Michelangeli Plays Grieg & Debussy

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Andrew Farach-Colton
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli was a mysterious figure, and not merely because of his reclusive lifestyle and his tendency to cancel performances. His musical personality was a perplexing amalgamation of opposites, which this CD places in stark relief. Both the Grieg Concerto and the first book of Debussy's Préludes were recorded during concerts at London's Royal Festival Hall -- the Grieg in 1965, the Debussy in 1982. Those who complain about Michelangeli's iciness will surely find their objections melting away over the course of this scorching interpretation of the Grieg. No, the pianist doesn't indulge in many "romantic" liberties, but the level of intensity ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Andrew Farach-Colton
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli was a mysterious figure, and not merely because of his reclusive lifestyle and his tendency to cancel performances. His musical personality was a perplexing amalgamation of opposites, which this CD places in stark relief. Both the Grieg Concerto and the first book of Debussy's Préludes were recorded during concerts at London's Royal Festival Hall -- the Grieg in 1965, the Debussy in 1982. Those who complain about Michelangeli's iciness will surely find their objections melting away over the course of this scorching interpretation of the Grieg. No, the pianist doesn't indulge in many "romantic" liberties, but the level of intensity is pitched very high. Not only are the tempos consistently urgent, but the notes are etched with a knife-sharp edge, something one rarely encounters in this work. Turning to Debussy, one might think a different pianist is at work. There is a similarly chiseled tone, to be sure, but the emotional temperature is significantly cooler. If you are familiar with the pianist's famous DG recording of these Préludes made in 1978, you shouldn't be surprised by what you hear in this live version, although the pianist does play with greater rhythmic freedom than he did in the studio. Some things come off better here -- "Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir" is more coy and sensuous, and "Minstrels" is more light-footed -- but not everything. The climax of "La cathédrale engloutie," for example, is too hard, as if the walls were made steel instead of stone. Michelangeli fans will need no persuasion to add this disc to their collection, while for others it provides a pretty good clue as to what all the fuss is about.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/10/2000
  • Label: Bbc Legends
  • UPC: 684911404326
  • Catalog Number: 4043

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Primary Artist
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