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Complete Piano Music

4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 19, 2003
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 19, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000ACY0R
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,617 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 3, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This CD contains, as far as I know, the complete piano music of Paul Dukas (1865-1936), who is of course best-known for his scintillating tone poem 'The Sorceror's Apprentice.' That work, it has always struck me, was not typical of Dukas' style and, indeed, that may account for his other works not being very well known. He tended to be a very serious composer, one whose craftmanship was meticulous. And he wrote very slowly and self-critically. Indeed, although he was himself a fine pianist, this CD of 75 minutes contains all the piano music he allowed to be published. Two of the works here are major--the 'Grande Sonate ' in E flat minor, and 'Variations, Interlude and Finale on a Theme of Rameau.' Also included here are the homage to Haydn, 'Prélude élégiaque' and the deliciously impressionistic 'Plainte, au loin, du faune,' both played expertly and sensitively here.
I fell in love with the Piano Sonata thirty years ago when it was recorded by Anne Queffelec on the MHS label; it is no longer available and as far as I know never made it to CD. That recording of this eminently 'grande' sonata was weighty enough but leavened by a French lucidity that made its unremitting high-mindedness a bit easier to accept. A subsequent recording by Margaret Fingerhut was, in a word, dull. Here we have a French pianist heretofore unknown to me, Chantal Stigliani, who not only gets it right, she finds lightness and even humor in the scherzo, which is marked Vivement, avec légèreté; this comes close to Queffelec's almost manic treatment and she even manages to inject a quintessentially French frothiness to the rapidly alternating chords that form the basis of much of the movement. She also plays the scherzo's fugal section elegantly.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hexameron on April 18, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I always thought Paul Dukas (1865-1935) had nothing else to show the world except his famous symphonic poem, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," a work that secured a celebrity status by Disney's Fantasia. Whether I hear its famous tune on commercials or at Halloween concerts, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is all I ever knew he composed. I've recently come to learn that Dukas has a significant Symphony and ballet under his belt, but had I known Dukas had composed such marvelous piano works as showcased here, I would have chosen to explore this French master sooner. Thus it should come as no surprise that I've never heard any of these works before.

Labeled by many as the French Hammerklavier, the Piano Sonata in E flat minor is a breathtaking work of emotional weight and exquisite craftsmanship. Dukas, like Scriabin, Medtner and Rachmaninov, has plenty of new ideas and manages to express them with a fresh outlook in the twentieth century, proving that the old Sonata-Allegro form is a perfect vehicle. Combining elements of 19th century piano-writing and the new Russian style, this work is bursting with Romanticism and drama. However, Dukas's individuality is imprinted in each phrase: he often muffles his own gushing lyricism or tries to calm the emotional climaxes before they explode. While this might be comparable to putting a muzzle on Schumann's Fantasie in C major, Dukas, like Saint-Saens, instead establishes an agreeable symmetry between the expressive and intellectual content of this music.

Naxos's epitaph that this Sonata is "acknowledged to be one of the twentieth century's greatest works for piano" is not so exaggerated.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I shared this cd one evening with a group of friends who love Dukas and rare musical masterpieces--as well as stunning virtuosity--and we all enjoyed it immensely. More hearings are assured.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 10, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Fauré--the greatest of all French composers--wrote much excellent piano music; however, he did not essay that most important of genres the piano sonata.
It sounds here as if Dukas wrote Fauré's Sonata for him. In other words, Dukas' Sonata sounds remarkably Fauréan--which is a good thing.
This Sonata of Dukas falls in with the general ethos of many others of the post-Wagnerian post-Franckian Franco-Belgian school of the turn-of-the-century (e.g., Caplet, Tournemire, Magnard, Cras, Lekeu, Vierne, Pierne, d'Indy, Fauré, et al.).
It's a very fine piece in the ultra-rare key of eb-minor. (One of Scriabin's early sonatas is in the same key, and in fact this piece has many Scriabinesque inflections.)
Dukas' Sonata is a large excellent work and absolutely worthy of a prominent place in the repertoire.
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