These keyboard studies are stunning in their often flashy complexity, but also have a wonderful, simple beauty to them.
The Liszt "Six Paganini Studies" are glittering delights, played with brilliance and astounding virtuosity. Some of the melodies are old musical friends, like the famous "La Campanella" (track # 3), and perhaps the most familiar of all, on track # 6, which is used in the other 2 compositions, as well as the Rachmaninoff "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini".
The Ignaz Friedman (1882-1948) "Studies" Op. 47 have a more romantic feel to them; less hurried, softer, and are played with enormous feeling and sensitivity. Friedman, it is noted in the liner notes, was "one of the greatest piano virtuosi of the early 20th century", and was known for his "technique of double notes", which is why Op. 47 is "shot though with double-note texture".
The Brahms "Variations on a Theme by Paganini" has, as one would imagine, the most "forte" passages on the CD; it is a strong, marvelous piece, with a powerful finale.
This is the first time I have heard Matti Raekallio, and I am astounded by his technical mastery and artistry. Born in Finland, he has that special "touch" that makes a good pianist great.
The sound is crystal clear, and the total time is 62:44.