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Label : Brilliant
Format : Flac track
Cover : Yes

Music lovers steeped in Russian pianists past and present will find this collection both valuable and frustrating. The value lies in material that is otherwise hard to locate, such as Yakov Zak’s Brahms First and Igor Zhukov’s Brahms Second concertos, Andrei Gavrilov in Beethoven’s unsubtle yet exciting Third concerto and Maria Grinberg’s unabashedly heart-on-sleeve account of the same composer’s “Emperor” concerto, plus the unjustly obscure Alexander Iokheles in Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain.

Frustration accounts for the fact that collectors who own Brilliant Classics’ boxed sets devoted to Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels, Maria Yudina, Lazar Berman, Evgeny Kissin, and Vladimir Sofronitzky will duplicate material. Similarly, Vladimir Horowitz’s 1930s HMV Chopin and Liszt recordings have been reissued umpteen times, yet at least Brilliant had the good sense to license Bryan Crimp’s superior APR transfers. APR also provides source material for the marvelous Yakov Flier Chopin B-flat minor sonata and Kabalevsky 24 Preludes Op. 38, as well as the artistically uneven but stylistically fascinating Konstantin Igumnov Schumann Kreisleriana.

Inevitably a collection of this scope invites editorial quibbling. Where are Evgeny Malinin, Youri Egorov, Vladimir Tropp, Alexander Goldenweiser, and the legendary Rosa Tamarkina? I, for one, regret that no solo repertoire represents Samuel Feinberg, Grigory Ginzburg, Heinrich Neuhaus, Dimitri Bashkirov, Tatiana Nikolayeva, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Viktor Merzhanov, while an entire disc is given over to Nikolai Lugansky’s suave but faceless Rachmaninov Etudes-Tableaux. Nor do I hear anything remotely legendary in Nelly Akopian-Tamarina’s indulgent Schumann playing, although it’s good to have Nikolai Demidenko’s more convincingly subjective 1994 Conifer Classics Scriabin/Prokofiev recital back in circulation. Still, for around $3.70 per disc you get a wealth of keyboard styles and many memorable performances (type Q8353 and Q8170 in Search Reviews for my Gilels and Richter comments).


CD 1 Konstantin Igumnov
CD 2 G Ginzburg, S Feinberg & H Neuhaus
CD 3 Lev Oborin & Rudolf Kerer
CD 4 Maria Yudina
CD 5-6 Vladimir Sofronitzky
CD 7 Vladimir Horowitz
CD 8 Maria Grinberg & Tatiana Nikolayeva
CD 9 Yakov Flier
CD 10 Igor Zhukov & Dimitri Bashkirov
CD 11 Yakov Zak & Bella Davidovich
CD 12 Viktor Merzhanov & Alexander Iokheles
CD 13-15 Sviatoslav Richter
CD 16-18 Emil Gilels
CD 19 Lazar Berman
CD 20 Vladimir Ashkenazy & Viktoria Postnikova
CD 21 Nelly Akopian -Tamarina
CD 22 Nikolai Demidenko
CD 23 Mikhail Pletnev & Andrei Gavrilov
CD 24 Evgeny Kissin
CD 25 Nikolai Lugansky

Tracklist : Legendary Russian Pianists