Saturday, May 17, 2003


The highly commendable BBC Music Magazine continues to purvey interesting monthly front-cover CDs. Contemporary music is a little rare, it must be admitted. Better known compositions by John Adams and Louis Andreissen have appeared recently, but the staple is standard classical repertoire. Neverthless, they are always complete works (rather than the more usual bleeding chunks), often include lesser known works by well-known composers, and frequently feature live performances or recordings by newer (and occasionally historic) artists. The current issue of the magazine -- June 2003 -- reproduces two first rate BBC studio recording sessions by the recently deceased pianismo legend, Vlado Perlemuter. Featured is Ravel's 'Le Tombeau de Couperin' (recorded in 1970) and Debussy's 'Pour le piano' and 'Images' (1968). There are full notes and an article to accompany the disc, which includes 61:48 worth of delicately crafted, architectural and almost orchestral music. Perlemuter gave his final recital in 1999. Ten years before he died, aged 98, Nimbus asked him to record his entire repertory, consisting mostly of Chopin and Ravel, but also including some masterly performances of Beethoven, Faure, Rachmaninov and Schumann. The only 'modern' work he ever performed was Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No 3.

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