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Rob Cowan
Gramophone, March 2018

…fine as the Beethoven is, it’s the performance of the Bach-Busoni Chaconne—one of various ‘live’ versions we have from this pianist—that’s the real draw, a reading quite unlike the relatively refined 1948 EMI/Warner one. In fact, it’s much closer in mood and tone to the unforgettable March 1973 recital I actually attended. What both performances have in common, apart from technical prowess and conceptual grandeur, is head-spinning excitability and an extra degree of freedom with regard to phrasing. But Orfeo’s sound is infinitely better, capturing this keyboard colossus at the very height of his powers. © 2018 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Jed Distler
ClassicsToday.com, February 2018

Michelangeli’s leggiero octaves are second to none for focus and authority, not to mention his breathtakingly even two-handed runs and introspective, full-bodied cantabiles. © 2018 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Stephen Greenbank
MusicWeb International, February 2018

There was always a close affinity between Michelangeli and Busoni's transcription of Bach’s D minor Chaconne. One reason why he was drawn to the work is that, as a small boy, he had wanted to become a violinist. He only switched to piano, apparently, because of an illness. I’ve always enjoyed his 1948 studio account, and this live version is no less compelling. It is magisterial, nicely paced and sensitive to dynamic gradients. He has a large-scale vision of the piece and carries the listener along with a cumulative momentum. I love the way he contrasts the declamatory elements with the more serene and poetic sections. All of this is underpinned by an instinctive rhythmic freedom.

Michelangeli’s stunning technical arsenal serves the Beethoven Sonata well. In the outer movements he goes for broke, effortlessly surmounting all the virtuosic obstacles that lie within the score. The Adagio slow movement I particularly like, for its eloquence and sober approach. The pearl-like semiquaver-runs in the finale sparkle like jewels, flawlessly smooth like polished gems. Listening to this performance in parallel with the 1941 Milan account, I was struck by how little his conception of the work had changed or evolved over the intervening years. Regrettably, he omits the first movement exposition repeat in the earlier reading, probably to accommodate the timing restrictions of 78s, but the finale is even more brisk—a stunning achievement in dexterity and technical perfection. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Lark Reviews, November 2017

This recording dates from 7 August 1965 and was recorded live at the Salzburg Festival. Arturo Benedetti is at the height of his career at this time, and here performs Busoni’s arrangement of Bach’s Chaconne aus Partita BWV1004 and Beethoven’s Sonata No3 in C major Op 2 No 3. The quality of the recording is not an issue, and the quality of the playing radiates throughout. It may now seem a dated approach to the scores, in terms of what we have come to expect from current pianists, but the magnificence of the sound is never in doubt. © 2017 Lark Reviews





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