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Mozart: The Symphonies (Nos 1-41, & 27 other symphonic works) /AAM · Schröder · Hogwood
Mozart: The Symphonies (Nos 1-41, & 27 other symphonic works) /AAM · Schröder · Hogwood
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £73.14

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 5 Feb 2011
This was very enjoyable complete recording of these symphonies. I'm not an expert on Mozart since I'm just starting to explore him, but I enjoyed these wonderful period instrument performances and since Hogwood and his players followed a chronological sequence you could really see how Mozart's symphonic style was evolving.

Mozart's symphonies have a troublesome reception/performing-history; some symphonies attributed to him have been composed by others (Leopold Mozart, Michael Haydn for example). He also has quite many "unofficial" symphonies, not numbered in the 41 "official" cycle. This recording contains all in all 68 symphonies, some (The Praque, The Great G-minor, The Paris, The Haffner) in two different versions. So this recording was very satisfying and complete.

Note; I see the price is kind of high--I myself borrowed these from my local library.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 16, 2011 2:12 PM BST

Sonatas for Cello & Piano (Karkkainen, Gustaffson)
Sonatas for Cello & Piano (Karkkainen, Gustaffson)
Offered by sellerfellauk
Price: £29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I love it, 23 Jan 2011
I agree with the other rewiever about this being a very fine disc. But since I am a big admirer of works by Karol Szymanowski, the main attraction for me was the wonderful and sensitive take on Szymanowskis only duo sonata, the Sonata for violin and piano in d-minor, op.9 written in Szymanowski's early late romantic style-period.

Szymanowski composed this remarkable sonata in 1904 right after his first Piano sonata. While in the three piano sonatas there remains a slightly academic aftertaste in them due to Szymanowski's insistance on concluding each sonata with a big final fugue, the Violin sonata makes a more artistic and personal impression. And it, significantly, also omits the fugue replasing it with a dramatic final presto.

The very beginning of the sonata is sort of disquieting; a sudden, startling stroke of two chords, a violin flourish and a strange motive that Szymanowski keeps on repeating that has something obsessive and even menacing in it. It is very startling especiallly when played here with such coviction by Jan Erik Gustafsson and Heini Kärkkäinen. Overall Szymanowski is truly at his best as a melodist in this sonata (I remember reading that he himself held this work in high regard), writing wonderful long lined melodies in all three movements. The slow movement is simply ravishing in its ethereal beauty.

It is little ironic that my favorite version of this Sonata should be this cello/piano arrangement by Kasimierz Wilkomirzky but I cannot help it; though I have been looking for a good performance of the original violin version, even the version by David Oistrakh pales in comparison to this and I keep coming back to this when ever I want to experience the op.9 in it's full beauty.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2011 8:48 PM GMT

K. Szymanowski: Vol. 1; Concert Overture in E Major, Symphony No. 2, Symphony No. 4
K. Szymanowski: Vol. 1; Concert Overture in E Major, Symphony No. 2, Symphony No. 4
Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Szymanowski as Richard Strauss, 24 Aug 2010
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Of the recordings of Karol Szymanowski's Concert Overture-his very first orchestral work- this I like the most. The recording sounds near like in a studio, lacking a hall feeling: it is very clear but I like it. The playing is at times a bit rough (the brasses), but so exuberant that it disarms by it's sheer "Shwung". There is also a sense of drama that truly delights.

The Concert Overture has certainly a very Straussian feel in it. But when the music is as lovely and youthfully enthusiastic and spontaneous, themes catchy, the narraturgy/dramaturgy exciting and the orchestral writing as effective and brilliant as here you really don't care, even if the composer quickly moved forward coming at times quite close to the early Second Viennese School (The First Symphony) and after that drawing some impulses from Reger (The Second Symphony), before hitting the jackpot in his second,"war" period when he created, with such works as the Third Symphony("Piesn nocy" op.27) and the First Violin Concerto op.35, a remarkable and unique style of colorism.

This is overall a good series on the whole BTW, although kind of hard to get. It contains, along the orchestral music also most of the pianoworks and wonderful intrepetations of the songs, especially those of op.5. I came familiar with it in my university library and I still treasure it.

Piano Concerti 1 & 2
Piano Concerti 1 & 2
Price: £14.47

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chopin- Perahia- Mehta, 23 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Piano Concerti 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
Fresh, satisfying; those are the words that come to my mind when i think of this disc. These are btw live-performances wich adds a certain charm, the audience is definately most enthusiastic and its presence doesn't bother a bit-- you probably won't even notice it until the applause's.

In this recording these concertos really sound what they are; orchestral works. There are so many orchestral subleties in this recording which delight the ear and which you probably never heard before, while the solo part is in no way overshadowed. These performances may lack some of the emotional temperature say, that early recording from late 1960's by Martha Argerich with Claudio Abbado, but the works themselves come out as great early/classic romantic music, which makes sense since Chopin was composing these concertos right after the deaths of Beethoven and Schubert and always remained a great admirer of Mozart.

If you really want to hear music as it's written, to hear everything the composer wrote in his score played with energy, charm and enthusiasm, then this is for you.

Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2
Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2
Price: £8.87

3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lame performances, 23 Aug 2010
There's is nothing new in this recording of Chopin's both piano concertos. Argerich already made a magnifiscent classic recording of the great e-minor concerto in the late 60'ies with the wonderful Claudio Abbado and with Rostropovich they made the f-minor concerto, so why did they had to make this one? It certainly adds very little to the discocraphy of these works, and orchestrally it is a sad draw-back from the exuberant colloboration with Abbado.

This is a lame recording in my opinnion. If you are a great admirer of Argerich then you might buy this to marvel her maturity as a pianist, but if it's about Chopin, stay away from it.

Tchaikovsky: Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 1
Tchaikovsky: Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 1
Price: £15.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Tchaikowsky and the piano, 12 April 2010
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Ponti is a fine pianist! I bought these disc's due the seldom heard c sharp- minor sonat and it was a wonderful performance-especially the second and third movement's were played suberbly!

I have heard a previous EMI recording of this sonata by a female pianist (combined with pieces by Rachmaninov and Sciabin, can not remember her name...) but it was overtly feminin and I did'nt like it. I think Gilels played it too but don't know he made a recording of it? So yes--- this recording by Ponti is the best I've heard and I really recommend it if you are looking a performance of this work.

Ponti is a true virtuoso in an old-fashion sense a'la Horowitz; his playing is intense and impressive. Powerful and sensitive, lyrical and dashingly virtuosic. The sound- engineering of this set was not entirely satisfactory; too "close" and sounded at times harsh.And besides, there was one little embarrassing thing here; the piano seemed to be out of tune...!

And the work itself? A very personal-sounding early work (though I think it was composed when he still was a student)and at times very prophetic of future Tshaikovsky, the general atmosphere reminds truly rather the Fourth, Fifth and the Sixth Symphonies, the Third String Quartet or the Trio op 50 than the first three symphonies or the first two string quartets. And the precious thematic material means that it can compete the more mature sonata in G op. 37. The piano- writing is resourceful- as a listener you can relish it though at times it is actually rather awkward for the player.

Szymanowski Complete Piano Music
Szymanowski Complete Piano Music
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £25.65

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Tribute for future genarations to come, 21 Mar 2010
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Many times when listening these cds I just either bursted giggling or found myself laughing from sheer amazement and delight! Now this is a worthy tribute to Karol Szymanowski! Inferior, mediocre instrumentalists do really only little favor to this composer, but Sinae Lee seems to posess all the traits of a great pianist;
-she can bring out the texture transparently even when it's as thick as a Creme Brulee in a first class French reastaurant
-her scales are brilliant-her octaves tumultuos
-her pianissimos delicate
-and her fortissimos massive- sonorous and never pounding.

This recording was a real revelation, although one shouldn't miss few other noteworthy performances such as Mazurkas by Halina Czerny-Stefanska, the two Mazurkas op.62 played by the composer himself, Symphonia concertante (not included here but I just want to mention this) by Artur Rubinstein, Etudes op.33 by Mikhail Rudy (wonderful performances, the same disc inholds also Metopes, Masgues and few mazurkas), and Sonata 2 by Richter- though the sound-quality is frankly just horrible, the playing is grandiose. But how amazed I was that quite a few performances here are indeed the best (!) I've heard;
-Variations op.10- an outstanding performance!
-Sonata op.8- simply wonderful, opened my ears to the beauties of this work which I used to consider problematic.
-the 3rd Sonata- an ear-opener-performance of a work which I never really "got", much preferrable of a more famous performance by Piotr Andrzewski on EMI.

The amazing thing about Lee is in her ability to highlight the structure of these works. She's really a master of her craft! Never did these extravagantly rich and complex works loose any of their luxuriant quality in the hands of Lee and her sound is amazing, doing a full justice to the opulent sound-world of Szymanowski.

Actually I have only little to critisize, here the few things that come to my mind;I missed a more emotional and sensitive approach in the early preludes and etudes, maybe even more time since she played them quite quickly. And sometimes in the final mvmnts of the sonatas 1 and 2 I missed some kind of a transcendental sonoric quality.

Szymanowski- like Chopin, wrote three sonatas for piano and one sonata for stringed instrument and piano. In his case a violin sonata, in Chopin's a cello sonata. And like Chopin, his sonatas are monuments from the different artistic phases
There is a funny thing about the four sonatas of Szymanowski; the later the sonata,
lesser the movements:
-the First Piano sonata has four
-the Violin sonata three
-the 2nd Piano sonata two
-and the Third only one big mvmnt!
The First Sonata is comparative to Chopin sonatas and the early sonatas- first three or four- of Scriabin, the Second Sonata comparable to Fifth Scriabin sonata or piano variations by Reger,and the Third reminds of Scriabin sonatas 6 to 10- just to give a general picture of them.

My only regret is the cover design, it is so boringly unimaginitive! Maybe a picture of the composer on the cover? And nicer colouring----?

I hardly need to stress that I strongly recommend this wonderful recording: T-H-I-S is the E-S-S-E-N-T-I-A-L recording of the complete solo-piano-works of Karol Szymanowski. A way superior of the Naxos set, due the intensity of the playing and the superior sound quality. Moreover there is an interesting, previously unrecocerded prelude- which nevertheless I found quite banal piece of music.

I truly believe this will be a classic! A "must" for future generations of Szymanowski-enthusiast's.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 26, 2010 11:06 AM BST

Chopin: Sonata; Polonaise / Schumann: Adagio and Allegro
Chopin: Sonata; Polonaise / Schumann: Adagio and Allegro
Price: £6.97

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic- truly unsurpassed!!, 7 Mar 2010
I have little but praise for this disc!

The Chopin Cello Sonata should actually come out like this, played by true virtuosi- like these two ones here, one of the greatest ones of the latter part of the last century, MSISTLAV ROSTROPOVICH and MARTHA ARGERICH. After all,it was the same way the work was conceived in the first place; Chopin of course was an amazing artist with his piano and August Franchomme, whom the sonata is dedicated, a great cello virtuoso. With him the composer gave the first performance in Paris a year before he died, in 1848 (inconceivably omitting the first movement).

August Franchomme was himself a composer and a long-time friend of Chopins, their friendsip going all the way back to early 1830s upon his arrival to Paris. He also assisted Chopin negotiating his publishers after his "kind-of-a friend-but-actually-more-of-a secretary" Julian Fontana had left Europe for United States-possibly due to his exhaustion caused by Chopins increasing requests and errands (once even asking him to send CAKE from Paris- to Nohant!!).
Chopin and Franchomme collaborated in 1831-32 composing a joint composition, a kind of a free fantasia-potpourri on the themes of a Grand Opera by Giocamo Mayerbeer called "Robert le Diable". The work was published under the heading "Grand duo concertante". For Chopin it must have been an experience which gave him an intimate understanding of the possibilities of the cello, little similar to-for instance- the collaboration of the violinist Paul Kochanski and Karol Szymanowski some 80 years later (Kochanski for examble composed the cadenzas of both of the violin concertos by Szymanowski).

Prior to his collaboration with Franchomme in the Grand duo, Chopin had already composed for the cello; in fact one of his early associates with whom he used to make music was prince Antoine Radziwill, an amateur cellist- and a composer himself. Chopin dedicated a Trio from 1828 to the prince and they played it together. Later he wrote a polonaise for Prince Antoine and his piano-playing daughter (this polonaise, when published with an introduction added later, was nevertheless dedicated to Joseph Merk,a renowned Viennese cellist). This disc inholds also this polonaise. The inside introductory text btw incorrectly states the cello as an instrument Chopin was "unfamiliar with". He wasn't, since he HIMSELF had played it a little,(like the violin-see from Halina Goldberg: "Music in Chopins Warsaw" Oxford University Press 2008) and moreover had already composed the Trio for violin, cello and piano as well as few times for orchestra.

So Chopin used to have cellists around! Later he suggested at least to one of his pupils to study the cello in addition of the piano studies (another he insisted on taking singing lessons saying; "you have to sing before you can play"). And the fruit and the celebration of a life-long interest of the cello-as well as a celebration of a long friendship with one of the greatest virtuosos of that instrument- resulted to a work which became one of the Great Romantic Cello Sonatas; the SONATA FOR CELLO AND PIANO IN G-MINOR, OP. 65 - the last opus to be published during Chopins life-time.

The sound-engineering is suberb, actually the best I've heard in connection of this work. The cello is never in danger of being drowned by the piano, and the difference of the intruments compliment each other; the sonorous tenor register of the cello with long lined melodies combined with the bright finesse filigree figuration of the piano make a fine combination.

The performance of Rostropovich and Argerich has an air of live-performance in it. I is thoroughly lively and impassioned. Their intrepetation highlights life and passion in this work, contary to the usual autumn-like approach. Though some may miss the nostalgic feel of few other performances- such as the emotional and poignant Du Pre/Barenboim rendition- there is so much to admire here, the sheer instrumental supremasy of these two virtuosi for a start!

Chopin: cello music
Chopin: cello music
Offered by Entertainment Direct
Price: £5.95

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not entirely satisfying Tribute to Chopin., 3 Mar 2010
This review is from: Chopin: cello music (Audio CD)
I expected much, much more from this disc but unfortunately it turned out to be quite disappointing...
All is so darn "eccentric"; nowadays musicians seem to have so poor sense of style!Chopin particularly can be problematic, like these chamber works here.

In the TRIO, our musicians seem to follow the example of a performance by Pamela Frank-Yo Yo Ma-and Emanuel Ax rather than a classic performance by the famous Trio Oistrakh. I think this is the "modern" style of playing.

In this "modern" style;
1) pauses are in danger of becoming fermatas.
2) I cannot hear the actual musical work behind all this squirming, everything sounds so affected, and- moreover
3) there is no real sense of tempo in the TRIO, the structure is totally lost.

One cant help hoping they would simply play "normal"; they want so much to be interesting you get the impression they do everything sort of "different" and their intrepetational choises lack a genuine motivation.In the TRIO it all sounds as they ere playing miniatures; the dramatic culminations were sadly lost. Perhaps they thought this was the "chopinisque" way but in truth the result is an intrepetation where you at times cannot find a single bar normally executed; the dynamics have been heavily exaggerated, the rubato edges mannerism. Although this kind of affected style of playing allows the pianist to make rubato conviniently at sticky places...; )

Shiryan, who played on the penultimate page of the last mvnt of the SONATA a wrong chord (where she changed an f flat to f natural, a major to minor) left me quite cold due to her lack of real warmth and emotion.( NOTE: a stylistic thing; the grace notes in Chopin are played ON downbeat -not before.)

Another thing is that you cant really discern the cello from the low/middle register of the piano and the "primas" (= the violin) in the TRIO is swambed, particularly the phrase-endings fall into obscurity... Even the old studio-mono recording of the TRIO by Trio Oistrakh succeeded better and as for the SONATA, just compare this to the classic Rostropovich-Argerich DG recording and you see my point.

Oh oh oh..... so nice cover and back-side text, and certainly much exellently executed details such as the coda of the first mvmnt of the TRIO. And generally the playing of Brantelid is very impressive, and the performance of the GRAND DUO CONCERTANT is quite good.

Finally, i must point out that the GRAND DUO was in fact a JOINT COMPOSITION by Chopin and Franchomme; it was not properly credited here as such. Franchommes contribution was not "writing a cello-part" to a Chopin-work, the first edition had the names of both CHOPIN and FRANCHOMME on the cover as the composers. So it is A JOINT COMPOSITION- not a work of Chopins, not of Franchommes but of them both.

What a wonderful document of partnership that is, BTW!

Cello Sonatas (Piatigorsky, Pennario)
Cello Sonatas (Piatigorsky, Pennario)
Price: £17.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Piatigorsky, 2 Mar 2010
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I have always found this Mendelssohn sonata great! I truly think it is one of his most charming works, revealing a same kind of quality as the "Italian symphony"; no wonder he is considered one of the greatest composers of the early 19th century and his influence was strong for example in the early works of R.Strauss (one of which- the Cello sonata- has been included on this disc). This sonata is musically and instrumentally powerful and has a true melodic appeal. Like the "Italian Symphony", the first movement starts with a delightful and charming tune, the sherzo is exciting and the slow movement has a depth while the Finale returns to the sunny and melodiuos atmosphere of the first movement.

Of the intrepetation of the Chopin sonata i have to say that this one can not compete with the suberb recording by Rotropovich with Martha Argerich, though many passages have been very well executed (the playing of the pianist is also very good though little overpowering for the cello). I think, in fact that this sonata is quite demanding for the cellist, insisting almost a concerto-like power; in fact the trio of the second movement scherzo is written at the same register and at the same key as the secondary theme of the first movement of the Dvorak Cello Concerto! Here and there it became evident that Piatigorsky, when they recorded this was lacking some of the power of his youth...

Finally, i thought it was nice to combine the earlier Mendelssohn sonata with the youthful Mendelssohn-inspired sonata by R.Strauss. The cello sonata, while in no way a mature work, is charming and inventive, and has many wonderful melodies.

Quite delightful disc!

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