The ultimate blindfold test, this disc contains recorded performances of Beethoven's "Archduke" Piano Trio as well as his Variations on "Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu," but nowhere does it say who the performers are. This is, of course, unacceptable. While it is acceptable to buy a recording of a performance, it is unacceptable not to attribute the performers.
Mitsuko Uchida has been a committed exponent of Schoenberg's Piano Concerto for over a decade now. It is a work which remains controversial in its adaptation of the serial method to an almost Brahmsian harmonic palette, wedded to a formal approach that takes up the integrated design, and textural richness, of Schoenberg's pre-atonal works. Certainly in terms of the balance between soloist and orchestra, this recording clarifies the often capricious interplay to a degree previously unheard on disc (and most likely in the concert hall too).Interpretatively, it combines Pollini's dynamism, without the hectoring touch that creeps into the Adagio's climactic passages, and Brendel's lucidity, avoiding the deadpan feeling that pervades his final Giocoso.
Chopin's two piano concertos have long been admired more as pianistic vehicles than as integrated works for piano and orchestra. But in his revelatory new recording, Krystian Zimerman suggests otherwise: The opening orchestral tuttis have so much more light, shade, orchestral color, and detail, you wonder if they've been rewritten. Every gesture, every instrumental solo is so specifically characterized that by the time the piano makes a dramatic entrance, the pieces have become operas without words.
The two works included in this album are among the most unlikely of recording combinations, but here they are, under the baton of Claudio Abbado and the BPO, collaborating with Abbado's bosom friend Pollini.
Essential: A masterpiece of psychedelic rock music.
GANDALF is possibly the rarest album on the Capitol label and sought after in any condition by record collectors. Originally released in 1969, reissued by Capitol on vinyl in the 90's, but they never issued it on CD (why not?). The British See For Miles label reissued it first on CD and now this Sundazed release. As with all Sundazed reissues the sound quality is excellent (considering source tapes), remastered by master reissue guru/producer Bob Irwin. This is a wonderful album, not overproduced, but with a dreamy, laid back vibe and a velvet landscape with a feminine essence that's hard to describe.