Richard Wagner's reputation rests on his tetralogy, Der Ring des Nibelungen, and the other music dramas he created, including Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Parsifal, which revolutionized all aspects of late Romantic music and left their mark on modern music as well. Yet there is a small body of non-operatic works that shows a more relaxed Wagner working on a much smaller scale: his Siegfried Idyll for chamber orchestra, a group of songs, and a collection of pieces for piano. This double CD by Pier Paolo Vincenzi presents Wagner's complete piano music with three sonatas, a large-scale fantasia, and eleven short pieces that show the composer's attempts at finding a more personal and intimate voice.
The quality of the recorded sound is so perfectly clear on this recording, like finely etched crystal, while at the same time it is so robust and resonant, that it is difficult to believe that the piano played on these two marvelous CDs is a replica of a 1785 Walter fortepiano, a smaller and much more fragile instrument than today's modern concert grand pianos.
Alexander Arutiunian was one of the most prominent composers in the USSR, one of the representatives of the Armenian ‘Mighty Handful’ and much admired by Shostakovich. An accomplished pianist, Arutiunian created virtuoso piano works that are rooted in Armenian folk traditions while expressing, in the words of Hayk Melikyan, “a rich palette of emotions reflecting both his time and the history of his nation”…
Recorded over 13 years between 1975 and 1988, Murray Perahia's cycle of the complete piano concertos of Mozart, including the concert rondos and double concertos, remains perhaps the most enduring monument to his art. What is it about Perahia's art, some skeptics might ask, that is worth enduring? For one thing, as this 12-disc set amply demonstrates, there is his incredible tone. Clear as a bell, bright as the sky, and deep as the ocean, Perahia's tone is not only one of the wonders of the age, it's admirably suited to the pellucid loveliness of Mozart's music.
Paul Lewis performed all the Beethoven piano sonatas on tour in the USA and Europe between the 2005 and 2007 seasons, in parallel with his complete recording of the cycle for Harmonia Mundi. His interpretation of the Lizst sonata was distinguished by the prestigious Edison Award, while his recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas received two Gramophone Awards in 2008 (Recording of the year and Best Instrumental Recording).