THALBERG: Transriptios of music by Beethoven Schubert, Lisat, Mozart, Schubert, Bellini, Weber, Donizetti, and others
Paul Wee, piano
BIS SACD 2515 (2 disks) TT: 139:11
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SIMAKU: Music for solo piano and string quartet
Joseph Houston, piano. Quator Diotima
BIS SACD 2448 TT: 81:15
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Music of Schubert, Boccherii, Hindson, Boccherini, Corrales, Farr,
United Strings of Europe
BIS 2528 TT: 50:44
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Recently this site praised Marc-André Hamelin's recording of virtuoso transcriptions inc;including several by Sigsmund Sigemond Thalberg (1812 - 1871) (REVIEW). If you'd like to hear more music cimposed by this amazing virtuoso, here is a fine collection of Thalberg's music for piano. It incudes elaborate transcriptions of music from operas and works by Mozart, Rossini, Weber, Mendelssohn, Beethoven Schubert and many others. Usually these are virtuoso showpieces, and all are brilliantly played by pianist Paul Wee. About a yer ago, this site praised his first recording for BIS two major works of Charles Alkan (REVIEW). Again he displays a solid technique as we;; as sensitivity. A fine important collection handsomely presented. The recordings were made March 2020 in England's Wyastone Estate, Monmouith, and the BIS engineers have provided a most natural audio picture

Thomas Simaku (b. April 18,1958) is an Albanian-British composer. He has received many awards and prizes. It is helpful that program for this new SACD are written by him. We have the String Quartet No 5 composed in 2010-2011 dedicated to the Quartuor Diotima (heard in this recording), and the Quartet No 5 written five years later. Also we have the piece called con-ri-sonanza for piano and string quartet composed in 2018), and three pieces for solo piano: Catena I written in 2019, L'image oubliée d'apres Debussy, and Hommage à Kurtág. We can be sure what is hear here is what he intended. I found nothing of interest here, and the two string quartets contain some of the ugliest chamber music I've ever experienced. Some of this can be heard/seen on You Tube Tube. Check it out, and approach with extreme caution.

United Strings of Europe is a new group of virtuoso players headed by Amalia Hall. They have been praised for heir varied programs combining the od and the new. This BIS recording, their firstfor the label, offers such a combination with standard works of Schubert and Boccherini along with music of Australian composer Matthew Hudson (b.1968) : Maralinga, in a version for solo violin and strings, written 2009.2010. Marainga was an isolated area in the dessert inhabited mostly by Aborigines. It was used in the mid-fifties for a series of atomic tests without regard for those living nearby, many of whom were killed or harmed The music is appropriately dissonant and menacing. Señores, lees voy a contar is a five-minute work based on music from legendary family archives, a recent work by by Salvadorian/Swiss composer Arturo Corroles. Gareth Farr'sMondo Rondo, originally written for string quartet in 1997, is heard in an arrangement for string orchestra There are three movements (beginning and ending with the tite), and this perhaps is the least interesting music on this recording. The recordings were made March 2020 in London's Church of Saint Silas the Martyr, and the multi-channel sound is excellent. It seems odd more music isn't included on this disk—paying time is only 50:44.

R.E.B. (December 2020)

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