The history of the Russian chamber ensemble of the middle of the 20th century, in all possibility, did not know a more intricate yet remarkable brilliant group of musicians than the celebrated trio of Emil Gilels. Leonid Kogan and Mstislav Rostropovich. All to different in their essence were these three artistic individualities – these three virtuosos, spoilt children of fortune, who were brought together at various stages of disclosure of their outstanding talents. At that, there was not a great difference between their respective ages – Gilels was born in 1916, Kogan was born in 1924 and Rostropovich was born in 1927. Nonetheless, whereas Gilels was already able to reconsider and revise in many ways his principles of work, departing further and further from a pure demonstration of capabilities of his breathtaking technique, Rostropovich and Kogan were still passing through their lengthy period of thrill over their virtuosic powers, affecting their audiences in a straightforward manner.
The quality of the recorded sound is so perfectly clear on this recording, like finely etched crystal, while at the same time it is so robust and resonant, that it is difficult to believe that the piano played on these two marvelous CDs is a replica of a 1785 Walter fortepiano, a smaller and much more fragile instrument than today's modern concert grand pianos.
"…The pianist, Chia Chou, deserves particular praise for his wide dynamic and tonal range: the arpeggiated patterns suggest reserves of tonal weight; elsewhere he articulates individual notes with a delicate, crystalline ping. Clear, warm, and appealing sound reproduction further enhances the proceedings. Enthusiastically recommended, particularly to devotees of the French Romantics." ~musicweb-international
Johann Nepomuk Hummel was a pupil of Mozart. A child prodigy himself, he developed a highly virtuoso technique on the piano, and built an impressive career as one of the most famous and sought after pianists and composers of early 19th century Europe. Even today some of his piano works offer a serious challenge to professional pianists.
There's beauty aplenty in Parnassus' playing… MDG's recording, by placing the piano (which sounds wonderful throughout) slightly back in the acoustic, achieves a believable and wholly satisfying instrumental balance.
"…In conclusion, this is a splendid set covering some of Hummel's most rewarding music in performances that cannot be improved upon. Although there are a few other Hummel recordings that are mighty fine, the 'best of Hummel' is to be found in this MDG set and the Chandos piano concerto disc featuring Stephen Hough. With such wonderful performances, Hummel becomes a worthy alternative to Haydn, Mozart and early Beethoven. The MDG is an essential set worth every penny of its premium price." ~musicweb-international
This disc of the complete Piano Trios of Michael Nyman, performed by the Irish Fidelio Trio, is the first volume in a set of the composer's complete chamber music. Each of Nyman's trios has a programmatic element. Poczatek, a world premiere recording, contains five movements derived from Nyman's score to the film of the same name. Its musical material is inspired by classic Polish feature and documentary films of the 50s, 60s and 70s. The Photography of Chance, another world premiere, refers to the re-seeing of industrial reality in early Soviet photography. The trio Yellow Beach is a transfigured version of 'Come Unto These Yellow Sands', from Nyman's score to the film Prospero's Books. Time Will Pronounce was inspired by Joseph Brodsky's poem Bosnia Tune, which deals with the horror of the staggering daily death toll of the Bosnian war in the 1990s.