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Piano Recital [Import]

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Product Details

  • Format: Classical, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Ideale Audience Intl
  • Release Date: April 24 2012
  • ASIN: B007C7FDWO

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A fine recital from a veteran pianist enjoying an Indian summer in his new solo career Oct. 10 2012
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
This concert featuring Menahem Pressler, the veteran pianist from the now retired Beaux Arts Trio, was recorded in 2011 when he was 88 years of age. Remarkably, his technical as well as his musical faculties remain at a very high level indeed. In the very detailed sleeve notes, which amount to his life history, he comments that he is now busier than ever having ceased his trio activities.

This is a demanding program and one that resonates strongly with his own history. The opening Beethoven sonata, for example, recalls his earlier days when he fainted during a piano lesson while playing it. This was partly the result of a lack of nourishment coupled with close identification with the emotional content of the piece as he conceived it. The music of Debussy relates to his winning a Debussy competition which was held out of sight of the judges. Little did they know that his repertoire of Debussy hardly existed at all beyond the competition pieces!

This recital, therefore, could almost be considered primarily as a tribute to a long-standing and much respected pianist in the musical world, a world that has changed considerably during his lifetime. As he remarks, technical standards have risen to such an extent with the newer generations that many reputable colleagues from earlier times would no longer have been able to get past the preliminary rounds in modern competitions on technical grounds alone. However, as he also remarks, there is more to music than just playing the notes.

In this case he brings to the recital a lifetime of experience and this is musically apparent throughout. The Beethoven and Schubert sonatas have tremendous gravitas but without any sense of aggression as can be heard in some other performances. Instead there is warmth of expression and roundness to the phrasing which harks back to an earlier generation. The 3 Chopin mazurkas are given fairly measured interpretations that avoid any suggestion of the dance. The final nocturne is played in much the same way. The Debussy Estampes evoke the appropriate images but with rather less digital clarity than we have become used to with award-winning younger pianists. In particular the bass of the piano can seem less clearly defined than is ideal and this may be more the problem of the 5.0 recording where there is no separate sub-woofer channel.

The recording is visually clear providing insights without intrusion. The surround sound, as just mentioned, is presented in 5.0 rather than 5.1. My personal feeling is that this was a mistake. I am aware that pianos do not go low enough to warrant a separate bass channel in terms of pitch, but that is not the point of a sub-woofer. Such a speaker is designed as a specialist unit to more clearly define the lower bass more clearly than an integrated main speaker. This applies no matter what the frequency range as in this case of limited range. Such a speaker should be balanced, not so that one notices it when it is playing, but rather that one notices its lack when it is not playing. In my opinion the lack of bass note clarity and of dance rhythmic underpinning on this disc could be more the fault of the recording rather than of the playing. The sound is also presented in stereo.

There is a particularly interesting sleeve note written by Menahem Pressler which makes for a gripping understanding of his past which then informed his future and the present.

This is a fine recital and one that is a fine tribute to a notable pianist in the Indian summer of his life. My one caveat concerns the lack of 5.1 surround sound as explained in some detail as above.

The audience at this concert recognised its musical value and were highly appreciative and gave enthusiastic support. I would expect many future purchasers of this disc to feel the same way and, bearing in mind my reservations as regards the sound, I feel that a fair rating would be for 4 stars. Those who are not bothered by such audio considerations might upgrade this to 5 stars. In the end such distinctions boil down to personal preference and I have made the choices pretty clear for readers to choose for themselves.


Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

Thank you for another EXCELLENT Review! (U.K. review)

Depending what venue I am in, there is occasionally a rather "Booming" resonance to the Lower Bass, which I have never heard from a Steinway before. Perhaps they jacked up the Bass Response to make up for the lack of a Subwoofer Channel?
It is rather unusual to hear the Music played in a charmingly Old-Fashioned Style, but with the advantage of modern Blu-Ray Picture Clarity!
My Audiences have reacted with surprise and delight that the Arthritic Fingers of ANY 90 Year-Old can play so nimbly!! (U.K. review)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
In the presence of a Master March 17 2014
By Ronald J. Kaye - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
We are indeed fortunate that this wonderful recital has been preserved for posterity in glorious Blu-ray and superb sound. I concur with the previous reviewers concerning the performance and overall production, except that I found the sound quality excellent in PCM-stereo through my old trusty Magneplanar panel speakers. Pressler's playing demonstrates a level of maturity and insight
that only a lifetime devoted to music can produce. A great musician and a master, in the truest sense. No one will regret obtaining this gem of a performance.....one that you will want to return to again and again.
what a treat! July 24 2014
By Louise Salant - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
arrived in perfect condition. Beautiful playing by the last of the older school pianists. Don't miss getting this one.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Splendid Disc Appears ! June 19 2012
By sunuo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Very wonderful disc! I was astonished at the moment that Pressler's piano sound entered into my ears. That sound is sincerely warm and heartful. I felt as if embraced with affluent humanity and tenderness which we have rarely gotten recently in this world.

Each of the music pieces played in this disc is favorately expressed in view of the characteristic and attractiveness in each of them.

You would certainly feel deep love and pleasure!

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