Here’s another example of why I love to get comments: Because sometimes they are so enlightening! – the commenter really knows what they’re talking about. The same person who commented on the post: “Better Brahms”- had this to say about the first version of Balikirev’s Islamey (played by Paul Wee): About Islamey, it’s played too fast. The excesive tempo make confuse and without meaning the piece. And on the slow parts he/she fall into mannerisms and use excesive rubato “a la Chopin”.
Too fast indeed! With “mannerisms” too! The Wee version runs 8:02
So … I went “shopping” for a better version! I found this one by Lang Lang who is pretty well respected.(it runs 9:19) Much better methinks! Thanks again Sergei
Lang Lang_15_Balakirev Islamey (Oriental Fantasy)
NOTE: I originally posted this in “Madmen of the Piano” and mentioned how some consider it one of the hardest of all piano pieces to play
TaneyevDecember 3, 2009 at 3:10 pm
I add, Barer played almost as fast as Wee, with the big difference that you can hear clearly every note and not a incomprehensible bunch of sounds meaning nothing. And on the liric parts he sang and mantain everything under his total control.
BTW, “Gaspar” is certainly more defficult.
TaneyevDecember 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm
Best Islamey I know was the one made in the 30s.by the extraordinary -and unfortunate- Russian pianist Simon Barer (or Barere as sometimes he was named). He had one of the better mechanisms in the history of the piano playing. He died on stage in Carnegie Hall playing Grieg’s concerto with Ormandy, on his 50s.,for a brain stroke. Try to find his recording!.To many critics, his was the best available.