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Verdi Opera Transcriptions


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1. Rigoletto: Paraphrase De Concert, S434/R267
2. Aida: Danza Sacra E Duetto Final, S436/R269
3. Miserere Du Trovatore, S433/R266
4. Salve Maria De 'Jerusalem' (I Lombardi), S431/R264
5. Don Carlos: Coro Di Festa E Marcia Funebre, S435/R268
6. Reminiscences De Boccanegra, S438/R271
7. Ernani: Paraphrase De Concert, S432/R265

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Amazon.com: 1 review
a fine alternative to Arrau's reference recordings April 3 2015
By jsa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Alexandre Dossin was born in Brazil, studied in Russia for nine years where he earned his MFA at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in 1996, and completed his education in the US (DMA University Texas, Austin). He picked up a number of awards along the way including First Prize (and the Special Prize) at the Martha Argerich International Piano Competition in 2003, the Silver Medal and Second Honorable Mention in the Maria Callas Grand Prix in 1996, and the Third Prize and Special Prize at the 1995 Mozart International Piano Competition. Dossin, currently associate professor of piano performance and piano literature at the University of Oregon, also has a handful of Naxos discs to his credit, and is an editor for the Schirmer Performance Edition Series.

Given that there are relatively few recordings of the Liszt-Verdi paraphrases, it would be interesting to know whether Dossin had to learn them in preparation for this recording, which is part of Naxos' ongoing Liszt edition, or if he chose this material himself. Given the care and attention Dossin devotes to each piece, I would like to think he had been playing them a long time; but the unconvincing moments, which are infrequent, still makes me wonder otherwise. Dossin's approach is similar to Arrau's (LISZT: CONCERT PARAPHRASES ON OPERAS BY VERDI(reissue)) - in fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Dossin had studied the elder pianist's recordings very carefully (even the timings for each of the paraphrases are almost identical) - but the differences present themselves in terms of gravitas, of which Arrau sometimes brings too much and Dossin too little, and color and dramatic conception, where Arrau excels. Compare, for example, Don Carlo where Dossin is merely serious where Arrau is funereal; and while Dossin's lighter approach may seem like a relief, Arrau's is more true to the descriptive "Coro Di Festa E Marcia Funebre." In any case, like Arrau, Dossin's accounts are technically very polished, and he never shows off (he is first and foremost a musician, unlike too many of his generation's colleagues), but some of his passagework, which is always impeccably clean, doesn't equal Arrau's spectacular finish. Arrau too projects many decades of familiarity with the operas on which these pieces are based (the pianist was already 69 years old when his recording was released), versus the much younger Dossin, who nevertheless exhibits considerable wisdom.

Jed Distler's review of this record for classicstoday adds an additional perspective: "Like Arrau, Dossin is a big virtuoso who obtains huge sonorities without banging, and is not averse to underlining Liszt's expressive directives in red ink, with broad, rhetorical strokes. At times Dossin's melodic pushing and pulling is a bit much (the Rigoletto Paraphrase's exposition), yet more than enough moments reveal the work of a caring keyboard master. For example, Dossin coaxes great tonal variety and emotional impact from the murky low-register passages in the Miserere from Il Trovatore. Also note the I Lombardi paraphrase's beautifully gilded arpeggios, Dossin's sense of long-lined control throughout the taxing left-hand octaves in Reminiscences De Boccanegra, or the way he conveys both power and luminosity in the Ernani paraphrase's bushels of chords. No doubt that Naxos' ample, detailed sonics enhance my observations."

Four stars.


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