Jorge Bolet: The Complete RCA and Columbia Album Collection Box set
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Even before he was famous, he was already a legend among piano aficionados. Not until he won a 1985 Gramophone award for a Liszt album did Jorge Bolet, then already 70, graduate from insider tip to household name. Now Sony Classical releases on 10 CDs of all those fabled, yet heretofore only sporadically accessible, recordings that the great Cuban-American pianist made for RCA, CBS and Spain’s Ensayo Records between 1959 and 1983. This first ever complete Sony collection also includes many tracks for the first time on CD, including Bolet’s debut on RCA, a Liszt programme from 1959. Many CDs have been remastered from the original analogue tapes for this release, packaged, as always, with original covers, labels and full discographical notes.
Wider recognition came to Jorge Bolet with an immensely successful series of New York appearances in the early 1970s. Reviewing his February 1974 Carnegie Hall recital – recorded by RCA and included here complete – New York Times critic and pianist authority Harold C. Schonberg hailed him as “a throwback to the romantic giants of the keyboard … Everything that Mr. Bolet touched had beauty of tone, ease of execution and a complete command of the musical elements.” A highlight of his 1974 Carnegie programme of Bach, Chopin and “Golden Age” showpieces is the Liszt arrangement of Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture. Bolet had already played this stupendously virtuosic pièce de résistance once in the studio, on 16 July 1973, following RCA sessions devoted to Rachmaninoff transcriptions. That one-take run-through of the Wagner-Liszt overture has been described by another keyboard celebrity, Igor Kipnis, as “an astounding performance that, after an imposingly broad start, turns into a white-hot listening experience.” The new Sony set contains Bolet’s entire July 1973 Rachmaninoff transcription recording in its CD debut, as well as that “white-hot”Tannhäuser Overture from the same time, which was released on CD in 2001 in a different context – as an appendix to the pianist’s now-famous “rediscovered Liszt recital”, recorded in 1972 but left to languish for decades. Needless to say, all the “rediscovered” treasures from that sensational 2001 posthumous release – Bolet died in 1990 – are also included in this collection.
Liszt: Transcendental Etudes (1958)
Donizetti-Liszt: Reminiscence of "Lucia di Lammermoor"
Schubert.-Liszt: Die Forelle (The Trout)
Verdi-Liszt: Concert Paraphrase on "Rigoletto"
Schubert.-Liszt: Serenade (Hark! Hark! The Lark)
Wagner-Liszt: Spinning Chorus from "The Flying Dutchman"
Chopin-Liszt: Meine Freuden, Op. 74, No. 12
Chopin-Liszt: Mädchen's Wunsch, Op. 74, No. 1
Schumann-Liszt: Widmung, Op. 25, No. 1
Schumann-Liszt: Frühlingsnacht, Op. 39, No. 12
Rachmaninov: Polka de V.R.
Tchaikovsky-Rachmaninov: Lullaby, Op. 16, No. 1
Bizet-Rachmaninov: Minuet (from "L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1")
Rachmaninov: Prelude in G-flat, Op. 23, No. 10
Rimsky-Korssakov-Rachmaninov: The Flight of the Bumblebee (from "Tsar Saltan")
Mendelssohn-Rachmaninov: Scherzo (from "A Midsummer Night's Dream")
Rachmaninov: Prelude in G-Sharp Minor, Op. 32, No. 12
Bach-Rachmaninov: Preludio (from Violin Partita No. 3 in E)
Mussorgsky-Rachmaninov: Hopak (from "The Fair at Sorochinsk")
Liszt: Transcedental Etudes
Liszt: Liebestraum No. 3
Bach: Partita No. 2, BWV 1004 (live)
Chopin: Preludes, Op. 28 (live)
Strauss-Tausig: Man lebt nur einmal, Op. 167 (live)
Strauss-Tausig:: Nachtfalter, Op. 157
Strauss-Schulz/Evler: Arabesque on "The Beatiful Blue Danube" (live)
Wagner-Liszt: Tannhäuser (live)
Moszkowski: La Jongleuse (live)
Rubinstein: Etude in C, Op. 23 No. 2 "Staccato"(live)
Franck: Piano Quintet in F minor
Wolf: Italian Serenade
Chausson: Concerto in D Major for Violin, Piano and String Quartet, Op. 21
Liszt: Liebestraum No. 3
Liszt: Etudes de concert: Un sospiro
Liszt: La campanella
Liszt: Grand Galop chromatique
Liszt: Rhapsodie espagnole
Top Customer Reviews
A few additional notes to the CDs:
Disc 1: it is not a complete set of the Etudes, it does not have no. 4, 6 and 12. The recording date was 1958.
Disc 2: According to the tracklist provided, Chopin-Liszt: Mädchen's Wunsch, should be Chopin-Liszt: Mädchen's Wunsch, Op. 74, No. 5, instead of No. 1.
Disc 4 / 5: have a complete set of the Etudes d'execution transcendante, but it is spread between two discs: No. 1 - 9 are in disc 4 and the rest are in disc 5. The recording date of the Etudes was 1970 and the rest were 1969.
Disc 6/7: are a set of a live recordings. The first piece is the mighty Bach - Busoni Chaconne.
I finished listening to Disc 4 & 5, the Etudes here are quite different when compare to the Decca recordings (recording date were 1986) which I can found more energy and the music is sparkling. I am now listening to Disc 6, the live recordings and I must say I am very impressed with the sound quality, there is virtually no background noise ( I only heard one coughing so far). This live performance was given in 1974 and most of the live recordings I have heard on this period do have more background noise.
I can't write more review until I have listened to all the CDs (although I already have two) but I must say I am very impressed enough to give it a 5 stars.
Works is my taste, until now, but how many pianists sound like this artist? Pablo Casals is similar with the cello,
Highly recommended quality and price , never heard Listz so exciting
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This exceeded expectations and is a marvelous portrait of a consummate pianist at the height of his powers.Published 12 months ago by Mr. M. Hughes