Friday, January 25, 2013

Awards 2012 - Archive

Chopin: Études
Maurizio Pollini

"This is a very special release that should attract significant interest. These recordings were made by EMI in 1960, then held back by Pollini without "any specific reason" according to the program notes... The contents of the sessions were forgotten for decades. And then, of course, everyone was fully satisfied by the brilliant set of Chopin etudes he made for Deutsche Grammophon in 1972... There are a number of places where this is distinctly superior to the DG... In the end it is of course pointless to dissect these details. The larger truth is that the release on hand is brilliant, both in its own right and in the context of Pollini's later work." - Brent Auerbach, American Record Guide. 
"What superb articulacy in, say, Op 10 Nos 2, 4 and 5, and what awe-inspiring assurance and uncanny technical perfection in the treacherous double notes of No 7 (Chopin's Toccata if you like). His pedalling is light, his sonority 'white' and crystalline, and if there is little of Cortot's careless rapture or Cherkassky's elfin propensity for mischief-making there is, overall, a near flawless balance of sense and sensibility. All lovers of great piano-playing will need to add this to their collection" - Bryce Morrison, Gramophone.

"The Unpublished Recordings". Michael Rabin [Testament]
Rachmaninov: The Bells; Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky. BBC Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra/Evgeny Svetlanov [ICA Classics]
Beethoven, Berg: Violin concertos. Christian Ferras; Berlin Philharmonic/Karl Böhm; Berlin RSO/Massimo Freccia [Audite]
Chopin: Recital. Vera Gornostaeva [LP Classics]

It's the second year in which we've had this category in the Awards, and the second time Testament has won it. But I hope within a few months to have a retrospective look at 2007-10 to see if we can determine Archive and Reissue winners for those years too. Meanwhile, we can welcome the appearance of LP Classics and also ponder the fact that this year we have two releases pairing the Beethoven and Berg violin concertos - Christian Ferras and Isabelle Faust.

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