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Berg, Brahms, Beethoven, Bach
     

Berg, Brahms, Beethoven, Bach

by Jura Margulis
 
If the microphones had been set a bit closer so more musical detail had emerged and less hall ambience had intruded, this might have been one of the finest piano recitals released in 2009. As it is, however, this disc by Jura Margulis will have to stand as one of the best played, best interpreted, best programmed recitals of piano music of the year, but one with

Overview

If the microphones had been set a bit closer so more musical detail had emerged and less hall ambience had intruded, this might have been one of the finest piano recitals released in 2009. As it is, however, this disc by Jura Margulis will have to stand as one of the best played, best interpreted, best programmed recitals of piano music of the year, but one with disappointing sound. Margulis' previous disc of piano transcriptions showed that he has a tremendous technique, a big but nuanced tone, and a virtuoso's charisma. While that program was a potpourri of terrifically difficult transcriptions, this repertoire is tightly focused on the hardest of hardcore Austro-Germanic piano music -- Bach's "G minor English Suite," Beethoven's "C minor Variations," Brahms' "Paganini Variations," and Berg's "Sonata" -- cunningly programmed in reverse chronological order. In every work, the Russian-born, German-raised, and American-trained pianist turns in readings of immense power and intensity, plumbing Bach's spiritual depths, Beethoven's muscular drama, Brahms' bracing dynamism, and Berg's passionate emotions, yet maintaining his own identity as an interpreter. Unfortunately, the microphones were placed a tad too far back, and when the textures get heavy, details get buried, marring Margulis' scrupulous playing, and slightly but perceptibly diminishing the aesthetic value of his performance. This disc, however, does have one other conspicuous merit: Margulis plays a Bechstein, a piano with everything any pianist would want: deep tones, rich colors, smooth action, a resounding bass, a brilliant top, and a ringing middle. Sadly, these virtues, too, are obscured by the sound quality of the recording.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/28/2009
Label:
Oehms
UPC:
0812864018271
catalogNumber:
732

Tracks

  1. Piano Sonata, Op. 1
  2. Variations (28) on a Theme of Paganini, for piano, in A minor, Op. 35
  3. Variations (32) on an original theme for piano in C minor, WoO 80
  4. English Suite, for keyboard No. 3 in G minor, BWV 808 (BC L15)

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