CAMERON LIVE! THE CD: BACH: Toccata in F# BWV 540. Prelude and Fugue
in B minor BWV 544. Prelude and Fugue in E minor BWV 548. Prelude and Fugue
in A minor
and Fugue in D BWV 532. Prelude and Fugue in G BWV 541. Improvised cadenza.
CARPENTER: Serenade and Fugue on B.A.C.H.
LISZT: 12 Transcendental Etudes
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491. Piano Concerto
No. 25 in C, K. 503. Piano Concerto No. 26 in D, K. 537 "Coronation."
Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat, K. 595.
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491.
Piano No. 25 in C, K. 503. Piano Concerto No. 26 in D, K. 537 "Coronation." Piano
Concerto No. 27 in B flat, K. 595
CHOPIN: Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58. Fantasie-Impromptu in
C sharp minor, Op. 66. Prélude in C sharp minor, Op. 45. Scherzo
No. 4 in E, Op. 54. Nocturne in F, Op. 15 No. 1. Fantaisie in F minor,
Op. 43. Waltz No. 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 64 No. 2
The dynamic young organist Cameron Carpenter made a spectacular disk debut about four years ago with a CD of his own New York City Sessions and an imaginative DVD of his transcription of Pictures at an Exhibition with an imaginative kaleidoscopic panorama to accompany it (REVIEW). His next recording, for Telarc, offered a remarkable display of virtuosity, a surround sound concert plus an 18-minute DVD of several stunning performances (REVIEW). Now we have his third set, also on Telarc. One is a a stereo CD of music of Bach: five preludes and fugues, Toccata in F sharp, a Bach improvised cadenza, and Carpenter's own Serenade and Fugue on B.A.C.H. These were recorded during a concert in October 2009 in New York's Church of Saint Mary the Virgin on the Aeolian-Skinner 1933 organ. The second disk is a DVD of music of Shostakovich, Schubert, Liszt, Moskowski, Vierne, Widor, Bach, Sousa and Carpenter; many of these works are in transcriptions by the organist taped on a four-manual organ in the Hardman Studio with each work introduced by Carpenter (which can be skipped). The DVD also contains music of Debussy, Moskowski, Bach and Carpenter recorded during a 2009 concert in Berlin's Saint Matthias Church. While I was highly enthusiastic about Carpenter's two previous releases, this one disappoints, primarily because of audio. The rich organ sound that distinguished previous issues is not be heard here, doubtless primarily because of the instruments, and the engineers have failed to capture the higher registers of the organs, which often are blurred. Production values disappoint; most necessary information is there, but there are no complete track listings, and no timings. To hear Carpenter at his best, check his earlier recordings.
Alice Sara Ott, born in 1988 to a German father and Japanese mother, is the latest addition to Deutsche Grammophon's pianistic roster, and makes her debut recording in a spectacular way with this set of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes. Liszt originally wrote these in 1826 and revised them twice, publishing the final version in 1837. The latter is the version played by Ott, who in the past two years had made a specialty of performing this in concert, a major challenge for any young pianist. Her technical command is supreme, and her sensitive playing of the quieter moments shows the greatest control.
Decca has a two-for-the-price-of-one issue of the late Alicia De Larrocha playing four Mozart concertos. This is the first international CD release of concertos 25 and 27 which were recorded in London's Kingsway Hall in December 1977. Concertos 24 and 26 were recorded in London's Henry Wood Hall in March 1985, but were never released as both the pianist and conductor were concerned about the hall's acoustics and felt that the mid-frequencies were muddy, but because of busy schedules, this editing was never done. Producer Michael Haas points out that what is heard here is an "initial edit" that might have had some retakes had there been time. For most listeners, these will sound like spontaneous "live" performances and are welcome additions to the catalog made with the approval of the pianist's family and Solti's estate.
That Mozart is in good hands with the current generation is obvious from a splendid new Bridge set of his four final concertos played by Russian-born (1979) pianist Vassily Primakov. He studied in Moscow before coming to the United States where at Juilliard he worked with Jerome Lowenthal. Since then, Primakov has won many major prizes and made a number of recordings of Chopin, Schumann, Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorak and Tchaikovsky. Now he turns to Mozart, advertised as Volume I of a series, starting with four of the mightiest concertos, magnificently played. Primakov plays Fauré's cadenza in Concerto No. 24, Landowska's in Concerto No. 26, and a rather grand cadenza "by J. N. Hummel & V. Primakov" in Concerto No. 26. Excellent, natural sound from producers David and Becky Starobin and engineer Viggo Mangor. Collectors may wish to investigate the pianist's many other fine recordings on Bridge.
Nikolai Lugansky already has to his credit outstanding Warner Classics recordings of Rachmaninoff's music for piano and orchestra (REVIEW), and Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1 on Pentatone (REVIEW). Now we have the Russian pianist's first recording for his new label, Onyx, a Chopin collection featuring the Sonata No. 3, Scherzo No. 4, Fantaisie in F minor, and 4 shorter works. Lugansky's early Chopin recordings (Etudes, Preludes) were acclaimed for their spontaneity but these new recordings lack the fire that perhaps playing before a live audience would have provided. Excellent piano sound, but this Chopin collection is not, unfortunately, among the pianist's finer recordings.
R.E.B. (August 2010)