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)
While only the faithful are likely to try this 17-disc set of violinist David Oistrakh's complete recordings for EMI, they will no doubt fall all over themselves in their rush to get it. How could they not? It contains all the recordings the great Soviet violinist made for EMI: his 1958 and 1969 recordings of Beethoven's Triple Concerto, his 1954 and 1958 recordings of the same composer's violin concerto, his 1956 and 1969 recordings of Brahms' Double Concerto, his 1960 and 1969 recordings of the same composer's violin concerto plus recordings of concertos and sonatas by composers running the gamut from Mozart to Shostakovich.
This revered Russian pianist was famous for probing the poetry of the pieces he played even as he exhibited breathtaking virtuosity. This set collects his highly prized interpretations of masterpieces from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries: more than 5 CDs of Beethoven plus Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor ; Saint-Sa+«ns' Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor ; Tchaikovsky's Piano Concert No. 1 in B Flat Minor ; Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor ; Shostakovich's 24 Preludes and Fugues, and more!
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.
As a glance at the above will show, this is not the old Beaux Arts version, for whose restoration I made a plea two years ago, but a new digital account recorded with their new cellist, Peter Wiley and in a different acoustic The Maltings, Snape. In their old version they omitted the fugue (Var. 8), a practice sanctioned by the score (the Borodin on Chandos curiously enough, cut out the variation preceding it) but this time round the players restore it. However, they do make the traditional cut in the finale (bar 9 of page 86 to bar 4 of page 102 Eulenburg score).
This boxed set reassembles largely analog material from existing Lyrita CDs under a new generic grouping. Dates and locations of recording sessions are not given. Lyrita seem always to have been reticent about those details. The sound is a model of its kind – Lyrita were always able to boast glorious sound. The freshly written liner-notes are by the authoritative and accessible Paul Conway and run to ten pages. These are not a simple retread of the original notes by other authors.