Encyclopedic survey with some wonderful bonuses Grainger’s piano music is notoriously difficult, and it’s also fairly uneven, so a complete survey is bound to have its highs and lows. Martin Jones does make a few obvious fluffs, but these are easy to overlook, given the great musicality of these performances. The sound quality is good, though some may find the tone a little too mellow and the acoustic a little too spacious for their tastes. For me, perhaps the best things about this set are the fillers on the 5th disc – here are some fantastic gems for multiple pianos and and multiple pianists. The English Dance for 2 pianos-6 hands is simply fantastic. Overall, this is a very enjoyable set, so long as you’re reasonably selective. A must for Grainger fans, and enhanced by excellent programme notes.
I was given this set as a Christmas present. Having transferred all of the music to my mp3 player, I set it playing but expected to have to stop it before it ended. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was late getting to bed and repeated the experience the next evening. Absolutely delightful stuff. The sound is a little soft but not distractingly so. The playing is excellent (to my ear at least). I did own recordings of most of these pieces before but the recordings were old. It has been educational to hear what was missing before.I love Grainger’s music but often find that he is too clever for his own good and this often distracts from the music itself. This isn’t a problem here. I know little of how he composed but I assume these pieces to be the originals and the orchestral and band pieces are later arrangements. The piano pieces hold together well but the arrangements for instruments are a mixed bag and sometimes don’t work in my opinion. I have now listened to the whole lot three times and they are a delight.There are many wonderful pieces, most of which are the more melancholy ones but the stand out piece for me so far is that old warhorse, the Toccata and Fugue in D minor which has been trotted out by far too many performers in the past simply because it’s there. The performance and arrangement ‘dished up for piano’ on this set are fresh and make it sound almost like a new piece.This is probably the best cd I’ve acquired in 2012!
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