The greatest pianist I've ever heard
D. R. Schryer | Poquoson, VA United States | 12/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Personally, I regard Alexis Weissenberg as the greatest pianist I've ever heard. Although superb technically, Weisenberg is most outstanding for his incredible artistry. This set of recordings contains some of his greatest recordings -- indeed some of the greatest performances ever recorded by anyone. Very highly recommended."
Weissenberg's Unforgettables - - Truly Introuvables!
G. Engler | The Frigid Northeast | 08/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first became aware of this set at a friend's house. I was hearing the Brahms Intermezzo which is on Disc #2 and was enthralled. "Who is the pianist?" I asked. My friend smiled and said: "Listen to this" as he cured the same disc up to the Czerny Variations. I was speechless. Speechless and stunned. I had no idea, but this was virtuosic playing of the highest order.
At this point he showed me this 4 disc set of Les Introuvables - and I made a point of acquiring it. It's hard to find, but well worth the effort - this is supreme music making of the highest order.
The earlier reviews of this set have extolled the virtus of many of these performances, and I see no need to be redundant. But to echo previous claims, the major concerti (Brahms 1, Rachmaninoff 3, and Prokofiev 3 are all amazing. I'd go so far to say that the only other recording that I'm aware of that rivals Weissenberg's Rachmaninoff 3 is the Horowitz/Reiner 1951 recording.) The Petrushka is both historic and monumental - rivalled only by Richter . (Weissenberg's only true rival in the Prokofiev 3 as well. I'll let other quibble about "best"!)
The solo works are among the finest interpretations to be heard - these include the Liszt and Chopin Sonatas (Oh! The Chopin!) and the Franck Prelude, Fugue, and Variation - rivaled only by the elegant, patrician Rubinstein.
This set continues to provide hours and hours of musical pleasure. Each disc contains at least 70 minutes of musical joy.
To have heard it, is a privilege. To own it is to have treasure in your possession.
Why on earth has EMI deleted this gem from its catalogue?"
An incredible array of top-tier pianism
Ryan Morris | Chicago, IL | 07/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Weissenberg has always been somewhat of a paradox. He can attain the highest realms of his art, yet also achieve almost impossibly boring and uninspired performances[case in point-the Goldberg variations[bad].
Yet his Rachmaninov Prelude set on RCA have never been bettered and contain some of the finest pianism ever recorded!! And the preludes are a crowded field[Richter, Rachmaninov himself, Horowitz, Sofronitsky] I can honestly no one matches Weissenberg's extraordinary commentary on these pieces. If you have not heard his version---get them now. This set includes mostly moments of Weissenberg at his virtuosic best. Case in point-the Stravinsky petroushka receives a spellbinding performance truly awe-inspiring for those of us who have dared attempt such a devilish piece. Listen to his sparse pedaling yet complete control over every single painful chord[not to mention uncomfortable]. I cannot fathom how he achieved such clarity in this piece with minimal pedaling-in mvmt 1.
This set contains a generous helping of warhorses. From the Rach3[ the recording puts the piano so far up front that it, at times, almost sounds like just a piano performance which, for this cto is actually very interesting for those of us with many versions. His pianism is on full display here since there is an almost inaudible accompaniment-kind of like a singer all on her own], Brahms1, Prokofiev3, Liszt and Chopin sonata's[the latter's second]. Then there is his Ravel Concerto, Valse Nobles, and Le Tombeau, all of which reveal the many faces this painist can portray all authentically.
Wiessenberg never achieved the status of, say Van Cliburn or Richter. If it was because he was inconsistent, then that is exceedingly unfair when paired with Richter who was similiar in terms of ability-Richter at this best was the best and at his worst[still intriguing] though at times could be uninspiring. He is far beyond Van Cliburn.
I can not recommend this more, especially for those who love pianism. First, however, get his RCA Rach preludes, one of the finest piano discs of all time."