & Fugue in B-Flat Major 4:010.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. 24 Preludes And Fugues, Op. 87: Xxii. Prelude & Fugue In G Minor 5:090.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. 24 Preludes And Fugues, Op. 87: Xxiii. Prelude & Fugue In F Major 5:280.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. 24 Preludes And Fugues, Op. 87: Xxiv. Prelude & Fugue In D Minor10:24Album Only

Product Description

Product Description

The Music/Background: As Jarrett said in 1991, "When I first saw these pieces in a music shop, I knew I wanted to play them. I recognised the language. But when I started playing them, they were so close to me that I knew I had to record them." He began including Shostakovich pieces in his recitals in 1985, alongside works by Beethoven, Scarlatti and Bach, and his Shostakovich recording followed his acclaimed account of the two books of The Well-Tempered Clavier. There was a musical-historical logic to the choice, as well: it had been a performance of Bach's "48" at a piano competition in Lepizig in 1950 that inspired Shostakovich to write his own cycle of preludes and fugues. "It didn't feel like I was playing someone else's music," said Jarrett of his first encounter with the Op 87. "[The pieces] are coming from some strange quirky place that I'm familiar with. They're not `pianistic' in the traditional way..." Wilfred Mellers sums up the merits of Opus 87 in the liner notes: "If there is a single work among his large output that assures us that Shostakovich is among the great composers nurtured by our bruised and battered century, this collection of Preludes and Fugues is it. One might go so far as to say that it places him among the supreme composers in any phase of Europe's history. Listen and you will hear."

Press reactions: "With this recording, Mr Jarrett has finally staked an indisputable claim to distinction in the realm of classical music. Even in our multicultural, multistylistic age, it is still extremely difficult to cross over from one field to another. Mr Jarrett, having long since established himself in jazz, can now be called a classical pianist of the first rank." - New York Times

"The Shostakovich is, quite simply, one of the touchstones of the keyboard literature, and the value of Jarrett's committed advocacy of this piece cannot be overestimated. He really has done an outstanding job: listening to him is simply a joy." - Fanfare

"Jarrett's performance is outstanding: for its interpretive logic, congruity, and continuity; for the unpretentious, non-idiosyncratic playing style; and for its technical supremacy. Jarrett's playing is astonishingly clear..." - CD Review.

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Jarrett than Shostakovich 18 April 2003
Format:Audio CD
I became interested in Shostakovich' preludes and fugues partly because I like Bach's approach in "The Well-Tempered Clavier" and partly because I have appreciated some of Shostakovich' other works, such as the symphonies 5 & 7, and his second piano concerto which I discovered when seeing "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" in Disney's "Fantasia 2000". I am also a great fan of Jarrett, both when playing jazz and classical music (e.g. Bach). The combination of Jarrett and Shostakovich should be an obvious 5-star. Or?
When I first heard some of these recordings I became somewhat disappointed that they did not give that "wow" feeling I had expected. After a few listenings, I was still not really impressed. Not long after, I bought the Scherbakov recording on Naxos, and suddenly I was carried away by the music. I have not heard the Nikolayeva or Ashkenazy recordings, but they usually recieves praise as well. It is probably much a matter of taste. Returning to Jarrett again, he does play very well, but there is something lacking to make the music full justice. It is hard to point out exactly what.
If you are a Jarrett fan, this recording gives you yet another performance by the amazingly talented pianist - five stars. But if you know Shostakovich by heart and may have heard this cycle by other performers, this recording will score lower - three or four stars. The reason to buy this recording should be Jarrett rather than Shostakovich.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing combination 25 Jun 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This CD was recommended to me and it combines the marvelllous talents of Jarrett and Shostakovich. It was an unexpected surprise but I highly recommend it. Describing it wouldn't do it justice. It's expensive but worth every cent.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
101 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keith Jarrett, Classical Performer 24 July 2000
By Doc Sarvis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Keith Jarrett, known primarily as a jazz pianist, has exhibited a great deal of courage with his recording of classical "standards" such as this one. By doing so he opens himself to accusations of dillitantism from critics, who seem almost universally inclined to place artists into narrow categories, only to label as "pretentious" any performers who try to expand their horizons...a process that usually reveals the critics' own pretentions and ignorance.
A recording like this is particularly risky business for Jarrett, who has always been controversial with critics for his unique, individualistic style, his aggressive self-assurance and unwillingness to "suffer fools gladly", and his well-known tendency to "sing" along with his jazz improvisations. Add to everything else the fact that a "standard" of this particular work already exists (in this case Tatyana Nikolaieva's Grammy-winning interpretation), and this recording faces quite an uphill battle.
Proving, however, that he is a superior artist, Jarrett's recording of the 24 Preludes and Fugues demolishes all of these would-be objections. Jarrett's interpretation of Shostakovich is perhaps the clearest, most articulate recording ever made of these works, revealing subtlties of texture and mood that previously remained hidden on the printed page...without sacrificing anything in terms of emotion. Part of the credit for this clarity goes to the superior ECM technical recording skills, but any fan of Jarrett's musicality (both expressiveness and clarity) in his jazz playing will find the same qualities here. Incidentally, one thing you won't find here is Jarrett's "singing"...it's missing from all of his classical work.
As is the case with his other superb classical recordings, the real triumph here is that of Jarrett as classical performer. Not only does this work stand completely on its own (in other words, it's not a "classical recording by a jazz artist" but a totally serviceable interpretation in its own right), it also adds significantly to our understanding of Shostakovich's composition. It's not the same work as the Nikolaieva classic, and shouldn't be excessively compared to it. It makes its own statement, along with Keith Jarrett, the classical artist. In any idiom, Keith Jarrett will be remembered as one of the great pianists of our time.
68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars far and away the best, and don't give me no lip! 25 Nov 2004
By Matthew D. White - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Keith Jarrett himself must have expected wildly polarized reviews on his take of Shostakovich's preludes and fugues, and it's no wonder, as he is more popularly known as a modern jazz master.

As I have had access to a public radio station music library, I decided to spend a weekend comparing and contrasting the different recording of this Opus 87, with score in-hand, by Jarrett, Nikolayevna, and Ashkenazy. I rate Jarrett first, second place going to Nikolayevna, and Ashkenazy bringing up a rather indifferent rear.

Jarrett's interpretation seems to be most often panned on grounds that he "doesn't understand the music", which is sheer hogwash. Add this to the fact that most critics fail to state what are the prerequisites for understanding this music, and I suggest it's a lot more than understanding Shostakovich's "pain"; a rather over-romantic view of a composer who could and did write extremely emotional music, but also music with humor and grace. There's a lot more to Shostakovich than just "pain". Jarrett has obviously studied the pieces well, and plays each prelude and fugue with flawless technique and even daring interpretation that is notably original, the most obvious case being the C-major fugue being taken at what sounds like a *very* slow pace. But having access to the score, he's taking it at the specified tempo: 92-to-the-quarter, interpreting the "alla breve" by playing very legato. So why do the other recordings have it so fast?

Jarrett's A-major fugue shines like the sun; his A flat-major fugue becomes a giddy, but slyly understated dance. (I should add here that in the A-flat prelude Ashkenazy makes a rather shocking note discrepancy in the main theme that either passed a producer's ear or was mis-read in the printed edition.) The more somber pieces are played with respect and deep concentration.

Add to this ECM's top-shelf engineering that provides a realistic, deep piano sound, and you've got a five-star set in your hands.

The pieces were written for Nikolayevna, but her autumn-years recording seems a bit one-dimensional to my ears at times, and the dynamics are a bit narrow as well, although she obviously has played these pieces for a very long time and seems to have absorbed them to the point where her interpretations seem more introverted, if that is your taste. The piano sound is broad, though it has a bit more hammer sound than Jarrett's.

For Ashkenazy, I have nothing exceptional to report. The Decca sound is dry, his rubato doesn't work for me and almost sounds as if he is unsure of himself in places, and overall it doesn't seem to add any air of authority or authenticity. Add to this Decca's assertion that since Askenazy is Russian, his recording is the final word on it, which is pretty trite.

Jarrett gives a modern, up-to-date performance that I think will stand the test of time, while the Askenazy will ultimately be re-packaged as a budget set.

Go with Jarrett; the man who dares to play classical music that is absolute, stripped bare of tuxedo snobbery. He gives his all for this one, and it shows.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My pick from Jarrett/Ashkenazy/Nikolayeva 15 Jan 2005
By Francesco Calegari - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I own recordings of this work by Jarrett, Ashkenazy and Nikolayeva (on Hyperion). Ultimately it is Jarrett's version that I find myself listening to most often. My main gripe with Nikolayeva is that she can be excessively slow. Ashkenazy -- though technically strong as one would expect -- has a tendency to hammer out some of the fugues in rigid staccato that suppresses the natural lyricism of the music. The flip side as argued by another reviewer is that Jarrett is sometimes "mushy", but that seems a little harsh to me. Unless you have a very particular opinion on how these pieces must sound (in which case you can listen to them yourself) this recording makes a fine choice.
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to give it 6 stars 14 Sep 2003
By W. P. Gardner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is my one of my favorite CDs of all time. I also have the Nikolaeva version, but I like this one better. I have bought it three times: once for me, once as a gift, and once to listen to in the car. I don't know what to say about some of the recent reviewers who pan it. I don't think they listened to the same CD as I did (or as many times as I have, i.e. hundreds). I bought it first in 1992 (I don't think the release date shown as 2000 is accurate).

This is the first Shostakovich recording I ever bought, and since then I have become a big fan of Shostakovich, particularly his string quartets.

I think it is a shame that not many modern composers have gone through the 24 major and minor keys, and have written prelude-and-fugue pairs on them, the way Bach did, and Shostakovich after Bach.

Update, Feb 2013 - I just bought it a fourth time (as MP3s). I reviewed this originally in 2003. This is still one of my favorite records of all time.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expresiveness and impeccable technique 5 Jan 2001
By Luis Murillo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Keith Jarret pulls off an admirable interpretation of an extremely beautiful and difficult work. Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues were inspired by Bach's Wohltemperierte Klavier. Like the latter work, they are meant as an expansion of existing modes of musical expression and in this sense are the great Soviet composer's most lasting intellectual contribution.
Jarreth gives a magical interpretation of each of these pieces. His playing is characterised by total contrapunctal transparency, unaffected nuance, and an expressiveness that ranges from tenderness to dramatic violence. Every note is different, and has its own voice and character. What never ceases to amaze me, is how Jarrett, who is not otherwise a specialist of the Russian repertoire, has managed to impress on his recording the unique, revolutionary, brazen, ballet-like bravura so characteristic of great Soviet pianists. I hope dearly, he will take on other Russian composers.
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