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Sibelius: Piano Pieces Hybrid SACD


Price: £12.94
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Valse Triste, op. 44 No. 1
  2. Impromptu in B Minor, op. 5 No. 5
  3. 10 Pieces, op. 58, No. 1
  4. 10 Pieces, op. 58, No. 2
  5. 10 Pieces, op. 58, No. 3
  6. 10 Pieces, op. 58, No. 4
  7. 10 Pieces, op. 58, No. 5
  8. 10 Pieces, op. 58, No. 6
  9. 10 Pieces, op. 58, No. 7
  10. 10 Pieces, op. 58, No. 8
  11. 10 Pieces, op. 58, No. 9
  12. 10 Pieces, op. 58, No. 10
  13. 5 Pieces, op. 85, No. 1
  14. 5 Pieces, op. 85, No. 2
  15. 5 Pieces, op. 85, No. 3
  16. 5 Pieces, op. 85, No. 4
  17. 5 Pieces, op. 85, No. 5
  18. 5 Pièces Romantiques, op. 101, No. 1
  19. 5 Pièces Romantiques, op. 101, No. 2
  20. 5 Pièces Romantiques, op. 101, No. 3
  21. 5 Pièces Romantiques, op. 101, No. 4
  22. 5 Pièces Romantiques, op. 101, No. 5
  23. 5 Esquisses, op. 114, No. 1
  24. 5 Esquisses, op. 114, No. 2
  25. 5 Esquisses, op. 114, No. 3
  26. 5 Esquisses, op. 114, No. 4
  27. 5 Esquisses, op. 114, No 5
  28. Valse Triste, op. 44, No. 1

Product Description

Following his critically acclaimed series of recordings as conductor with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra of the complete symphonies of Jean Sibelius, on this 2 channel Hybrid SACD Vladimir Ashkenazy returns to his roots as one of the leading soloists of his time with a selection of some of the composer’s intimate piano pieces. Vladimir Ashkenazy selected Jarvenpaa hall, one of the halls with the best acoustics in Finland, as well as Ainola, the composer's house, for the recording, sharing the breath of nature the composer felt. He recorded "Valse triste", one of the most popular of Sibelius' miniatures, which was transcribed by the composer himself, twice in this disc, first at the Jarvenpaa hall, and the second at Ainola using the composer's piano. In the years since Vladimir Ashkenazy first came to prominence on the world stage in the 1955 Chopin Competition in Warsaw he has built an extraordinary career, not only as one of the most renowned and revered pianists of our times, but as an inspiring artist whose creative life encompasses a vast range of activities. Conducting has formed the largest part of his music-making for the past 20 years. He has been Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic (1998–2003), and Music Director of the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo (2004–2007). Since 2009 he has held the position of Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Sydney Symphony. Although arthritis in his fingers has limited his piano performances in recent years, Ashkenazy is still considered to be one of the leading soloists of his generation.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 23 Mar. 2013
By Colin Rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Piano works by Sibelius:

* Valse Triste Op 44 No.1
* Impromptu in B Minor Op 5 No5
* 10 Pieces Op 58
* 5 Pieces Op 85
* 5 Romantic Pieces Op 101
* 5 Esquisses Op 114
* Valse Triste again (now played on Sibelius' piano, in his house)

The piano pieces on this SACD are generally somewhat 'lighter' ... and not that well-known. There is a complete set available on BIS Redbook CD with Erik Tawaststjerna, recorded in the early 1980s. Tawaststjerna's performance of the 5 pieces is often more measured, or tranquil, or thoughtful or pensive, but the sound of Tawaststjerna's performance on that redbook CD is rather muffled.

Even though this SACD is recorded in a concert hall, the ambience is not so much concert hall - nor studio ... Rather, one can almost imagine sitting in Sibelius' lounge, as a most privileged invited guest, in the style of a soirée, with Ashkenazy doing the honours splendidly, and informally, at the keyboard. It has a warmth, intimacy and naturalness that is really quite refreshing. The sound of the piano, and the sound of the recording, are both excellent (DSD re-mastering of a recording of unstated resolution made in December 2007).

Tracks 1 - 27 are recorded in the Jarvenpaa Talo (Hall) in Finland. The final track, track 28, is the Valse Triste of track 1 again, but now played on the piano in Sibelius' home Aionola (and recorded there too). The latter sounds pretty much like what you get when you plonk Vladimir Ashkenzy down on your grandmother's piano (warts and all, but fun for just the final track).

The SACD is beautifully presented, and housed in a proper Super Jewel Box; the programme notes are predominantly in Japanese (though the track listings etc are given in English).

This SACD provides a rather different conception of perfection. Even though there is some minor unevenness in the faster runs, the recording and performance have their own live naturalness ... a naturalness without pretense ... that perfectly suit the repertoire. Highly recommended.
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