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Chopin: Ballades, Piano Concerto No 1; Mendelssohn / Gary Graffman


Release Date: 10/25/2011 
Label:  Newton Classics   Catalog #: 8802083  
Composer:  Frédéric ChopinFelix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Gary Graffman
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

‘These turns of emotion are projected vividly by Graffman.... The effect is often electrifying... The quality of the piano playing ... is very substantial indeed. It comes into its own in the Grande Polonaise. Here the characteristic rhythms are propelled irresistibly.’ ‘Here the characteristic rhythms are propelled irresistibly.’ Gramophone, June 1966 (Ballades and op22)

‘I can't remember having heard Graffman in Chopin and I found I kept jotting down notes about how extraordinarily well he plays this concerto. Graffman produces some marvellous pianism and I was left full of admiration for his playing. In the Mendelssohn he plays with great style and with the brilliance this agreeable, if not very remarkable, piece wants’
Read more Gramophone, april 1966

Gary Graffman belongs to that incredible flowering of great American virtuosos who burst onto the public scene in the 1940s and 50s. Graffman, together with Van Cliburn, the tragically short-lived William Kapell, Leon Fleischer, John Browning and Leonard Pennario, presented the public with new ways of interpreting the repertoire, a far cry from the elderly virtuosos who seemed to hark from the previous century.

Graffman was born in New York in 1928 to Russian Jewish émigrés. He studied with Rudolf Serkin and Vladimir Horowitz. During the 1960s he made a series of recordings that to this day are considered benchmarks. The remarkable Brahms 1st Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Munch cries out for re-release. The recordings of the three Tchaikovsky concertos, Prokofiev’s Concertos 1&3, and the Rachmaninov 2nd are in this category, along with the Chopin concerto on this CD.

Working with conductors such as George Szell, Leonard Bernstein and Charles Munch (here at his peak), Graffman’s genius sounds as startlingly fresh and vivid today as it did 50 years ago. In 1977 Graffman, like his friend Leon Fleischer, began to suffer from recurring pains in his right hand and, after concentrating on repertoire for the left-hand, he turned to teaching. Two of his star pupils are Yuja Wang and Lang Lang.

----- Review:

"...I can't remember having heard Graffman in Chopin and I found I kept jotting down notes about how extraordinarily well he plays this concerto... Graffman produces some marvellous pianism and I was left full of admiration for his playing. In the Mendelssohn he plays with great style and with the brilliance this agreeable, if not very remarkable, piece wants."

-- Gramophone [4/1966, reviewing the original LP release]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Ballade for Piano no 1 in G minor, B 66/Op. 23 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Gary Graffman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1835 
2.
Ballade for Piano no 2 in F major/a minor, B 102/Op. 38 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Gary Graffman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1839; Paris, France 
3.
Ballade for Piano no 3 in A flat major, B 136/Op. 47 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Gary Graffman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; Paris, France 
4.
Ballade for Piano no 4 in F minor, B 146/Op. 52 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Gary Graffman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
5.
Andante spianato et Grand polonaise brillante in E flat major, Op. 22 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Gary Graffman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in E minor, B 53/Op. 11 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Gary Graffman (Piano)
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Poland 
7.
Capriccio brillant for Piano and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 22 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Gary Graffman (Piano)
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1825-26; Germany 

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