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This young pianist's musical interpretation of Bach, his second, is crisp, intelligent, and compelling. Like his few preceding recordings, this one means the listener has to stop and pay attention to every resounding note -- an exciting and uplifting experience. He's been compared, favorably, to Kissin, and I suspect he'll continue to rise in fame and fortune. I'm looking forward to a meteorite career. But more importantly -- every recording will be even more dynamic.
Olafsson is known as "Iceland's Glenn Gould" for good reason. He has the same unflappable "internal clock" that keeps time as good as an atomic clock, rhythmic drive, clarity of voices, virtuosity and sometimes unusual interpretations as Gould. The piece selection is fresh and varied including transcriptions such as Rachmaninov’s wonderful transcription of the Gavotte from Partita #3 for solo violin (more like Rach's "fresh take" of the work as opposed to a transcription) and Kempff transcription of chorale prelude BWV 734, a 2 against 1 perpetual motion background played with unbelievable velocity and steadiness with choral melody played on top of this. I would love to hear other movements from Rach's transcription of the Violin Partita.
The recording has GORGEOUS SOUND with perfect acoustics and well prepared and tuned piano. What a treat! I threw disk #2 (labeled as "reworks") in the trash. Just a personal choice for me. IMO to Olafsson: Please give us more "Works" and skip the "Reworks".
This a a two-CD set. I love the disk with Olafsson playing the Bach pieces, but didn't like the 2nd disk with the variations quite as well. I have enjoyed some more than others. Overall, I am very happy with the purchase, however.
The first disc in this two-disc set is exactly the same as his Bach release from the previous year. I was pretty disappointed when I found out, as I assumed I was getting MORE Bach by this genius pianist; and I'm sure you're thinking: "well you're a bit of a muppet aren't you garion?" as obviously I should have checked the track listing, but in my defence - you wouldn't really expect someone to release the exact same album one year later as part of a double set, now would you? 20 years later perhaps, or a Dolby 5.1 mix or something, but not the identical disc.
Anyway, if you don't have the earlier disc, get this because it's absolutely wonderful.
How very annoying! This set of 2 CD's has the identical recording of his previous CD plus another madcap disk that offers questionable arrangements of Bach. If you already have the previous CD why would you want this? I don't.
As above - you don't necessarily need to buy every disk by Olafsson :) The second disk may or may not be to everyone's taste - it's very William Orbit-like. The final track - Bach for four hands rearranged by Kurtag - then comes across as a sudden shock of traditional piano. It's mixed - I think it's very much a bundling of two disks where if the second were out on its own, very few people would buy it as a single disk.