BRAHMS: Capriccio in F sharp minor, Op.76 No. l. Capriccio in B minor, Op.76 No. 2. Intermezzo in A flat, Op. 76 No 3. Intermezzo in B flat, Op. 76 No. 4. Three Intermezzi, Op. 117. Seven Piano Pieces, Op. 118.
Arcadi Volodos, piano
SONY 88875130192 TT: 54:03
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MOMPOU: Prélude VII (Palmier d'étoiles). Damunt de tu només les flors. Scenes d'enfants. Hoy la tierra y los cielos me sonríen.. Ellago (Le lac). ...pour appeler la joie. Prelude XII. Dialogues 2. Dialogues 1. Musica callada I , II, XXVII, XXIV, XXV, XI, XV, XXII, XVI, VI, XXI.
Arcadi Volodos, piano
SONY 88765433262 TT: 63:16
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It is unfortunate Arcadi Volodos has made so few commercial recordings. This situation is rectified a bit by the fact that many of his performances can be seen on YouTube (although usually in poor audio). It seems odd that the pianist's recording of Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3 with Levine and the Berlin Philharmonic issued about 17 years ago apparently has been discontinued, as has his recording of a few years later of Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1 with Seiji Ozawa and the same orchestra (issued on SACD). One would think the label would wish to keep extraordinary performances like these in the catalog.

Finally, a new recording! This Brahms collection of three of the composer's later works was recorded in Berlin's Teldex Studios during sessions 2015 - 2017. As one would expect, this is Brahms played with the greatest technical security and beauty of tone. The only negative here is the limited playing time, considerably less than an hours. Surely Arcadi could have included several other works. And perhaps eventually we shall have the Brahms concertos?

The Monpou disk is much older, recorded in Berlin in 2012. Frederic Mompou was born in Barcelona 1888 and died in 1987 at the age of 94. He studied with Fauré and had great admiration for French impressionists, particularly Debussy and Satie. He wrote many short works for piano solo, a number of songs, music for guitar and some choral pieces. Mompou did not work on a big scale; most of his works are quite short, and it isn't of tern his music is heard at concerts. On recordings a number of major artists have recorded various works including Martin Jones (who recorded 4 disks), Alicia de Larrocha, Earl Wild, Stephen Hough and Leon Fleisher. Singers include Montserrat Caballé and Pilar Lorengar. You can even find the composer playing six of his works in the EMI Composers In Person series. There are many other recordings, and now we have this stunning issue featuring Arcadi Volodos. Two of the works are presented in Voodoos' own transcription, as he simply adds another layer of shimmer to the music; no digital wizardry here. The pianist's incredible virtuosity surely is not displayed in these simple, brief pieces, but his refined playing, subtle tonal coloring and beautiful sound always are. This disk contains some of the most beautiful piano playing you'll ever hear. And this is a deluxe issue with profuse program notes and many photos.

R.E.B. (May 2017)