The very best of Deutsche Grammophon’s piano recordings on 40 CDs, limited edition. From Aimard (The Art of Fugue) to Zimerman (his prize-winning Debussy Preludes on 1 CD for the first time), comprising all the great names – Argerich, Barenboim, Michelangeli, Gilels, Haskil, Horowitz, Kempff, Kissin, Pogorelich, Pollini, Richter; and the new names – Blechacz, Grimaud, Lang Lang, Trifonov, Yuja Wang, Yundi – this is the ideal set to form the cornerstone of a piano collection.
In a note accompanying this new Winterreise with Jan Van Elsacker, the fortepianist and musicologist Tom Beghin asks what yet another new recording of Schubert’s great song-cycle might offer. The answer, in the first instance, is the instrument Beghin plays, a newly restored Gottlieb Hafner from Vienna c1830, whose five pedals – and attendant effects – Beghin is unafraid to employ.
These performances of three early and one "late" symphony of Schubert are both bracing and youthfully brisk, done on tart "period" instruments of Schubert's time. This produces what Schubert would have heard and expected to hear. Just listening to each performance convinces that these are "right." Sound is good. Warm and focused.(amazon.com)
Deutsche Grammophon's affordable Trio series revives great recordings from the past, many long unavailable and coveted by collectors. Yet this 2004 triple-disc set of Schubert's late string quartets and the Quintet in C major, performed by the Emerson String Quartet and Mstislav Rostropovich, is identical to the 1999 release in all respects except for packaging and price, and will be superfluous to owners of the first edition.
This double album presents, for the first time on recording, a Chicago concert and broadcast recorded in 1986, when Horowitz was 83. The music that exists from the last few years of Horowitz's life has a marvelous rarefied quality, and this live recording – marred by heavy early-season coughing about which Horowitz complains in one of the two included radio interviews, but enhanced by the immediacy of the live situation – is no exception. Horowitz was never the most purely muscular pianist out there (although he could make octaves ring when he had to), and not the most intellectual. But he was perhaps the most perfectionistic of the great pianists, taking stretches of several years off to rebuild his technique and his musical understanding when he felt his playing was not up to snuff.
All Horowitz fans will instantly love this recording from Carnegie Hall on November 16, 1975. They will gaze at the marvels of his Schumann, gasp at the miracles of his Liszt, and gape at the wonders of his Rachmaninov. His Chopin will astound them, his Debussy will amaze them, and his Moszkowski will astonish them. Jon Samuels' arduous editing will gratify them and RCA's assiduous sound will satisfy them. For all Horowitz fans, this release will be immensely welcome. For non-Horowitz fans, there is not much in this to love.
"The trees are coming into leaf/Like something almost being said." Taking a cue from these lines of Philip Larkin, pianist Simone Dinnerstein casts her album of the music of J.S. Bach and Franz Schubert in poetic terms. Her understanding of the composers is summed up in her own words: "The music of Bach and Schubert share a distinctive quality, as if wordless voices were singing textless melodies." Of course, Bach and Schubert were masters of setting texts to profoundly expressive music, so it is fruitful to look for the lyrical impulse in their keyboard works and appropriate to find songful interpretations. Yet Dinnerstein doesn't merely serve up rhapsodic renditions or treat the music as some kind of tuneful vehicle for idiosyncratic or personal reveries. Her playing is quite in character for both composers, and her treatment of the material is far from self-indulgent. Indeed, counterpoint and harmony are carefully balanced against the upper lines, and Dinnerstein is completely in control of the inner parts in Bach's partitas and the rhythmic subtleties of Schubert impromptus. Dinnerstein's playing is well-rounded and skillful, and the care she lavishes on the smallest details of execution may well remind listeners of Glenn Gould (without his attendant eccentricities) or Angela Hewitt.