Here is another recording of Liszt s Sonata displaying absolute mastery, complete insight. With Bolet one is aware of Liszt the transcendental virtuoso who discovered whole new areas of expression within the piano. -Gramophone.
The most brilliant of Belgian composer César Franck's compositions were written during the final decade of his life; the Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra, the famous Violin Sonata, the D major String Quartet, and, perhaps most important, the Symphony in D minor are all the products of a single, remarkable five-year period. The Symphony, by no means an immediate success with critics or audiences, has nevertheless become so fused with the popular image of César Franck that it is nearly impossible to think of him without also thinking of this 40-minute orchestral juggernaut.
Even before he was famous, he was already a legend among piano aficionados. Not until he won a 1985 Gramophone award for a Liszt album did Jorge Bolet, then already 70, graduate from insider tip to household name. Now Sony Classical releases on 10 CDs of all those fabled, yet heretofore only sporadically accessible, recordings that the great Cuban-American pianist made for RCA, CBS and Spain’s Ensayo Records between 1959 and 1983. This first ever complete Sony collection also includes many tracks for the first time on CD, including Bolet’s debut on RCA, a Liszt programme from 1959. Many CDs have been remastered from the original analogue tapes for this release, packaged, as always, with original covers, labels and full discographical notes.
Unlike many budget compilations that offer only selected movements or brief excerpts, Decca's Ultimate Piano Concertos: The Essential Masterpieces presents 10 masterworks in their entirety on five CDs, giving concerto fans a satisfying listening experience. Granted, these reissues are not audiophile recordings, nor are the performers familiar in every case; but for analog recordings from the 1950s to the 1970s, and digital recordings from the 1980s, the sound is quite good, and the performers are never less than fine, though in many instances, they are indeed exceptional. These concertos are at the top of most virtuoso pianists' lists, and though fashions change, all of these concertos have staying power and are regularly played in competitions around the world.