MOZART: Rondo in D, K. 485. Sonata in B flat, K. 333. LISZT: Soirées de Vienne: Valse-Caprice No. 6. SCHUMANN: Kinderszenen, Op. 15. CHOPIN: Mazurka in B minor, Op. 33 No. 4. Polonaise No. 6 in A flat, Op. 63. SCHUBERT: Moments musical in F minor, D. 780 No. 3. MOSZKOWSKI: Etincelles, Op. 36 No. 6.
Vladimir Horowitz, piano
DGG B0011458-02 (F) TT: 73:37

GULDA: Exercises Nos. 1, 4 and 5 from Play Piano Play. Prelude and Fugue. KAPUSTIN: Sonata No. 2. WEISSENBERG: Sonate en état de jazz. Six arrangements of songs sung by Charles Trenet. ANTHEIL: Jazz Sonata.
Marc-André Hamelin, piano
HYPERION CDA 67656 (F) TT: 69:07

SAY: Black Earth. Sonata for Violin and Piano. Concerto "Silk Road." Silence of Anatolia. Obstinacy. Paganini Variations. Dervish in Manhattan.
Fazil Say, piano; Laurent Korcia, violin;Orquestra de camara gulbenkian/Muhai Tang; Orchestre National de France/Eliahu Inbal; Kudsi Erguner Quartet
DVD: Fazil Say Piano Recital in Japan at Kioi Hall, Tokyo, October 2006: Black Earth, Summertime Fantasy, Paganini Variations, Alla Turca Jazz
NAIVE V 5153 (F) TT: 53:37 (CD); 20:06 (DVD

SAYGUN: Anbadolu'dan (From Anatolia), Op. 25. Aksak Tartilar Üzerine (12 Preludes on Aksak Rhythms), Op. 45. Inci'nin Kitabi (Inci's Book), Op. 10. Aksak Tartilar Üzerine 10 Tslak (10 Sketches on Aksak Rhythms), Op. 58. Sonatina, Op. 25.
Zeynep Üçbasaran, piano
NAXOS 8.570746 (B) TT: 71:05

COHN: Miniatures. Variations on "Muskrat Ramble." Piano Sonata No. 2. Piano Sonata No. 5. Americana. Waltz in D. Strutting Butterflies. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.
Miriam Conti, piano; LatvianNational Symphony Orch/Vakhtang Jordania, cond.
XLNT MUSIC CD 18012 (X) TT: 69:02

Vladimir Horowitz's disk is of interest to pianophiles primarily as it is his final public performance recorded during his last European tour June 21, 1987. All of these performances are new to CD with the exception of Schubert's Moment musicaux. There is much beautiful relaxed playing to be heard here from the 84 year old pianist. The Mozart sparkles and if the fingers aren't quiite as agile as in previous years, the control as secure as in previous years, this is an important memento of a truly legendary figure.

Marc-André Hamelin continues to astound. This recent issue called "in a state of jazz" contains phenomenal performances of fascinating music including jazz experiments by two important pianists: Friedrich Gulda, best known for his Mozart and Beethoven, and Alexis Weissenberg, for his even wider range of repertory. The major work is Nikolai Kapustin's big-scale Sonata No. 2 (Hamelin already has recorded a CD devoted exclusively to this composer's stunning music). And the program ends with George Antheil's Jazz Sonata, 1:30 of furious pianistic fireworks. Hamelin tosses off all of this with the greatest of ease, and the recording, made in England in July 2007, offers fine sonics.

Turkish pianist Fazil Say is already firmly established as one of the finest younger artists, with a number of outstanding recordings to his credit, ranging from Bach and Mozart to Stravinsky (the latter the four-hand piano version of The Rite of Spring with Say playing both parts).This fascinating pianist has a new CD/DVD set that actually augments his CD issued about five years ago called Black Earth. Now we have that CD (with the order slightly changed) plus a 20-minute DVD that offers performances recorded in concert in Tokyo's Kioi Hall in October 2006. This repeats two selections from the CD (Black Earth and Paganini Variations) and we also see him performing his Summertime Fantasy and Alla Turca Jazz. It is a pleasure to watch his fantastic pianistic feats—although his facial and physical contortions are in the Lang Lang class. Say obviously is a major composer on the contemporary scene. His piano "concertos" — Silk Road, and two pieces for piano and orchestra (Silence of Anatolia/Obstinacy) are imaginatively scored and worthy additions to the repertory, as is his autobiographical sonata for violin and piano. His keen interest in jazz is obvious from his remarkable arrangements of the familiar Paganini Caprice and Mozart Rondo. And Black Earth is powerful reflective piece based on a popular song written by the blind poet Veysel in which he reflects his desolation on the death of his beloved with no friend left but the black earth. Say imitates the sound of the traditional Turkish instrument saz by manipulating the piano strings with one hand while playing the keyboard with the other, seen on the DVD. This set is luxuriously produced, but costs about $10 more than the original CD-only issue.

This site recently mentioned a new CD of two piano concertos by Ahmet Adnan Saygun (REVIEW), and now we have this welcome CD of piano music by this fascinating Turkish composer whose music, unfortunately, has been neglected in the West. Leopold Stokowski, always intrigued by the combination of oriental and East-West music, conducted Saygun's dramatic oratorio Yunus Emre at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York November 25, 1958. The performance was by the Symphony of the Air, four vocal soloists and a chorus of more than one hundred (does an aircheck exist?). This collection of charming short piano pieces (most are less than two minutes) has a distinctive "Turkish" sound, and the performances by Turkish pianist Zeynep Üçbasaran would not be bettered. A terrific disk, contrasted with the collection of short piano pieces by American composer James Cohn (b. 1928) which gets its title from two of the pieces: Variations on Muskrat Ramble and Strutting Butterflies. This consists of short piano miniatures, pleasant but totally unmemorable ramblings. . Even the Sonata No. 2 and Piano Concerto (the latter with the Latvian Orchestra conducted by Vakhtang Jordania) are insignificant. Pianist Miriam Conti, a specialist in Spanish music, does what can be done for Cohn's music.

R.E.B. (January 2009)