Solomon Cutner

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Solomon Cutner, known professionally by his first name, was the great English pianist whose severe stroke in 1956 cut short his career in its prime and just at the point where monaural was giving way to stereo sound. With the change in technology, Solomon's discography became instantly dated and, unfortunately, his performances quickly became underrated. This seven-disc set from EMI presents a well-rounded collection of the pianist's finest performances. Even with three of the discs here devoted to Beethoven, the range of Solomon's repertoire is immediately apparent. Here was a pianist who could play Scriabin as well as Mozart and Bliss as well as Brahms. Solomon's technique was adept if not always entirely impeccable, his style was immensely concentrated but wholly objective, and his interpretations were less dramatic and structural than lyrical and sculptural. Some may find his take on Tchaikovsky's concerto too dry-eyed, but few are likely to fault the crystalline clarity of his Mozart or the heroic lucidity of his Beethoven. Even today, Solomon's "Hammerklavier" and "Waldstein" sonatas remain models of transparency and his "Emperor" concerto has a nobility that few others can equal. Though for those unfamiliar with Solomon, seven discs may at first seem a lot, listening to them will likely increase their interest in hearing more from this unjustly neglected master.

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