Paganini at the Piano
National & International Standard Priority Shipping.
About the recording
Paganini, who already during his lifetime became an icon of instrumental virtuosity, inspired Liszt and other pianists of the so-called grand manner,to arrange his pieces for piano or write variations on some of his themes. These works feature instrumental brilliance and are, as a rule, demanding for the performer from the virtuosic point of view. The present edition includes excellent arrangements by Michael Zadora, and the variations by Mark Hambourg which were never recorded previously, as well as very rarely played variations by Ignaz Friedman and Busoni's Introduzione e Capriccio (Paganininesco). The Croatian composer Boris Papandopulo joins them with his arrangements of three Capriccios After Paganini, in a quiet later style.
Filipec not only takes Hambourg’s daunting demands in stride, but also makes the music’s monumental posturings seem more important than they are. [...] Ignaz Friedman’s Paganini Studies operate on a higher level of musical imagination and pianistic ingenuity, and Filipec clearly revels in the idiom, milking the slower variations for all they’re worth, albeit within the bounds of good taste.
Much as I admire Wolf Harden’s Naxos traversal of Busoni’s Introduzione e Capriccio for its poise and polish, Filipec’s more incisive, harder-hitting vantage point boasts the demonic edge. The Busoni pupil Michael von Zadora’s “Eine Paganini-Caprice”, based on the E-flat Caprice No. 19, smothers the original’s modest dimensions in heavy pianistic garb, but Filipec nevertheless makes the best case possible for this rare transcription. Boris Papandopulo’s three Capriccios fuse Lisztian sweep with spiky, Prokofiev-like dissonant jabs and steel-trap chords. The effects grow predictable as the music unfolds, yet these pieces fall gratefully and playfully under the fingers, at least under Filipec’s fingers. The detailed, close-up sonics grow slightly harsh and metallic in loud moments, but that hardly pulls focus from Filipec’s prodigious talent. Self-recommending to fanciers of Romantic piano rarities.