Liszt poured a wealth of ingenuity and an astonishing degree of diversity into works for piano. EMI Classics' exclusive 10-CD set of Liszt's greatest piano works features keyboard virtuosi from generations past and present including Leif Ove Andsnes, Aldo Ciccolini, Georges Cziffra and Lionel Rogg.
Martha Argerich has few peers in this repertoire today, and in terms of sheer spontaneity in performance she's simply in a class of her own. Chopin's concertos are early works, and they always have taken their share of abuse owing to the composer's somewhat clunky orchestration. Of course, no one ever has had anything to say against the piano part, which is marvelous and which dominates the proceedings to the point where the orchestra is pretty irrelevant anyway. What makes these performances so special is that Dutoit not only stays in the background, where he belongs, but actually manages to offer the kind of intimate support that allows Argerich to literally do whatever she wants. (David Hurwitz, classicstoday.com)
This Soviet star had a vast repertoire that was virtually unmatched. That's why it takes a full 14 CDs to fully capture the breadth of his artistry-here are his celebrated recordings of Piano Sonatas Nos. 1, 7 & 17 Beethoven; Fantasy in C Schumann; Piano Sonata in a Schubert; Violin Sonatas in D and B-Flat Mozart; Keyboard Suites Nos. 2, 3, 5 & 8 Handel; Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat Brahms; Piano Concerto in G Minor Dvorak; Piano Concerto No. 2 Bartok, plus Prokofiev, Berg and more!
This 6-CD set of "Villa-Lobos par lui-même" ("Villa Lobos performed by himself") presents the complete recordings made for Pathé between 1954 and 1958 and conducted by, or (in the case of the occasional Bachianas Brasileiras or Chôros scored for piano or duet) made under the supervision of the composer. As many of his contemporaries who made Paris their second home (Enescu comes to mind), Villa-Lobos shared his life between his native Brazil and Paris. Thus it has an important historical value.
EMI Classics is proud to release the complete EMI recordings of one of the most well-known pianists, Samson François. This exclusive 36-CD box set includes all his early recordings that were mainly devoted to Frédéric Chopin. The height of Samson's art is probably to be found in the ballades (recorded between 26 and 28 October 1954, and first issued as an immensely successful 10" LP) and the dazzling interpretation of the nocturnes (recorded in May and June 1966). In the ballades and the nocturnes Samson establishes an allembracing color with the aid of the loud pedal, although he modulates its power and creates a rainbow effect through the highly skilled, yet quite unpredictable use of the soft pedal.
Yves Nat's performance of the Beethoven sonatas is a remarkable feat–His interpretations are "natural" as though the music is being composed as he plays. Therefore, the performances offer an inner satisfaction to the listener. Nat is also a great pianist with a beautiful tone and solid technique welded to his conceptions. A sleeper set that stands comparison to more famous versions.
After such a fine debut as Of Skins and Heart, creating a follow-up might have been a burden for the Church – and maybe it was, but the end result was well worth it. Perhaps even better than their first, Blurred Crusade captures what for many remains the classic early Church sound, blending both the various strains of '60s inspiration and postpunk drive detected from the start with an even more elegant melancholy. Musically, both Willson-Piper and Koppes are just fantastic, their combination of guitar playing running the range from sparkling post-Byrds chime to sharp power. If the group doesn't fully explode here as much as later albums would demonstrate, especially on Heyday, that perhaps can be laid at producer Bob Clearmountain's feet.
One of Milton Nascimento's most experimental albums, Milagre Dos Peixes was originally released in 1974. Accompanied by the Som Imaginário, Nascimento presented this album in a theater show in Rio and São Paulo, with orchestra, and the result live recorded and released on a double album called Milagre Dos Peixes Ao Vivo. In one of the worst periods of military dictatorship, all lyrics were systematically censored, the reason why the album is instrumental. Not entirely, to be sure. He can be heard crying "Eu Tô Cansado" (I Am Tired), and he also sings the lyrics of "Sacramento," having the boy Nico Borges delivering "Pablo" with that mixture, so dear to Nascimento, of a poor boy's ingenuity filled with a religious aura. It can be said that this album was especially suited for the talents of Naná Vasconcellos, who adds so much life to it. A must-have classic.
Indian masters connect jazz, classics and national melodies. This is fusion.