Various Artists

Essential Piano

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EMI's Essential Piano has 38 tracks on two CDs that offer some of the most celebrated piano pieces of all time. The most important composers of keyboard music are represented, including Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin (who claims the lion's share of the program), Liszt, and Brahms, along with 10 other masters, and all of the selections are well-established in the repertoire. An even greater number of performers are presented, such as Daniel Adni, Martha Argerich, Moura Lympany, Garrick Ohlsson, John Ogdon, Maria Tipo, Christian Zacharias, and other important pianists who recorded for EMI. The recording dates span from 1968 to 2008, so there are both analog and digital recordings in this collection, though the album is reasonably well-balanced in volume and the sound quality is quite clear throughout. In the interest of attracting casual listeners, the label has identified popular films where these selections have been used. While they may help jog a few memories, many will find the movie references are not necessary for enjoyment, because the pieces recommend themselves through their own fame and excellence.

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