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Fantasies


Brahms: The Piano Concertos; Fantasia

Brahms: The Piano Concertos; Fantasia Lowest new price: $9.99
Lowest used price: $4.45
Model: 1990923

These performances mount the only serious competition as a complete set to the Leon Fleisher/George Szell versions on Sony Classical. Emil Gilels was an extraordinary virtuoso who decided to place his technical wizardry in the service of the most disciplined and demanding classical masterpieces. No piano concertos live up to this description more than the two by Brahms. Himself a pianist, Brahms placed every purely musical stumbling block that he could in front of the soloist--only audiences never notice because there's no gratuitous display at all. A performer who has not mastered these pieces doesn't necessarily miss notes; he or she just bores everyone to tears. Well, Gilels is never dull, and neither is Eugen Jochum, whose spontaneous-sounding yet sensitive accompaniments support his soloist every step of the way. --David Hurwitz

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Complete 1950s Chopin Recordings [7 CD]

Complete 1950s Chopin Recordings [7 CD] Lowest new price: $26.48


Original Recordings

Original Recordings Lowest new price: $119.95

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Edwin Fischer: The Legacy of a Great Pianist (Concert Performances and Broadcasts, 1943-1953)

Edwin Fischer: The Legacy of a Great Pianist (Concert Performances and Broadcasts, 1943-1953) Lowest new price: $220.89
Lowest used price: $32.06

Live performances from Edwin Fischer's final decade of concerts feature him as soloist, chamber musician, and conductor. Fischer's rare interpretive insights can best be heard in his exalted slow movement of Brahms's Sonata No. 3, earning appreciative applause from the knowledgeable audience. The set includes inevitable finger slips and wrong notes, inconsequential byproducts of his striving for artistic integrity. More important, his unerring sense of tempo conveys the heart of the music. Slow movements are soulful but liquid. Drama is always present, allied to a gorgeous tone. His reputation for seriousness doesn't prevent a romp through the Rondo of Beethoven's Concerto No. 1 or the beautifully phrased, long-breathed lyricism of the Romance movement of Mozart's 20th Concerto. Appropriately, since Fischer was an outstanding Bach interpreter, there's a lot of Bach here, including a Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 unannounced anywhere on the box, track listings, or notes. Much of the Bach on this set will sound dated and heavy to modern ears, but it's compelling nonetheless. Those who know Fischer's lofty Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with Furtwängler (Testament) will be surprised to hear this nearly contemporaneous, swifter, and less symphonic live version with Hans Munch. It's a highlight of a set with few duds. At six discs for the price of four, and nicely packaged in a space-saving box with good notes and variable sound (mostly vintage broadcast quality), the set is a valuable tribute to a great artist. --Dan Davis


Brahms: Piano Pieces Op. 116 - 119

Brahms: Piano Pieces Op. 116 - 119 Lowest new price: $8.80
Lowest used price: $3.73
Brand: RHIP2

26-year-old French pianist Helene Grimaud has quickly gained critical attention with her debut disc from Erato. Once again Ms. Grimaud communicates a composer's inner world and depth of spirit in this insightful recording of the autumnal late piano works of Johannes Brahms.

  • Fantasias, Op. 116
  • Three Intermezzi, Op. 117
  • Six Pieces for Piano, Op. 118
  • Four Pieces for Piano, Op. 119

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Mozart: Piano Sonatas No. 8, K. 310; No. 11, K. 331 "Alla Turca"; & No. 12, K. 332; Fantasia in D minor

Mozart: Piano Sonatas No. 8, K. 310; No. 11, K. 331 "Alla Turca"; & No. 12, K. 332; Fantasia in D minor Lowest new price: $7.46
Lowest used price: $3.53
Brand: Espressione
Model: 1992982

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Schubert: Wanderer-Fantasie; Schumann / Clifford Curzon

Schubert: Wanderer-Fantasie; Schumann / Clifford Curzon Lowest new price: $3.44
Lowest used price: $4.99

): Previously released in 1949 and 1950s as LP analog discs on London: LPS 83 (Schubert) and LL-1009 (Schumann), respectively./ Compact disc./ Durations: 30:39; 18:34; 20:24./ Program notes by Ray Minshull (10 p. : ports.) inserted in container./ Participants: Clifford Curzon, piano./ Recorded Mar. 1954 (Schumann) and July 1949 (Schubert), Decca Studios, London

Curzon's performance of Schumann's Fantasy in C, initially released in 1954, remains among the greatest ever recorded. Instead of the stormy theatricality usually heard, the composer's direction that the first movement "be performed very imaginatively and passionately" makes the British pianist respond with a sense of chivalric ardor, no less passionate for all its nobility. Sonorousness is combined with tenderness; attention to detail with grandeur of proportion; and dramatic urgency with meditative lyricism. The majestic second movement march unfolds with unobtrusive power and unflagging rhythm. The Elysian final movement can sound repetitious in less-than-loving hands. But Curzon uses his command of shading, variety of touch, and knowledge of bel canto phrasing to create a sense of rapturous intoxication. He was as happy in miniatures as in large structures. Curzon's magical performance of the same composer's "Kinderszenen" suggests--in its delicacy of color, its exquisite textures, and its heartfelt (and difficult to achieve) simplicity of expression--the best Mozart. His distinguished reading of Schubert's "Wanderer" Fantasy is heard here in a better-sounding transfer than on the volume dedicated to him in Philips's "Great Pianists" series. --Stephen Wigler

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Glenn Gould plays Bach: 6 Partitas BWV 825-830; Chromatic Fantasy BWV 903; Italian Concerto BWV 971; The Art of the Fugue BWV 1080 (excerpts); Preludes, Fugues & Fantasies

Glenn Gould plays Bach: 6 Partitas BWV 825-830; Chromatic Fantasy BWV 903; Italian Concerto BWV 971; The Art of the Fugue BWV 1080 (excerpts); Preludes, Fugues & Fantasies Lowest new price: $9.51
Lowest used price: $88.82

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Piano Music

Piano Music Lowest new price: $7.61
Lowest used price: $2.84

Le banjo - Bamboula - Le bananier - La savane - Trémolo - La jota aragonesa - Manchega - Souvenirs d'Andalousie - Souvenir de Porto Rico - La Scintilla - La Gallina - Suis-moi - Pasquinade - Tournament Galop - The Dying Poet - L'Union (paraphrase de concert sur des airs nationaux) / Cécile Licad, piano

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Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1; Scottish Fantasy / Vieuxtemps: Violin Concerto No. 5

Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1; Scottish Fantasy / Vieuxtemps: Violin Concerto No. 5 Lowest new price: $8.73
Lowest used price: $4.77
Model: 2195379

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