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Smetana: Polkas

4 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 21, 1999
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Three Salon Polkas Op. 7: No. 1: Allegro comodo In F Sharp Major
  2. Three Salon Polkas Op. 7: No. 2: Moderato molto In F Minor
  3. Three Salon Polkas Op. 7: No. 3: Allegretto ma non troppo In A Flat Major
  4. Three Poetic Polkas Op. 8: No. 1: Vivo In E Flat Major
  5. Three Poetic Polkas Op. 8: No. 2: Meno allegro In G Minor
  6. Three Poetic Polkas Op. 8: No. 3: Allegro In A Flat Major
  7. Polka In F Minor
  8. Polka In A Major
  9. Memories Of Bohemia In The Form Of Polkas Op. 12: No. 1: Molto moderato In A Minor
  10. Memories Of Bohemia In The Form Of Polkas Op. 12: No. 2: Moderato In E Minor
  11. Polka In E Major
  12. Polka In G Minor
  13. Memories Of Bohemia In The Form Of Polkas Op. 13: No. 1: Moderato In E Minor
  14. Memories Of Bohemia In The Form Of Polkas Op. 13: No. 2: Allegro, tempo rubato In E Flat Major


Product Details

  • Performer: Andras Schiff
  • Composer: Bedrich Smetana
  • Audio CD (September 21, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Teldec
  • ASIN: B00001SICQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,028 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Don't be put off by "polkas." Smetana does for the polka what Chopin did for the mazurka. Besides, Smetana writes Bohemian polkas which is definitely not the kind of music the Polka King plays. Schiff's playing is, as usual, both translucent and luminous.
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The brilliant Hungarian pianist András Schiff does a fine job with this nice ethnic art. As someone has mentioned, these Polkas are similar in ethos to Chopin's Mazurkas: taken from its central-eastern European folk-roots origin, and made into an higher art-form.

Other complaints concerning Schiff's readings here as compaired with Walter Klien ( Smetana: Polkas ) are questionable. I have both readings; both readings are fine. It's simply a question of individual artistic vision: embrace it.

Nice Brueghel-ish cover art, too!
.
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Format: Audio CD
Not bad... Interesting phrasing and free rhytm - perhaps too much. But the best Smetana's player of today is Antonin Kubalek. Try his Czech Dances and Memories of Bohemia and you'll see.
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Format: Audio CD
I had been really enthused when first seeing this new (and different) release by Schiff, and thus bought it, relenting my usual financial caution. Why? Because (1) renditions of the Polkas are as scarce as the proverbial hen's tooth; and (2) since my initial contact with these tuneful Smetana dances, played by Radislav Kvapil on an old Musical Heritage Society LP, which I still own, I have adored them. I know these pieces by heart and so it pains me to say that Schiff's playing is completely affected, postured and, when neither of these, strictly "by the book." Repeated listenings confirmed my worst fears. A whole lot of insufferable poking going on! And pulling. And diddling with dynamics (when there shouldn't be any diddling). Because there aren't a great many collections of Smetana's Polkas available on CD (especially with these particular opus numbers), it's all regretfully problematic.

Newcomers to Smetana's Polkas will unlikely find fault with Schiff's playing, and may in fact think that this is the way the dances should sound. There's the rub.

[Running time: 56:25]
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