CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21. Impromptu No. 3, Op. 51. Ballade No. 4, Op., 52. Berceuse, Op. 57. Mazurkas, Op. 58. Polonaise in A flat, Op. 53 "Heroid."
Nelson Freire, piano/Gürzenich-Orchester Löln/Lionel Bringuier, cond.
DECCA 478 5332 TT: 65"44
BUY NOW FROM AMAZON

ALKAN: Trois Petites Fantasies, Op. 41. Minuetto alla tedesca, Op. 46. Marche funèbre. Marche triomphale, Op. 27 No. 6, Poco lento from " Petits préludes sur les 8 gamm du plain-chants. Capriccio alla soldatesca, Op. 50. Le tambour ba aux champes, Op. 50bis. :Chanson de la folle au bord de la mer" (No. 8 from 25 Preludes Opo. 31. Los Deo (from Esquisses . Op. 63
Vincenzo Maltempo, piano
PIANO CLASSICS PCL 0083 TT: 57:58
BUY NOW FROM AMAZON

LINDBERG: Organ Sonata in G minor, Op. 23. MESSIAEN: Le banquet céleste. GAL: Toccata in E ,minor, Op. 29. NIELSEN: Commotio
Christian Wilson, organ
ACIS APL 34295 TT: 76:36
BUY NOW FROM AMAZON

Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire's latest disk is this outstanding Chopin collection. Featured is the Piano Concerto No. 2 recorded with the Gürzenich Orchestra directed by Lionel Bringuier in March 2013, more than two years after the two collaborated on the same concerto at a BBC Proms concert that has been issued on DVD (REVIEW). This surely is among the finest recordings available of this work, with a particularly lovely second movement. The other pieces were recorded in December 2013, a splendid selection of Chopin's works many of which are Freire's only recordings. Excellent sound throughout—and don't forget to check out the recent Decca set of live performances dating from 1968-1979(REVIEW), and that you can watch him play the Chopin Concerto one DVD.

Pianist Vincenzo Maltempo, winner of many competitions, has made a specialty of music of French-born Charles Valentin Alkan (1813-1888) who wrote a prodigious amount of incredibly difficult piano music. It has been reported his death ws caused when a large bookcse fell on him; otherwise we might have had even more unique music. Alkan was considered to be among the greatest composer/pianist of the 19th century. Ferrucio Busoni called his music the greatest in piano music since Liszt. Alkan's music first came to general public attention through the efforts of American pianist Raymond Lewenthal who gave several concerts of the composer's music and made an acclaimed RCA recording of some of it in the early '60s. Since that time a number of virtuoso pianists have joined the cause, and Vincenzo Maltempo is one of them. He already has recorded three disks, and now we have his latest, a varied collection of shorter works, all of great interest. He tosses them off with the greatest of ease. Many of these are relatively unknown, and this collection will intrigue those who love the cutting edge of music for the piano.

Young organist Christian Wilson is a major figure on England's music scene, organist of major cathedrals and appearing often on the BBC. His formidable talent is displayed on this welcome CD recorded on the huge organ of St. Martin's Church Dude lang . The program features music composed from 1924-1930, during a period when Schoenberg's 12-tone system was gaining recognition. CD notes are rather vague about all this, but it is obvious these composers rejeted Schoenberg's new approach to composition. We do have a brilliantly played program of major works for the organ performed with total authority and recorded with rich sonics that take the listener into the huge organ loft. The 24-minute Nielsen Commotio, with its pair of fugues, Commotiois particularly thrilling.

R.E.B. (April 2015)