Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli's classic recordings of the Ravel G major and Rachmaninov G minor concertos have never been out of the catalog since they first appeared more than 40 years ago. Surface and style are one in this music, and the Italian pianist remains unsurpassed for his icy precision and micro-detailing. He brings pinpointed elan to Rachmaninov's sizzling cross-rhythms in the Fourth Concerto's Allegro Vivace movement, as well as laser-like concentration to the tartly lush Largo. Few have matched Michelangeli's nuance and color in the Ravel concerto, and his seamless dispatch of Ravel's "singing sword" effect in the opening movement belies the notion that you can't bend notes on a piano.
The present recording of the Piano Concertos KV 466 & 467 is the starting point for the complete collection of Mozart piano concertos to be issued by the label Accent. Arthur Schoonderwoerd, in great demand as a hammerklavier performer, and his ensemble Cristofori play on authentic instruments of the period or modern reproductions. The string parts in the orchestral accompaniment are played by only one musician per part, producing a slender, transparent tone which supports the hammerklavier without ever dominating its fine tone.
In what used to be called the West, Sviatoslav Richter's best-known and best-loved recording of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto was the 1962 recording on Deutsche Grammophon with Herbert von Karajan conducting the Vienna Symphony. In what used to be called the East, Richter's best-known and best-loved recording of Tchaikovsky's First was this 1958 recording on Melodiya with Yevgeny Mravinsky conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic.
Otto Klemperer's Beethoven is one of the towering achievements in the history of recordings. By today's standards, these performances are hopelessly old-fashioned: dark, heavy, and frequently very slow. But they are also the grandest, most unsentimental, most purposeful versions in the catalog.
This set is a remarkable bargain, containing all of Brahms's solo piano music, including such chips from his workshop as cadenzas for other composers' concertos and a series of strictly mechanical piano studies that nobody will want to listen through. No matter. Idil Biret has a firm grasp of Brahms's idiom, and she plays with insight and passion throughout the set. Although she doesn't startle with her virtuosity, she handles the considerable technical demands of the music with great confidence.
The popular and critically admired Chandos recordings of John Field’s expressive cycle of Piano Concertos are brought together for the first time as a limited edition 4-CD set and released at the price of only 2 CDs. A major forerunner of the Romantic school of pianism that culminated in Chopin, Dublin-born pianist and composer John Field had scarcely received his due until Chandos released the performances of the Piano Concertos by fellow countryman, Miceal O’Rourke.