Friday 4 September 2009


Universal Music Singapore
480 265-2
Rating *

Six CDs and seven hours of piano music for under $20 may sound like a great bargain until one experiences first-hand the slipshod and thoughtless presentation of great music within. Who cares if there are performances by the likes of Martha Argerich, Claudio Arrau, Daniel Barenboim or Alfred Brendel when there is no proper programming to speak of? There are neither sleeve notes for those who wish to learn more, and what possessed some executive to insert Badarzewska’s Maiden’s Prayer between Satie’s Gymnopedie No.1 and Stravinsky’s Sonata for Two Pianos*? Or the Brazilian Villa-Lobos sandwiched by Mozart and Chopin?

While this brainless randomness may appeal to listeners accustomed to Symphony 92.4, this is an insult to genuine lovers of piano music. That’s not all: Bach’s chorale-prelude Ich ruft zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ is misidentified as In dulci jubilo. At least one gets to hear the Schumann-Liszt Widmung from Li Yundi in its full and un-chopped version. Like sausages and toilet rolls, this is aural wallpaper sold by the kilogram and metre.

* This track (Theme and Variations) was incidentally uncredited. Playing time suggests that it may be by Alfons and Aloys Kontarsky.

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