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Patrick Rapa
Philadelphia City Paper, January 2002

"Artur Schnabel played the classics with the energy, wit, and spirit of a great jazz pianist. This is a uniquely engaging survey of this body of work, and Naxos offers it at budget pricing."

Mortimer H. Frank
Fanfare, November 2001

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 (Schnabel) (1932, 1935) 8.110638
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 and 4 (Schnabel) (1933) 8.110639
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5 / Cello Sonata No. 2 (Schnabel) (1932) 8.110640

the recent Naxos edition deserves recognition—its bargain price and superior sound, the transfers by Marc Obert-Thorn being the best I have encountered. A welcome bonus on the third disc is another superb transfer featuring Schnabel and Piatagorsky in dashing account of Beethoven’s Sonata op. 5/2 for cello and piano. © 2001 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Mortimer H. Frank
Fanfare, November 2001

On two important counts, the recent Naxos edition deserves recognition—its bargain price and superior sound, the transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn being the best I have ever encountered.

Jeremy Nicholas
International Record Review, October 2001

"Little can be added to what has been written about these seminal and vital recordings since their initial appearance nearly 70 years ago. What's more, many collectors undoubtedly know Schnabel's Beethoven concertos from previous LP and CD transfers, and perhaps even the original 78s. Yet I envy listeners who are about to experience the Schnabel/Beethoven combination for the first time.

You'll be struck by the incredible energy level of the pianism, the jazzy rhythmic distensions, the unconventional stresses and phrase shapings. What may sound mannered and wilful the first time around, however, usually stems from what Beethoven asks for.... Naxos of course offers the same performances with fine transfers at less expense in individual disc releases (the remaining two volumes are forthcoming). One should note that the Pearl and Naxos releases offer superior sound quality to the deleted Arabesque and Dante Lys Schnabel/Beethoven concerto transfers."

Jed Distler, May 2001

"The passage of time hasn't eroded the impact of these vital performances one iota since they first appeared in the early 1930s. Modern listeners, to be sure, might judge Malcolm Sargent's accompaniments as being too casual for comfort in their frequently loose chording, held-back brass and slurpy string portamentos. Yet Schnabel's contributions are intensely inflected and unfailingly alive at every turn. More often than not, gestures that sound unusually striking or quirky are simply explained by what Beethoven indicates in his scores. In the first concerto, for instance, Schnabel takes the slurs in the Rondo's main theme on faith, and, in the Second Concerto, adheres to Beethoven's long pedal marking in the Adagio's seraphic coda. The pianist's "safety last" credo perhaps is best exemplified in his playing the First Concerto's longer, more elaborate first movement cadenza. Few modern pianists have matched Schnabel's roguish brio in the Second Concerto's outer movements...

"Many collectors will welcome Naxos' budget-priced individual releases as an alternative to Pearl's complete set of the Schnabel Beethoven Concertos. The main question is how Mark Obert-Thorn's transfers for Naxos compare with Seth Winner's for Pearl. On Naxos, the orchestra sounds less strident, warmer, and fuller of body. On Pearl, Schnabel's piano tone gains in detail, sharpness of accent, and dynamic contrast. The differences are particularly telling once you A/B both transfers of Schnabel's 1932 "Für Elise," a more deliberate and carefully sculpted rendition than the pianist's more familiar 1938 traversal. Naxos offers best value for your money."

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