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Piano Transcriptions / Arcadi Volodos

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 1, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Face it, anyone who can play Horowitz's fabled transcriptions or Cziffra's madcap interlocking octaves Flight of the Bumblebee will get attention. What is most impressive, though, is that Arcadi Volodos replicates the notes, but not the performances. His tempos and voicings are completely different, and just as valid, if not quite as coruscating as the originals. In other words, Volodos makes this repertoire his own, as well as the other selections on this well-recorded debut outing. --Jed Distler
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Product Details

  • Performer: Nikolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov, Sergey Prokofiev, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Composer: Arcadi Volodos, Vladimir Horowitz, Sergey Rachmaninov, Franz Liszt
  • Audio CD (July 1, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 61 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000029T8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,022 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sugi Sorensen on February 17, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording is simply stupendous. The accolades heaped here in these reviews and elsewhere are all deserved. Although I guess it's inevitable that he be compared to Horowitz (after all, in both CDs released so far he plays Horowitz transcriptions), I contend Volodos is worthy of praise in his own right. His technique is mind-boggling. Even more stupendous is his phrasing and interpretation. By this measure he departs measurably from Horowitz, who achieved velocity at the expense of accuracy and phrasing. It can even be said that Horowitz lacked warmth in many of his recordings, favoring virtuosity instead. The same cannot be said of Volodos. Consider the Bach Largo on this disc, and the three Prokofiev Cinderella pieces for instance. Volodos uncovers depths previously undiscovered in recordings by Richter, Sandor, Ortiz, Berman, and Chiu, and even in the Orchestral version. That he brings new meaning to 'old' music is testament to his maturity and understanding. That he can transcribe a simple melody such as Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca into a spellbinding yet reverent virtuoso piece is proof he's a genius. I sense this will be forever regarded as one of the greatest debut albums.
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Format: Audio CD
...a question. Is there some reason why Maestro Volodos' Carnegie Hall album is impossible to find on this website?
Anyway, about this album, I must admit I probably wasn't one of the first to hear of it. I only became aware of it when it was nominated for a Grammy--perhaps one of the only times the awards show brought anything new to my attention. I was initially most intrigued by the Horowitz transcriptions. Volodos is obviously a big fan of Mr. Horowitz, as he plays many of his arrangements. But he is no Horowitz, which is not necessarily a bad thing. To my ear, no one can approach the mephistophelian quality of Horowitz at his most demonic. On the other hand, Horowitz never had the warmth and evenness that Volodos conjures in the slow pieces, and it is here that I'm most impressed by his musicianship. With Horowitz, I almost always sense a sort of tension when he plays adagio, as if all that energy is struggling to break forth from the restraint. Volodos has no such difficulties; pieces like Rachmaninoff's Utro and the Schubert/Liszt Litanie flow like placid water.
That's not to say that he doesn't possess the Russian musclepower. With the more virtuosic pieces there is a nice sense of weight and digital dexterity. The notes resonate but don't blur, and his dynamic range ranks with the best. And as far as his own transcription of the Rondo Alla Turca, it is on a par with Horowitz's Stars and Stripes forever.
In terms of tone and musical sensibility, rather than making the Horowitz comparison, I'd say he comes closer to channeling Gilels at his very best. And that's my review.
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By A Customer on September 16, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Anyone who records Horowitz's "Carmen Variations" and Cziffra's "Flight of the Bumblebee" (after Rimsky-Korsakov) has to be either lamentably deluded or a virtuoso of the very, very first rank. The latter case is breathtakingly demonstrated in this wonderful CD. The Romantic School of Pianism is alive and well, thank you! Volodos also plays transcriptions of his own: two Rachmaninoff songs and the famous Mozart "Rondo alla Turca", both in the best tradition of the giants he is emulating so successfully. Little-known, but fascinating transcriptions by Feinberg (Bach and Tchaikovsky) will probably be new to almost everybody. I am sure we will hear much more of Arcadi Volodos in the future; I can only recommend most strongly that you hear him now.
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Format: Audio CD
Technically, this is the finest performance I have ever heard of some of these these transcriptions. The crispness (due partly to the fine recording quality of this 1997 production) is phenomenal, particularly in Liszt's 2nd Rhapsody and in Volodos' "Turkish March" transcription.
Technical Brilliance is not all Mr. Volodos has, however. Contrary to a reviewer below, he has beautiful expression. In fact, it takes him a full minute longer to play Horowitz' 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody transcription than it took Horowitz himself, and it is not in the difficult technical passages that Volodos lags behind. The middle part, soft but rich with expression, is what puts him a minute behind Horowitz. This is just one example of Volodos' superb taste. While, as other reviewers have pointed out, he does not play Horowitz' transcriptions quite like the original master did, he plays them with his own interpretation. After all, who wants a complete copy? He brings out other aspects of the Carmen Variations that perhaps Horowitz didn't even know he had in it. And all by ear.
Volodos, born in 1972, was 25 at the time of this concert. While his young age might make his expression and feeling different from the transcribers he is playing from, overall this is a great recording to have in your library.
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Format: Audio CD
I agree with most of the superlatives regarding Volodos with one exception. I don't think Cziffra, with all due respect, is in the same league as Rachmaninoff, Horowitz, Richter, Hofmann, Solomon, and a few other truly superlative pianists. For one thing, Cziffra wasn't very musical. His fingers were fast, but that's about it, despite the hoopla on the DVD/Video, The Art of the Piano. He was perhaps featured because like a couple of the mid-level commentators on the DVD/Video, Cziffra was Hungarian. His playing was at best, very good. At it's worst, unlistenable. With Volodos, you have a truly unlimited piano maestro. His technical ability is at the highest rank. His musical quality, also of the highest rank. In short, he has no limit in talent. Rumor has it he is a bit undisciplined and cancels concerts a lot. I hope he avoids the plague of some great artists -- getting lost in their own fame and ability so much they self-destruct. Van Cliburn was a great pianist as a young man. After becoming famous for being famous, his skills (limited by a limited repertoire) declined to the point that he embarassed himself this summer while trying to play piano at the Aspen Music Festival. Would like to see Volodos come out with a DVD of live piano playing. I own all of Volodos' CDs and have even given them to friends as presents. My only caveat with Volodos is that he sometimes chooses novel, yet boring repertoire. This is true mostly in his Carnegie Hall CD, which should be purchased if only for the first track where Volodos plays the most electrifyingly wonderful Hungarian Rhapsody. This CD here, the Piano Transcriptions, is perhaps his best. There are a number of wonderful tracks, e.g. the Hungarian Rhapsody No.Read more ›
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