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I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland)
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Alexander Gavryluk in Recital [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [NTSC]
Alexander Gavryluk in Recital [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Alexander Gavrylyuk
Price: £18.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In summary, this is a fine recital showcasing thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and thrilling bravura in an ideally suited program, 12 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Alexander Gavrylyuk quickly established an enviable reputation following early competition successes and those were in turn reinforced by the two recordings made ‘live’ at the Miami Piano Festival in 2005 and 2007. Those followed two Japanese recordings from 2001 and 2003. The initial 2005 Miami recital was notable for fearless bravura coupled with musically sensitive awareness applied to a markedly demanding recital including the Prokofiev sonatas 6 and 7 as well as The Brahms complete Paganini Variations. Recognising both of those attributes are important when appreciating what he brings to the works featured in this 2007 recital although the musical content and its delivery offer a considerable contrast.

Gavrylyuk, having established his technical prowess far beyond any reasonable doubt in the 2005 recital here takes a less outwardly demonstrative viewpoint of almost the whole concert. Collectors will have no difficulty in being able to provide more ‘showy’ and outwardly spectacular versions of most of this concert. The first half keeps firmly within the emotional sensitivities of the ‘Classical’ period. This rightly applies to both the Mozart and early Schubert sonatas (Schubert’s 13th of 21). It also significantly also applies to the performance of the opening Toccata and Fugue, which goes out of its way to avoid being a demonstration piece, providing instead a thoughtful response to the unfolding of the structures. The emphasis so far then, is upon clarity and Classical balance.

The second half continues with the Rachmaninov second set of Etudes Tableaux. These are emotionally more heavy-weight, but Gavrylyuk shuns the obvious opportunities for pianistic display, and delivers these significantly powerful works, written just before the composer finally left Russia for the USA, with a thoughtful, almost inward emotional intensity. The key word here is ‘intensity’ and that is certainly present, particularly in 5 – 7, but the inwardness persists and projects a darker, more withdrawn viewpoint. This is not the same as the sharply etched and dramatic darkness of a Lugansky for example but an equally relevant alternative.

Balance and delicacy return with the Moskowski Etude and also with the first encore, a Rachmaninov Prelude. Fireworks are abundantly on display with Balakirev’s Islamey, a performance of considerable bravura and excitement and on a par with the notable Gavrilov performance on EMI. The recital ends with a tour de force delivery of the Mozart-Volodos paraphrase on the Rondo alla Turca. Alternative interpretive choices to Volodos’ own performance can be heard, and the sheer clarity of Volodos’ finger-work is not met, but this still deserves the enormous enthusiasm of the thrilled audience who also erupted with excitement after the Balakirev.

The video images are here presented in 4.3 ratio and concentrates on close observation of the keyboard and finger-work. Other shots tend to be darker than ideal but are not a main feature of the presentation. Choice of format, CD or DVD, will be up to all individual purchasers and will reflect their focus of interest – the performer playing music or music being played by a performer.

Both options, CD or DVD as here, will give enormous pleasure, with the earlier 2005 recital being more obviously virtuosic and this later 2007 recital being more concerned with other matters as described above. Both recitals provide essential listening for those responsive to thrilling pianism under testing circumstances.

In summary, this is a fine recital showcasing thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and thrilling bravura in an ideally suited program
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 28, 2016 7:01 PM BST


Live in Recital
Live in Recital
Price: £14.66

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable and musically satisfying recital showcasing an exciting young performer at the top of his very considerable form, 12 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Live in Recital (Audio CD)
Alexander Gavrylyuk quickly established an enviable reputation following early competition successes and those were in turn reinforced by the two recordings made ‘live’ at the Miami Piano Festival in 2005 and 2007. Those followed two Japanese recordings from 2001 and 2003.

The initial 2005 Miami recital, presented here, was notable for fearless bravura coupled with musically sensitive awareness applied to a markedly demanding recital including the Prokofiev sonatas 6 and 7 as well as The Brahms complete Paganini Variations. Indeed, it is only the opening Haydn sonata that does not demonstrate such a display of virtuosity as found in the whole of the rest of the recital. One could summarise this recital as being chosen to throw down the technical gauntlet to any rivals of his generation.

Recognising both of those key attributes of fearless bravura and musically sensitive awareness are important when appreciating what he brings to the works featured in this recital. The opening Haydn sonata brings a classically proportioned performance with clarity of fingering and lightness of touch to be envied. The following Brahms Paganini Variations were written by Brahms as a young man clearly delighting in his own impressive virtuosity as a pianist and establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with both as a pianist and as a composer. It is therefore appropriate that Gavrylyuk should also treat the Variations in an essentially virtuoso way. That includes breath-taking accuracy at speed and enormous power when required. There are also compensating moments of delicacy and overall one can imagine the young Brahms identifying closely with such an exhilarating display.

The two Prokofiev sonatas are also fiercely demanding and are known as the first two of the three war sonatas. Although there are plenty of aggressively demanding passages, Gavrylyuk also brings out the lyrical nature of much of these works. The seventh sonata is obviously a favourite of the pianist as it features in his 2003 recording as well as a later one on Piano Classics. (The Brahms can also be found in his first recording of 2001 as well as a later Piano Classics recording). It recognises the need for tight rhythmic control in the outer movements but is contrastingly lyrical in the centre movement. This is a fine performance as is the sixth and both bring an extra thrill of ‘live’ excitement which leads to ecstatic applause from the otherwise silent audience.

The Chopin etude gets a large-scale performance suitable for the occasion as do the Scriabin etude and fifth sonata. Large-scale refers to the emotional range of these pieces and not just the dynamics. The greatly enlarged Mendelssohn Wedding March courtesy of Liszt and Horowitz is simply a super-human effort in every way and easily a match for that other master of such works, Volodos.

Both the Miami concerts are available in both DVD and CD formats. This reviewer initially bought the two DVDs but has since exchanged them for the CD versions with each concert spread over two discs. The stereo CD sound is fine enough to convey musical satisfaction and enables the listener to concentrate more on the music and less on the performer. That choice of balance will be up to all individual purchasers. Both options will give enormous pleasure, with the 2005 recital being more obviously virtuosic and the 2007 recital more concerned with other matters. Both recitals provide essential listening for those responsive to thrilling pianism under testing circumstances.

In summary, this is a remarkable and musically satisfying recital showcasing an exciting young performer at the top of his very considerable form.


Alexander Gavrylyuk In Recital (2CD)
Alexander Gavrylyuk In Recital (2CD)
Price: £14.06

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In summary, this is a fine recital showcasing thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and thrilling bravura., 5 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Alexander Gavrylyuk quickly established an enviable reputation following early competition successes and those were in turn reinforced by the two recordings made ‘live’ at the Miami Piano Festival in 2005 and 2007. Those followed two Japanese recordings from 2001 and 2003. The initial 2005 Miami recital was notable for fearless bravura coupled with musically sensitive awareness applied to a markedly demanding recital including the Prokofiev sonatas 6 and 7 as well as The Brahms complete Paganini Variations. Recognising both of those attributes are important when appreciating what he brings to the works featured in this 2007 recital.

Both concerts are available in both DVD and CD formats. This reviewer initially bought the two DVDs but has since exchanged the 2007 DVD for this CD version of that complete concert spread over two discs. The reason for the change of format was that the image quality of the DVD seemed questionable. The stereo CD sound is fine enough to convey musical satisfaction.

Gavrylyuk, having established his technical prowess far beyond any reasonable doubt in the 2005 recital here takes a less outwardly demonstrative viewpoint of almost the whole concert. Collectors will have no difficulty in being able to provide more ‘showy’ and outwardly spectacular versions of most of this concert. The first half keeps firmly within the emotional sensitivities of the ‘Classical’ period. This rightly applies to both the Mozart and early Schubert sonatas (Schubert’s 13th of 21). It also significantly also applies to the performance of the opening Toccata and Fugue, which goes out of its way to avoid being a demonstration piece, providing instead a thoughtful response to the unfolding of the structures. The emphasis so far then, is upon clarity and Classical balance.

The second half continues with the Rachmaninov second set of Etudes Tableaux. These are emotionally more heavy-weight, but Gavrylyuk shuns the obvious opportunities for pianistic display, and delivers these significantly powerful works, written just before the composer finally left Russia for the USA, with a thoughtful, almost inward emotional intensity. The key word here is ‘intensity’ and that is certainly present, particularly in 5 – 7, but the inwardness persists and projects a darker, more withdrawn viewpoint. This is not the same as the sharply etched and dramatic darkness of a Lugansky for example but an equally relevant alternative.

Balance and delicacy return with the Moskowski Etude and also with the first encore, a Rachmaninov Prelude. Fireworks are abundantly on display with Balakirev’s Islamey, a performance of considerable bravura and excitement and on a par with the notable Gavrilov performance on EMI. The recital ends with a tour de force delivery of the Mozart-Volodos paraphrase on the Rondo alla Turca. Alternative interpretive choices to Volodos’ own performance can be heard, and the sheer clarity of Volodos’ finger-work is not met, but this still deserves the enormous enthusiasm of the thrilled audience who also erupted with excitement after the Balakirev.

In summary, this is a fine recital showcasing thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and thrilling bravura.


No Title Available

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would recommend this product to both friends and clients - professional hairdresser friend's opinion after trials, 3 Aug. 2016
Prequel:
This product was received for review following on from the earlier review of a hairdryer from the same manufacturer. Presumably this was because that review mentioned that the hairdryer was very successful with my wife’s naturally curly hair. It would be worth mentioning at this stage that my wife now considers the previously reviewed hairdryer as the best she has ever owned.
…………………………………………………………………
This product has been loaned to a friend who is a professional hairdresser for trial. She, in turn, has made additional comment about one of her other customer’s experience with this product as below.
……………………………………………………………………..
The review points as received from the professional hairdresser friend

Key points:

1. Packaging – Professional, sturdy with good detail in pointing out key features. Lack of instruction leaflet is a negative but not difficult to deduce how to work product

2. Quality – Sturdy, professional looking, weight of tool is not too heavy, cable length adequate. Swivel chord is a plus to stop cables becoming tangled.

3. Using product – Heats up very quickly, buttons all fine, rocker switch to change from curl to straight on underside of tool may prove awkward for new users until familiar.

4. Summary – great product overall that can really straighten and curl. May be less effective on very long hair but that would also apply to other similar tools. It gave lots of body and a loose wave which was much loved. Very long hair may get tangled with the brush but again, this would apply to other similar tools.

5. Other users – one client has the same product and has used it extensively when travelling across the USA. Her hair is above shoulder length and she has found the tool to work really well in giving her the body and wave she needed. Delighted with product. This reviewed product was also trialled on her hair and it did a very good job.

6. Price – The advertised price seems to offer very good value

7. Recommendation – I would recommend this product to both friends and clients

........................................................................................

The above review is almost a direct quote of the printed comments sent to me for this review following trials. Images of before and after were also provided which supported all claims made in the review as regards body and wave. This review can be considered as an honest independent assessment.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 19, 2016 4:50 AM BST


Ravel: Complete Orchestral Works
Ravel: Complete Orchestral Works
Price: £27.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overall this set offers great value both financially and musically and deserves a place in collections, 2 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This very attractively priced set of four discs was recorded ‘live’ during concerts in 2014-2015 plus studio recordings of the piano concertos. Those have been previously issued to generally good opinion with alternative coupling as a stand-alone disc.

Lionel Bringuer makes no secret of his regard for the music of Ravel and attributes this to the start of his career as a conductor as well as this early recording emphasis with the Tonhalle orchestra of Zurich of which he has recently become Musical Director. His enthusiasm for Ravel crosses orchestral boundaries as it featured in his work with the Los Angeles PO and the BBC Proms 2010 concert with him conducting concluded with a notably exciting account of the Daphnis and Chloe Suite 2.

As a conductor of Ravel he has clearly encouraged the orchestra to play with a far more Gallic tonal response than previously. In terms of Ravel especially this set is notable for the clarity of orchestral textures that he is able to bring out without in any way compromising his chosen tempi. Those tempi are frequently forwardly moving with a marked lively feel underpinned with a rhythmical ‘bounce’ and the combination is one to make the music more ‘light on its feet’ than is often the case. There is also less muscular weight so climaxes a sharply defined rather than bludgeoning in their effect.

The set as a whole is of uniformly high quality and the ‘live’ sound is consistently realistic in balance and depth. Without wishing to go through every item in this ‘complete’ set of orchestral works it is likely that the following may be illuminating to listeners who previously thought there was nothing new to experience or to hear. Thus Le Tombeau, the Pavane, the Menuet Antique and une barque sur l’ocean qualify for special praise. Not far behind one could list the Valses, Rapsodie espagnole, Alborada and the Daphnis complete ballet. There will also be many collectors who especially appreciate and relish the full and sensitive account of the full Ma mere l’Oye ballet.

Bolero, while not failing in any particular regard, slightly fails to ignite by not delivering the sort of accumulative excitement heard elsewhere on these discs. The conclusion of La Valse is certainly driven at full throttle but here it is a matter of what sort of ending is being aimed at. On this occasion the end is one of thrill but there is another possible ending that the composer had in mind. That view is that the whole piece is an allegory representing the falling of modern civilisation on the brink of war. This is seen through a whirling treatment of the ‘civilised’ waltz subject leading to an ultimate collapse. In some ways this scenario is easier to convey on the original piano version with its naturally darker colours and obvious percussive effects. Nevertheless, that view is clearly not part of this performance’s vision.

The three pieces involving soloists are spread through the first three discs. The first introduces the violinist Ray Chen as the violin soloist in Tzigane. This can only be described as an utterly stupendous performance where everything is risked and everything works. Another appropriate word might be phenomenal.

That word might well be chosen to describe Yuja Wang’s extraordinary dexterity and rhythmic awareness which she brings to everything she attempts. Those features are well to the fore in these two concertos. Thus, wherever rapid figurations or incisive rhythms are required and these two concertos require them frequently, she does not falter.

However there are also sections where a more reflective sensitivity is required, most of the second movement for example, or sheer heavy power (such as the very first few bars of the Left Hand concerto) and it at those points where doubts may start to emerge depending on listening experience. Those who are familiar with established recordings of note (Collard, Zimerman, Francois in France and Sermet – in both concertos), (Michelangeli and Argerich in the G major and Gavrilov and Virsaladze in the Left Hand) will share those doubts. Those who do not know those recordings will not feel the loss.

The recordings of the ‘live’ performances are uniformly successful and easily challenge Dutoit or Accardo on those grounds. The studio recordings have led to some criticism about balance and even instrumental timbre and this is understandable. However, the main problem seems to be a relatively somewhat undernourished orchestra and recessed piano and by simply increasing the playback level for the two piano concertos most of the problem seems to reduce to a satisfactory level. If this is not done, and it is an inconvenience to do this for separate tracks of course, then the fundamental problem of unsatisfactory impact will remain and will be unrewarding.

It would be foolish to suggest that any recording of anything these days is definitive and there are numerous examples of individual items that will be preferred in other recordings. Monteux in Daphnis springs to mind for example or any of the piano concertos mentioned above for other examples. Tzigane will be hard, if not impossible, to match though!

Overall this set offers great value both financially and musically and deserves a place in collections


Brahms : Handel Variations; 2 Rhapsodies; Fantasien Op. 116 
Brahms : Handel Variations; 2 Rhapsodies; Fantasien Op. 116 
Price: £10.88

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a fine example of superb musicianship triumphantly allied to demanding and wide-ranging compositions., 31 July 2016
Sofya Gulyak is a Russian pianist from Kazan who will be familiar to many followers of competition success as the first woman to win the coveted Leeds Piano Competition in 2009 at the age of 30. Since then she has embarked upon a successful international career. This disc provides a good indication as to what to expect.

The success of her highly impressive earlier disc featuring Rachmaninov’s Corelli Variations coupled with pieces by Medtner was achieved by Gulyak’s particularly incisive and complete control of rhythm. This was applied to both the aggressive and to delicate textures found throughout the Rachmaninov composition in particular. This taught rhythmical control coupled with a wide range of touch proved to be a potent combination and delivered an engrossing set of interpretations.

The strength of her playing coupled with the facility to pair this with playing of refinement and underlined with great rhythmic control was a feature that informed her performance of the Brahms Piano Concerto1 at Leeds and so it proves on this new disc completely devoted to Brahms. The works presented here span the composer’s lifetime from the early Handel variations through the mid-period Rhapsodies to the late Op. 116 Fantasien.

The Handel Variations are far more demonstrative of virtuosity than the remainder of the program and Brahms probably intended them to establish himself firmly as both a virtuoso pianist as well as a seriously impressive composer at a relatively young age. These variations are less often played than many other works of the composer, and indeed he himself had some difficulty in getting them published. On this occasion Sofya Gulyak rises impressively to both the technical and musical challenges of the music making this recording to be reckoned with.

That impression is continued with the later Op. 79 pair of Rhapsodies which share the outward show of emotional expression. These too, receive impressive performances for much the same reasons that the delivery of the variations is impressive.

The later Fantasien are made up of seven concise pieces of greater emotional sophistication. They are all large-scale emotionally regardless of compositional scale considered in terms of tempi, dynamic or duration. In those terms they range from the intimate to an almost full orchestral expression. This outpouring is conveyed by a combination of three Capriccio movements set within four Intermezzi. All the movements are short in time (2.5 to 5 minutes) but big in impact. They demand considerable skill from the pianist to convey their emotional scope within such constrained timescales. Sofya Gulyak once more rises superbly to the various challenges. This is mature playing of mature music.

The supplied notes by David Moncur, a frequent writer for Piano Classics, are typically both very informative and highly readable. They give plenty of detail as regards the music, its background and its construction and conclude with good biographical information about the performer. They amount to a textbook demonstration as to what such notes should be about and expose the lack of such a facility in larger labels which should know better – and often did do better in their original versions of re-released recordings.

The recording venue in the Netherlands is a popular venue for Piano Classics and the recording team are now delivering a reliably good quality product with good tonal reproduction set within believable acoustics and sound-stage. Such familiarity of the recording venue has obvious and sonically clear advantages and reflects favourite locations regularly and historically chosen by rival companies for their recording projects. This 2014 recording is a further example of their quality giving a believable piano sound set within a believable acoustic and sound-stage.

This is a fine example of superb musicianship triumphantly allied to demanding and wide-ranging compositions.


Chopin: Études
Chopin: Études
Price: £9.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chochieva supplies an excellent & fresh traversal of these familiar etudes which should give considerable rewards for collectors, 31 July 2016
This review is from: Chopin: Études (Audio CD)
Zlata Chochieva may be relatively unknown to disc collectors in parts of the world but she has certainly made her mark internationally as both a concert pianist and also as a competitor having won no less than ten such international competitions. She brings great intensity to her playing which is remarkably powerful both physically and emotionally as well as demonstrating considerable sensitivity.

All of this is underpinned with an essentially lyrical rather than percussive delivery and the whole adds up to a formidable package when taking into account her sheer technical mastery. These features combine or conspire to make her a naturally sympathetic performer of these studies by Chopin.

Chopin never gave a detailed description of these etudes but he did leave clues to guide the modern performer. He was opposed to exercises primarily written to increase finger strength stamina or agility by means of repetitive exercises. He felt that this did not teach the player how to play the music that lay beneath the note. Such exercises he described as ‘tedious and useless (having) nothing to do with studying this instrument … it does not teach us how to play the music itself – and the type of difficulty …... is not the difficulty encountered in good music’ (sleeve notes quotation).

Chopin’s own playing in his lifetime was renowned for legato playing, frequently requested throughout these etudes, often making use of the 3rd to 5th fingers of the right hand and evenness of tone enhanced by use of the pedal. These etudes therefore were intended to develop ‘the art of handling sounds’ rather than purely technical facility (sleeve notes quotation).

As will now be deduced, there seems to be a natural empathy between those considerations and the characteristics by which this pianist is becoming known. That empathy apparent on paper readily transfers to the actual playing of these etudes. The evenness of tone and legato playing is everywhere to be heard.

The etudes nature of the music is maintained through a control of tempo so that expressive means through significant use of rubato is eschewed in favour of control of touch and therefore of variations of tone and texture. These are features found throughout this disc and are ultimately very rewarding for the listener. It provides a refreshingly clear insight into the music behind the notes unencumbered by extraneous considerations.

The supplied notes by David Moncur, a frequent writer for Piano Classics, are typically both very informative and highly readable. They give plenty of detail as regards the music, its background and its construction and conclude with good biographical information about the performer. They amount to a textbook demonstration as to what such notes should be about and expose the lack of such a facility in larger labels which should know better – and often did do better in their original versions of re-released recordings.

The recording venue in the Netherlands is a popular venue for Piano Classics and the recording team are now delivering a reliably good quality product with good tonal reproduction set within believable acoustics and sound-stage. Such familiarity of the recording venue has obvious and sonically clear advantages and reflects favourite locations regularly and historically chosen by rival companies for their recording projects. This 2014 recording is a further example of their quality giving a believable piano sound set within a believable acoustic and sound-stage.

Zlata Chochieva provides an excellent and fresh traversal of these familiar etudes which should give considerable rewards for collectors.


Brahms: Paganini Variations; Liszt: Piano Works
Brahms: Paganini Variations; Liszt: Piano Works
Price: £11.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alexander Gavrylyuk offers yet another first class disc and one easily capable of favourable comparison at an exalted level., 31 July 2016
This new disc, well-recorded in the Westvest Church, Schiedam in 2015, features the former Ukrainian pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk playing a contrasting program of two works, both linked to imagery but of a completely different nature. The pianist has established an enviable reputation since early competition successes and reinforced by two DVDs made ‘live’ Miami in 2005 and 2007 which followed two Japanese recordings from 2001 and 2003. Those Miami recitals were notable for fearless bravura coupled with musically sensitive awareness and recognising both of those attributes are key to appreciating what he brings to these two works.

The two books of the Brahms Paganini Variations sonatas included on this new disc now make their third appearances in Gavrylyuk’s discography having previously been included on the Miami 2005 DVD / CD recital and an earlier Japanese CD recorded in 2001. The Danse Macabre arrangement by Liszt/Horowitz was previously included in his 2003 Japanese CD recording. One must therefore assume that these items have particular significance for the pianist by being repeated within a current fairly short discography. What is certain is that the whole disc is made up of music created by both Brahms and Liszt with a significant awareness and joy in virtuosity

The repetition of previously recorded material gives the listener an opportunity to observe any major changes in interpretation. In this case the Miami recording of the Brahms provides that opportunity. One would expect the span of 10 years elapsing between the two recordings as well as the difference between ‘live’ and studio recording conditions to have some impact. In the event, as with the companion disc which includes repeat recordings of sonatas by Prokofiev and Scriabin, there is little change in the performance. The most noticeable change and related effect is that of the much fuller and wide-ranging recorded piano timbres in the new recordings.

Without wishing to work through details of the 28 variations and two codas of the complete Paganini Variations it is clearly apparent that Gavrylyuk has complete mastery of their combined demands both technically and musically. Essentially Brahms, who was a virtuoso pianist in his own right, created these variations with a view of establishing his credentials both as a performer and as a composer. The two-part 12 bar theme is treated to a comprehensive set of variations that explore the varieties of composition possible and also the capabilities of the performing pianist. Gavrylyuk, as before, comprehensively demonstrates his worthiness for such a task bringing impressive technical dexterity to bear as well as sensitivity of touch as required plus a lightness, even humour, as opportunities arise. This is an impressive feat without compromise.

Considering the following Liszt items, the opening 3rd Consolation provides a largely lyrical break from the concluded set of bravura variations by Brahms before embarking upon more bravura pieces by Liszt and Liszt/Horowitz. The latter shortens Liszt’s own extended arrangement / re-composition of the Danse Macabre to more approximate the Saint Saens original while at the same time adding yet more pianistic fireworks. This is a very effective piece and even manages a touch of humour as the witches scurry away at the end, nicely conveyed by Gavrylyuk.

The Mephisto Waltz 1 is a genuine Liszt composition and will be very familiar to collectors as a popular concert piece. This is performed with considerable skill and power. The concluding Tarantella is despatched with all-embracing élan and bring a spectacular disc to a suitable conclusion. Previously, the numerous repeated note devices employed by Liszt to create the illusion of a sustained vocal line in his arrangement of Wagner’s Isolde’s Liebestod has been well delivered although the compositional task of re-creating the original vocal line was probably beyond even Liszt’s considerable abilities. Any lack of such a line can hardly be attributed to the pianist’s fault!

The supplied notes are, as is becoming typical of this label, very informative and highly readable. They give plenty of detail as regards the music, its background and its construction and conclude with good biographical information about the performer. They amount to a textbook demonstration as to what such notes should be about and expose the lack of such a facility in larger labels which should know better – and often did do better in their original versions of re-released recordings.

The recording venue in the Netherlands is a popular venue for Piano Classics and the recording team are now delivering a reliably good quality product with good tonal reproduction set within believable acoustics and sound-stage. Such familiarity of the recording venue has obvious and sonically clear advantages and reflects favourite locations regularly and historically chosen by rival companies for their recording projects.

Gavrylyuk offers yet another first class disc and one easily capable of favourable comparison at an exalted level.


Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition/Schumann: Kinderszenen
Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition/Schumann: Kinderszenen
Price: £9.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gavrylyuk offers yet another first class disc and easily capable of favourable comparison at the highest level throughout., 30 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This new disc, well-recorded in the Westvest Church, Schiedam in 2013, features the former Ukrainian pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk playing a contrasting program of two works, both linked to imagery but of a completely different nature. The pianist has established an enviable reputation since early competition successes and reinforced by two DVDs both recorded ‘live’ in Miami in 2005 and 2007. Those two recitals were notable for fearless bravura coupled with musically sensitive awareness and recognising both of those attributes are key to appreciating what he brings to these two works.

The opening Mussorgsky Pictures, here heard in their original form for solo piano as composed by Mussorgsky, have a significantly different effect upon the listener to that of the more regularly played orchestral version orchestrated by Ravel and the less well-known version by orchestrated Stokowski. Both of those make full use of extensive orchestras to achieve orchestral textures not possible on the piano but not, conversely, so revealing of the actual musical thought conveyed by the clearer textures written by Mussorgsky when put into practice by a skilled pianist. That Gavrylyuk is such a pianist rapidly becomes apparent as the journey through the gallery of images progresses.

Without dissecting every individual movement it is possible to select examples to indicate key features of the interpretation. Bravura is immediately apparent in the blisteringly dramatic delivery of the ‘Gnomus’ where these gnomes are far from docile. Baba-Yaga’s hut (14) is equally dramatic and both require fearless bravura. Mystery and grandeur are equally well conjured up in the concluding Gate of Kiev as well as the Catacombs section (13). Tuileries (6), the hens and cockerel (9) and Limoges (12) are alive with bustle while Bydlo has an appropriately heavy tread implying weight. The duet between the rich and poor Jews (10) is clearly characterised. This is a superbly realised account and is now arguably one of the most striking versions available for collectors.

The Kinderszenen by the young Schumann are a selection of 12 recollections of childhood where the recollections are specifically conceived as those by adults and for adults. This is not intended as children’s music for children. Indeed the level of technical expertise as evidenced in the faster movements, here played with considerable flashing virtuosity, and contrasting stillness requiring equally virtuosic control over touch as in Dreams (13) or the Poet Speaks (the concluding 12) are probably far beyond such skill or comprehension. Gavrylyuk delivers these pieces as a young man so there is plenty of energy and sensitivity on display within those boundaries. No attempt is made to imitate or match the familiar super-sensitive phrasing of a Rubinstein or a Radu Lupu in the most reflective sections but there is a compensating sharp accuracy of the more outwardly demonstrative quicker sections. This is a thoughtfully fresh and revealing account from a younger perspective than some.

The supplied notes are, as is becoming typical of this label, very informative and highly readable. They give plenty of detail as regards the music, its background and its construction and conclude with good biographical information about the performer. They amount to a textbook demonstration as to what such notes should be about and expose the lack of such a facility in larger labels which should know better – and often did do better in their original versions of re-released recordings.

The recording venue in the Netherlands is a popular venue for Piano Classics and the recording team are now delivering a reliably good quality product with good tonal reproduction set within believable acoustics and sound-stage. Such familiarity of the recording venue has obvious and sonically clear advantages and the Mussorgsky Pictures particularly benefits from such a wide ranging reproduction of texture and dynamic.

Gavrylyuk delivers yet another first class disc and easily capable of favourable comparison at the highest level throughout.


Rachmaninoff; Scriabin; Prokofiev: Piano
Rachmaninoff; Scriabin; Prokofiev: Piano
Price: £9.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a first class product and capable of favourable comparisons at the highest level throughout., 30 July 2016
This new disc, well-recorded in the Westvest Church, Schiedam in 2011, features the former Ukrainian pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk playing a well-balanced program of Russian works from the early 20th century. The pianist has established an enviable reputation since early competition successes and reinforced by two DVDs recorded ‘live’ in Miami in 2005 and 2007. Those two recitals were notable for fearless bravura coupled with musically sensitive awareness.

The Prokofiev sonata included on this new disc now makes its third appearance in Gavrylyuk’s discography having previously been included on the Miami 2005 DVD / CD recital and an earlier Japanese CD recorded in 2003. The Scriabin Sonata 5 was also included in the Miami 2005 recital. One must therefore assume that these two items have particular significance for the pianist. They certainly receive fine performances which are easily on a par with the Miami versions.

It is difficult to compare these two presentations as the nature of the new recording is so different. It is fuller with a far more telling bass response. This has real impact upon the sound of the performances which become weightier, even appearing to be more mature, without losing any of the spontaneity of the previous ‘live’ performances. More specifically, the tempi of the Prokofiev outer movements are only marginally slower than those of the famous Pollini rendering and, correctly, the same outer movements maintain a strict tempo. Considering the central movement, once again the recorded sound is fuller and that allows Gavrylyuk’s slow movement to appear warmer and more lyrical than that of Pollini.

The Scriabin Sonata 5 differs from the earlier Miami recording in much the same way as the Prokofiev sonata where, once more, the most obvious differences lie in the range of the recording and its inevitable effect upon the listener’s perception. The performance has the same essential drive and commitment.

The Rachmaninov Moments Musicaux belie the composer’s youth at the time of writing. The depth of the original inspiration is underlined by a strongly defined bass line. This is in common with many recent performances of Rachmaninov’s solo music and may be a Russian influence. The virtuosic demands of the 4th movement are well within this pianist’s grasp and the set closes with a powerful statement of the 6th piece. This is a fine set of the six pieces and makes a powerful start to the disc.

The concluding arrangement of the Vocalise uses the familiar version by Kocsis and is played in quite a free manner with plenty of rubato. This is a warm and affectionate delivery. Much the same could be said of the early Scriabin etude, written when the composer was still a teenager.

The supplied notes are, as is becoming typical of this label, very informative and highly readable. They give plenty of detail as regards the music, its background and its construction and conclude with good biographical information about the performer. They amount to a textbook demonstration as to what such notes should be about and expose the lack of such a facility in larger labels which should know better – and often did do better in their original versions of re-released recordings.

The recording venue in the Netherlands is a popular venue for Piano Classics and the recording team are now delivering a reliably good quality product with good tonal reproduction set within believable acoustics and sound-stage. Such familiarity of the recording venue has obvious and sonically clear advantages.

This is a first class product and capable of favourable comparisons at the highest level throughout.


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