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Vasary's Chopin Etudes - Finally on CD.
on 19 January 2006
Back in 1981, I stumbled upon an unlabeled cassette recording of the Chopin op. 10 Etudes. Greatly impressed, I spent the next eighteen years searching and listening to dozens of recordings of the Etudes in an effort to identify the pianist and recording. Meanwhile, I was finding no match for the sheer musicality of what I was hearing on the cassette. At last I discovered that the mystery pianist was Tamas Vasary, in a recording he made in the 1960's and available once again as part of this freshly-released, 3-CD box set. Here one will find technique and pianism aplenty as Vasary demonstrates his mastery of the assorted technical problems found in the Etudes. But unlike many pianists, some of whom see the mastery of these problems (or, in some cases, the avoidance of them) as the end or goal in playing the Studies, Vasary keenly perceives, and never loses sight of, the truth, beauty and poetry behind this music, and compromises nothing in his pursuit. In the playing of that counterpoint passage in op. 10 #4, for example, one will not hear the pedal being used as a crutch, or whitewash, as it often is in this instance. Rather, one will hear, with perfect clarity combined with a wonderful, round tone, music of a composer who was, after all, a great fan and disciple of that master contrapuntist, J.S. Bach. A first regard for musicianship and, above all else, a love for the music itself, clearly is in evidence in Vasary's recording. Get it - even though you already have a recording of the Etudes.