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|Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras 1 & 5 / Suite for Voice & Violin / Preludes and Fugues from Bach's "48" for an Orchestra of Cellos - The Pleeth Cello Octet / Jill Gomez / Peter Manning
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Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras 1 & 5
|Handel: The Eight Harpsichord Suites; Six Fugues or Voluntarys; Fugue in E; Fugue in F
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Thurston Dart once wrote that a player of Handel's time who had played a repeat verbatim would have been considered "a dull dog indeed." Most of the time, literal repeats in Baroque music represent a failure of the imagination. That factor alone would be enough for an enthusiastic recommendation of Paul Nicholson's performances. He takes all of Handel's marked repeats and adds enough of his own embellishment to give us a different perspective on the music. Fortunately, there is plenty more to enjoy here. While Nicholson doesn't give us the driving rhythmic thrust of some harpsichordists, his playing is lively enough, and he makes Handel's slow movements expressive without altering rhythms enough to sound distorted. In short, this set is a triumph of good taste, a success on every level. Even the recorded sound (from 1994) is superb. And at Hyperion's Dyad series twofer price, the set costs little more than Alan Cuckston's relatively earthbound and literal set for Naxos. Even if you have another recording of Handel's harpsichord suites, it's worthwhile giving this one a try. --Leslie Gerber
|Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
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1. Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532 2. Prelude and Fugue in B minor, BWV 544 3. Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 4. Concerto for Organ solo in A minor, BWV 593 (after Vivaldi)
- With two organs available, at opposite ends of a long nave, a total of 214 ranks (including, we are told, ''several'' at 32 feet), playable from two consoles, one might expect a Star Wars-type bombardment. Let me say at once that there is nothing of that here. Everything is in perfect taste. True, the D minor Toccata flares away on reeds of truly spitfire quality, but magnificent display is what's wanted, and by golly it's what we get! The Fugue goes at a spanking pace, with enchanting registration of the episodes, marred by one small reed which momentarily yowls. By contrast, the A minor Concerto is on a modest scale, relying on Murray's brilliant technique to provide the thrill-yet nothing could be more restrained than his account of the middle movement, 8 feet stops playing in octaves-and still maintaining the interest. The two preludes and fugues, though kept on a tight rein, unfold with relentless drive, and the searing effect of the reeds in the D major's climaxes is quite breath-taking. In an unclouded ambience, the richness of the chorus work makes for very satisfying listening, given responsive speakers, and the poised ungimmicky playing can be recommended even to those who've heard it all many times before. This one is different. -- Gramophone
|Mozart: Complete Works for Two Pianos - Concerto in E-flat, K.365; Sonata in D, K.448; Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K.546/K.426; Larghetto and Allegro in E-flat major
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One of the most imaginative and compelling duo piano teams, Pierce & Jonas have been successfully performing and recording the unusual and neglected two piano repertoire of the 19th and 20th centuries since the mid-1980s. The duo has appeared with many symphony orchestras world-wide including those of Houston, San Antonio, Mexico City and Luxembourg as well as the Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, National Symphony of Polish Radio and Television, (Katowice), Luxembourg Radio Symphony, Slovak Philharmonic, State Philharmonic of Kosice, Czech Radio Symphony, Orchestra da Camera di Roma, Chicago Sinfonietta, San Antonio Symphony, Philharmonia Virtuosi and the Utah Symphony. Among their many recent performances include concert appearances in San Diego, Tijuana, Baja, Bratislava, Slovakia and various cities in the Czech Republic.
The Pierce and Jonas duo has performed and recorded all the standard repertoire for two pianos and orchestra as well as introduced and recorded many important twentieth century works including Walter Piston's Concerto for Two Pianos, Benjamin Britten's Scottish Ballad, Morton Gould's Dance Variations for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Paul Creston's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinu's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, as well as works by Nicolai Berezowsky, Francis Poulenc, Alexander Tansman and Gian Francisco Malipiero. Their recordings include John Cage s Three Dances (Wergo), Charles Ives' Three Pieces in Quartertones (Sony Classical and PITCH) along with the Concerto for Two Pianos & Orchestra (MMC) by the late American composer Robert Starer, who chose the Duo to give the European premier of the work. In 1984, world-renowned Academy Award winning composer, Miklos Rozsa, offered to write for the team a work which became the Spellbound Concerto Fantasie for Two Pianos and Orchestra (a work twice as long as the original Spellbound score, including material not used on the original soundtrack). He also wrote for Pierce & Jonas his New England Concerto for Two Pianos based on music from the films Lydia and Time Out of Mind. The premier performance took place at Salt Lake City and at Snowbird with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, critically acclaimed performances that resulted in the team being invited to give a Command Performance for the Royal Family with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. In 1997, Pierce & Jonas gave the world premier performance of the Concerto for Two Pianos & Orchestra, composed for them by William Thomas McKinley, with the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Valek in Prague. In 1999, Helicon released the world premiere recording of the 1958 Pulitzer Prize winning Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra (1953) by William Porter.
Starting in 1992, Mr. Pierce and Ms. Jonas presented a unique and exciting series of performances at CAMI Hall, New York University and at MicroFest in Trenton, New Jersey as part of Johnny Reinhard's American Festival of MicroTonal Music. They presented first performances of two piano works by Stefen Konicek (Preludium, Blues and Toccata) and Roland Moser's Homage AO as well as two-piano works by Alan Hohvaness, Mordecai Sandberg, Ivan Wyschnegradsky, Bruce Mather and Charles Ives.
|Reger: Variations and Fugue on a Theme of J. S. Bach / Humoresques / Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Telemann
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Even world-class virtuosos exhibit some hint of strain in these technically murderous works, but Hamelin sails through them with superhuman aplomb. Inevitably, a dimension of the music is lost, since struggle is central to Reger's concept. But there's so much more in compensation, as unhindered fluidity of movement and a refusal to allow technical limitations to dictate tempos give Hamelin the freedom to dig beneath the notes. He also disproves the stereotype of Reger's keyboard music as clotted, revealing these works to be shapely explorations of variation form. From the baroque models, Reger constructs a vast, complex edifice, which Hamelin elucidates with thrilling virtuosity and coherence. Excellent sound, too. A don't-miss CD for piano buffs and devotees of keyboard romanticism. --Dan Davis
|Bach: The Art of Fugue - Version for 2 Harpsichords
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|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-Complete Works
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170 CD set!
|Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues Op. 87
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Shostakovich composed his 24 Preludes and Fugues for the brilliant Russian pianist Tatiana Nikolayeva (whose own distinguished version is also on disc), but it's American Keith Jarrett who really nails these amazing, revelatory works which together form one of the masterpieces of 20th-century piano music. This recording is a must for all lovers of piano music and of Bach, whose own works inspired them. --David Vernier
|The Great Preludes & Fugues, Vol. 2
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|Corigliano & Copland: Clarinet Concerti / Bernstein: Prelude, Fugue & Riffs
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