Impressive but slow
Michael Whincop | GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY, QLD AUSTRALIA | 06/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Weight is the keynote of this CD. There are few performances of these wonderful transcriptions that I know of which are as solemnly broad as these. Demidenko is a great pianist. He is obviously inside Busoni's idiom and he has good recorded sound. His program is excellent, not only for giving us the more recorded pieces like the d minor Toccata and the preludes, but for much less recorded pieces, such as the St Anne Prelude & Fugue, the Capriccio, and the C major Toccata.Comparisons in works like Nun komm are revealing. Demidenko weighs in at just under 7 minutes; Lipatti's famous recording is one second over 4! Undoubtedly, this captures the gravitas of these works, but there are times, as in the Prelude of BWV552 that one could wish for a bit more thrust. Likewise, the opening of the striding C major Toccata sounds unnecessarily portentous, especially by the side of a good performance on the organ.I don't wish to give the impression that this is universally so. Demidenko turns in a dazzling Nun freut euch, the best ever recorded, and his octave uproar at the end of the prelude of the St Anne fugue and the thundering close of the Fugue in the C major Toccata makes you forgive the earlier indulgences. Likewise, you will never hear these works offered with so much colour or tonal variety. It's certainly a disk to avoid if you are a purist, but I frankly doubt purists would have picked it up in the first place.So, if you like this repertoire, you're should like this disk. I have played it countless times. There's also frankly little competition: Rösel on Berlin and Fergus Thompson on ASV are worth listening to, but neither is in Demidenko's class. Madge on Dante is very disappointing. So until we get a release of Fiorentino's droolingly fantastic program, Demidenko sweeps the board. Don't forget some of the non-Busoni transcriptions, like Pizarro's Liszt transcriptions, Feinberg's own wonderful versions, and either the Scherbakov or Grante versions of the Godowsky."
Walter Fekula | New York, NY USA | 04/24/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Wincop does a superb job reviewing this disc. Rather than repeat his words, I just want to add that the music is beautiful and a pure joy to listen to. I had the good fortune to listen to hear Mr. Demidenko when he gave his New York City debut last month at the Frick Museum. Our culture setter, the New York Times, did not bother to send a reviewer. Needless to say, he played wonderfully after getting used to the rented Steinway, which was harsh. He played several Bach-Busoni transcriptions as encores which led me to this disc. Hyperion does a wonderful job in capturing the dynamic range. Bravo to all."
My number 3 desert island disc
Brian Clever | Oswego, IL USA | 07/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The version of the Capriccio in Bb on this disc is worth the price of
admission all by itself. Simply beautiful."