Connoisseur Society records and sells award-winning classical and jazz CDs.

Legendary performances from Bach to Rachmaninoff.

Connoisseur Society CDs have been produced since 1961 by E. Alan Silver.

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                                         Our Latest Releases

  CD 4275 Franz Schubert - Sonata in B-flat, D.960; Moments Musicaux, D.780; Hungarian melody, D.817.  Edward Rosser, piano.

  COMING SOON:

CD 4272  Dvorak, Slavonic Dances.  Cynthia Raim and David Allen Wehr, piano

  CD 4267  • Johannes Brahms - Seven Fantasies, Op.116; Six Klavierstucke, Op.118, Four Klavierstucke, Op.119; Sixteen Waltzes, Op.39.   Elizabeth Rich, piano 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CD 4264 • Beethoven - The 32 Piano Sonatas, Volume 4, (2cds) - Schubert Piano Sonata in B flat major, David Allen Wehr, piano

Excerpts from:

     Beethoven Piano Sonata in E major, Op.109, (3rd Movement)

     Beethoven Piano Sonata in A-flat major, Op.110, (1st Movement)

     Beethoven Piano Sonata in C-minor, Op.111, (1st Movement)

 

 

CD 4266 • Johannes Brahms - Handel Variations, Three Intermezzi, Eight Kavierstucke, Cynthia Raim, piano

Excerpts From:

     Brahms:  Handel Variations, Var.7

     Brahms:  Intermezzo in B-flat minor

     Brahms:  Capriccio in F-sharp minor

 

 Audiophile Audition, 1/19/2010

"Sober, intelligent and passionate Brahms..."

Gary Lemco

 

 Fanfare Magazine, Issue 33:2 (Nov/Dec 2009)

"Raim takes us to a world that seems no longer to exist but as a distant memory echoing in the faint vibrations of the universe’s voiceprint....Never have I heard pianissimos so pianissimo or phrasing so finely tuned that it breathes the very essence of dissociation from worldly existence that Brahms either felt or was trying to communicate in this music.

Raim is now my dream-come-true Brahms pianist, and this disc proceeds directly to my Want List without passing GO.  If you only buy one Brahms piano recording this year, this should be it."

Jerry Dubins

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Catalogue of CDs

To purchase selections on-line,  please visit Amazon.com

To purchase our selections via mail order, please use our downloadable order form

International Shipments will ONLY be made through Amazon.com

 

CD 4275 Franz Schubert - Sonata in B-flat, D.960; Moments Musicaux, D.780; Hungarian melody, D.817.  Edward Rosser, piano.

  COMING SOON:

CD 4272  Dvorak, Slavonic Dances.  Cynthia Raim and David Allen Wehr, piano

CD 4270 • J.S. Bach: Partita No.1 and Partita No.2 for piano Joao Carlos Martins, piano Sonata No.1 and Partita No.2 for unaccompanied violin. (the famous Chaconne is the final movement of the Partita No.2 for solo violin.) Wanda Wilkomirska, violin

Click for MP3 excerpts from:

Partita No.1, (Gigue), [Martins, piano]

Partita No.2 for unaccompanied violin, (Chaconne), [Wilkomirska, violin]

 

"Martins has impeccable control over tone and loudness, and an exceptional and convincing flair for revealing the drama and passion of his music... Offering enrichment and delight to both the mind and the heart." (review of The Well Tempered Clavier) — Stereo Times

"It would be hard to imagine a more wonderful introduction to the art of Wilkomirska" — Music Journal

"Her intonation is flawless and her "sound" is marked by the most voluptuous of vibratos and an almost excruciating sensitivity."
— High Fidelity

 

CD 4268 Mozart - Piano Concertos in  E-flat major, K.482,  Piano concerto in E-flat major, K.271.  (Live performances - 1996/2001) 

Elizabeth Rich, piano.

"These performances open portals to Mozart I've never heard before.  Rich (has) amazing musicianship...absolute emotional certainty, intelligence, truth.  She belongs among an exalted few"

 - Stereo Times (review of Mozart Complete Piano Sonatas)

 

American Record Guide, 3/4/08 Issue

"She seems totally identified with the Mozartean idiom, in all its multiple facets; I'd go so far as to say she seem born to play this music.  She revels in the composer's genius for capturing every shade and nuance of human experience, and she is especially skilled at capturing Mozart's poignant moods of ambiguity.  Her style is, therefore, fittingly paradoxical.  It is not "studied" or "academic" in the slightest; although her technique must be based on long study and arduous practice, it has an attractive rhapsodic quality overall - spontaneity as a function of disciplined study.  Every leading voice and important harmonic turn is full of color and character.  She doesn't hesitate to serve up extremes of both drama and inwardness; nor is she shy about tastefully deploying some old-fashioned rubato.  She plays these concertos her own way, not under any others interpreter's influence, and it's effective."

Trotter, American Record Guide

 

CD 4267  • Johannes Brahms - Seven Fantasies, Op.116; Six Klavierstucke, Op.118, Four Klavierstucke, Op.119; Sixteen Waltzes, Op.39.   Elizabeth Rich, piano 

Click here for MP3 excerpts from:

     Intermezzo in E major, Op.116, No.4

     Intermezzo in A major, Op,118, No.2

     Ballade in G minor, Op.118, No.3

     Intermezzo in E-flat minor, Op.118, No.6

  

 

 

CD 4266  • Brahms - Handel Variations, Op.24 • Three Intermezzi, Op.117 • Eight Kavierstucke, Op.76.   Cynthia Raim, piano 

 

Click here for MP3 excerpts from:

    Brahms:  Handel Variations, Var.7

     Brahms:  Intermezzo in B-flat minor

     Brahms:  Capriccio in F-sharp minor

Audiophile Audition, 1/19/2010

"Sober, intelligent and passionate Brahms..."

Gary Lemco

 

Fanfare Magazine, Issue 33:2 (Nov/Dec 2009)

Cynthia Raim is a name I’d not encountered before, though a perusal of the Fanfare Archive indicates that all four of her previously released recordings have been reviewed in one issue or another, and without exception to high praise. This is her fifth CD, and her third for the Connoisseur Society label. In a 23:1 review of Raim and David Allen Wehr’s duo piano recording of Brahms’s waltzes and Hungarian Dances, Bernard Jacobson used the word élan to describe the playing of these two artists. Brahms’s Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel may not call for flair as much as it does a concentration of mind and technique every bit equal to that required to play Bach’s Goldberg Variations or Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, which is to say that this is music of greater depth and of greater intellectual and technical challenge than that posed by the composer’s Viennese café music. I’m happy to report, therefore, that Cynthia Raim proves herself in every way up to the challenge.
It may seem a silly detail to dwell on in an artist’s overall performance of this behemoth of a work, but as in Beethoven’s final piano sonatas and late string quartets, the trill also takes on special importance in Brahms’s Handel Variations. And from the very get-go, Raim’s trills are crisp and clean, and most impressively, delivered with turns that are precisely measured and even. But perfect trills alone do not a great Handel Variations make. One must demonstrate an ability to create a unified whole of its disparate parts, to impose upon the work a sense of architectural integrity. And this Raim does in ways both obvious and subtle. The obvious ways are those in which she relates tempos and dynamics between variations, so that one does not have the feeling that each is an independent entity that simply starts anew when the previous one has ended. That provides continuity, the glue, if you will, that holds the whole thing together. But something is needed at the macro level to convince us that there is consequentiality to the work, that once begun, its ending is the organic and inevitable outcome of the initiating event. This Raim achieves in more subtle ways, by pointing up passages of corresponding harmonic progressions and rhythmic patterns between widely separated variations. Listen, for example, to the way in which she calls our attention to the parallels between variations 8 and 15.
Fast-forwarding from 1861, the year in which the 28-year-old Brahms wrote his Handel Variations, to 1892 and his nearing end-of-life sets of late piano pieces, Raim takes us to a world that seems no longer to exist but as a distant memory echoing in the faint vibrations of the universe’s voiceprint. Others have played Brahms’s Three Intermezzi, op. 117, with introspection and sensitivity—Mikhail Rudy and Nicholas Angelich, (see 30:6) for instance—but Raim’s playing of these pieces is truly something special. Never have I heard pianissimos so pianissimo or phrasing so finely tuned that it breathes the very essence of dissociation from worldly existence that Brahms either felt or was trying to communicate in this music.
Concluding her recital, Raim gives us the eight Klavierstücke, op. 76, a collection that interleaves the bolder, more dramatic, virtuosic style of writing in the pieces titled Capriccio that one hears in the closely proximate op. 79 Rhapsodies, with the more introspective, almost impressionistic style in the pieces titled Intermezzo that look forward to the op. 117 pieces.
I cannot wax enthusiastic enough over this album. Raim is now my dream-come-true Brahms pianist, and this disc proceeds directly to my Want List without passing GO. The Connoisseur Society recording was made in August 2006, at the First Presbyterian Church in Utica, New York, an apparently ideal venue for Raim’s Yamaha CFIIIS piano. If you only buy one Brahms piano recording this year, this should be it.

Jerry Dubins

 

CD 4264 • Beethoven - The 32 Piano Sonatas, Volume 4, (2cds) - Op.101, Op.106,  Op.109,  Op.110,  Op.111, Schubert Piano Sonata in B flat major, Op.posth., D.960      David Allen Wehr, piano

 

Click for MP3 excerpts from:

Beethoven Piano Sonata in E major, Op.109, (3rd Movement)

Beethoven Piano Sonata in A-flat major, Op.110, (1st Movement)

Beethoven Piano Sonata in C-minor, Op.111, (1st Movement)

Available Now.

 

"Recording of the Month--March, 2008"

"Towering, magnificent, definitive Beethoven"

 

Review from the Ottawa Citizen, 2/9/08

Beethoven: 32 Piano Sonatas, vol. 4 Rating five

David Allen Wehr, piano (Connoisseur Society, 2 CDs)

The first thing you're likely to notice about this set is the extreme clarity and detail of the recorded sound. Connoisseur Society has been at the leading edge of piano recording for decades and each year it sounds further evolved.

But it won't be long before you forget the audio quality as you hear pianist Wehr performing Beethoven's late sonatas to virtual perfection. This is playing of the highest order. Not since Pollini's 1977 recordings have the sonatas in this volume, Beethoven's last five, been rendered with such a combination of meticulous fidelity to the written music and emotional profundity.

Wehr has now recorded all of the Beethoven piano sonatas. If you enjoy Volume 4 you may well decide to acquire the other three. As a bonus, this volume includes an equally impressive account of Schubert's Sonata in B-flat. Highly recommended.

Connoisseur Society CDs are not readily available in Canadian music stores, but you can order them at http://www.connoisseursociety.com .

Richard Todd

 


Review from MusicWeb International, March 2008.

 
These Sonatas are arguably Beethoven’s greatest works and among the finest and most influential piano compositions ever produced. As when listening to Parsifal, one hears throughout the Hammerklavier little bits here and there that made it into many if not most of the ambitious piano compositions written since. I have on occasion ridiculed the banality and facility of some of Beethoven’s early and middle period attempts at theme-and-variations, but in these last works, produced in his final decade of life he attained supreme, sublime, completely individual mastery of the form. Perhaps even more remarkable is that after a lifetime spent performing Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, Beethoven attained a unique mastery of the fugue form also, and wrote a group of totally individual masterpieces completely unlike any of the models provided by his teacher.
 
The spirit of pianist Artur Schnabel hangs over these recordings. He made the first recordings of the complete Beethoven sonatas on 78s in the ’thirties, and for many decades thereafter for most people any discussion of Beethoven sonata recordings began and ended with mention of his name. Schnabel had an astonishing ability to project his very considerable musical intelligence and showmanship by means of a piano keyboard. The recordings are still in print and easily available; many will say that the first step in getting to know the Beethoven Sonatas should be to acquire the Schnabel recordings. I have heard them, I admire them, I enjoyed them, and I think the previous statement to be perfectly reasonable. That said, I don’t have the Schnabel recordings and don’t listen to them.
 
The reason is that a concert grand piano is a living breathing animal; I’ve been in a small room with a huge concert grand piano with someone who really knows what he’s doing sitting at the keyboard, and the effect is almost frightening in its overwhelming power. Older piano recordings are like listening through a closed door; I want that door open. I’d rather listen to David Allen Wehr live than listen to Schnabel through a closed door. We mustn’t forget that pianists also listen to Schnabel and learn from him. In 1930, nobody else could do what Schnabel did; these days, that’s not true. I suspect many modern artists would tell you they’ve taken all they want from Schnabel and then added their own vision to that.
 
Since the Hammerklavier recording has a drier acoustic than the other recordings — all the better to clarify the textures in the fugue — I assume that it was recorded in Utica in 2004. The remaining sonatas have a more live acoustic, and I assume that they were the ones recorded during the previous sessions in Tarrytown. One of the results of this is that Wehr’s recordings of the final sonatas are often softer in texture than some others. One hears stories of Beethoven destroying pianos by pounding on them and some pianists assume the obligation to try to do the same thing to a Steinway or a Yamaha, but they forget a few things. A modern piano treated kindly can make a lot, lot more noise than an 1824 Graf piano, so it isn’t necessary to try to push it beyond the max. Also getting the maximum sound out of a good piano is not done with strength but with cunning. Even very sudden and loud Beethoven notes have harmonic content, and one should make sure that no matter how powerful the attack, all the notes should be audible. As Badura-Skoda’s recording shows, Beethoven’s actual piano was sweeter and more harp-like than most modern pianos, varied tonally more from register to register. As David Allen Wehr shows, it is possible to be powerfully dramatic and still make every sound as beautiful as possible, and the slightly richer acoustic of these recordings helps him do this.
 
It is a testimony to its quality that all the university and public libraries in my area have the Edith Vogel performance of the Hammerklavier in their collections, even as they may have others as well. She plays the first two movements with high energy and gives us a stunningly effective performance of the slow movement as an extended (nearly 24 minutes long!) dirge.* She puts up a terrific fight during the fugue but, in the end, it wins, if just barely. David Allen Wehr plays the adagio sostenuto with more richness and variety, ranging at times into the territory of Chopin(!) but it is during his performance of the fugue that we reach the pinnacle of this whole set. Wehr’s performance is absolutely astounding, enough to make Glenn Gould turn green with envy. Every note is in place, every line perfectly clear, the overall logic and sweep of the music perfectly delineated. I had never heard any Beethoven fugue so masterfully presented; after hearing this performance, I listened to every recording I have of the string quartet Grosse Fuge Op. 133, and found that, even though I’ve been listening to that work for fifty years, I enjoyed and understood it as never before, and could clearly hear who else grasps it and who does not. David Allen Wehr has taught me something valuable and important about Beethoven.
 
It is also important to comment on the quality of the recording which has made all this amazing musicianship audible. As I said, I want an open door between me and the piano. These CDs are all but indistinguishable in clarity and power from SACD piano recordings in my collection. Many pianists would not dare allow themselves to be recorded so clearly; their technique wouldn’t stand up to this level of examination. David Allen Wehr’s pianism shines through this clarity. You can listen as close as you want for defects and you won’t hear any, you’ll hear only Beethoven — perfect Beethoven.
 
The last three sonatas, Opp. 109-111, written over a period of three years from 1820 to 1822, are often considered as a unit and programmed together as though they formed a single gigantic hour long sonata in nine movements**. Wehr’s release is unique in that they are not put on the disks in sequence. No only are they on different disks but Sonata No. 28 is put between them. So, whatever Mr. Wehr thinks, the record producer clearly sees them as separate, distinct works, and so do I.
 
Wehr makes the opening vivace of Op. 109 into an enormous crescendo; the prestissimo is brisk, but Wehr does not sound rushed. The variations are another performance high point in this set, astonishingly beautiful and attain a Chopin-like grace, a notable achievement for Beethoven, late or early. Wehr plays with every bit as much control and flair as Glenn Gould, but with less attitude and more affection. Op. 110 gives us three strongly individual sonata-form movements. The whimsical rhythmic accents of the question-and-answer allegro molto have never been so convincingly presented. A very spooky adagio ma non troppo is followed by what is probably Beethoven’s very best fugue. The firm bass entry in this fugue is probably the loudest sound on this entire set, but is still beautiful; the exquisite crystallinity of the inverted entry makes a strong contrast. Even Bach would be impressed. The opening maestoso of Op. 111 could be a sketch for a symphonic first movement. Wehr gives the opening chords a Haydnesque stature, and the ensuing allegro reminds us of the Baroque ouverture form. But the canonic exposition never becomes a fugue as Beethoven struggles to go somewhere with it and finally gives up, content to produce a fine open-ended opening sonata movement. With the first notes of the ensuing adagio molto semplice e cantabile the matter is made clear. Triumphantly to finish off the ideas in the first movement would require youth, and in this, his final piano composition, a set of variations in search of a theme, Beethoven revels in the content perspective of old age, looking back a long, long time to the simpler more direct work of his earlier compositions. Is this sonata, at two movements, unfinished? No, at 24 minutes it’s longer than either of the previous two, and with such a strong sense of beginning and completion nothing more needs to be said.
 
Sonata No. 28 does not belong to the “late” sonatas, being jocular, theatrical, almost humorous in tone at times, with brief reflective slow movements. Beethoven, like Liszt, wrote some of his most profound music in march tempo. Wehr’s brilliant projection of the complex rhythms of this very serious alla marcia movement keeps the tone light and full of surprises. But this work is too deeply felt to be a “middle period” sonata, either, and must stand as the glue that binds middle to late. Here again we have wonderful realism, power and transparency in the bass register.
 
Another spirit hovers over recordings of the Beethoven sonatas from our generations: Daniel Barenboim. He began recording the sonatas in New York for Westminster records in the late 1950s and produced no less than four complete sets, two for EMI and two for DG, the last one in video. While these recordings are widely admired, he has his detractors and has never won any critical or popular sense of “owning” the works. His last set in video, out of which I have only seen about an hour, broadcast on US public television, has won universal acclaim, in which I concur; I await an opportunity to see and hear the whole set. The only complete Barenboim recording I have access to is the DG from 1984, and while I very much admire the performances of the middle and early sonatas from this set, the late sonatas, compared to David Allen Wehr, lack dramatic tension, seem deliberate and relatively uncommitted.
 
Glenn Gould’s performances are rambling, eccentric, coy, disrespectful, forgetting that it was Beethoven who invented Schumann, not the other way around. In his notes Gould describes these sonatas as “... a brief but an idyllic stop-over in the itinerary of an intrepid voyageur...” No, I don’t think so. Poor mono sound is another liability, although the recordings are very close and clear. CBS Masterworks’ engineers never did figure out how to record Gould while keeping his singing-along off the tape; they’d have been better off not to try.
 
Although he was a coffin bearer at the old man’s funeral and is buried near him, it is controversial as to whether or not Schubert ever actually met Beethoven. Just as well - they would have disliked each other. In modern times Wilhelm Kempff and Artur Schnabel established reputations with recordings of the works of both men, but not equally well, so David Allen Wehr is in good company if I say his Schubert does not quite live up to his Beethoven. In his youth, Kempff was a stellar middle period Beethoven interpreter, but in the later works his reflective approach is not appropriate for every movement. But to my taste Kempff is the greatest Schubert interpreter I ever heard - he was better live than on record - alone in his ability to bring out the mystical depth, the yearning for transcendence found in the piano works. Schubert passed on to Chopin only a small bit of this feeling, and Chopin’s ability to alternate it with a colorful extroversion yielded his distinctive style and prefigured Tchaikovsky. In Schubert’s symphonies transfiguration was achieved and the yearning fulfilled, but the piano works, even this most nearly triumphant, are more intimate and tentative. Schnabel’s approach is, as always, that of the showman; Nadelmann is more successful than Schnabel at what Schnabel attempted - and has the advantage of brilliant modern sound. Wehr Beethovenizes the work a little, not so much as Schnabel, and strikes a scholar’s median position stylistically. His is a clean forthright performance, and, for bringing all the disparate influences in the work into optimum balance, may be your favorite version. After repeated hearings, it may end up my favorite, too.
 
I haven’t heard the first volume in this set, the early Beethoven sonatas, but I think I can say with confidence that this set will rank among the very finest on disk. Connoisseur Society started out many years ago like many small labels, recording off-beat music with off-beat artists, but with the release of this Beethoven set, rounds off a catalogue which contains a superb Art of the Fugue, an equally remarkable Well Tempered Clavier, and a widely acclaimed set of the Mozart Keyboard Sonatas (which I have not heard) with Elizabeth Rich. Connoisseur Society can no longer be considered a specialty label, and its sound standards exceed all but the very pinnacle of major label productions. E. Alan Silver has always been a name to conjure with and the magic continues to produce wonders.
 
Paul Shoemaker

 

CD 4263 • Beethoven - The 32 Piano Sonatas, Volume 3, (2cds) - Op.31, No.1, Op.31, No.2 "Tempest", Op.31, No.3, Op.53 "Waldstein", Op.54, Op.57, "Appassionata", Op.81a "Les Adieux", Op.90. * David Allen Wehr, piano 

“Best Record of the Year—2007” (American Record Guide, Jan/Feb 2008)

 

Click for MP3 excerpts from:

Beethoven: "Tempest" Sonata, 3rd Movement.

Beethoven: "Appassionata" Sonata, 1st Movement.

Beethoven:  "Waldstein" Sonata, 1st Movement.

 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH

Exquisite Beethoven by one of the finest pianists currently before us, recorded in laboratory quality sound.
…Paul Shoemaker

Although his name may not be familiar to you, Mr. Wehr is a stupendous pianist. One can forget the music and simply listen to the incredible beauty and precision of the notes he plays; it’s enough to make a piano teacher sob from pure joy. One ought to note that these Beethoven sonatas were recorded in a remarkably few hours in the studio; Mr. Wehr really sounds that good, he doesn’t need fifty takes and 100 hours of editing to come out on top. Wehr is the pianist Glenn Gould should have been, the pianist he thought he was.

The sound on this recording — 96kHz digital recording with Sony Super Bit Map mastering — is a thin hair away from an SACD in clarity and definition. Added to the magical skill of E. Alan Silver, one of the truly legendary great recording producers of our time, this is a recording to cherish purely for the sound. You will never come a lot closer to actually sitting next to a piano. Connoisseur Society recordings have been setting a critical standard for many decades, and it is exciting to see new recordings from them with all of the traditional quality, but also using the latest advances.

- www.musicweb-international.com

 

American Record Guide, May/June 2007

I have praised both earlier volumes in this series (Nov/Dec 2006, Mar/Apr 2007). Wehr continues his series with the heart of Beethoven’s Middle Period compositions. The Op. 31 trio of piano sonatas (16-18) marks the begin­ning of this period, when Beethoven expressly stated that he wanted to “tread a different path” in his compositions. One listen to the Tempest Sonata (Op. 31:2) and you will know that we’re not in classical mold of Mozart, Haydn, and earlier Beethoven anymore. The famous recitatives, played by Wehr exactly as marked by Beethoven, with the pedal held down, are truly original. It is also important to note that Wehr’s dynamic control allows you to hear all of the linear beauty of these parts, in conjunction with the blurred, often dissonant vertical harmonies created by the pedal sus­taining all the pitches together.

Sonatas 21, 23, and 26 are among the best known and often recorded. The Waldstein, Appassionata, and Les Adieux represent the culmination of Beethoven’s Middle Period. These performances, with superb sonics and intelligent notes, are truly for the ages. For the newcomer, I cannot imagine a better place to begin; and for those of us with many sets of Beethoven sonatas, I am comfortable suggest­ing that your investment in this new series is both justifiable and necessary.

     Elsewhere in this issue (under Schumann), I review an Appassionata that I describe as a ‘performance for the moment”. It is very excit­ing and over the top in terms of tempo. Wehr correctly follows Beethoven’s tempo direc­tions, remains fully in control, shapes every musical phrase, and still generates considerable excitement. At the very end, after all of the Presto chords, when the main figuration comes back, listen for the off-beat notes in the left hand. These not only become an intelligi­ble ascending musical line under Wehr’s fin­gers, but by following Beethoven’s explicit accent markings, they help propel the music to its conclusion in a way I have never heard before. All of which, I believe will make this the recording I return to time and time again.

Wehr’s Beethoven will be my reference series for Beethoven’s great contribution to piano repertoire. The more I listen to Wehr, the more I shy away from the term “interpreta­tion”. Many pianists can be said to “interpret” these masterpieces. Wehr plays them scrupu­lously as written, interjecting little else except those minuscule, but critical, gradations in touch and tempo that produce a musical line. I can’t imagine that Beethoven himself could want anything more—or less. Now, all I have to do is wait for the final installment. The late sonatas will complete this journey and should fully establish David Allen Wehr as one of America’s top pianists.

--Harrington

 

 

CD 4262 • Beethoven: The 32 Piano Sonatas, Volume 2 (2 cds) Op.13 "Pathetique" Op.14, (1,2) Op.22 Op.78, Op.26 "Funeral March" Op.27, No.1, No.2 "Moonlight" Op.28 "Pastorale" Op. 79. David Allen Wehr, Piano.

“Best Record of the Year—2007” (American Record Guide, Jan/Feb 2008)

 

Click for MP3 excerpts from:

Beethoven "Pathetique" Sonata, 1st.Movement.

Beethoven "Moonlight" Sonata, 1st Movement.

 

"Mr. Wehr's technically dazzling and interpretively probing, playing is by turns, exciting, powerful, and gripping... He plays these sonatas as if his life depended on it... He breathes new life into the Moonlight and Pathetique sonatas... This is altogether splendid and exalted Beethoven playing, — Don't miss this."

— American Record Guide

 

In a double-disc set that include the “Pathetique” and “Pastorale” sonatas, Pittsburgh-based David Allen Wehr is commanding from note one, nearly every phrase crackling with a smart, original, fulsome emotional response.

— David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/16/2006

"I praised Volume 1 of this series (Nov/Dec 2006) and was very happy to see Volume 2 arrive for review. Wehr is continuing his series in chronological order, as opposed to the nor­mal opus number order. Considering Beetho­ven’s compositional style, 24 and 25 belong here and not following the Appassionata. I have never listened to 25 right after 15, but it sure makes perfect sense. Many of the sonatas with titles are included in this volume: Pathe­tique, Funeral March, Moonlight, and Pastorale. The superlatives I used for Volume 1 are all applicable here; Wehr exhibits the same high level of interpretive and technical skill. His approach is to execute Beethoven’s text as faithfully as humanly possible, letting these masterpieces speak for themselves. The exem­plary sound captured from his Yamaha CF111S and his perceptive liner notes complete a delightful release. I suspect that this series will become my reference set.

While each of the ten sonatas here has special moments worthy of mention, I will limit myself to a discussion of the first Opus 27 sonata (No 13). It is the first Sonata quasi una fantasia and, in many ways, it is more revolu­tionary than its much better known compan­ion, the Moonlight. Its four sections are to be played without pause, and Beethoven makes the most of contrasts, even in each section. Wehr doesn’t miss a thing, beginning with the quiet Andante opening, interrupted by an Alle­gro of much energy. The scherzo section is particularly notable, both for Beethoven’s genius and Wehr’s performance. In the open­ing sections, the hands are identical in rhythm and articulation. The contrast is a bumptious, galloping trio. The experimental Beethoven finds a unique way to vary the opening sec­tions on the return of the scherzo. It starts as a traditional da capo form, but rather than sim­ply replaying the first two sections without repeats, Beethoven adds a written out repeat of the first section where the performer is asked to alternate hands rhythmically and keep the left hand constantly staccato, while the right hand is phrased. This continues through the second section (not repeated) and into an added coda. Here Wehr’s ability to exe­cute Beethoven’s clear desires of articulation a t the requisite Allegro molto e vivace tempo is astounding. A beautifully phrased Adagio con espressione section ends with high-register trills and an elegantly shaped cadenza leading to the final rondo section. Wehr’s consummate technique hides the substantial, difficulties of this rondo: many episodes require both hands to play right on top of each other, several times the traditional left hand Alberti bass figura­tions are inverted, and leaps abound from one register of the piano to another. The big climax doesn’t lead directly into the Presto coda as expected. Beethoven inserts a recap of the Adagio section before the headlong rush to the final cadence. Every one of these is handled with the utmost artistry and musicality. Given Wehr’s performance, one can only wonder why this masterpiece is not better known. Needless to say, he lavishes the same detail and care on each of the sonatas. I enjoy all the ones I have and eagerly await the next installment."

HARRINGTON

 - American Record Guide, March/April 2007

 

A large-scaled, imaginatively phrased, virile account of the "Pathétique" sonata begins the second double-CD installment of David Allen Wehr's Beethoven cycle. With little help from the sustain pedal, Wehr's sharp accents, hair-trigger dynamics, and incidental inflections vivify the outer movements' dramatic mood swings. The central Andante cantabile is not too fast, not too slow, and is as heartfelt and flexible as the finest performances on disc.

Linear clarity and rigorous tempo relationships cast an intellectual hue on Op. 26's opening variation movement…The Funeral March makes a fleeter, less grim impression than you'd expect, while Wehr's steady sobriety and carefully differentiated articulation impart a kind of symphonic gravitas to the Allegro finale that we rarely encounter. Both Op. 27 sonatas stand out for the pianist's controlled freedom in the opening movements.

… How will Wehr fare in the great middle-period sonatas? Stay tuned for Volume 3; I know I will.

--Jed Distler

ClassicsToday.com

 

CD 4261 • Beethoven: The 32 Piano Sonatas, Volume 1 (2 cds) Op.2 (1,2,3) Op.49, (1,2) Op.7 Op.10 (1,2,3). David Allen Wehr, piano.

 

Click for MP3 excerpts from:

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op.2, No.1, (Prestissimo)

Beethoven Sonata, Op.2, No.3 (Adagio).

Beethoven Sonata, Op.10, No.1 (Adagio molto).

 

An Auspicious Beginning for a New Cycle of the 32 Piano Sonatas

Volatility and refinement…Op. 10, No. 1 calls for crisp attacks and poised reflection. The gestures, dramatically compact, occasionally rocket forth…though the mood remains darkly sober. The hybrid Allegretto, neither minuet nor scherzo, possesses a mysterious charm, unspoken romance.
Op. 49, No. 1 has a smooth, haunted melancholy, a singular delicacy.

Op. 2, No. 3, a large canvas rife with gristle and muscle. The sforzati come like bolts of lightning, the Yamaha CF 111S resonating in grand form. Wehr's Allegro assai suggests that Liszt etudes would not be a stretch for his light, deft hands. Rocket figures and lithe trills tie this dashing Rondo into a colorful, bravura package.

A Beethoven set that presents dexterity and musical intelligence at every turn.

— Audaud

 

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas 1-7, 19, 20.
David Allen Wehr

David Allen Wehr is a mature artist in his prime. He is armed with an unfailing technique and keen, fresh insights that make him more than ready to climb the Mt Everest of piano literature. Frankly, I was blown away by these first nine sonatas (chronological) in this generous two-disc set. I enjoyed every hearing of these early works, and found new superlatives for both Beethoven and Mr. Wehr on each occasion. In general, the faster movements have an infectious rhythmic vitality that drew me deep into the music and did no let go until the final notes died away. The slow movements are lavished with elegant, refined, and beautifully shaped phrases. Wehr’s attention to every detail in these scores is more of what I have come to expect from great artists performing late Beethoven sonatas. It is a revelatory approach to the early ones. While one may marvel at the little discoveries Wehr subtly points out everywhere in this music, one is also never in doubt about his conception of the musical architecture – not only of each movement, but of the sonata as a whole.

Wehr’s program notes are on the same high level as his playing. His Yamaha CF 111S is vividly captured. This entire, top-notch project is what I have come to expect over the past 30 years from producer E. Alan Silver and Connoisseur Society.

— American Record Guide, November/December 2006

CD 4260 • Visions of Beyond, Late and last piano works by Chopin Beethoven Brahms Schubert Liszt Schumann Debussy.    Edward Rosser, piano.

 

Click Here for Excerpts From:

Brahms:  Intermezzo in B minor

Chopin: Muzurka in F minor

 

CD 4259 • So Many Stars: Midnight Sun • So Many Stars • Noelle's Theme • Willow Weep for Me • Get Your Kicks on Route 66 • Winners • Drifting • Like Someone in Love • Blue Monk • What a Wonderful World • My Romance • My Foolish Heart • You're Nearer • Tea for Two • Shenandoah.    Joe Utterback, piano.

Click Here for Excerpts From:

Hampton/Burke:  Midnight Sun

Ronell:  Willow Weep For Me

Troup:  Get Your Kicks on Route 66

 

 

 

CD 4258 • Chopin: Piano Sonata No.2 in B-flat minor, Op.35 "Funeral March" Waltz in A-flat major Op.42 Impromptu No.4 in C-sharp minor Op.66 "Fantaisie Impromptu" Nocturne in B-flat minor Op.9, No.1, Scherzo No.2 in B-flat minor Op.31. Oxana Yablonskaya, piano.

Click for MP3 excerpts from:

Chopin: "Fantaisie Impromptu"

 

    Surely Yablonskaya is a worthy enough pianist to justify the inclusion of some additional selections. The booklet is given over entirely to artist promotion. If this is not exactly an inspiring way to begin listening, the proof of the pudding lies in what is heard, and what is heard is very good indeed.

    The Russian-born Yablonskaya is no ordinary pianist, and the opening movement of the sonata (no repeat) is driven forward with power and determination. The very well engineered sound has both clarity and a gutsy deep resonance. It is just the sort of sound this music calls out for but is rarely given. In the central section of the Scherzo and ‘Marche Funebre’ the pianist demonstrates her ability to weave a tapestry of refined rubato without distorting the music, and the final ghostly ‘Presto’ whizzes by and is not over-pedaled.

    Clear, clean articulation is to be found in the rest of the program as well. Nothing is blurred as Yablonskaya finds just the right tension and release suitable for each of these pieces. It’s certainly better to have 50 minutes of glorious playing than a disc chock full of mediocrity. 

BECKER

--American Record Guide, March/April 2007

 

CD 4257 • Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition. Prokofiev: 10 Visions Fugitives, Op.22, Piano Sonata No.3 in A minor, Op.28 "From Old Notebooks." Oxana Yablonskaya, piano.

 

Click for MP3 excerpts from:

Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No.3

CD 4256 • Schumann: Fantasy, Kreisleriana, Papillons, Fantasiestucke, Humoreske (2 cds):
Fantasy in C major, Op.17; Kreisleriana, Op.16; Papillons, Op.2; Fantasiestucke, Op.12; Humoreske, Op.20. Cynthia Raim, piano.

"Unanimously chosen as the First Prize (Gold Medal) winner of the Clara Haskil International Piano competition."

Click here for excerpts:

      Schumann - Kriesleriana, Op.16, Ausserst bewegt    

      Schumann - Fantasy in C major, 1st Movement

     Schumann - Papillons, Episode 11

     Schumann - Fantasiestucke, In der Nacht (In the Night)

 

 

Review from Fanfare, July/August 2008 

I simply cannot find enough superlatives for these fine recordings by Cynthia Raim, who reveals herself to be one of the great Schumann-players of our time.  Her playing is in a league with the best that I have heard live or on records, including Backhaus, Cortot, Novaes, Haskil, Richter, Horowitz, Goode, Freire, Pollini, and Andsnes.  The amazing thing is that she plays all these important and demanding works on the same exalted level, with the same degree of technical fluency and always characterful, ardent musicality, as though she has lived with the music so long that she owns it and doesn’t need to try to stake out claims on it.  Indeed, she has been pursuing a distinguished career without making obvious splashes for quire a while – in fact, since 1979, when she won the prestigious Clara Haskil Competition and found herself instantly compared with that great Romanian artist.         

            I began my listening with the Phantasie, the first movement of which she plays as a grand ballad, story telling on a big scale and nota as the usual series of strung-together paragraphs.  Her tone, dynamics, and tempos are never forced here or anywhere else on these discs, and the treacherous coda of the Phantasie’s second movement is played with great aplomb, fast and shapely, and seemingly with reserves of technique and stamina such as few pianists convey.  And time stands still in the dreamy final movement, where the poetry comes through simply and directlyKreisleriana is an equally challenging work, full of fantasy and technical hazards, and Raim plays it with great imagination and affection, providing one of the finest recordings of the many I know.  Not even Horowitz (in his magnificent first, not second, recording) fills the third and eighth pieces with so much spookiness, or the second and sixth with such intense lyricism.  Papillons is a complete joy, each vignette played with the sort of spontaneity that I still remember from one of Novaes’s last performances.  Such free, effortless playing, at the same time so thoughtful and colorful, seems almost from a bygone age.  And in the great Humoreske, which I used to think that only Richter owned, Raim finds new, subtle beauties.  She evidently loves, as Richter did, every note of the inspired but discursive score.  Its opening and closing pages are sheer tonal magic, and the difficult textures and racing musical ideas and transitions are handled in an inspired way.  The Fantasiestucke are deservedly popular pieces. And again Raim allows us to hear new beauties in them, as though she is discovering them for the first time herself and sees no need to spotlight them.

            As if all of this weren’t enough, Connoisseur Society provides, as it always has, the most beautiful piano sound in the business.  I urge every reader who loves Schumann’s piano music to acquire this magnificent set.

 Charles Timbrell

 

The Stereo Times, March 2008

Every once in awhile, a miraculous musical event occurs, a perfect congruence of music and musician. Cynthia Raim's two-disc set of Schumann solo piano music is such an event. Ms Raim's playing is so musical, so seductive, her grasp of Schumann so unerring, that one is drawn inexorably into its radiant sense of authenticity. As it happens, I've never been especially taken with Schumann's music, but this CD has changed all that. It is among the few discs I'd select as traveling companions to that hypothetical desert island, one of the few I would not want to be without. Other of my recordings of Schumann's music, despite obvious merit, lack that special magic, including Richter's hair-raising Symphonic Etudes, Horowitz's maniacal Third Sonata, and Abbey Simon's Fantasy.

In the rather sparse notes to this CD one discovers that Le Monde called Cynthia Raim “a new Clara Haskil” in print. Now, I would usually attribute this superlative to the febrile mind of a mediocre critic. But Ms Raim did win first prize in the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition, so it's perhaps to be expected that a critic on a deadline might leap to that pithy, if somewhat meaningless, conclusion. Le Monde's declaration did, however, serve at least one purpose: I have the highest regard for Clara Haskil's musicianship, so Le Monde got me interested in listening carefully to Mr Raim's performance. And I've been doing just that – interspersed with occasional Beethoven quartets and the odd piano sonata – for months now.

Music on the page is an approximation, capable of multiple interpretations, multiple “meanings” as it were, it is much roomier and more dimensional than spoken language. It follows that more than one of these “meanings” can be aesthetically valid. Which is where musicianship comes in. And one really gets a sense of Ms Raim's deep understanding of Schumann's musical language; her playing speaks with absolute conviction, she both cherishes and honors this music. And it is music of fragile beauty, full of longing and frantic nobility, dramatic and personal but rarely indulgent. No, it does not have to be played this way, but I am so grateful that it is. The feeling has persisted these several months that Ms Raim is revealing the core of Schumann. This recording presents an untrammeled doorway to Schumann's mind and heart, allowing the spontaneous energy of a truly unique – and perhaps undervalued - voice to emerge with the inevitability of genius, his and hers.

I have long attributed to women keyboardists a special sensitivity, a special relationship to music and to the means of producing it. (There has been no one to equal Landowska's Bach.) At the risk of committing a generalization, I suspect this has something to do with a basic orientation to life, to the importance given to feelings, to emotional honesty and openness. All the technique in the world is nothing to me if it lacks heart. And the pianoforte is not, for Ms Raim, an insensate means of achieving an end, but a living partner in the production of beautiful music. Her playing is not just emotionally honest, but emotionally spot on accurate.


Schumann's early solo piano music is not only readily accessible, but nowhere else does he seem quite as sure of his footing and quite as spontaneous and brilliant. These “little” compositions invite being called masterpieces. One of my very favorites is Kreisleriana, which Schumann composed in only four days (!). It seems to me a perfectly executed composition, its eight “Phantasien” span a wide range of emotions. There isn't a superfluous note or a false step throughout the thirty-two minutes and twenty-eight seconds of its execution. Although Schumann dedicated the work to Chopin, it is yet another testament to his love for Clara Wieck. (We have Schumann's letters to Clara as testimony. And seven of the eight pieces incorporate a theme written by Clara.) And our attention is inevitably drawn to Schumann's dualistic view of his own persona, which he named Florestan and Eusebius, representing its wild, passionate, and its dreamy, introspective sides respectively. In our holistic age (which regards Descartes as having gotten it wrong), this anachronism may seem distinctly odd, if not proleptic of the insanity which was to later overtake Schumann. The name Kreisleriana derives from a fictional character created by E.T.A. Hoffman, a musical genius troubled by over sensitivity. Schumann wrote that only German readers would understand the connection. But we cannot perhaps fail to draw a connection, even if we don't read German, between one troubled genius and another. Be that as it may, this music, the panoply of emotion, is rendered effortlessly by Cynthia Raim's unobtrusive, masterful technique.

Russell Lichter


 

Audiophile Audition,  Published, January 04, 2008

"I must note that the engineering of the piano (E. Alan Silver) is exemplary, the sonic register the most pearly I have encountered in many auditions."

 

SCHUMANN: Fantasia in C Major, Op. 17; Kreisleriana, Op. 16; Papillons, Op. 2; Fantasiestuecke, Op. 12; Humoreske, Op. 20 - Cynthia Raim, piano - Connoisseur Society CD 4256,  67:26; 79:01 ****: Rated 4 Stars

Cynthia Raim is Curtis graduate who studied with Rudolf Serkin and Mieczyslaw Horszowski. She sports a big technique on the Yamaha CF111S for the labyrinthine intimacies that comprise the Schumann oeuvre, especially those composed while Schumann courted Clara Wieck through musical anagrams and arcane rhetorical gestures. I must note, up front, that the engineering of the piano (E. Alan Silver) is exemplary, the sonic register for Fabel from the Op. 12 is the most pearly I have encountered in many auditions. The 1839 Fantasy swirls and heaves with emotions, the broadly-taken first movement’s exploiting a form of the so-called “Tristan chord” traceable to Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte song-cycle.  The mercurial alchemy of the movement breaks of into a declamatory “legend” section then a scherzetto rife with stretti and wistful remembrance. Raim balances her color palette with tender, loving care, the patterns of three-note figures dripping with impetuosity and lilting poetry. The second movement combines a march and syncopated song, Florestan musing on his emotional victories, including a florid trill of the first order. The last movement’s natural adagio echoes Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for steadiness of pulse and ecstatic sentiment.

We move from static serenity to the throes of the fantastico Kreisler, by way of E.T.A. Hoffmann, the 1838 series of eight free fantasias named Kreisleriana. The model for the wild and eccentric excursions into imaginative fancy may well be Paganini, since the piano writing often approaches the violin’s bariolage technique. Alternately musing and bold, the pieces allow Raim to wander beyond technique into the realms of sinuous rills and dark romantic chasms suggested in Coleridge’s Kubla Khan. The three-hand effects Schumann perpetually requires daunt Raim not at all, though the polyphony is always more poetic than academic. The last of the set, quick and playful, intimates a canter we find in Kinderszenen, the piano’s tone ringing a carillon meant to be Robert and Clara’s wedding bells.

Raim’s version of the 1829 suite Papillons, after the Larventanz of Jean-Paul Richter’s novel Flegeljahre (Years of Indiscretion), communicates a lyrical, perky naivete thoroughly consonant with its ingenuous, contrapuntal aims. A sly wit permeates Raim’s rendition as well, as breezy charm without which the music could not survive. Always in Schumann we have that sense of “nostalgia for the dream” which gives his affect its otherworldly, mystical invocation to the child in us all. The tender opening of Des Abends from the character-suite Fantasiestuecke, Op. 12 (1837-38) announces the intimately poetic invention of the set. While perhaps less haunted than the classic rendition by Benno Moiseiwitsch, Raim’s beautifully graduated chords compete with those by Argerich and the still-unreissued LP inscription by Ania Dorfmann. Plenty of urgency for the energetic pieces, like Aufschwung, Traumes-Wirren, and Grillen, with its declamatory, martial air. In Der Nacht commands its own aura, a moment of the feverish spasm of Romantic Agony that haunted the age of Byron and his poetic ilk. Ende vom Lied staunchly surveys all that has passed and hints at maerchen--fanciful marches--to come, both from this fertile composer and from his devoted coterie of two-fold personalities.   

That Connoisseur presents Raim’s grandly-conceived performance of the 1838 B-flat Humoreske as one band on the CD indicates the pianist’s synoptic view of this arched, six-section view of the Four Temperaments. Syncopes and repeated notes, swirling filigree and disturbed left-hand ostinati prove seamless exercises for Raim, who manages to tie the diversely skittish, often cascading sections of this knotty piece together with a lithe, light hand. Dreamy, winsome, even more melancholy than cheerful, this music finds in Raim an initiate and  devotee, another of the chosen crusaders against philistinism and spiritual anemia that often beset the best of times, the worst of times.

-- Gary Lemco

 

CD 4255 • Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit
Pavane pour une Infante defunte • Sonatine • Le Tombeau de Couperin. Cynthia Raim, piano.

Click for an MP3 excerpt from: 

      Ravel - Le Tombeau de Couperin, (Toccata).

      Ravel - Gaspard de La Nuit

      Ravel - Sonatine, Anime'

“Cynthia Raim's performance in this beautifully engineered Ravel recital has all of the necessary elements of mystery and sensuality as well as a remarkably fluent ease of expression. This is some of the most difficult piano music ever written and it simply tumbles off her fingers.” (Philadelphia Inquirer) (8/28/05)

 

 

CD 4254 • Mozart: Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol.5: Sonata in F major, K.547a • Sonata No.17 in B-flat major, K.570 • Sonata No.18 in D major, K.576 • Beethoven: Sonata No.8 in C minor, Op.13, “Pathetique”. Elizabeth Rich, piano.

Click for an MP3 excerpt from: 

Mozart Sonata in F major, K.547a, (Allegro)

It's as though these sonatas have a subtle inner life to which the notes and tempi and dynamics point. Few pianists achieve it. It depends on the inevitability of the thousands of moment-to moment decisions the pianist must make. Elizabeth Rich belongs among an exalted few. (Stereo Times)

"CD of the Week." (WATE-FM, Toledo, OH)

 

CD 4253 • Stardust: My Heart Stood Still • The Man I Love • Not a Day Goes By • Stardust • What’ll I Do? • Never Let Me Go • If You Never Come To Me • Picnic • Where or When • Autumn in New York • All the Things You Are • Turn Out the Stars • We’ll be Together Again • Up a Lazy River. Joe Utterback, piano.

 

Click for MP3 excerpts from:

Jobim: If You Never Come To Me

Gershwin: The Man I Love

 

CD 4252 • Rachmaninoff - Prelude in D major, Op.23, No.4 • Prelude in G minor, Op.23, No.5 • Prelude in G-sharp minor, Op.32, No.12 • Prelude in B-flat major, Op.23, No.2 • Elegie, Op.3, No.1 • Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op.3, No.2 • Melodie, Op.3, No.3 • Polichinelle, Op.3, No.4 • Serenade, Op.3, No.5. Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition. David Allen Wehr, piano.

Click for an MP3 excerpt from: 

Rachmaninoff - Prelude, Op.23, No.2.

"One of the best solo piano piano recordings I have heard. Wehr's Rachmaninoff is as nuanced and gorgeously played as his Mussorgsky." (Pictures at an Exhibition)—American Record Guide

"A pianist with digital firepower, recorded with superb resonance."
—Audiophile Audition

 

CD 4251 • “In the French style” Fauré: Flute Sonata in A major, Op.13 • Gieseking: Sonatine for Flute and Piano • Franck: Sonata for Flute and Piano in A major. Trudy Kane, flute, George Darden, piano.

CD 4250 • Mozart: Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol.4: Fantasie in C minor, K.475 • Sonata No.14 in C minor, K.457 • Sonata No.15 in F major, K.533 & 494 • Sonata No.16 in C major, K.545 • Sonatensatz in G minor, K.312. Elizabeth Rich, piano.

„The Fantasie is a prime example of Rich‚s amazing musicianship, played with a coherency I‚ve never heard before, wherein each idea organically flows from the one preceding it with wit and intelligence and both musical and emotional logic.Or the Adagio of K.457 : again the absolute emotional certainty, intelligence, truth. Could this be how Mozart himself played this Adagio? (Stereo Times)

 
CD 4248 • Mozart: Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol.3: Sonata No.10 in C major, K.330 • Sonata No.11 in A major, K.331 “Turkish March” • Sonata No.12 in F major, K.332 • Sonata No.13 in B flat major, K.333. Elizabeth Rich, piano.

 

Click her for excerpts from:

Mozart:  Sonata in A major, (Rondo, "Turkish March")

Mozart:  Sonata in F major, (Allegro assai)

 

CD 4247 • Chopin: Piano Sonata No.2 in B-flat minor, Op.35, “Funeral March”. Rachmaninoff: 9 Etudes-tableaux, Op.39 (complete). Richard Reid, piano.

 

 

CD 4246 • CHOPIN: Ballade No.3 in A-flat major, Op.47 • Nocturne No.1 in B-flat minor, Op.9, No.1 • Nocturne No.2 in B-flat major, Op.9, No.2 • Nocturne No.5 in F-sharp major, Op.15, No.2 • Nocturne No.8 in D-flat major, Op.27, No.2 • Nocturne No.13 in C minor, Op.48, No.1 • Impromptu No.1 in A-flat major, Op.29 • Impromptu No.2 in F-sharp major, Op.36 • Impromptu No.3 in G-flat major, Op.51 • Impromptu No.4 in C-sharp minor, Op.66 ("Fantaisie-Impromptu") • Scherzo No.1 in B minor, Op.20. Morton Estrin, piano
CD 4245 • Debussy: Sonata for Cello and Piano • Reverie • Minstrels • Il pleure dans mon coeur • Clair de lune • Minuet. Honegger: Sonata for Cello and Piano • Sonatine for Cello and Piano. Fauré: Elégie, Op.24 • Aprés un ríve. Kate Dillingham, cello, Blair McMillen, piano.

 

CD 4244 • Schumann: Symphonic Etudes (The first edition– complete) • Davidsbundlertanze (First edition – complete) • Czerny: The Art of Finger Dexterity Etudes 1 - 10. David Allen Wehr, piano.

Excerpt from:  Schumann: Symphonic Etudes, (Etude 2).

“Robert Schumann's Symphonic Etudes are presented in their first version and combined with five posthumous etudes. Wehr inhabits the shade and sun of these vibrant works. It's good to hear Schumann's (etudes) performed with such conviction and sensitivity. A warm and playful reading of Schumann's masterpiece, Davidsbundlertanze also in its first version, completes the disc.” (Post Gazette / Pittsburgh)

 

CD 4243 • Haydn: Cello Concertos, Nos. 1& 2. Kate Dillingham, cello • The Moscow Chamber Orchestra “The Seasons”, Vladislav Bulakhov, conductor.

 

 

 

CD 4242 • J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2 • Preludes and Fugues 1–24 (2 disc set). João Carlos Martins, pianist.

Excerpt from:  J.S. Bach:  (W.T.C., Book 2), Fugue in A minor

(The dazzling 1964 performance, available on compact discs for the first time.) “An outstanding event in recording annals.” (High Fidelity)

 

CD 4241 • J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 • Preludes and Fugues 1–24 (2 disc set). João Carlos Martins, pianist. (The dazzling 1964 performance, available on compact discs for the first time.)

 

Excerpts from:  

J.S. Bach: (W.T.C., Book 1), Prelude in C major

J.S. Bach: (W.T.C., Book 1), Prelude in C minor

J.S. Bach: (W.T.C., Book 1), Prelude in C-sharp major

“Indeed, it seems to me he utterly eclipses all other pianists in the lists.” (High Fidelity)

"It was widely hailed as one of the most amazing piano recordings ever made. The Brazil-born Martins was only 25 when he recorded the 48 preludes and fugues. His playing here surmounts all technical barriers and achieves a vision and grandeur unique unto itself." (Monterrey County Weekly)

 

CD 4240 • J.S. Bach: (Princely Gifts – a treasure of famous piano pieces and all-time favorites by J.S. Bach and his contemporaries). Bach: Prelude in C major (The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I), • 2 Part Invention in F major • Musette in D major • Minuet in G major • Prelude in C minor • Organ Prelude in G minor (arr. Siloti) • Sheep May Safely Graze (arr. Petrie). C.P.E. Bach: Solfeggieto. Mozart: Allegro, K.3 • Fantasia in D minor • Piano Sonata in C major, K.545. Clementi: Sonatina in C major, Op.36, No.1. Beethoven: Minuet in G major • Ecossaises • Sonatina in G major • Für Elise • Piano Sonata in G major, Op.49, No.2. Kuhlau: Sonatina in C major, Op.55, No.1. Ellmenreich: Spinning Song, Op.14, No.4. Reinhold: Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op.28, No.3. Morton Estrin, pianist.

Click here for excerpt from:  J.S. Bach:  2 Part Invention in F major, an excerpt from  C.P.E. Bach:  Solfeggieto and an excerpt from  Beethoven:  Fur Elise

 “A mixture of notalgia and delight.” (Memo Magazine)

 

CD 4239 • Scriabin: (Russian Soul, Russian Glory – a treasure of famous piano pieces and all-time favorites by Scriabin and his comtemporaries). Scriabin: 12 Etudes, Op.8 (complete), No.1 in C-sharp minor • No.2 in F-sharp minor • No.3 in B minor • No.4 in B major • No.5 in E major • No.6 in A major • No.7 in B-flat minor • No.8 in A-flat major • No.9 in G-sharp minor • No.10 in D-flat major • No.11 in B-flat minor • No.12 in D-sharp minor. Rachmaninoff: Lilacs, Op.21, No.5 (Trans. by the composer) • Daisies, Op.38, No.3 (Trans. by the composer) • Polichinelle, Op.3, No.4 • Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op.3, No.2. Rubinstein: Romance in E-flat major, Op.44, No.1 • Kammenoi-Ostrow, Op.10, No.22. Prokofiev: March, Op.33 (The Love of Three Oranges). Liadov: The Musical Snuff Box, Op.32. Khatchaturian: Toccata. Morton Estrin, pianist.

Click here for excerpts from:  Scriabin:  Etude, Op.8, No.2 and Scriabin:  Etude, Op.8, No.12

“A must! Best record of the Year – 1969.” (The New York Times)

 

Amazon Review:

5.0 out of 5 stars SCRIABIN REDUX, January 23, 2008
By  Melvyn M. Sobel (Freeport (Long Island), New York) -  
Eagerly awaited, this CD reincarnation must be heralded for its inclusion of Estrin's trailblazing premiere recording of Scriabin's twelve youthful Etudes, Op. 8 (1894), originally released on LP by Connoisseur Society in 1969, a performance as luminous then as it is today. Few pianists have tackled these Chopinesque "studies" in their entirety, and none with the romantic fervor of Estrin, nor with such balanced idiomatic sensibility and sentiment. The fascinatingly varied Op. 8 collection eschews the academic for the lyrical; it manifests all the intrinsic elements that, in the right hands, become a sublime union between artist and composer, and not merely a pyrotechnical "affair." Estrin's devotion to these glorious pieces creates just such a fusion. It becomes our own, the emotional magnetism absolutely inescapable and indelible. Rave reviews by both the NY Times and Stereo Review, over thirty years ago, were (and still are) completely justified. There can be little doubt that Estrin's remarkably captivating interpretation may have single-handedly launched the Scriabin renaissance of the 1970s. This is music and pianism not to be missed. As encores, over thirty minutes' worth of plums from Rachmaninoff, Rubinstein, Prokofiev, Liadov and Khatchaturian are added, all played with delicacy, affection, flair and, of course, the eponymous Russian "soul."

 

 

CD 4238 • Chopin: (Dreams of Love – A treasure of famous piano pieces and all-time favorites by Chopin and his contemporaries). Chopin: Waltz in A-flat major, Op.69, No.1 • Waltz in B minor, Op.69, No.2 • Nocturne in E-flat major, Op.9, No.2 • Mazurka in B-flat major, Op.7, No.1 • Waltz in A minor, Op.34, No.2. Schubert-Liszt: Serenade. Schubert: Impromptu in A-flat, Op.90, No.4 • Impromptu in G-flat major, Op.90, No.3. Mendelssohn: May Breezes, Op.62, No.1 • Venetian Boat Song, Op.30, No.6. Heller: A Curious Story, Op.138, No.9 • L’Avalanche, Op.45, No.2. Schumann: The Happy Farmer, Op.68, No.10 • The Wild Horseman, Op.68, No.8 • Traumerei, Op.15, No.7 • Warum? Op.12, No.3 • Knight Rupert, Op.68, No.12. Poldini: The Dancing Doll. Dvoràk: Humoresque, Op.101, No.7. Brahms: Lullaby (arr.Estrin), Op.49, No.4 • Waltz in A-flat major, Op.39, No.15. Liszt: Consolation No.3 in D-flat major • Liebestraum No.3. Morton Estrin, pianist.

Click here for excerpts from:

Chopin:  Waltz in A-flat major

Schubert: Impromptu in G-flat major

“Estrin’s playing is alternately sensitive and sparkling.” (The New Records)

 

CD 4237 • Debussy: (Painting the Mood– a treasure of famous piano pieces and all-time favorites by Debussy and his contemporaries). Debussy: Clair de lune • La Fille aux cheveux de lin • Golliwog’s Cake-Walk • Reverie • Arabesque No.1. Ravel: Pavane. Grieg: To Spring. Massenet: Meditation • Elegie. Macdowell: To a Wild Rose • Scotch Poem • Witches’ Dance. Sinding: Rustles of Spring. Durand: Waltz. Chaminade: Scarf Dance. Satie: Gymnopedie No.1. Paderewski: Minuet in G. Lange: Flower Song. Granandos: Spanish Dance, No.5. Falla: Ritual Fire Dance. Lecuona: Malaguena. Morton Estrin, pianist.

Click for MP3 excerpts from:

Massenet:  Meditation

Sinding:  Rustles of Spring

Granados:  Spanish Dance No.5

 

CD 4236 • Mozart Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol.2: Sonata No.5 in G major, K.283 • Sonata No.7 in C major, K309 • Sonata No.8 in D major, K.311 • Sonata No.9 in A minor, K.310. Elizabeth Rich, pianist. 

“…very beautiful. It’s a joy to hear what she has to say about this wonderful music and to look forward to more.” (Alexander Morin-American Record Guide)

 

 

CD 4235 • Rachmaninoff: 13 Preludes, Op.32 (complete) Brahms: 3 Rhapsodies, Opp.79/119 • 5 Intermezzi, Opp.76/117/118/119 • Ballade in G minor, Op.118, No.3. Morton Estrin, pianist.

 

Excerpt from:  Rachmaninoff:  Prelude, Op.32, No.4

 

“The ghost of Rachmaninoff himself must have presided lovingly over these recording sessions… gorgeous.” (Stereo Review)

“This Brahms disc is a delight…an incredibly realistic recording.” (The New Records)

 

CD 4234 • Mozart Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol.1: Sonata No.1 in C major, K.279 • Sonata No.2 in F major, K.280 • Sonata No.3 in B-flat major, K.281 • Sonata No.4 in E-flat major, K.282 • Sonata No.6 in D major, K.284. Elizabeth Rich, pianist.

“Sonically this may be the best recording of a solo piano in my collection, but even if the sound were dull, so brilliant is the conception and execution of each [sonata] that it would be my first choice… Indulge yourself and discover the REAL joy of Mozart.” (David Buckley-Tucson Citizen)

 

 

CD 4233 • Debussy: Images, Books 1 & 2 • Suite - Pour le piano • L’Isle joyeuse • 3 Etudes . Madeleine Forte, pianist.

CD 4232 • Night Train: Satin Doll • Don’t Get Around Much Anymore • Night Train • Someone To Light Up My Life • Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now • Makin’ Whoopee • We Will Meet Again • Song For Melissa • My Foolish Heart • Lullaby of Birdland • Embraceable You • Wabash Blues. Joe Utterback, pianist.

Excerpt from:  Strayhorn/Ellington:  Satin Doll

"while he delivers some tunes in a clean and straightforward manner Utterback can break into breathtaking classically-derived virtuosity that might remind us of Art Tatum and Horowitz combined. This is one handfull of an ivory-tickler!" (Audiophile Audition)

 
CD 4231 • Grieg: 11 Lyric Pieces (Brooklet • Butterfly • Notturno • Little Bird • Summer’s Eve • Halling • Gangar • Once Upon a Time • Valse-Impromptu • Folk Song • Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, 3 Norwegian Peasant Dances, Opp.72 Nos.2,7&8, Holberg Suite, Op.40. Sylvia Reynolds Henry, pianist.

Click here for an excerpt from:  Grieg:  Holberg Suite (Preludium).

“It is always a pleasure to encounter well-played Grieg piano pieces. The music is so sweet, so innocent and yet, paradoxically, sophisticated. Ms. Henry, a Norwegian (as much as one can infer from the liner notes), has just the style. She plays with clearly-contoured phrasing and precise fingerwork. She produces a lovely sound, and she delicately responds to the lyricism of the music. It is surprising that so few pianists today put Grieg’s Lyric Pieces on their programs. They are minor masterpieces… I listened to these on a hot summer day, with a drink in my hand, and life was worth living again.” (Harold C. Schonberg –American Record Guide)

 

CD 4230 • Schumann: Kreisleriana • Chopin: Nocturne in D-flat major, Op.27, No.2 • Nocturne in C minor, Op.48, No.1 • Fantasy in F minor, Op.49 • Scherzo No.3 in C-sharp minor, Op.39. Linda Bustani, pianist.

“Bustani plays Schumann’s Kreisleriana with great understanding, intellectual integrity, warmth and emotion… The piano sound is superlative.” (The Ottawa Citizen)

 

CD 4229 • Chopin: Polonaise-fantaisie, Op.61 • Piano Sonata No.3, Op.58 • Four Scherzi. Madeleine Forte, pianist.

“…a formidable pianist: she has a big technique and a big sound… Here and there her interpretations remind me of Arthur Rubinstein’s.”

 

CD 4228 • Utterback: Concert Fantasy on George Gerswhwin’s Porgy and Bess – Summertime, I’ve got Plenty o’ Nuttin’, Bess, You Is My Woman Now, There’s a Boat Dat’s Leavin’ Soon For New York • 3 Spirituals, Tuxedo Blues and sixteen more. David Allen Wehr, pianist.

Click for MP3 excerpts from:

Gershwin:  Bess, You Is My Woman Now

Utterback:  Tuxedo Blues

 

 “Utterback’s brilliant treatments complement the pleasure that is intrinsic in Gershwin’s melodies. It takes no effort to enjoy this music. The same holds true for the Three Sprirituals: “Nobody Knows,” “Deep River,” and “Chariot Dance.” The lion’s share of the original material on this CD is bluesy and mellow—suitable for quiet listening. What I can say with assurance is that this is a great CD to put your feet up to and “chill” by. Wehr who plays a Yamaha piano, has a velvet touch, no doubt aided by the engineering. It is unusual to have piano sound this attractive and if you’re looking for late-night, traditional jazz pianism, you’ve come to the right place.” (Fanfare)

The way Utterback moves from something that sounds like a night in Harlem to a flash from a Scriabin light showsometimes in the same pieceis the distinctive pleasure of this album. The sound is big, rich and plush, what we expect from Connoisseur Society piano records” (American Record Guide)

"This is a delightful disc... brilliantly recorded by David Allen Wehr... the piano sound is super." (Stereo Times)

 

CD 4227 • Beethoven: 3 Piano Sonatas – Moonlight, Pathétique, Hammerklavier. David Allen Wehr, pianist.

“Mr. Wehr’s technically dazzling and interpretively probing playing is by turns, exciting, powerful, and gripping. Sometimes meditative and sometimes thunderous, he plays these sonatas as if his life depended on it much as Beethoven himself might have played them. He breathes new life into the Moonlight and Pathétique sonatas and his Hammerklavier approaches Artur Schnabel’s spiritually monumental but technically flawed interpretation. This is altogether splendid and exalted Beethoven playing, if you care about Beethoven piano sonatas, don’t miss this.” (American Record Guide)

CD 4226 • Ravel: Miroirs • Gaspard de la nuit • Pavane • Sonatine • Jeux d’eau. Madeleine Forte, pianist.

“A hit parade of Ravel’s solo piano music in vibrant, intensely affectionate renditions. Forte plays with a quicksilver approach and shimmering delicate sound. devotees of this delicious music should sample it all.” (Fanfare)

“At a time when national styles have all but dissolved into a generalized international goulash, Forte’s gorgeous tone and sensuous line evoke classic French pianism. Her Maurice Ravel holds its own against interpretations by many of her more celebrated peers from the chaste simplicity of the Sonatine to the virtuosic “Gaspard de la Nuit” in which no prisoners are taken and no notes are dropped” (The New Yorker)

 

CD 4224 • Delius: Three Sonatas for Violin and Piano • Eight Preludes for Solo Piano (First Recording) Galina Heifetz, violin. David Allen Wehr, pianist “This is one of the best recorded violin and piano recitals I’ve ever come across, a complete pleasure in every way… for those who like Delius this collection is a must.” (The Ottawa Citizen) “These are among the finest performances of the violin sonatas that I have heard. The pieces for piano are also exquisitely rendered by Wehr. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone get so completely under Delius’ skin as this duo does.” (American Record Guide)

CD 4223 • Christmas on the Mountain: Santa Claus Is Coming to Town • I’ll Be Home for Christmas • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas • Do You Hear What I Hear? • White Christmas • Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! • Greensleeves • Winter Wonderland • Christmas Dream • Silver Bells • The Christmas Song • Christmas Waltz • I Miss You Most at Christmastime. Joe Utterback, pianist 

Excerpts from:

Kent/Gannon:  I'll Be Home For Christmas

Cahn/Styne:  Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!

“Imaginative jazz-oriented improvisations of well-known Christmas songs that gives them a new face and keeps listening interest high throughout the album. The recorded piano sound is exemplary.”(Audiophile Audition)

 

CD 4222 • Brahms: 16 Waltzes, Op.39, 21 Hungarian Dances. Cynthia Raim & David Allen Wehr, pianists 

Excerpts from:  Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.5 and Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.6

 

Raim and Wehr offer such luscious performances that they fill one’s soul with sheer joy. Absolutely gorgeous sound, this disc is a must have.” (American Record Guide) “Overwhelming Èlan… Raim and Wehr are irresistible. Alan Silver has captured their sound with thrilling vividness.” (Fanfare)

 

CD 4221 • Haydn – 4 piano Sonatas: No.33 in C minor, No.32 in G minor, No.53 in E minor, No.58 in C major. C.P.E. Bach – Allegro assai, Cantabile e mesto in G minor, Fantasia No.2 in C major. Elizabeth Rich, pianist “Ms. Rich is a magnificent Haydn player. Such vital, affectionate, and knowing readings of this music are rare… a treasurable release.” (American Record Guide)

 

CD 4220 • Night and Day: Night and Day • Ain’t Misbehavin’ • Make Someone Happy • I Can’t Get Started With You • Why Did I Choose You? • I Love You • If Ever I Would Leave You • Honeysuckle Rose • If I Loved You • Here’s That Rainy Day • I Have Dreamed • Just In Time • Someone To Watch Over Me. Joe Utterback, pianist

Click here for excerpts from:

Duke/Gershwin:  I Can't Get Started With You

Comden/Green/Styne:  Just in Tiime

 
CD 4219 • Debussy: 2 Arabesques • Reverie • Danse • Valse romantique • Suite bergamasque • Estampes • La plus que lent • Berceuse heroique • Children’s Corner Suite.  David Allen Wehr, pianist 

 

Click here for an excerpt from:  Debussy:  Gardens in the Rain

“This is a superbly played, handsomely recorded recital of a Debussy hit parade” (Fanfare)

 

CD 4218 • Paris Originals – Debussy: Six Epigraphes antiques. Ravel: Ma Mëre l’Oye. Bardac: Petite Suite majeure. Poulenc: Sonate. Delannoy: Bourrée. Alexander & Daykin, piano duo. “Repertoire for 1 piano, 4-hands in performances and recordings that are far out of the ordinary.” (The Ottawa Citizen)

CD 4215 • Blues and Ballads at the Movies: Laura • As Time Goes By • Love is Here to Stay • Love Walked In • Blues in the Night • Over the Rainbow • The Summer Knows • Stella by Starlight –and more. Joe Utterback, pianist “The best of all worlds… a composite of the greatest American jazz and piano styles of the century” (Pianoforte (U.K.) “Spectacularly good, and one of the best piano recordings I have heard” (The Sensible Sound)

Click here for excerpts from:

Raskin:  Laura

Kaper:  On Green Dolphin Street

 

CD 4214 • Rachmaninoff: 2 Suites for 2 Pianos, 6 Duets, Op.11, Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op.3, No.2. Cynthia Raim & David Allen Wehr, pianists “Best Record of the Year—1998” (American Record Guide) “Remarkable performances” (Fanfare)

Excerpt from:   Rachmaninoff: Suite No.1 for 2 Pianos, (Oh Night, Oh Love)

"So atmospheric and enthralling are these readings that I often felt as if I were walking through the saffron hued pages of an old Russian book... To find comparable two-piano playing anywhere else on disc, you'd have to go back to Bauer and Gabrilowitsch... But why bother, when pianists of Raim and Wehr's caliber are around to supply such inspired performances? Grab this disc. It doesn't get better than this." (American Record Guide)

 

CD 4211 (2 disc set) • Chopin: 21 Nocturnes (complete). David Allen Wehr, pianist.

Click here for excerpts from:  Chopin:  Nocturne in E-flat major and Chopin:  Nocturne in D-flat major.

 

 “ Wehr creates real expressive tension [and] a finely shaped lyricism devoid of sentimentality… The first time I heard this issue I listened to all 21 Nocturnes without a break, and found the experience rapturous, rewarding and impressive.” (Pianoforte -U.K.) “Compelling readings on a truly grand scale” (American Record Guide)

 

CD 4210 • Beethoven: 3 Sonatas – “Appassionata”, “Tempest”, “Les Adieux”. Ruth Laredo, pianist “Probing and intense with ardor to spare.” (American Record Guide)

 

 

CD 4209 • Schubert: Sonata in B-flat major; 6 Moments Musicaux; 10 Waltzes. Walter Hautzig, pianist “Here is playing of a high order, Hautzig’s touch is marvelous getting a bell-like sonority from Schubert’s deceptively simple melodies…I was enchanted - Four Stars.” (The Indianapolis Star)

 

CD 4208 • Franck: Prelude Chorale and Fugue; Danse lente. Bloch: In the Night; Sonata for Piano. Giannini: Prelude and Fughetta; Variations on a Cantus Firmus. Myron Silberstein, pianist “Bold, unapologetic, even extravagent, performances…playing of remarkable confidence, color, and elasticity of phrasing…a revelatory release. Best Record of the Year - 1996.” (Fanfare) “A stunning recording debut…virtuosic playing…a winner.” (Turok’s Choice)

 

CD 4206 • Gershwin: Porgy and Bess Jazz Suite. W. C. Handy: St. Louis Blues, Utterback: I Wonder; Skysong; Dr. Joe’s Long-Fingered Ragtime Special. Joe Utterback, pianist.

Excerpt from:  Gershwin:  Summertime

 “Utterback has a winning way with melody. His renditions are musical and they are exquisitely recorded. The piano sound on this disc is among the best I have ever heard on record.” (Fanfare)

 

CD 4205 • Griffes: Roman Sketches, Op.7 (The White Peacock • Nightfall • The Fountain of the Acqua Paola • Clouds); Three Tone Pictures, Op.5 (The Lake at Evening • The Vale of Dreams • The Night Winds); Fantasy Pieces, Op.6 (Barcarolle • Notturno • Scherzo); Piano Sonata (1918). David Allen Wehr, piano.

Excerpt from:  Griffes: (The White Peacock)

 

CD 4203 (2 disc set) • J. S. Bach: Die Kunst Der Fuge, BWV 1080. (The Art of the Fugue) Alexander & Daykin, piano duo.

“The most beautiful and compelling performance of this masterwork that I have ever heard” (American Record Guide) “One of the finest piano duos in the world today.” (The Ottawa Citizen) “Best Record of the Year—1996.” (American Record Guide)

 

CD 4202 • Mozart: Piano Sonatas, K.310 and K.533/494; Sonatensatz, K.312 and K.400; Adagio in B  minor, K.540; Menuett and Eine Kleine Gigue, K.355/574. David Buechner, pianist. “One of the super-great Mozart recitals...the closest thing to a perfect disc of Mozart piano music known to me. It’s a dream come true, in very superior sonics.” (In Tune) “Not to be missed” (N.Y. Daily News)

CD 4199 • Wagner-Liszt:: Valhalla (Das Rheingold) • Senta’s Ballad (The Flying Dutchman) • “Am stillen Herd” (Die Meistersinger) • Solemn March (Parsifal) • Concert Fantasy (Rienzi) • Elsa’s Dream, Festival and Bridal Chorus (Lohengrin) • “Evening Star”, Entry of the Guests (Tannhäuser). David Allen Wehr, pianist. 

Excerpt from:  Wagner:  Rienzi

 

“expansive playing...exciting in its sweep.” (Stereophile), “Outstanding” (The Washington Post), “An impressive disc” (Turok’s Choice) “A stunner” (CD Review) “Winsome, rapturous and beguiling” (American Record Guide)

 

CD 4198 • Debussy: 12 Preludes, Book 1 (complete). Janacek: In the Mist. Zaidee Parkinson, pianist. “...Warm and full of color...with suitably bittersweet overtones” (Stereophile), “Fully captures the mysterious rapture and incandescence of every note.” (The Star Ledger)

 

 

CD 4197 • Debussy: pour les Arpëges composés; pour les degrés chromatiques. Moszkowski: Virtuoso Etudes, Op. 72, (2, 6, and 13). Schumann: 7 Etudes-Variations on a theme by Beethoven. Liszt: Paganini Etude No. 6 in A minor. Chopin: Etudes, Op.10 (3,4,8 and 12); Etudes, Op.25 (1,2,6,7 and 12). Laderman: 3 Etudes (1991). Ilana Vered, pianist. 

Click here for excerpts from:

Chopin:  Etude, Op.10, No.4

Chopin:  Etude, Op.10, No.8

“...big, romantic treatment [a] thoroughly extroverted approach [that] is brilliantly projected” (Stereophile)

 

CD 4195 • Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit; La Valse (Trans. by the composer for piano solo). Prokofiev: 5 Sarcasms, Op.17. Liszt: Ballade No.2 in B minor. Sergei Babayan, pianist. “It is the vivid character in the playing that sets Babayan’s artistry apart.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) “Arresting sweep and drama.” (Fort Worth Star Telegraph)

 

 

CD 4194 • Rachmaninoff: Corelli Variations, Op.42 • 4 Preludes, Op.23, Op.32 • 2 Etudes-Tableaux, Op.33 • Waltz in A major • Barcarolle • Elegie • Lilacs • Daisies • 2 Moments musicaux, Op.16. Mendelssohn-Rachmaninoff: Scherzo from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Oxana Yablonskaya, pianist. “She is clearly a formidable pianist.” (Gramophone) “Album of the Week.” (Daily News) “Exceptional playing…a powerful technician with a huge dynamic range and color palette…the piano is richly, almost tangibly, recorded.” (Stereophile)

 

CD 4192 • Liszt: “Dante” Sonata; Consolation No.3 in D-flat major. Schubert-Liszt: 9 Song Transcriptions. Antonio Barbosa, pianist. (Liszt Society Grand Prix winner), “A natural pianist, someone clearly born to play this kind of repertory with the flair, the heart, and the sense of the mythology of the music—a tour-de-force.” (American Record Guide)

 

 

 

CD 4190 • Debussy: 12 Preludes, Book 2 (complete). Milhaud: Saudades do Brasil, Books 1 and 2 (complete). Antonio Barbosa, pianist. 

 

Excerpts from:

Debussy:  Feux d'artifice

Milhaud:  Ipanema

“Exquisitely stylish playing in splendid sound.” (Turok’s Choice) “Evocative playing and opulent piano sonics.” (Stereophile)

 

CD 4188 • Schumann: Carnaval, Op.9; Five Novellettes, Op.21, Nos.2,4,6,7,8. Elizabeth Rich, pianist. “Five Stars—A meeting of two kindred spirits: a quintessentially romantic composer and an equally romantic player at their best.” (Classical Pulse)
CD 4187 • Verdi-Liszt: Rigoletto - Concert Paraphrase • Simon Boccanegra - Réminiscences • I Lombardi - Salve Maria de Jérusalem • Il Trovatore - Miserere • Don Carlos - Coro di festa e marcia funebre • Aida - Danza sacra e duetto final • Ernani - Concert Paraphrase. Alberto Reyes, pianist. “A major talent.” (Calgary Herald)

 

CD 4184 • Strauss, Puccini, Duparc, Bellini: Vinson Cole, tenor.  Patrick Stephens, piano

 

CD 4180 • Domenico Scarlatti: Thirteen Sonatas (K.24; K.421; K.422; K.119; K.120; K.132; K.133; K.208; K.209; K.238; K.239; K.544; K.545). Mirjana Lewis, harpsichord. “Highly imaginative, vital performances.” (Turok’s Choice)
CD 4176  • J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988; Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue in D minor, BWV 903. Samuel Bartos, pianist. “Ecstatic Pianism.” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - Germany)

 

 

CD 4042 • Brahms Sonatas for Violin & Piano: Sonata No.1 in G, Op.78. • Sonata No.2 in A, Op.100 • Sonata No.3 in D minor, Op.108.  Wanda Wilkomirska, violin and Antonio Barbosa, piano. 

NOTE:  This selection is available only by downloading digital tracks from www.cdbaby.com

CD 4035  • Ravel Sonata for Violin and Piano, Grieg Sonata Op.45 Edvard Grieg, Sonata in C minor, Op.45 for violin and piano • Maurice Ravel, Habanera. Wanda Wilkomirska, violin and Antonio Barbosa, piano. 

NOTE:  This selection is available only by downloading digital tracks from www.cdbaby.com

 

 

 

E. Alan Silver (asilver@connoisseursociety.com)

441 Chepachet Road · West Winfield · NY · 13491 · USA

Tel: 315.822.0032

 

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