Aida / Bocelli / Pollini Brahms concertos / Simon Trepeski

Andrea Bocelli (Radamès). Kristin Lewis (Aïda). Giorgio Giuseppini (The King). Veronia Simione (Amneris). Carlo Colombara (Ramfis). Ambrogio Maestri (Amonasro). Maggio Musicale Fioreinto Chorus and Orch/Zubin Mehta, cond.
DECCA 483 0075 (2 CDs) TT: 70:38 & 75:16
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BRAHMNS: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat, Opl 83.
Maurizio Pollini, pianist. Dresden Staatskapelle/Christian Thielemann, cond.
DG 479 4985 (2 disks)
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BRAHMS: Three Intermezzi, Op. 117. Variations and Fugue on a Theme b y Handel, Op. 24. RAVEL: Valses nobles et sentimentales. POULENC: Novelettes 1, 2, ad 3. Improvisations 1, 3, 6, 13, 15. Toccat : Tres animé
Simon Trpceskl, piano
WIGMORE HALL CD 0081 TT: 79:50
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Yet another new recording of Verdi's masterpiece. No doubt justification is for fans of Andrea Bocelli to hear him in another complete opera. With the help of engineers, he is surprisingly effective, but th his voice surely is not strong enough for the role. And the final B flat at the end Celeste Aida is a marvel of electronic adjustment. Bocelli gets the note, but holds it interminably (doubtless with the help of engineers) and the aural picture changes, fading away distantly and slowly, as if he were walking off stage. This is perhaps the most bizarre recording ever made of this music. Otherwise, there is nothing special. The remainder of the cast is generally strong. Young American soprano Kirsten Meyer is a favorite of Zubin Mehta However, she has a long way to go to become a trtue Verdi soprano. She sings cautiously, but without excitement. Audio is excellent, and this Aida is sold for the price of ai single disk. The only interest here is the way Bocelli sounds when the engineers enhance his performance. A complete libretto is provided.

I find the new Maurizio Pollini Brahms disk rather puzzling. The famed pianist has recorded both of these concertos earlier, and his recordings with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic, have been reissued at budget price (REVIEW). This new performance of Concerto No. 1 is from live concerts in June 2011, Concerto No. 2 is from the following January. Grand performances both indeed, and engineers have provided a natural balance. Applause has been eliminated. This performance of Concerto No. 1 was issued by DG in 2011 as a single disk. Now we have it coupled with Concerto No. 2 which apparently is a first release. Both works are now sold for the price of a single disk. If you have a keen interest in hearing Pollini towards the end of his career, this is for you. Do 't forget the remarkable new recordings by Nelson FGreire with the Ldipwzig GHewandhaus Orhestra directed by Riccardo Chailly (REVIEW).

Simon Trpceski (b. 1979 in Macedonia) is one of the most exciting younger pianists. He has enjoyed a splendid career, and has to his credit terrific recordings of all of Rachmaninoff's concerted works for the Avie label with Vassiy Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, some of which have been praised on this site. With the same conductor and orchestra, he also has recorded Tchaikovsky's Concertos 1 and 2. Now we have this splendid concert given in Wigmore Hall July 19, 2014, lighter and more standard fare. The featured work is a powerful performance of the Brahms Handel variations. Also we have Ravel and Poulenc, exquisitely played. Excellent natural audio as usual from this venue; this is an excellent addition to the catalog.

R.E.B. (August 2016)