“…an exciting technique and keen intelligence animated by an impetuous temperament…a remarkable talent.”(The New York Times)
Once considered in the same breath as Prokofiev and Shostakovich, Kabalevsky’s star has waned somewhat (the same fate has befallen both Myaskovsky and Khachaturian), both in his native Russia and farther West, where he is primarily remembered for his exuberant orchestral potboiler, the overture he wrote to an opera on a Romain Rolland story, Colas Breugnon. The opera won both a Lenin Prize and Rolland’s approval – no small feat – but has been completely forgotten. However, the offbeat rhythms that made the overture an instant hit also lend an upbeat, funky character to the opening movement of the Third Piano Sonata.
Almost four hours of music constitutes exceptional value especially when, tucked away among a selection of Mazurkas, is Chopin's early "Variations on a German National Air". Vásáry charms you into wondering why it is so rarely heard.
British pianist Jonathan Plowright makes his début recording on BIS. Hailed by Gramophone as ‘one of the finest living pianists’, Plowright is recognised worldwide as a truly exceptional artist. Brahms’s Piano Sonata No. 3 is heroic in scale, unconventional in layout and exudes high quality making it one of the most impressive sonatas since those of Beethoven and Schubert.
Weissenberg's Chopin is not for the faint hearted, but it does have its fans. No less a pianist than Glenn Gould commented parenthetically in an article in the May 1976 issue of High Fidelity that: “I always felt that I could live without the Chopin concertos and managed to until Alexis Weissenberg dusted the cobwebs from Mme. Sand’s salon and made those works a contemporary experience.” Gould brands Weissenberg's Chopin as a “unique example of the rite of re-creation”, alongside Barbara Streisand's Classical Barbara album. Take from that what you will. In any case, those jaded listeners who cannot bear talk of the warmth of Chopin's limpid beauty will probably enjoy Weissenberg's bracing bucket of ice immensely.
– Tim Perry, MusicWeb International