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Complete Solo Piano Music Box set


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Audio CD, Box set, May 27, 2003
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 27, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Vox (Classical)
  • ASIN: B00008X5AY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,833 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Mikrokosmos Vol. 1, progressive pieces (36) for piano, Sz. 107/1, BB 105/1-36
2. Mikrokosmos Vol. 2, progressive pieces (30) for piano, Sz. 107/2, BB 105/37-66
3. Mikrokosmos Vol. 3, progressive pieces (30) for piano, Sz. 107/3, BB 105/67-96
4. Mikrokosmos Vol. 4, progressive pieces (25) for piano, Sz. 107/4, BB 105/97-121: Pieces 97-116
Disc: 2
1. Mikrokosmos Vol. 4, progressive pieces (25) for piano, Sz. 107/4, BB 105/97-121: Pieces 117 - 121
2. Mikrokosmos Vol. 5, progressive pieces (18) for piano, Sz. 107/5, BB 105/122-139
3. Mikrokosmos Vol. 6, progressive pieces (14) for piano, Sz. 107/6, BB 105/140-153
4. For Children (Gyermekeknek), for piano Vol. 1, Sz. 42/1-21, BB 56/1-21
Disc: 3
1. For Children (Gyermekeknek), for piano Vol. 2, Sz. 42/2/22-42, BB 53/22-42
2. Hungarian Peasant Songs (15) for piano, Sz. 71, BB 79
3. Piano Sonata, Sz. 80, BB 88: Allegro Moderato
4. Piano Sonata, Sz. 80, BB 88: Sostenuto e pesante
See all 8 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Out of Doors (Szabadban), suite for piano, Sz. 81, BB 89: With Drums & Pipes
2. Out of Doors (Szabadban), suite for piano, Sz. 81, BB 89: Barcarolla
3. Out of Doors (Szabadban), suite for piano, Sz. 81, BB 89: Musettes
4. Out of Doors (Szabadban), suite for piano, Sz. 81, BB 89: The Night's Music
See all 9 tracks on this disc
Disc: 5
1. Sonatina for piano (on Romanian folk tunes), Sz. 55, BB 69
2. Little Piano Pieces (9) (Kilenc kis zongoradarab), Sz. 82, BB 90
3. Suite for piano, Sz. 62, BB 70 (Op. 14)
4. Rondos (3) on Slovak Folktunes, for piano, Sz. 84, BB 92

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Sàndor, still active at 90 as this reissue appears, was a student of Bartók and a preferred interpreter of his music. Since this set appeared on nine LPs in the early 1960s, it has been the standard for Bartók's piano music; in this fine-sounding reissue, it still is. Sàndor can hit hard enough for such virtuoso pieces as the Piano Sonata and "Out of Doors," but he also retains the romantic element heard in the composer's own playing which tempers the harsher qualities of the music. While this collection isn't quite as complete as advertised (some early, insignificant piano music by Bartók is omitted), it includes all of Bartók's significant piano music, including such relatively obscure gems as the Bagatelles, eight Improvisations, and many delectable folk arrangements which will appeal even to listeners who think Bartók is too challenging for them. Vox's recorded sound, superbly remastered, resists obsolescence as effectively as Sàndor's performances. Even with the inclusion of the early books of "Mikrokosmos," which will appeal mostly to piano students, this set is worth several times the asking price. --Leslie Gerber

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By J Einhorn on June 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Once again, the underrated Vox Classics outclasses the Big Five with another superb and almost obscenely inexpensive box set -- this one bringing together their landmark survey of Béla Bartók's complete solo piano music by Bartók's most well known protégé György Sándor, recorded in 1963 and released as a series of multi-LP sets in the mid-1960s.
For some reason, the solo piano music of Bartók has been overshadowed by a clutch of indisputable masterpieces (including but not limited to Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Piano Concerto No. 2, Violin Concerto No. 2, Quartets Nos. 2 and 5, the Solo Violin Sonata and Bluebeard's Castle). Perhaps it's because so much of the Bartók's solo piano music is still regarded as "pedagogic" -- as in the case of the Mikrokosmos and For Children cycles. Perhaps it is because so many of the works consist of many short movements -- and in this respect Bartók can to an extent be compared with Edvard Grieg, whose masterly short piano works get the short shrift.
If you are predisposed to dismiss this repertoire based on those prejudices, allow social critic and comedian Bill Maher to speak for me: "Get over yourself!" Make no mistake: this set is filled with so much delightful music that if you have a serious interest in Bartók, or in great piano music, or are a student or teacher of the piano, you are doing yourself a major disservice by not clicking that "add to my shopping cart" button.
And keep this in mind: you'd pay about the same amount for a front-line single disc of Bartók's major solo works containing the most well known works (In the Woods, Allegro Barbaro, the Sonata and the Suite) -- but you'd miss out on some genuine delights.
Transfers are generally excellent, and the booklet includes an informative 11-page essay on the music by Harry Halbreich.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey G. Jones on October 4, 2005
Format: Audio CD
To put this set in perspective, for months I would go to my local Tower Records fishing for worthwhile classical CDs at least once a week. One of the discs that sat in the bins the longest was a single CD of Bartok piano music, played by Zoltan Kocsis. It was Volume 7 of a complete series. This CD listed for $17.99, and as long as I went to that Tower Records, it did not budge an inch, nor was its price amended.

Now, Kocsis is one of the greatest pianists alive, and if anyone is worthy of commanding a premium, it is him. And to be fair, that CD is going to be re-released on October 11 as part of a Collector's Edition - eight CDs, $63.97 MSRP. But it's already going up against this little gem, which contains five CDs with all of the truly great solo-piano works by an internationally recognized Bartok specialist for $21 - not much more than the cost of one CD from the other set. This kind of value is not to be taken lightly.

I came to this set with my impression of Sandor informed by his complete Prokofiev - ultra-hard, sometimes rhythmically slack, always melodically lacking in some way or another. But he held a very special feeling for Bartok, and saved his best playing for the great Hungarian. In passages like the first of the Three Csik Dances, the opening of the Improvisations Op. 20, or in the Ten Easy Pieces, there is a simplicity, charm and wistful homesickness that is quite touching. In pieces like the Out of Doors suite, the Sonata, or the Burlesques, there is a vicious, impulsive energy, a wicked sense of humor and an overabundance of overtones. It is never mindless, inappropriate or even overly harsh - it's just very, very loud.

In this set I like best the endless landscape of the Sonatina, the unusual colors and fragrances in the Etudes, the brilliantly conceived Bear Dance (the last of the Ten Easy Pieces), and the multifaceted, complex, gorgeous Improvisations. Any fan of Bartok should hear these.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ronan M. Conroy on March 8, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Sándor was a champion not only of Bartók's music but also of Bartók's style of playing. He often complained that people were too quick to see Bartók as ultra-modern, and to fail to appreciate the rich seam of lyricism that also runs through his music.

The piano music is dominated by short pieces, many of them written for piano students, notably the collections "Microcosmos" and "For Children". These, together with suites of folk dance arrangements, make up the bulk of the solo piano output.

Sandór plays these short, and often simple pieces, with neither too much nor too little art. As a gifted teacher, he knew unerringly how much music each of these small vessels held. The result is beguiling - but be warned: no-one can listen to the 153 short pieces of Microcosmos end-to-end. This is an anthology to be dipped into, not swallowed whole.

The remastering is pretty successful (fortunately - some of Vox's CD reissues are plagued by severe deterioration of the original tapes). And it's for half nothing-what's not to like?
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gomez Pardo HALL OF FAME on May 21, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I had the huge privilege of watching Mr. Sandor a couple times in Caracas. One of these he played the third Concert of Bela Bartok and the second recital December 9 1982 Sandor played The funerailles of Liszt, the Marozzek Dances of Kodaly and that incredible performance given of Outdoors from Bartok.
At the end of the recital he gave a brief interview and talked about his friend Bartok, a great man , very illustrated, and domained fourteen languages.
I knew about him many years before those recitals. When you listen Mr. Sandor above all, you have the absolute sensation you are in front an exceptional artist; honesty, conviction and overpowered pianistic skills .
This protegé of Bartok and exception witness of many interesting details about the life of this unique composer in XX century, gave the premiere of the third concert in 1945 with Ormandy and Philadelphia.
Sandor owns a gift approach that no one performer of Bartok has. And believe me, I've tried with Kocsis, Schiff, Anda, Perahia, Richter, among others. They are very good pianists but lack the wild conception and the roughness playing , they seem to be walking in a cloudy landscape, and his playing sounds OK but lack the idiomatic tone, percusiveness and incisiveness that Bartok demands for the performer.
Sandor in the peak of his pianistic powers (middle of the sixties) gives the best of his craft in these five CD that resumes a whole life, surrounded and permeated of livings and experience that can not be taken to the score.
Watch this set if you are a Bartok admirer as I do. And you can forget all the others performers.
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