Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Composer Pianists on Vinyl

As part of our vinyl-only-at-home policy we listened to a series of recordings of composer pianists playing their own works.

Poulenc Plays Poulenc and Satie
Poulenc has the right French cheeky irony to get the wit, and solemnity, from Satie, and his own tunes sound equally worthy alongside, and perhaps more cleverly thought through, in a traditional structural sense. That he goes beyond the requisite Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes also helps his cause. No youtube videos but here he is with Rampal playing his flute sonata.

Shostakovich plays Shostakovich
Great pieces these, recorded by some of the greats. Richter used to play some of them, and when asked by Shostakovich why he didn't play them all, responded 'I only play the good ones'. These and his concertos are available on CD, EMI I believe:

Always good to hear composers play their own works, but Tatiana nikolayeva plays them best. Worth picking up the complete set on Regis for ten quid, but here are the first ten to DL in FLAC:
Download Part 1
Download Part 2

Ravel plays Ravel
My aunt played me this when she gave me piano lessons and I fell in love with it; it's still among my favourite recordings, for all his technical faults. Recorded from player piano rolls or somesuch, so the sound is good and you get all the creaks and clunks of Ravel's hands and feet on instrument.

I don't have this on vinyl but my how great it is! Ives playing and singing his bonkers 'They are There', makes Tom Waits sound like a goodie-two-shoes choirboy:

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