Various Artists

Ultimate Classical Piano

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Ultimate Classical Piano is part of Decca's "Ultimate" series of box sets, released in 2006. The five discs each contain 20 tracks of some of the most familiar and famous piano works ever written, performed by some of greatest pianists, all pulled from Decca's vast archive. The selections range from the Baroque music of Rameau, Daquin, and Bach, to the 20th century music of Rachmaninov and Falla, but they are not organized in any particular fashion. There are a few transcriptions (Saint-Saëns' The Swan, arias from Bach cantatas), a couple of Dvorák's Slavonic Dances performed in the original piano duet versions, and even a waltz by Arensky for two pianos. Just a few of the highlights are Vladimir Ashkenazy playing Chopin, Alicia de Larrocha playing Albéniz and Granados, and Julius Katchen playing Brahms. There's something for everyone here: Chopin's rousing "Heroic" Polonaise, Debussy's humorous Golliwogg's Cakewalk, MacDowell's gentle To a Wild Rose, the nocturnal opening of Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata, and everything in between to suit your mood. The sound quality is overall very good, but does vary from track to track as is expected in a collection of this kind. Casual classical piano admirers should not be disappointed by this assortment of music and performers.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
1:55
2
3:59
3
3:47
4
2:05
5
2:47
6
5:58
7
2:59
8
5:51
9
1:48
España, album leaves (6) for piano, Op. 165, B. 37
10
2:44
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor ("Pathétique"), Op. 13
11
7:09
12
3:08
13
5:10
Carnival of the Animals, zoological fantasy for 2 pianos & ensemble
14
3:13
Suite for 2 pianos, Op. 15
15
4:59
Lyric Pieces (6) for piano, Book 5, Op. 54
16
4:13
Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major ("Alla Turca") K. 331 (K. 300i)
17
3:41
18
3:04
19
3:49
20
4:55

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
4:55
2
3:34
3
3:52
4
3:57
Melodies, Op. 3
5
4:24
Goyescas (Dandies in Love), pieces (6) in 2 books for piano, H. 64, DLR 2:4
6
6:37
7
2:13
8
2:58
Préludes (12) for piano, Book I, L. 117
9
2:33
10
4:22
11
4:57
Piano Sonata No. 15 in C major ("Sonata semplice") K. 545
12
2:18
13
4:17
14
2:50
Cantata No.22 "Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe", BWV 22
15
3:21
16
1:14
17
6:10
18
4:50
19
2:46
20
5:11
blue highlight denotes track pick