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Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; Concerto in F; An American in Paris
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; Concerto in F; An American in Paris
Price: £9.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Magical Gershwin, 12 Jan 2014
Andre Previn's LSO Gershwin disc from EMI is a classic. It may be the greatest recording of these works. The Concerto in F has an atmosphere unlike any other recording I've heard. The slow movement in particular is truly magical. An American in Paris is given a similarly powerful performance. Although Mr. Previn makes some optional cuts in Rhapsody in Blue his panache coupled with the sumptuous recording and playing of the LSO sweep you away. Thanks to pioneering recordings like this there can be no doubt this unforgettable music belongs in the concert hall alongside the other great composers of the 20th Century. For anyone wanting to find a way into appreciating classical music this could be your ticket!

Tchaikovsky & Prokofiev - Piano Concertos
Tchaikovsky & Prokofiev - Piano Concertos
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic recording of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.3, 12 Jan 2014
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Jon Kimura Parker and Andre Previn's recording of Prokofiev's 3rd Piano Concerto with the RPO is a very special disc for me. I've never tired of listening to it since I was in my teens in the late 80s. It's a recording which realises the full potential and beauty of the music.
Some would argue, as with Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto, that the composer's own recording shows the true spirit of the music - i.e. speedy, straightforward and less romanticised. But through Parker and Previn's beautifully recorded and exceptionally well balanced interpretation Prokofiev's 3rd emerges as the perfect piano concerto. It has everything - classicism, yearning romanticism and brilliant innovations in the piano writing. It also has some of Prokofiev's most memorable and ingenious melodies. Prokofiev uses his best ideas for the genre over a 10 year period and its shows.
Parker and Previn treat the music with the respect it deserves whilst many performers use it as an empty vehicle to show off their muscles. Steadier tempi allow for greater precision and more details to be heard in the dialogue between orchestra and piano.
Unlike many pianists who have recorded this work Mr Parker has exceptional touch and control of rhythm to match his virtuosity.
Coupled with the Prokofiev is a silky smooth rendition of Tchaikovsky's famous first concerto. Again it shows Mr Parker's immaculate touch and musicianship and Previn and the RPO are superb. The Telarc digital recording is rich and beautiful throughout.

Thomas Fats Waller: The Great Solos, 1929-1937
Thomas Fats Waller: The Great Solos, 1929-1937
by Paul Posnak
Edition: Sheet music
Price: £9.83

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In truth: these transcriptions are not very accurate, 6 May 2008
I've flicked through the sample of African Ripples and I'm sorry to say these transcriptions are inaccurate with poor chord voicings. Even considering any `tidying up' (it's a matter of opinion which `wrong notes' should be omitted) it's not good. Pick a page at random - Page 10 - last bar of the second line, both chords incorrect in right hand, missing an E and B flat respectively, the left hand on beat 3 is not what's happening, anyone can hear the lowest note hit is a D. 6 bars later on beat 3 there's a low D missing. And so on. If the point of this book is to see literally what Fats Waller plays then don't waste your money and encourage authors who present shoddy work and get paid for it. I'm a composer with a good ear and what I'm saying is a fact. Why Dick Hyman endorsed it I do not know. It's competently edited in terms of rubato, speed etc. but anyone musician could do that.
The average standard of accuracy in published jazz piano transcriptions seems to be very poor, e.g. Erroll Garner or Artis Wodehouses' woeful attempts at Gershwin's 1920s recordings. When transcribing you must play back each chord until you can literally hear every note one by one in reality and know which notes are not harmonics. It's not rocket science, it just needs a lot of time and care and attention to every detail.

Bartók - Miraculous Mandarin Suite; Piano Concertos Nos 1 and 2
Bartók - Miraculous Mandarin Suite; Piano Concertos Nos 1 and 2

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic re-release of Kocsis playing Bartok on Hungaraton, 13 Aug 2005
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First of all, this is not a digital recording as claimed on Cappriccio's SACD, it is a re-release of a young 20 year old Zoltan Kocsis playing Bartok's First and Second Piano Concertos from Hungaraton (LPX 11516) 1972 with Gyorgy Lehel conducting the Budapest Symphony Orchestra. It was part of the Hungaraton Complete Edition - a lavishly presented set with wonderful accompanying booklets full of thematic references and comprehensive notes.
Zoltan Kocsis is the greatest Bartok pianist I have ever heard, flawless in technique, interpretation and style. I wonder how he views these early recordings?
In the First Concerto the placing of the piano is not as focused as his later Phillips recording (where if anything it is too close). There are some great digital recordings of No.1 - Zimmerman and Boulez would be my favourite, Donohoe and Rattle are terrific, (listen to the antiphonal imitation between woodwind and piano just into the first movement). Although not matched for piano sound, this 1972 performance of Kocsis has a rawness and excitement I've not heard bettered. The speed in which he starts off the repeated octave first subject is faster and more straightforward than any other I can recall and is very exciting as a result. The orchestra come across very strongly and sound thoroughly exotic and mysterious throughout.
The Second Concerto is a also a great performance, (bettered only by sound and clarity in Kocsis's benchmark Phillips recording from the 80s). Both have an authentic Hungarian style and interpretation that you don't often get.
There is also an enjoyable performance of The Miraculous Mandarin by Neville Mariner where the strings have plenty of bite.
I am very happy to see this CD re-release after so many years. The Kocsis record was the first Bartok I heard in my teens. If you are new to this music your first impression might be how exotic, mysterious and dark it sounds. I think the slight lack of focus of the piano part makes this more intriguing. But soon you will hear the strong melody and appreciate the tangy harmonies. Bartok is a one off, he assimilated his native folk music into a new musical language with amazing originality and power, and there is no one with a greater technique in the 20th Century. This disc has some of his greatest mature masterpieces in this new percussive and dissonant style. The music is rhythmically very exciting but you will not find it lacking in melody or feeling - unlike a lot of contemporary music.

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