Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Benjamin Britten, Sergey Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel|
Ravel, Prokofiev, Britten: Piano Works for the Left Hand
Listen to Samples
Wittgenstein was wrong
Allan R. MacLeod | 05/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album of left-handed works commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein was an eye-opener for me. The Ravel concerto is well known but it is an odd work. Its opening seems to come from the bottom of the Rhine and if you haven't cranked up your stereo you may miss it or else assume a heavy truck is passing by. It begins with very low basses and works up through double bassoons until light breaks through thus hellish darkness. But thereafter it is rather a mishmash of styles--hardly a concerto at all. But Wittgenstein at least played it which is not true of the Prokofiev which this recording persuades me is one of Prokofiev's finest works. Stylistically, especially in its slow movement, it seems to towe a lot to Romeo and Juliet. It is a true concerto with some dazzling solo passages. Why Wittgenstein claimed he could not understand it, while he understood the Ravel, is beyond me. The Britten, as every one agrees, is the delight of the album. It is playful and ironic, an undiscovered gem. And Ozawa and the orcjestra are in top form. Tbis is an album to galdded any one's aheart on a gloomy day."
Three Disparate Works Performed with Finesse
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While there is no dearth of recordings of the beautiful Ravel 'D major Piano Concerto for the Left Hand' (I still favor the old John Browning recording...), there are very few opportunities to hear Britten's 'Diversions for Piano (left hand) and Orchestra' and that is one fine reason for obtaining this recording.
Not that that is the only reason: Leon Fleisher has a way of tossing off this difficult literature as if these three concerti are under two hands rather than one. His reading of the Ravel is luminous and his flair for Prokofiev is evident in this Concerto for Piano (left hand) and Orchestra No. 4.
But for this listener it is the grace and delicacy of the Britten work that demands attention. Perhaps more exposure to this theme and variations discourse through recordings as fine as this will result in the work appearing on more concert programs. Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra provide solid support, if not the 'collaboration' approach of other conductors. Well worth owning. Grady Harp, January 06"
Left Hand Extravaganza
Brett A. Kniess | Madison, WI | 04/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sony Classical records has made another wonderful recording, this time by the Boston Symphony under Maestro Ozawa. Unfortunately, Ozawa is known for bad recordings; this one however is top of the line.These three selections were written for Paul Wittgenstein, a pianist with one hand. These modern piano masterpieces are filled with colorful orchestration and each have a certain way of handling the writing of music for a one-handed pianist.The Ravel is very impressionistic. Light colorful inflections of orchestra. This work features the piano in a cadenza fashion; rarely do piano and orchestra play together. While not as great as his Piano Concerto in G, his left-handed piano concerto is a staple in Ravel literature.The Prokofiev is unusual, (the person it was written for wouldn't play it), but one of his great piano concertos. Fitting between Ravel and Britten, this concerto is the more serious, but still brimming with character as the only Russian modernist on the disk.The Britten is the prize on this recording. A theme and variations, we truly get to see what piano virtuoso Leon Fleisher can truly do with one hand in various contrasting sections. The toccata is glorious and the piano playing is remarkable. The only comparable recording of this work is Simon Rattle's recording on EMI.Ozawa leads Boston with conviction and occasional bombastic youth. Leon Fleischer plays convincingly on this quite unique disk. I often have to keep reminding myself he is playing with one hand. Purchase this CD if not to only entertain yourself with virtuosic left-handed playing of great music. Try this CD!"