This long-deleted Essential Classics reissue (available again courtesy of Arkivmusic.com’s on-demand reprint program) comprises the first CD remastering of two separate Bach piano releases. One disc features Rosalyn Tureck’s Bach Album, an early-1981 digital production made up mostly of short pieces, plus the Aria and Variations in Italian Style. The close-up yet warm sonics capture the full measure of Tureck’s technical specificity, subtle use of color, and micromanaged dynamics. Notice her absolute linear control in the F minor suite’s Prelude (first sound clip), or how her seemingly over-detached articulations (the seventh Italian variation) always maintain a lilting presence.
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Richard Strauss, the great composer of symphonic poems and grand operas, wrote solo songs throughout his life: his first compositions, performed within his family circle, were songs and his setting of the poem Malven (Mallows) was to be the last piece he completed. Taking a keen interest in the possibilities and limitations of the human voice, Strauss in the solo song genre found the opportunity to try out various musical options and to discover his own individual style. But the writing of songs also served as a form of relaxation, a way of passing the time. The result is a varied spectrum of atmospheres, moods and emotions: from the jesting tone of Hat gesagt — bleibt’s nicht dabei to the heart-felt declaration of love in Cäcilie and the portrayal of madness of the Three Songs of Ophelia.