This welcome issue brings together for the 1st time on disc all the works by the great Swiss composer Frank Martin (1890-1974) for solo piano, piano 4-hands or 2 pianos. CD 1 covers the weightier solo pieces, not only the '8 Preludes,' the 'Fantasy on Flamenco Rhythms' and 'Guitare' (a transcription of the '8 Short Pieces' for guitar), but 3 shorter works, all excellent. CD 2 is generally lighter in tone, leading off with a sparkling version ……Highly recommended.Nicholas A. Deutsch @ Amazon.com
As complete sets of Brahms piano music go, it's hard to get more complete than this set by Martin Jones on Nimbus. Jones includes not only the canonical two Rhapsodies, three Sonatas, four Ballades, six sets of variations, ten Hungarian Dances, sixteen Waltzes and twenty-eight short piano pieces, but also the almost forgotten sarabandes, gigues, gavottes, studies, canons and transcriptions. Listeners looking for the most complete Brahms available need look no further. Listeners who do look no further, however, will have to settle for good but by no means great performances. Jones has a big tone coupled to an impressive technique and many of his performances are quite fine. But too often here he seems to be merely going through the motions, turning in accomplished but unexciting sometimes even dutiful performances. When extroverted virtuosity is called for in the Paganini Variations, Jones is almost but not altogether on top of the notes.
Thomas Rajna completed his cycle of Granados’s solo piano music within a year – 1976. As if to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of their original appearance on CRD LPs Brilliant Classics has returned the cycle to the market-place. It’s in one slim box containing six nicely filled CDs and with extensive notes from Bryce Morrison. Nothing could be finer. Rajna was an expert advocate for Granados’s music and though recordings since have come – and gone – his have maintained an honoured place in the memory; and now, thankfully, in the disc drawer. And this is all the more so as so few are performed in public with any great conviction, beyond the obvious Goyescas and maybe Escenas Poeticas and Escenas Romanticas.
Robust? Vigorous? Muscular? None of those adjectives even come close to describing these performances by the French Trio Wanderer of Brahms' three piano trios and G minor Piano Quartet. The opening theme of the Allegro con brio in the B flat Trio has rarely sounded so lushly sonorous. The passage work of the Scherzo in the C major Trio has not often been so incredibly relentless. The unisons at the start of the C minor Trio have never been so immensely powerful.