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on 2 July 2014
Sokolov is a great pianist. In an age of typewriter pianists he brings to the piano the kind of seriousness combined with phenomenal technique that one associates with the great Russian (Georgian) pianists like Richter and Gilels. He invests each chord with a gravity and care that demands attention. This is the kind of musicianship that presupposes that great interpretation can be itself an art form. But this is not the kind of profundity that masks technical weakness (Cortot, Schnabel et al); Listen to the final movement of the Prokofiev 8 and be amazed. Sokolov manages to invest the Art of Fugue with a tonal beauty that is wholly pianistic but does service to the music in the way no organ version can manage. His Diabelli Variations are expansive, but balanced, affirming the majesty and quirkiness of this elusive masterpiece. A special sort of pianist, I think. Recordings are live,a bit thin, but acceptable.
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on 6 April 2014
Let's start from the misleading title: "Complete Recording" to me means "everything that was recorded by a certain performer or an opera omnia by composer". The publisher - not the vendor: the title is printed everywhere - has decided that "Complete Recording" means that anything where a piece is played in its entirety is a "complete recording", thus a set with many of these is correctly defined as "Complete Recordings". Let me state this again: this is by no means a complete set of everything that Grigory Sokolov has recorded - not even a complete recording of everything that he played from a particular composer.

This said, some of the (complete?) recordings are actually very well recorded despite the live concert setting; others suffer in greater or lesser measure from audience noise, poor equalisation and dynamics and odd ambiance. All the playing is superb, without exception - if you like Sokolov and his eccentricities. If you don't... why are you even reading this? I particularly enjoyed the interpretations of the Diabelli variations (well, most of them anyway), the D894 Sonata in G major and the BWV826 Partita in C minor.

One final oddity that annoyed me: the two Schubert sonatas are on two separate discs in a "wide" (4-CD) set. Total playing time: 82:08. I know it doesn't fit on one disc - just - but at least could Naive use a slim case double, as for they did for the Chopin records?

In all a very quirky set, totally suitable for Sokolov, at a price that almost makes Naxos seem expensive. Some gems, but they take effort to find.
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on 13 June 2015
Deap and wounderful sound!
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on 13 April 2015
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