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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Malucuzynski - A Great Pianist Rediscovered, 24 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Icon - Witold Malcuzynski (Audio CD)
Icon - Witold Malcuzynski
I remember seeing the LPs of Malcuzynski's Chopin in the 60's and reading that this Polish Pianist was "not as good" as Rubinstein or Lipatti. So, foolishly, I never investigated further. Then, after he died, Malcuzynski was lost from view. What a loss! Listening to this box set, it's obvious is a major artist who has all the virtues of a great musician - passion without sentimentality, clarity without a trace of the mechanical, individual without distorting the music, and his technique is flawless. He gets every nuance in Chopin, so there is plenty light and shade. The waltzes and mazurkas glitter but with a tinge of melancholy. He is just as masterly in Rachmaninov and Brahms - imperious, furious, tender - whatever is demanded of him, Malcuzynski delivers. I have yet to year the Beethoven but I am sure it will be fascinating. We really should ditch the stupid notion that at this level, one artist can be 'better than' another. Rubinstein is Rubinstein. Lipatti is Lipatti: Malcuzynski joins them as a full equal in Piano Olympus.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MALCUZYNSKI - GREAT CHOPIN PLAYER., 31 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Icon - Witold Malcuzynski (Audio CD)
Witold Malcuzynski is remembered as a celebrated Chopin player. The first four discs of this 8 CD EMI Icon set (issued by Warner classics) consists of Chopin's Waltzes, Mazurkas, Sonata No.3 in B minor, Piano concerto No.2 in F minor (LSO/Susskind)all of which were issued in 1994 on the EMI Profile series. The Polonaises 1-6 were issued in 2006 while the rest (mono only and never issued on CD before) consist of the Sonata No.2 in B flat minor,Scherzos No.2&3, Nocturnes in F sharp minor Op.15/2 and C minor Op.48/1, Fantasie in F minor(1959) and the four Ballades. Throughout these performances, we are made aware of why Malcuzynski has such an affinity with his Polish compatriot. He responds equally to Chopin's noble passion, aristocratic elegance and heroics as to his deep melancholy - bitter sweet or 'zal' as the Polish would say. Perhaps the Mazurkas and Waltzes offer his finest performances the former encompassing the many mood swings from heart ache and sadness through to exuberant high spirits while the latter are glittering and bold. Disc 5 is taken up by Liszt. His Piano concerto No.2, (PO/Susskind/1953), Piano sonata in B minor (1953),and Rhapsody espagnole (1951). Malcuzynski had a big technique and the grand manner or grand style at his command which suits his performances of Liszt ideally. He played the Second piano concerto in A major at the London Promenade concerts on more than one occasion. Disc 6 is devoted to Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto (French Radio Orchestra/Malko/1956), which is the least successful concerto recording issued in this set as it shows the pianist to be slightly below his best form. Rachmaninoff's Concerto No.3 is played at a brisk tempo and has all the cuts that Rachmaninoff approved of and which were followed by Horowitz, Earl Wild and others. Malcuzynski gives a brilliant account of the concerto although some will miss the nostalgic rubato offered by Horowitz and Cherkassky. Disc 7 has a powerfully majestic and big toned account of Brahm's first concerto in D minor (PO/Reiger/1953) - similarly the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel. To conclude there are stylish accounts of Bach's Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, Beethoven's 'Appassionata' sonata, a splendid Franck Prelude chorale and Fugue, a beautifully interpreted performance of Debussy's Le Cathedrale engloutie, a deeply moving Etude in B flat minor by Szymanowski, Paderewski's brilliant Cracovienne fantastique, two Scriabin Etudes and finally Prokofiev's March from 'Love for Three Oranges.' Malcuzynski remains a pianist to remember.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, Superb, 4 Jun 2014
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David R. Smith (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Icon - Witold Malcuzynski (Audio CD)
For me, Malcuzynski can stand as equal to any pianist I have heard. Perfect technique. Perfect conveyance of emotion.If you are a fan of classical piano music, to not have this set would be an err. And if you just enjoy piano in general, get some Albert Ammons..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten pianist, 10 May 2014
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This review is from: Icon - Witold Malcuzynski (Audio CD)
I often heard Malcuzynski in my youth at the Colston Hall in Bristol. He was a commanding figure, an old-style keyboard lion. This is a perfect reminder of his great success in (among others) Liszt, Rachmaninov and in particular Chopin. Mostly mono but some pieces in early stereo.
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