Friday, June 17, 2011
Les Introuvables d'Alexis Weissenberg EMI 4CDs
The two "Sonettos" by Franz Liszt are gorgeous! Alexis plays them beautifully with much feeling. Surprising for me, (I usually don't) I even enjoyed the BIG "Mephistophelian" Liszt sonata in B minor--my god, Weissenberg plays the hell out of that work (no pun intended). One of my favorites, the Chopin Sonata #2 is given a splendid reading--the first two movements are played at a ferociously fast tempo; however, the "Marche funebre" is the most moving account of that movement that I've ever heard! Weissenberg's account of the last movement is most impressive--he never allows the tone to get any louder until the very last profound chord--wow! The Rachmaninov concerto #3 with Georges Pretre and the Chicago Symphony is wonderfully mysterious and very melodic. I also loved his recordings of the Ravel Concerto in G major plus Ravel's "Le tombeau de Couperin suite" and "Valses nobles" hearing Weissenberg play Ravel reminded me of a good glass of Champagne filled with many bubbles and with a great bouquet. The Prokofiev concerto recorded with the Orchestra of Paris and Ozawa is thrilling with its intensity--what virtuosity Alexis Weissenberg has! Weissenberg along with Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra give a wonderfully "full bodied" reading of Brahms 1st Piano Concerto--I've never heard the Philadelphia sounding any better--it is a great recording of a work that I adore!
I truly loved this 4 disc set (each running over 70 minutes) of some very GREAT piano playing. NO, I did not listen with score(s) in hand nor did I seek out other recordings of these works from my collection to compare Alexis' interpretations with. Instead, I allowed myself the luxury of sitting back in my favorite "arm chair" and simply enjoying these great works for the piano that are played by a Master of the piano! What really impresses me is that Weissenberg plays with very beautiful tone no matter how demanding the work may be--that is certainly the main reason I, for once, enjoyed the Liszt B minor sonata!
By the way, EMI has done a superlative job--the sound of ALL the works is great. Not once, was I aware that I was listening to an older recording. The sound is great!!