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Customer Reviews: 11
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Helpful Votes: 155


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Artist's Album
Artist's Album
28 used & new from $1.88

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating compendium of Boulez' versatility., June 10, 2000
This review is from: Artist's Album (Audio CD)
Compilations of classical music usually bring a bite-sized, dumbed-down view of the music at hand, but in the case of a musician of the stature and insight of Pierre Boulez, this is a compilation to be applauded. You will hear Boulez' amazing versatility in music from Berlioz to his own masterpiece Repons, with a powerful, unsentimental Parsifal Prelude, a charming, wonderfully grotesque Lulu excerpt, some ferocious, charged Stravinsky, ecstatic Messiaen, and luminous, gorgeous Ravel and Debussy in between. The playing is uniformly outstanding, and one can only hope that a collection like this will spur neophytes on to the riches of Boulez' discography. Highly recommended!


Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms; Symphony in Three Movements; Symphonies of Wind Instruments
Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms; Symphony in Three Movements; Symphonies of Wind Instruments
Offered by MEGA Media
Price: $13.38
43 used & new from $2.67

20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The wrong orchestra for this music., March 14, 2000
The absolute key to performing the music of Igor Stravinsky, whether it be Pulcinella or the Requiem Canticles, is a precise delineation of rhythm. This is of course true for all music, but it is especially true for Stravinsky. Rhythmic motivization and development is the basis for the propulsion and power of his musical thought, and any performance that does not clearly outline his rhythmic thinking is a poor one. This is where the Berlin Philharmonic, not Boulez, becomes the problem. The Berliners style of playing and sound is one in which all attacks (the initial playing of a musical note) are massively elongated and full. This is true whether the music is sustained and slow, or fast and choppy. They simply attack all notes, disregarding the tempo or character of the music, the same way. This gives them that familiar Berlin sound, a sound of undifferentiated mass. This may work for some music, but not for Stravinsky. As beautiful and ethereal as the Symphony of Psalms most certainly is, nearly 60 per cent of the piece is rhythmically detached and choppy. In the allegro of the 3rd movement, which absolutely DEPENDS on rhythmic detachment, the massive, granitic playing of the Berliners forces the music to fall apart, and the music becomes sloppy. When the music is slower and sustained, as in the second and final psalms, their style is more effective, but too often they become a big glob of sound-- pretty, but amorphous. The simple fact is that Boulez should have recorded this music with an American orchestra--an orchestra which can handle both the sustained, long-lined aspects of the music, and the rhythmically spiky ones. It's really too bad, because Boulez' conception of the piece is a wonderful one. But in his orchestral selection, he chose poorly.


Boulez: Répons / Dialogue de l'Ombre Double
Boulez: Répons / Dialogue de l'Ombre Double
52 used & new from $3.09

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece and 20th century musical landmark., December 20, 1999
Pierre Boulez is, with Stravinsky, Bartok, Schoenberg and Webern, one of the 5 greatest composers of the 20th century, and Repons is a towering masterpiece. You simply must hear it. His command of energy, color and structure is as moving and powerful as anything the past masters of previous centuries achieved, and in this work he opens up new fields of expression and technique that are simply astonishing. If you listen closely, you may be moved. Don't be put off. This is titanic art from a titanic mind. Needless to say, the performance is definitive.


Great Orchestral Works
Great Orchestral Works
14 used & new from $2.50

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good collection, with the greatest "Images" of all time., September 30, 1999
This review is from: Great Orchestral Works (Audio CD)
This collection is a fine overview of Debussy's greatest orchestral works in mostly excellent performances. Tilson Thomas' Nocturnes and Afternoon of a Faun are excellent, but his Jeux is dull as can be. With his La Mer, Szell proved that he could be a persuasive conductor of French music. Though it may not be as "atmospheric" as other versions, you hear things in it that you won't hear anywhere else. The biggest letdown is the cheesy, schmaltzy arrangement of Clair de Lune, a PIANO PIECE, here done to nauseatingly sentimental effect by Ormandy and the Philadelphia String Orchestra. (Did they even have a wind or brass section?) But if there is any reason to get this collection, it is for Pierre Boulez' 1967 Images with the Cleveland Orchestra, an absolutely stunning interpretation and performance. If there is any recording that disproves Boulez' reputation as 'cold and cerebral' (whatever that means), it is this--an electric, moving, stirring performance of a still underrated Debussy work. The Spanish rhythms are inflected naturally and beautifully, the Cleveland Orchestra plays just like what they were in the 60's--the greatest orchestra in the world--and the overall effect is magical. One of the great Debussy recordings of the century. (And it outshines by a comfortable margin Boulez' recent remake with the same orchestra) Don't miss it.


Geza Anda - Great Pianists of the 20th Century
Geza Anda - Great Pianists of the 20th Century
16 used & new from $21.38

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest Bartok Concertos you'll ever find., August 16, 1999
Look no further--contained on disc one of this invaluable set is the finest recorded versions of the Bartok Piano Concerti of all time. The chemistry between the still underrated Anda and Fricsay is scintillating. The slow movements are almost painfully haunting--and in the fiendishly virtuosic 2nd concerto you will be privy to some of the most astonishing piano playing on record. As a bonus, the 2nd disc contains Anda's famous recording of the Mozart 21st concerto as well as some unusually introspective, morose renditions of 9 Chopin Waltzes in which you may hear things you've never heard before. Altogether a fitting tribute to one of the century's great, yet scandalously underrated keyboard artists.


Orientations: Collected Writings
Orientations: Collected Writings
by Pierre Boulez
Edition: Paperback
Price: $44.55
47 used & new from $16.33

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essential tome of the modernist musical dialectic., August 7, 1999
For anyone even remotely interested in the world of contemporary music and the volcanic changes that Pierre Boulez spearheaded in that conservative world from the 50's to the present, this is the essential book--a manifesto outlining the hopes, ideals, problems and successes that we face in the modern musical world. Every subject is covered here; from extensive essays and polemics to recording sleeve notes to interviews and tributes to musical colleagues and friends, Boulez leaves no subject untouched. What may seem at first dry and forbidding turns out to be, upon powerful and deep immersion, an inspiring and even moving text and 'calling' for the modern musician.


Stravinsky: Petrouchka/ Prokofiev: Sonata No. 7/ Webern: Variationen, op. 27/ Boulez: Sonata No. 2
Stravinsky: Petrouchka/ Prokofiev: Sonata No. 7/ Webern: Variationen, op. 27/ Boulez: Sonata No. 2
Price: $9.76
69 used & new from $2.27

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How God wants the piano to be played., June 30, 1999
Simply put, the instrument we know of as the "piano" cannot be played any better. For any young pianist, Pollini here will either inspire you to practice that extra hour every day, or he will inspire you to find another line of work. This is perhaps the most completely satisfying, perfectly conceived and executed piano recital disc ever recorded. And above and beyond the playing itself, which is absolutely perfect, (yes, 100% perfect--it defies the old saying that man cannot reach perfection, he can only hope to come close), there is the fact the he is playing the music of Webern and Boulez, two visionary composers whose music is so often relegated to small, specialist labels for new-music frieks. What we have here is a major artist on a major label recording and championing truly great contemporary music. And that gets 5 stars any day.


A Clockwork Orange
A Clockwork Orange
Offered by Desert Mountain Treasures
Price: $17.90
76 used & new from $0.75

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Maestro Kubrick..., March 9, 1999
This review is from: A Clockwork Orange (VHS Tape)
May a great artist rest in peace.--3/09/9


At The Montreux Jazz Festival (VME - Remastered)
At The Montreux Jazz Festival (VME - Remastered)
Offered by skyvo-direct-usa
Price: $11.74
53 used & new from $2.77

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bill at his most intense., February 16, 1999
For all of you jazz fans out there who, unfortunately, think of Bill Evans as the lush, smooth, romantic stylist, this album will come in as a shock. Evans turns in an absolutely powerhouse, intense performance; he swings the hardest he ever did, and his melodic lines are more acerbic and biting than usual. His chording is also much more dry and tense; it's almost like he had been jamming with Herbie Hancock before the concert. Sometimes his solos are hysterically intense, as on "Someday My Prince Will Come." Of course, having Jack De Johnette's angular, disjointed drumming contributes mightily to this previously unseen element in Evans' style. This album should disprove the lingering image of Evans as the "cocktail pianist" among great jazz keyboardists.


Mahler: Symphony No. 1- Titan / Symphony No. 10 (Adagio)
Mahler: Symphony No. 1- Titan / Symphony No. 10 (Adagio)
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $9.64
51 used & new from $3.16

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good 1st symphony, a stupendous 10th Adagio., February 2, 1999
This CD is a case of the good versus the great. Though Leonard Bernstein may have had some worthy interpretive insights during his years with the New York Philharmonic, I've always felt he was let down by the shabby playing and recorded sound he was given. It's strange, since the same Columbia crew that worked on Bernstein's recordings also worked on Szell's and Ormandy's, but the difference is astounding. The latter conductors recordings, even from the early 50's, never cease to astonish for their clarity, realism, and depth. Bernstein's recordings, however, are almost always tinny and shabby. The Mahler 1 on this recording is a good example. The interpretation is a powerful, flowing one, but the New York Philharmonic just plain doesn't sound good. The Mahler 10 Adagio is in a different universe. This recording was made in 1975, when Pierre Boulez was music director of the NY Phil, and his exacting standards of clarity and execution clearly aid in making this one of the great Mahler recordings ever made. The New York Philharmonic has never played or sounded better, and Bernstein's painstaking, searing interpretation is one for the ages, without the bizarre theatricality of his early recordings or the drawn-out marathons of his last years. Buy this one for the 10th.


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