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Piano Phantoms

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 28, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Lewin's Piano Phantom- is a- collection of 18 piano pieces by a mixture of famous and lesser-known composers, each- inspired by phantoms, goblins, ghosts and the spirit world, and includes- eight- world premiere recordings. Lewin's artistic tone-painting, control of- tone colors and ability to tell- stories through sound- gives unique life to each ghost and goblin.
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Product Details

  • Performer: Michael Lewin
  • Composer: Walter Niemann, Sergei Lyapunov, Edvard Grieg, Carl Tausig, Nikolai Medtner, et al.
  • Audio CD (May 28, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sono Luminus
  • ASIN: B00C30Z99M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,455 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Lewin's second album for Sono Luminus, like his fabulous first one, "If I Were a Bird", is another creative themed collection mixing famous and lesser-known composers. In this one, the theme is phantoms, ghosts, and goblins. This is a classy presentation in every way. The playing is as good as it gets, in fantastic recorded sound, with a deluxe booklet including extensive and down-to-earth program notes written by the pianist.
What a tremendous collection of music! I have come to expect great range of color, emotion and virtuosity from Michael Lewin. He outdoes himself here. The virtuoso pieces are spectacular. The difficulties of Tausig's "Ghost Ship" are the stuff of legend; here there is no strain, only an ancient legend of Vikings and the Ghost ship in the stormy sea, brought to panoramic life. The fearsome Lyapunov Etude is amazing. Lewin's super-fast fingers fly in the goblin pieces, with lightness and charm. Bolcom's "Graceful Ghost Rag" swings and lilts, with authentic empathy for this poignant and beloved Rag. Ending with the far too rarely-played Schumann "Ghost Variations" was a brilliant idea- so poetic, inward, filled with such pathos and otherworldliness. Perhaps this work, Schumann's last, is not meant for the concert stage- but it is unquestionably deeply affecting on this recording. There are many pieces and composers that were new to me- Niemann, Carlos Troyer (a rambunctious Native American humdinger!), Farjeon, Vallier, and others. All of these 18 works are evocative and excellent, even if a few are light-weight. I loved the emotionally complicated "Wood Goblin" by the great Russian, Nikolai Medtner. Dvorak's "Golbin's Dance" is played in perfect style, as is Grieg's Goblin's Wedding procession.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
An extremely clever program of piano conmpositions dealing with Ghosts, Gobblins, and Phantoms. Excellent performances by concert pianist, Michael Lewin. Some of the composers include Robert Schumann "Ghost Variations," J. Reve-King, Grieg, Schubert (!), Tausig, E. Goossens, Price, and others. Lewin certainly understands the romantic approach. The playing is subtle, sensitive and with panache.
Program notes are informative and add much to this cd recital. This cd recital is highly recommended for those individuals who want to hear and understand more about the lesser known programatic compositions. Sono Luminus offers an interesting catalog for those individuals who need to explore more unknown repertoire.
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Format: Audio CD
Following the success of his first theme recording If I Were a Bird: A Piano Aviary, Michael Lewin turns to the subject of ghosts and goblins. He plays a balance of standard repertoire and peripheral pieces, eight of which are world-premiere recordings. With a few exceptions, most of these are light and elfin, so don't expect a dark gothic horror experience. All of the goblin pieces are jovial dances and not particularly ominous or grotesque. For example, take away the title of Grieg's "The Goblins' Bridal Procession" and it could be a pastoral Lyric Piece with its folk tune melody and droning accompaniment. Dvorak's flighty "Goblin's Dance" is similarly fast and energetic, but not evocative of goblins to me. Medtner's "Wood Goblin" does much better with its quirky rhythms and angular character. Also successful is Lyapunov's "Round of Phantoms", a virtuosic Lisztian etude bursting with activity in the upper registers that does conjure up an image of frolicking spirits.

I have excoriated Walter Niemann's piano music for being dull and uninteresting, but his "Night of the Phantom Fleet" is extraordinary and stands out from the rest of the program. This is perhaps the only work on this recording that is genuinely creepy and foreboding. Niemann aims for a sinister mood by employing tritones, tolling low bass notes, and descending chromatic scales. With its pursuit of atmosphere over thematic material, it reminds me of late Liszt.
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