Five Piano Recordings For Your Summer Listening Pleasure
Jean Yves Thibaudet – Eric Satie: The Complete Solo Piano Music
What’s here: Every piano piece written and signed by Eric Satie, from the witty Vexations and Grimaces to the Enfantines. The set is comprised of 5 CDs organized by 1.) First Works, 2.) Early Works, Rose+Croix & Music Hall, 3.) Exercises, Pieces for Children & Late Works, 4.) Fanciful Works, and finally 5.)Incidental Music & Four-Handed Piano Music. (The four-handed piano music is performed by Pascal Rogé and Jean-Philippe Collard.)
Favorite tracks: There is quite a lot to discover here and my finds were The Dreamy Fish and The Angora Ox, 3 Choses Vue A Droit Et A Gauche (for violin & piano), Danses Gothiques, and La Belle Excentrique.
Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim – Live from Buenos Aires
Favorite tracks: My favorites by far were the 3 movements of Debussy’s In Black and White. The contrasts in color and texture plus exquisite timing were everything I could have wished for.
Bonus: Love Martha Argerich? Check out her performances of Beethoven, Ravel, and Prokofiev on this new release, Martha Argerich: The Early Recordings.
Gilbert Kalish: Haydn, Beethoven, & Schubert
Favorite tracks: All of them. I simply cannot choose. This is one of my favorite recordings ever. Elegance, grace, power, wisdom, innocence, delicacy, fire… it’s all here. But, if I had to pick a favorite it would be the Beethoven Bagatelles Op. 119 without question.
Leon Fleisher: All the Things You Are
What’s Here: Arrangements and original compositions for the LH alone. Included are Brahms’ arrangement of Bach’s great Chaconne as well as music by Gershwin, Kirchner, Mompou, Kern, and more. The late 20th Century is absolutely represented by pieces by George Perle and Dina Koston (her Thoughts of Evelyn was written in 2000). This recording was released in 2013 but bears a re-mention here. I have so much respect for this man who could have just given up when his body failed him but instead chose to fight and keep doing everything he was capable of and a few things they said he wasn’t.
Favorite tracks: The Man I Love (arranged by Earl Wild), and L.H. by Leon Kirchner. There is something about Kirchner that always speaks to me and this does not disappoint.
Ponthus/Boulez: Complete Works for Solo Piano
What’s Here: This is certainly the outlier of these 5 recordings. But, if Boulez is your thing or if you want to explore what he is all about, piano wise, then this is for you. The 2 CD set contains all of Boulez’s piano music including the 3 Sonatas.
Favorite tracks: Favorite might be a little strong but I really am intrigued by Une page d’ephéméride and would like to spend some time with it. This Album Leaf was actually written as the first piece in a new keyboard cycle which was sadly never finished.