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Two very rewarding piano recordings by two fine female pianists that are worth noticing and exploring furhter:
- Vanessa Wagner's latest release with Piano Music by Mozart and Clementi. This solid and mature by now pianist performs Mozart's brilliant Fantasy in d minor, K.397 and Clementi's Sonata in F, Op.23, no.2, on an excellent Fortepiano Brodman 1814 and Mozart's mature Sonata in B-flat, K.570 along with Clementi's great Sonata in g minor (known as "Didone abbandonata") on a fine modern Yamaha Grand Piano. She is brilliant enough in performing on both instruments and her performances shine throughout. As for the choice of using one period and one modern instrument, she claims that "...it's also an enriching situation for listeners to find themselves confronted with two worlds, two sonorities, two periods..." (on La Dolce Volta).
- Tchaikovsky's The Seasons, Op.37 and Children's Album, Op.39, performed by Elena Bashkirova, in a exquisite way to demonstrate the poetic aspect and the various facets of the refined beauty of these small but superb pieces of the piano literature. This is a rare occasion to find a recording -and a very good one- of this excellent pianist, who happened to be the ex wife of G. Kremer and now the second wife of D. Barenboim. The first rate production is on the equally rare German label Gideon Boss Musikproduktion. A very rewarding disc!
Hoping to find some period performance CDs in the Japanese market, I came across a good number of first rate productions of mainly Fortepiano recordings on the prolific Japanese label (but almost unknown outside Japan) ALM records.
They have a quite good and extensive repertory on Keyboard instruments and particularly on Fortepiano recordings. I found extremely interesting the recordings of J.S. Bach's works on the Silbermann instruments (the Fortepiano of his era), e.g. the 6 Partitas, the Viola da Gamba Sonatas ( a better recording -with Fortepiano instead of Harpsichord- than the Ghielmis on Ars Musici) and a solo recital of some most significant Keyboard works of J.S. and C.P.E. Bach.
I also cherish the "20 Sonatas by D. Scarlatti" on Fortepiano and the recital called "The Viennese Fortepiano and the World of Fantasy", with works by Haydn, C.P.E. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, performed on a very fine and rare Ferdinand Hofmann instrument of 1790.
Ther are also some hidden jewels in the ongoing series of "The realms of Keyboard Music", with works for Clavichord, Harpsichord, Fortepiano instruments of different periods, Organ and more.
I've been listening to my Lyrita British Symphonies box.
Some goodies - Berkeley, Alwyn, Wordsworth. Some that need a bit more attentive listening like Rubbra.
As years go by my appreciation of Faure increases. I’ve just sat through his second piano quintet. Every time I listen to this extremely poignant and beautiful work my head fills with superlatives: this is surely the greatest of all piano quintets (yes, better than Schumann, Brahms, Dvorak and Shostakovich!), and one of the high points of twentieth century chamber music. Faure’s late style is quite unique and to me seems to bring together apparent opposites: it is elegantly detached and intensely emotional at the same time, remote and intimate, lyrical and severe.
Basta, camaron. Faure's Second Quintet (along with quite a few other works in the genre of Chamber Music) is a great work even beyond its genre, but not...."surely the greatest", let alone one being above Brahms, Shostakovich etc.
There are some other less obvious great Piano Quintets, like the magnificent one by Cesar Franck in f minor and the wholly neglected one by the Polish Juliusz Zarebski in g minor, to mention just two, that are overlooked or neglected but, at the same time, glorious works in this difficult genre.
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