Roland Pöntinen

Piano Rhapsody: An Odyssey from Bach to Satie

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In this four-disc survey of the most popular piano pieces of all time, Roland Pöntinen presents some of the most familiar hits, including two evergreen piano concertos, Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, and Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor. The box set's title, Piano Rhapsody, is a bit misleading, though, for among the 58 selections there isn't a single piece called "rhapsody," but many of the compositions offer a range of moods and passionate expressions that may be regarded as rhapsodic. Starting with Bach's Prelude No. 1 in C major from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, and ending with his own improvisation on themes by Nino Rota, Pöntinen doesn't linger too long with the obvious composers for piano, as might be expected, but instead takes little detours into some less familiar music. Chopin and Liszt are reasonably well represented, though Beethoven, Schubert, Scarlatti, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Prokofiev, Ginastera, and several other greats receive only single tracks each, making room for Fritz Kreisler, Carl Tausig, Wilhelm Stenhammar, and William Seymer, as well as for Pöntinen's own improvisations. The solo selections were recorded between 1984 and 2003, and the piano concertos were recorded with Leif Segerstam and the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra in 1987, so there is some variability in the sound quality. Four discs may be more than most people need to sample the best-known piano works, and there are numerous single-disc compilations that focus on the essentials. Pöntinen's compilation has a few extraneous tracks, so this set is really for his fans.

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:29
Cuatro Piezas Españolas
2 3:40
3 5:39
4 5:55
Trois Gymnopédies
5 3:56
6 3:24
7 2:55
8 4:02
9 3:19
10 3:18
11 4:32
12 4:05
13 4:27
Danzas argentinas
14 3:13
Goyescas, Op. 11
15 5:52
16 3:15
17 2:45
18 3:41
Iberia, Book 1
19 5:24
On an Overgrown Path
20 3:39
21 1:39
blue highlight denotes track pick