Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Dmitri Shostakovich, Keith Jarrett|
Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues Op. 87
Shostakovich composed his 24 Preludes and Fugues for the brilliant Russian pianist Tatiana Nikolayeva (whose own distinguished version is also on disc), but it's American Keith Jarrett who really nails these amazing, revel... more »
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Shostakovich composed his 24 Preludes and Fugues for the brilliant Russian pianist Tatiana Nikolayeva (whose own distinguished version is also on disc), but it's American Keith Jarrett who really nails these amazing, revelatory works which together form one of the masterpieces of 20th-century piano music. This recording is a must for all lovers of piano music and of Bach, whose own works inspired them. --David Vernier
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Keith Jarrett - the Hands of an American
James Arey | New Orleans, Louisiana United States | 08/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's a 2-CD set of these 24 preludes and fugues by Ashkenazy. The Ashkenazy version sounds absolutely stolid next to these silvery readings by Jarrett. Now, there IS the issue of technique... Once could, quite easily, pick on some of Jarrett's voicings, or his broken chords vs. pure sonorities... But while Ashkenazy's performance is sturdy and craftsmanlike, Jarrett's is painterly and fluid. Listen to the first selection on CD number 2 - the bird-like Prelude in F-sharp Major, and the following fugue, a glorious, long-breathed song in five parts... there is such LIFE in Jarrett's hands here! Pick and choose your favorites from among the 24... program your CD player to play your favorites as a suite... Listen for the influences of Debussy, Prokofiev, and most of all, Bach... And thank producer Manfred Eicher for his crystalline sound. 5 stars"
James Arey | 08/12/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jarrett's traversal of this pinnacle of 2oth century piano music turns out to be very classically inspired--with clean lines and clear counterpoint. This offers many bounties, but also a few quibbles.Jarrett's approach works wonders with many of the major key pieces. The C Major fugue flows along serenely and the A Major fugue positively glows. In addition, the amazing Couperin-inspired Bb minor fugue--with its gracefully ornamented theme--sings sadly for its nearly 10-minute length.Unfortunately, when darker emotions surface, Jarrett seems to shy away from the implications. Worst of all, he almost completely misses the rage in the final D minor fugue which was clearly Shostakovich sending a covert message to the authorities that he was bowed but unbroken by their harassment. Comparing Jarrett to Nikolayeva or Petrushansky (whose set is also a worthy competitor), one finds the Russian "soul" that is missing with Jarrett. However, one has to put up with some clumsy pianism in these performances as well as some tempos that are too slow to carry the music. I haven't heard Shostakovich's own performances, but suspect that they're the most powerful of all but may be compromised by less than perfect sound. I have high hopes for Ashkenazy who is the first "name" pianist to approach the whole set--Richter having done a few of them in the 70s. My solution? Buy Jarrett and one of the Russians. This music is so wonderful that it can support more than one approach. Which set I choose to play depends completely on my mood. I'm not upset by any of them."
The best overall recorded performance of a classic work.
James Arey | 01/23/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a Shostakovich fan, as I am, then you probably already have at least one of Tatiana Nikoleava's versions of this masterpiece, as well as the various excerpts recorded by Shostakovich himself in the late 50's. You still want to add this one to your collection. If you are unfamiliar with the work, this is the recording to have. Jarrett not only is ideally suited for the more technically demanding parts of this work, his performance is the best available at capturing all of the different facets of these 48 separate pieces. The sound of the recording is very consistent, which unfortunately seems to be a drawback. The slightly reverberent and distant sounds works perfectly for the slower and more dramatic pieces, but the drier sound of the Nikoleava's recordings more clearly captures the razor-sharp fast passages, particularly in the fugues. If you are not familiar with this work at all, be advised that this not in any way a rehash of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. It was written in the fall of 1950 after Shostakovich was denounced by Stalin for the second time and banned from teaching or having his works performed. This is the pearl that emerged -- easily the major piano work of the 20th century. Unfortunately, there were no more piano works from Shostakovich, since he chose instead to concentrate on symphonies and string quartets for the rest of his life."