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Romantic Piano Favourites, Vol. 5
Richard Strauss, Fryderyk Chopin, Leon Jessel
Romantic Piano Favourites, Vol. 5
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, Classical
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1


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No technical problems, but slow pieces rather mechanical
Leslie Richford | Selsingen, Lower Saxony | 12/10/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is the third of the five piano recitals that Balázs Szokolay recorded for Naxos in the series ?Romantic Piano Favorites?. (The other five CDs were recorded by his Hungarian colleague Péter Nagy). As with the first two recitals, Szokolay commends himself as a pianist who has no technical problems, mastering with ease the fast and showy pieces that require virtuoso technique or even acrobatics. His Scarlatti, Schubert, Grieg and Gossec are eminently ?listenable? and he appears to come into his own with such light pieces as Leon Jessel?s ?Parade of the Tin Soldiers? or Gustav Lange?s ?Der kleine Postillon?. Unfortunately, he cannot convince with his performances of truly romantic repertoire or of slower pieces which ought to express wistfulness and great feeling. His ?Pavane pour une infante défunte? (Ravel) is, to my mind, abysmal, just a mechanical playing of notes without any of the emotion or ?gut feeling? I have come to expect from this music. The same could be said for Beethoven?s ?Für Elise?, which Szokolay takes quite relentlessly; his Mendelssohn, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Debussy suffer from a similar apparent desire to ?press on regardless? and never to linger over a particularly poignant note. And for this reason I cannot give the CD more than a rather generous three stars despite the superior sound quality (digital recording made in January 1988 at the Italian Institute in Budapest)."