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Scriabinmahler (UK)
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The Early Recordings
The Early Recordings
Offered by videosanddvds
Price: £12.59

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some great recordings, 26 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Early Recordings (Audio CD)
I bought this box set solely for the reissue of the long-deleted recording of Henze Concerto (once sold for outrageous price on ebay), but found other great performances in it. The slow movements of Beethoven's Concerto No.3 and Emperor Concerto, for example, I haven't come across such beautiful performances for a long time. Paced in just right tempi, the music glows in sublime serenity. In the outer movements too, Eschenbach's playing radiates poetical beauty and class without compromising technical brilliance.

Schubert Sonatas are just fine. His account of Chopin's Op.28 Preludes is one of the worst I've heard. There is no coherence nor relationship between each prelude and some of the preludes are played with cloying sentimentality (Prelude No.17 in Ab for example). Schumann's Kinderszenen is played beautifully until the last piece Der Dichter spricht, in which case he plays it as if the piece is a mere continuation from the rest, completely missing the point that this last movement is about reflection and contemplation on what proceeded.

Despite a few interpretative oddities, there is a lot to appreciate in this box set, not to mention the superb performance of Henze's 2nd concerto. It deserves at least 4 stars.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 1, 2013 3:32 PM BST


Rachmaninov: Preludes
Rachmaninov: Preludes

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A benchmark recording of the complete preludes, 13 Mar 2013
This review is from: Rachmaninov: Preludes (Audio CD)
Recorded more than two decades ago (1987&89), Alexeev's account of Rachmaninov's complete preludes can still hold its own. These are deeply expressive performances, but never sentimental. There's an element of suffering underneath the lyrical beauty of Rachmaninov's music, Alexeev captures it so masterfully with thoughtful use of the pedal. Sometimes, he doesn't use it at all to bring out inner voices or intricacy of broken chords with clarity, where most of pianists blur them with too much use of sustaining pedal. I usually get tired of Rachmaninov's music if I listen to two discs in succession, but these recordings I replayed immediately and each time I play them, there's something new to discover.


Rachmaninov Preludes
Rachmaninov Preludes
Price: £9.92

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A benchmark recording of the complete preludes, 13 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Rachmaninov Preludes (Audio CD)
Recorded more than two decades ago (1987&89), Alexeev's account of Rachmaninov's complete preludes can still hold its own. These are deeply expressive performances, but never sentimental. There's an element of suffering underneath the lyrical beauty of Rachmaninov's music, Alexeev captures it so masterfully with thoughtful use of the pedal. Sometimes, he doesn't use it at all to bring out inner voices or intricacy of broken chords with clarity, where most of pianists blur them with too much use of sustaining pedal. I usually get tired of Rachmaninov's music if I listen to two discs in succession, but these recordings I replayed immediately and each time I play them, there's something new to discover.


Mazurkas, Poemes, Impromptus and Other Works for Piano (Dover Music for Piano)
Mazurkas, Poemes, Impromptus and Other Works for Piano (Dover Music for Piano)
by Aleksandr Nikolayevich Scriabin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.03

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Treasure Trove of Gems, 12 Mar 2013
It's a shame that Scriabin's piano works are rarely played nowadays except few sonatas or preludes or etudes as encore pieces. In the 50-70s great pianists like Sofronitsky, Richter, and Horowitz would give all-Scriabin recitals. In this volume, you find gems of piano music like Nocturne for the left hand, Op.28 Fantasie, Op.32 Poems, and the later opuses which are imbued with mystical spirituality. It is truly mind blowing to see how earlier Romantic pieces gradually metamorphose, in seamless transition, into what seems to belong to space-age, in a few decades.

Like the other two volumes Scriabin solo piano scores, this one also has got alternative notations the composer adopted in his recital. The strong Lay-flat Sewn binding makes it very durable and easy to open and flip through. The print quality is not as good as those expensive German publications, but it is an amazing value for the price (the three volumes cover entire solo piano works by Scriabin).


Complete Piano Sonatas
Complete Piano Sonatas
by Aleksandr Nikolayevich Scriabin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.79

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 12 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Complete Piano Sonatas (Paperback)
Like the other two volumes Scriabin solo piano scores, this one also has got alternative notations the composer adopted in his recital. The strong Lay-flat Swen binding makes it very durable and easy to open and flip through. Comes with glossary for French terms translated in English and composer's footnotes (his painful outcry after injuring his hand, in Sonata No.1, for example), essential to understand the composer's intention and to interpret his music. Printing quality is not as good as those expensive German publications, but for this price it is an excellent value.


Scriabin: Complete Piano Sonatas
Scriabin: Complete Piano Sonatas
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £7.85

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another way to play Scriabin, 8 Mar 2013
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I'm deeply impressed by Alexeev's accounts of Scriabin's 10 Sonatas. Since Marc Andre Hamelin's outstanding Hyperion recording of the sonatas came out, I hadn't come across any recordings worth keeping in my collection, in fact exasperated by the total lack of depth of interpretation by today's young generations of pianists (their playing goes not much further than reproducing correct notes from the scores with admirable subtlety of tones).

Alexeev's approach is very different from Hamelin who never loses an objective perspective even in the most heated moments in the music, which is exemplary in a Radio 3 Building a Library sort of way. Alexeev's playing gives an impression that the pianist is totally immersed in the music and 'the music is created on the spot,' an attribute often used to describe Scriabin and his successor Sofronitsky's playing. But the major difference is Alexeev's sparse use of the pedal in Sonata No.3-10. In the slow movement of the 3rd Sonata, for example, he sometimes does not use the pedal at all, but rather uses the reverberant ambient of the music room to create the atmosphere, keeping the clarity of each note at the same time, while Sofronitsky, on the other hand, creates a near-miracle, trance-like atmosphere with his magical command of the pedal. In Sonata 4, 5th and the last five Sonatas too, the sparse use of the pedal heightens the rhythmic sensations culminating in incandescent climax.

When it comes to playing Scriabin, it may be impossible to surpass the three giants of Scriabin interpretors, Richter, Sofronitsky and Horowitz, but Alexeev can hold his own among living pianists and outstanding Scriabin interpretors such as Marc Andre Hamelin, Arcadi Volodos, Arthur Greene, Gordon Fergus Thompson.

The booklet note, written by Valentina Rubtsova, provides fascinating stories of Scriabin's visit to England including Henry Wood's account, extensive descriptions of Scriabin's pianism, and commentaries on each Sonata.

(I've heard Alexeev play in a concert many years ago, at Barbican Centre, he stepped in to play Prokofiev's third concerto when Pletnev cancelled it due to ill health, and he gave a far more gripping performance than Pletnev would have, displaying formidable pianistic capacity. I'm very glad that he, emerging as such a mature artist from the golden era of pianism in the 70s, is still continuing to play at the highest level both technically and artistically, in our age of superficial, commercially manufactured so called virtuosity pianists.)


Brahms and Schumann Piano Quintets (The Rubinstein Collection)
Brahms and Schumann Piano Quintets (The Rubinstein Collection)

5.0 out of 5 stars Made in heaven!, 5 Mar 2013
This is chamber music making made in heaven! Rubinstein's noble playing combined with Guarneri Qt's warmly expressive performance. Superb musicianship throughout!


String Quartets
String Quartets
Offered by sellerfellauk
Price: £28.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Made in heaven!, 5 Mar 2013
This review is from: String Quartets (Audio CD)
This is chamber music making made in heaven! Rubinstein's noble playing combined with Guarneri Qt's warmly expressive performance.

Dvorak Piano Quintet in Eft Op.87
Faure Piano Quintet in Cm Op.15
28 Dec.1970
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 26, 2013 11:10 PM BST


Concierto de Aranjuez (National Gallery Collection)
Concierto de Aranjuez (National Gallery Collection)
Price: £5.52

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful performances, 19 Feb 2013
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These are beautiful performances by Angel Romero, not wallowing in emotion, but simple yet at the same time eloquent. Technically solid and his breath-taking virtuosity is never self-serving, but serves the music only. The slow movement of Aranjuez radiates the noble beauty in the serene atmosphere. LSO under Previn supports the soloist most sympathetically.


Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 3, Bagatelles op. 126 Nos. 1, 4 & 6, Piano Sonata No. 29 'Hammerklavier'
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 3, Bagatelles op. 126 Nos. 1, 4 & 6, Piano Sonata No. 29 'Hammerklavier'
Price: £12.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richter's Beethoven, 16 Feb 2013
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The insert card says first CD release, but actually the recording of 'Hammerklavier' Sonata was identical to the one released on CD by Stradivarius and other Italian labels. So it seems it is Sonata No.3 and Bagatelle No.1,4,6 (previously available on LPs) from this recital that are referred to as the first CD issue. The sound quality of the recordings is very similar to that of many live recordings of Richter from the 70s released under BBC Legend titles, there's background hissing noise throughout the recital, but not to the extent that his playing is spoiled.

But who really cares about the recording quality. The performances of such hight and intensity! The level of concentration he sustains in the final movement of 'Hammerklavier' is just incredible. And the time-stopping moments in Adagio. Sonata No.3 and Bagatelles are played with astounding virtuosity, but never self-serving; the sheer vitality and elan, inherent in Beethoven's music, radiates from Richter's playing.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 19, 2013 7:30 PM GMT


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