Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

Icon: Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

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Cunningly, the first track on the first disc of this four-disc set dedicated to Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli's EMI recordings is his heaven-storming 1948 performance of Busoni's arrangement of Bach's Chaconne from his D minor Partita. If after its storms and thunder have faded the listener remains unconvinced of Michelangeli's virtuosity, intensity, and musicality, there is nothing else to be done. Because though the sound of some of the recordings here, including that of the Chaconne, is antique, the brilliance, tone, and depth of Michelangeli's playing is evident throughout. His prewar and war-time recordings of sonatas by Scarlatti and Beethoven are impeccably played and elegantly expressive, and though typically played out of order, his postwar Brahms' Paganini Variations is nearly demonic in its relentless drive. In recordings from the early '50s of three of Mozart's concertos, Michelangeli takes a slower tempo than one might expect, but his right hand's graceful legato and subtle left-hand rubato keeps the tempo flowing. His later, better known stereo recordings of Haydn's concertos are witty and poised, particularly in Nino Rota's two cadenzas. The best-known recordings here are Michelangeli's heroic take on Schumann's Carnaval, his Olympian reading of Ravel's Concerto in G, and his Dionysic account of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 4. Some might reasonably point out that the pianist also made many great recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, but after hearing it, few would deny that his EMI recording of the Bach/Busoni Chaconne all by itself justifies Michelangeli's outsized reputation.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Partita for solo violin No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004
1
13:48
2
3:22
3
3:07
Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2/3
4
7:46
5
7:12
6
2:47
7
4:43
Variations (28) on a Theme of Paganini, for piano, in A minor, Op. 35
8
0:26
9
4:09
10
3:17
11
1:08
12
1:29
13
3:07
14
1:43
15
1:22
16
3:44
17
3:18
18
3:00
Recuerdos de viaje, pieces (7) for piano, Op. 71, B. 18
19
3:52
Spanish Dances (12), in 4 volumes for piano, Op. 37, H. 142, DLR 1:2
20
4:59

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Keyboard Concerto in D major, H. 18/11
1
9:11
2
6:56
3
4:38 Amazon
Keyboard Concerto in G major, H. 18/4
4
9:45
5
9:11
6
4:23
Carnaval for piano, Op. 9
7
2:41
8
2:35
9
1:20
10
2:26
11
1:54
12
1:09
13
1:45
14
1:17
15
0:45
16
0:57
17
1:41
18
1:26
19
0:36
20
1:46
21
1:02
22
0:54
23
1:50
24
1:25
25
3:08
26
0:18
27
4:35
blue highlight denotes track pick