Polonaise, Op. 53 'Heroic' (In A-Flat Major, In As-dur, En La Bemol Majeur)
Andante Spianato And Grande Polonaise, Op. 22 (In E-Flat Major, In Es-dur, En Mi Bemol Majeur)
Variations Brilliantes On An Aria From Ludovic By Herold, Op. 12
Contredanse (In G-Flat Major, In Ges-dur, En Sol Bemol Majeur)
Tarantelle, Op.43 (In A-Flat Major, In As-dur, En La Bemol Majeur)
I. Allegro Maestoso
II. Scherzo: Molto Vivace
IV. Finale: Presto Non Tanto
The late Malcolm Frager was one of America's greatest pianists. He was trained by his teacher Carl Friedberg--pupil of Clara Schumann and friend of Brahms--in the great Romantic tradition. In this superb, wide-range digi... more »tal recording, Frager plays some of Chopin's best-known music with color and poetic expression. In the opening two Polonaises, Frager handles the virtuosic demands unobtrusively, making beautiful music even out of the glittery difficulties of the Grande Polonaise. The Sonata receives a heroic performance, with touching playing of the long largo. This disc is a wonderful souvenir of a great artist who deserves to be remembered by all pianophiles. --Leslie Gerber« less
The late Malcolm Frager was one of America's greatest pianists. He was trained by his teacher Carl Friedberg--pupil of Clara Schumann and friend of Brahms--in the great Romantic tradition. In this superb, wide-range digital recording, Frager plays some of Chopin's best-known music with color and poetic expression. In the opening two Polonaises, Frager handles the virtuosic demands unobtrusively, making beautiful music even out of the glittery difficulties of the Grande Polonaise. The Sonata receives a heroic performance, with touching playing of the long largo. This disc is a wonderful souvenir of a great artist who deserves to be remembered by all pianophiles. --Leslie Gerber
"If you've ever wanted a benchmark recording of Chopin, get this one! This recording made waves more than a decade ago when it was one of the first to take advantage of Telarc's state-of-the-art digital recording process. On an LP, it challenged many styli to stay on-track during the lowest keys of the Tarantelle. (Telarc used this recording as a test track for audiophile equipment.) On CD, it still ranks among the best recordings in a now technically stringent industry.But that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. This CD's success lies in its two main stars: Malcolm Frager and the Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand Piano. Frager gives a truly remarkable performance of Chopin. His selected pieces provide a rich sampling of what the composer has done for the piano. I particularly loved his rendition of Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise-a work not often included in many repertoires. And the Bösendorfer (considered the "Rolls Royce" of pianos) sounds astounding-crisp, sweet treble and clear, resonant bass. This piano should really be featured in more recordings."
Caution: may break your heart
Edwin J. Firmage | SLC, UT USA | 01/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This gorgeous recording, sadly one of the few made by Frager, illustrates why a musician friend of mine says that it's impossible to make a bad sound on the Boesendorfer. Each of Frager's interpretations is definitive, and the quality of the sound will take your breath away. When I first heard the deep bass of the Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise the floor was fairly shaking. What a difference an extra octave of bass keys makes! The first time I heard Frager's rendition of the Sonata Op. 58 I was reduced to tears."
Great music, great artist, great piano = great enjoyment!
Craig Matteson | Ann Arbor, MI | 01/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Malcolm Frager is one of my favorite pianists and he died far too young. Born in 1935, he began studies at the age of six and by ten he had premiered with the St. Louis Symphony. He was awarded the Leventritt in 1959. This is a special recognition because the Leventritt was not a contest. The judges were unannounced and they examined young artists in their regular performances. They did not make awards every year and it has since been disbanded. It was an award of special merit and they got it right with Frager. He had great facility, but also tremendous artistic sensibility and a special intelligence. In addition to his great performance artistry, he was also a renowned scholar and made important discoveries of the original manuscript of the Schumann piano concerto and a collection of manuscripts of 18th and 19th century artists that were presumed lost in World War II. We miss him very much. Sadly, he died of cancer in 1991.
The first six tracks of this wonderful disk were previously released. With them is a very fine recording of the monumental Sonata in B-minor Opus 58. Every track is a delight and you will want to hear them. His playing is free and clear. There are no tricks or mannerisms in order to appeal to the popular audience. This is gloriously pure playing of Chopin that goes at both the heart and the mind.
His piano is the co-star of this album. It was recorded in 1978 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Bösendorfer piano. This is considered one of the elite pianos and has its fans. Some call it their imperial grand the Rolls Royce of pianos. They are still hand made in Vienna in small quantities. Yes, they are very expensive. But if you need to ask ...
The disk opens with the ever popular and wonderful Heroic Polonaise in A-flat major Opus 53. The Andante Spianato & Grand Polonaise, and the opus 12 Variations Brillantes follow. He then plays the Mazuraks Opus 6, a Contredanse, the Opus 43 Tarantelle, and then the previously mentioned B-minor Sonata. All wonderful stuff.
This is a disk you will enjoy listening too many times."
A Steinway Artist Plays a Bösendorfer
Jayne I. Hanlin | St. Louis, MO | 01/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although Malcolm Frager (1935-1991) was officially a Steinway artist during his career, he used a Bösendorfer for this recording. Regardless what name appeared on the instrument he played, however, he was always a master performer. His technique was flawless, his touch exquisite, and his musical interpretation authentic. I was privileged to hear him perform all of these Chopin selections in live concerts between the early 1950's and his passing, and this recording captures his artistic magic for listeners today."
A must have for the piano lover and audiophile
Shady Ave Reader | Arlington, VA | 03/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is certainly one of the finest sounding piano albums I have heard. The quality of the playing and the recording are both of the highest order. Malcom Frager made several other notable recordings, including an RCA Living Stereo recording of the Prokofiev second piano concerto (a favorite of mine). However, I think this is the best sounding of all his recordings. He plays with a fluid romantic style that one does not hear so much today, and it suits the Chopin pieces perfectly. And as others have said, the bass extension on the Bosendorfer piano, and the recording's ability to capture it, is truly extraordinary. I am sure you will have many hours of enjoyment listening to this beautiful CD - I know I have."