Haydn, Wagner-Liszt, Bach-Busoni, Bach, Scriabin, etc

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Bach,Bach-Busoni,etc,Haydn,Scriabin,Wagner-Liszt
LABELS: VAI
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Van Cliburn Competition
WORKS: 1993 medal-winners: works by Haydn, Wagner-Liszt, Bach-Busoni, Bach, Scriabin,
PERFORMER: Simone Pedroni, Valery Kuleshov, Christopher Taylor (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: VAIA 1177
The Van Cliburn Competition was launched in Texas in 1962, and I reviewed the first six volumes of this series in January. The technical prowess of the contestants is questionable. Anyone entering such a prestigious competition is in the international class, and the pianists represented here are the eventual medallists.

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Schub’s Chopin is crystal clear, with limpid tone and perfect control, his Liszt robust, and he makes the Mendelssohn Fantasia in F sharp minor (an interesting choice) sound easy. Rodriguez is marvelously atmospheric in Debussy’s Feux d’artifice, while his Chopin B flat minor Sonata – rather freely interpreted – encompasses a ‘Marche funèbre’ whose central section drips with emotion. Lyras, who shared a silver medal with Rodriguez, offers a charming view of a Medtner Fairy Tale and works wonders with Scriabin’s elusive Fifth Sonata.

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Pedroni’s Haydn is neat, if a little indulgent, and he plays Liszt’s transcription of the ‘Liebestod’ from Tristan with assurance. Kuleshov includes his own revision of Horowitz’s Variations on a Theme from Carmen (has he really put in even more notes? It sounds like a duet played by two virtuosi), while Taylor, surprisingly choosing harpsichord music (the second half of Bach’s Goldberg Variations), delivers it in a rather Romanticised way.