Other classical: Chopin, Works for solo piano

Other classical: Anthony Holden on Chopin | Schubert | An English Renaissance

Works for solo piano
Artur Pizarro (piano) (Linn CKD 248)

I last saw him in a concert hall playing Gershwin on the South Bank, then heard him on radio playing Beethoven and on record rollicking his way through the solo piano music of his compatriot Rodrigo. Now the versatile and gifted Spanish pianist Artur Pizarro turns his attention to Chopin, in a nimble recital recently heard at St John's, Smith Square, comprising 15 short works including the C sharp minor nocturne whose original name gives the disc its title, 'Reminiscences'. Waltzes, mazurkas, nocturnes, a polonaise and the Fantasie-Impromptu in C sharp minor: all yield new beauties beneath Pizarro's light but firm, sensitive touch.

Die Schöne Müllerin
Ian Bostridge (tenor), Mitsuko Uchida (piano) (EMI 5 57827 2)

Ten years after he first recorded it, English tenor Ian Bostridge returns to 'the first song cycle I fell in love with' armed with new ideas about how 'charm, obsession, beauty and savagery battle for the mind of the listener'. Renowned for his musical intelligence, the beauty of his voice sometimes muted by his rather uptight delivery, Bostridge brings more theatrical presence than usual to this hypnotic cycle, perhaps inspired by his partnership with the wonderful pianist Mitsuko Uchida, who purrs: 'Ian is the miller ... I've always thought that.' Judge for yourselves when they perform these songs at the Wigmore Hall on Tuesday and Thursday.

An English Renaissance
Music for oboe and strings
George Caird (oboe) and friends (Oboe Classics CC 2009)

The Swiss oboist Heinz Holliger is said to have rebuked his English friend and counterpart Leon Goossens for failing to take advantage of his international reputation to commission more works from the composers of the day: 'Instead of Bartók, all we have is York Bowen.' This labour-of-love CD sets out to prove Holliger wrong by showing that Goossens was in fact responsible for a minor renaissance in English chamber music, with works from Elizabeth Maconchy, Arthur Bliss, Dorothy Gow and EJ Moeran alongside Britten's Phantasy Quartet, all beautifully played by the oboist George Caird with some expert chamber-musician friends.

· To order Chopin or an English Renaissance for £13.99 or Schubert for £12.99, all with free UK p&p, call the Observer Music Service on 0870 836 0713


Anthony Holden

The GuardianTramp

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