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Piano News, September 2018

The longer one hears the recording, the more one moves away from initial skepticism to enthusiasm… The whole of the 19th century is represented in these arrangements, and Filipec presents them to us as if on a silver plate: glittering, fiery and powerful in sound—simply brilliant. © 2018 Piano News

Jeremy Nicholas
Gramophone, June 2018

…Filipec is an exciting prospect and his programme is most valuable. What a pleasant change from the Brahms Variations are the Hambourg and Friedman Variations on the ubiquitous A minor Caprice. © 2018 Gramophone

Alex Baran
The WholeNote, May 2018

Goran Filipec is a powerhouse pianist, and it’s just as well because no less would do for the repertoire on his latest recording Paganini at the Piano - Arrangements and Variations by Hambourg, Busoni, Zadora, Friedman, Papandopulo (Grand Piano GP 769 Paganini’s music and virtuosity, especially his Caprices for solo violin, had considerable impact on his piano playing and composing contemporaries. Filipec selects a fine sampling of these inspired keyboard works beginning with a huge set of variations by Hambourg on perhaps the best-known Caprice, No.24. Friedman’s Studies on the same thematic material are equally long, challenging and impressive for their creative originality. Along with the disc’s other tracks you’ll be left breathlessly awestruck by Filipec’s playing. © 2018 The WholeNote

Patrizia Venucci Merd┼żo
La Voce del Popolo, May 2018

Rich interpretation by pianist Goran Filipec

In Filipec, we see his marked and versatile musical personality, the breathtaking virtuosity, the freshness of inspiration, the sense of the grandiose and the magniloquence, the imperious and almost whipping incisiveness of touch, the resolute impetuosity and urgency, the charm and grace… © 2018 La Voce del Popolo, April 2018

…this disc offers a chance to hear some fascinating reinterpretations of Paganini’s music on an instrument for which he never wrote, but one that is able to produce effects as impressive in their way as Paganini’s own were on the violin. © 2018 Read complete review

Jed Distler, April 2018

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. © 2018 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2018

Under the title ’Paganini at the Piano’, the disc contains music written on themes of Nicolo Paganini by pianist-composers who were working in the twentieth century. The earliest comes from Mark Hambourg, the Russian-born pianist who lived in Britain and became the nations’s foremost pianist and was to be one of the first to explore the potential of gramophone recordings. His sixteen variations were on Paganini’s Caprice No. 24, the one used just over thirty years later by Rachmaninov in his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. They span very diverse moods, tempos and difficulties, the latter particularly pertinent to the fast sections. Completed in 1902, it is often quiet and overtly beautiful and requires a delicate touch, though the finale is an explosive whirlwind. Seven years later Ferruccio Busoni used the Eleventh and Fifteenth Caprices in the Introduzione e Capriccio (Paganinesco), certainly not his most riveting composition. By far the most interesting works come from the little known Michael Zadora, a pupil of Busoni who lived most of his life in the United States. His critics described his obsession with playing at speed, but he was highly regarded by his mentor. The two pieces on the disc are piano elaborations on Paganini’s Fourth and Nineteenth Caprices, Zadora’s second score a work of mercurial charm. Ignaz Friedman’s Studies are better known, and are in the form of seventeen variations on Paganini’s Twenty-forth Caprice, the score completed in 1914 and hugely enjoyable. Finally we move to 1981 for Boris Papandopulo’s 3 Capriccios After Paganini, cast in the form of piano versions of the Fifth, Fourteenth and Eighteenth Caprices. The pianist is the Croatian-born Goran Filipec, who has already recorded Liszt’s Paganini Studies for Naxos. His programme is very well conceived, excellently played·if at times a little breathless—and it comes in outstanding sound quality. © 2018 David’s Review Corner

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