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Songs Without Words Import

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

RRP: £39.99
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Audio CD, Import, 13 Jun 1994
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15 used from £1.57
£18.20 & FREE UK Delivery on orders dispatched by Amazon over £20. Delivery Details Only 1 left in stock - order soon. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Audio CD (13 Jun. 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Polygram
  • ASIN: B000025WRC
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 293,462 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Sept. 2006
Format: Audio CD
Bach's 48 preludes and fugues seem to me to be to some extent a diary of the composer's feelings, and I get much the same impression from Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, which are also 48 in number. To me, they are beautiful and touching minor masterpieces and when I hear them I am not disturbed, or even visited, by the thought that they are not masterpieces to rank with Bach's. However I am not as exacting in evaluating a performance of them as I would be with Bach either, and when I willingly award this set 5 stars I know that I'm setting the bar lower. There are limits to what any interpreter, even the greatest, of the Songs Without Words can find in them, but for all that some interpreters are greater than others, and I happen to know even better accounts of some of these pieces than you will find on these two discs from Barenboim.

It was high time in any case that I had a complete set of these lovely works. My collection up to now had only stretched to 14 of them, but - I have to say it again - those 14 are enough to teach me the difference between fine performances and great ones. Barenboim's accounts should be easily good enough for most of us most of the time, and in addition to the Songs he throws in the Children's Pieces plus a few other short numbers that Mendelssohn, for reasons known principally to himself, chose not to publish. With one solitary exception, Barenboim's touch is affectionate, warm and beautiful, and is well served by the 1974 recording. Speeds adopted sound about right to me in general, and the interpretations offered are full of insight and loving care, and free from eccentricity or egotism.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a most desirable pair of discs.

Barenboim proves to be an ideal guide to this highly lyrical outpouring of Mendelssohn and it is the lyrical side that is mostly stressed. This is partly because the recording quality is just a little shallow as was typical of DGG recordings at that time. Consequently the treble part of the range becomes more dominant and that suits the style of performance very well.

This pair of discs includes far more than the complete Songs as it continues with the Kinderstucke, Gondellied, the two Klavierstucke and concludes finally with one of my absolute favourites - Albumblatt. This comprehensive selection is unique on disc and makes the set even more attractive.

At the moment it has the added advantage of a very low price which should be enough encouragement for anyone. Regardless of my comments about the recorded sound being a bit bass-light this remains an almost obligatory buy fro anyone interested in the offered repertoire.
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