This is Volume 1 in a new series devoted to the Works for Solo Piano by Johannes Brahms, starting with a selection of highly personal collections of Capriccios, Intermezzi, Ballades, a Romance, and Rhapsodies.
With SOLO PIANO, Glass presents himself "unplugged" - no electronic keyboards or synthesizers, and no overdubs, either - just solo piano. Here, Glass' connection to the established "classical" tradition is most evident. Though his pieces are "minimal" (subtly altered repeated patterns or melodic motifs), yet they have an unsentimental beauty and heartfelt grace that one would hear in J.S. Bach's English Suites, as well as the piano music of Chopin and Erik Satie.
The thirty-five CDs that make up the present boxed set are designed to acquaint listeners with one of the most important pianists of the 20th century or, if they are already familiar with his work, to allow them to rediscover it anew. Wilhelm Kempff (1895-1991) was the final representative of the great tradition of German pianists that also included Artur Schnabel (1882-1951) and Wilhelm Backhaus (1884-1969). Of the three, Kempff had by far the longest career - he gave his last public concert in 1982.
A unique complete collection released for the first time in Los Angeles, California, the Hamazkayin Music Committee is proud to present the works of Aram Khachaturian who was the first composer to place Armenian music on the international podium. By blending his individual creativity with distinctive features common to West European art forms, the style of medieval monophony, Armenian folkloric traditions, the art of ashughs, and the purism of artistic expression of the great Komitas, Khachaturian created a new aesthetic dimension in the art of music…
Barry Douglas’s decision in his Brahms series to mix and match pieces intuitively, rather than employing a strict sequence of genre or chronology, has given this series a pleasing personal slant, and Vol. 5 is no exception. Building the programme around three very different sets of variations, Douglas intersperses the more substantial works with palate-cleansing intermezzos, two little-known early Sarabandes – apparent fugitives from an unfinished Baroque-inspired suite or two – and one of Brahms’s not-so-jokey scherzos, the rugged Op. 4. Indeed, if you like your Brahms super-rugged, this CD will not disappoint. Douglas’s powerful tone and serious demeanour captures the composer’s uncompromising side; yet there’s a sense of flow that makes the intermezzos generous and warm without veering towards the emotionally indulgent. The Variations on a Hungarian Song and the Hungarian Dances are served on the bone with sour cream aplenty.
Having made a gradual switch during the 15 years since his first album was published from electronica to instrumental variations on ambient and minimalism, Max Richter is among the most commercially successful composers of our time. This album of his solo piano music belongs in the genre explored so thoroughly for Brilliant Classics by Jeroen van Veen, whose prolific recording history includes hugely popular albums of Philip Glass (BC9419) and Michael Nyman (BC95112), Ludovico Einaudi (BC94910) and Yann Tiersen (BC95129) and his fellow Dutch musician Jakob ter Veldhuis (BC94873) and himself (BC9454). The appetite for slowly moving, unchallenging, post-Minimalist music is apparently infinite, and so this new album is sure to be a success.
It was pretty clear that Billy Joel had run out of steam by 1993's River of Dreams. He had shown signs of wearing on its predecessor, Storm Front, but his trademark melodic gift disappeared on River of Dreams and his words, even performances, were bone-tired – he even called the last song "The Last Song (No More Words)." So, it was no great surprise that he did not rush to record a follow-up, and when he started murmuring toward the end of the decade that perhaps he wasn't interested in pop music anymore, nobody who paid attention could have been surprised.