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Solo Piano - Released July 10, 2016 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Classical - Released February 7, 2012 | BIS

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Classical - Released September 1, 2004 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
One major popular composer of Romantic orchestral music whose work, outside of his ubiquitous symphonic suite Scheherazade, is not terribly over-recorded is Russia's Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. That, and a tendency toward what for him was an "orientalist" strain in harmonic practice and orchestration, makes Rimsky-Korsakov an ideal choice for the recordings on BIS of a relatively new ensemble, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1997 by conductor Kees Bakels. It is a testament to the skill of Bakels as an orchestra builder that he has raised such a fine musical organization in just eight years. Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Espagnol is intended as a follow-up to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra's recording of Scheherazade, already issued, and as an added bonus, the great Japanese pianist Noriko Ogawa joins the orchestra as guest in Rimsky-Korsakov's all-too-seldom-heard Piano Concerto in C sharp minor, Op. 30. The music, recorded at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas Hall in Kuala Lumpur, is both very well played and recorded. The Capriccio Espagnol gets off to a great start, with Bakels the orchestra is strongly sympathetic to the piece, though careful ears can pick out some raggedy ensemble in the last section. Ogawa alone is enough to make the Piano Concerto shine, and thankfully Bakels provides comfortable and gracious support to Ogawa's magisterial artistry. BIS has saved the best for last, as the performances of the Sadko Musical Picture, Op. 5, (in its second incarnation) and the Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op. 36, are fantastic. Fans of Rimsky-Korsakov's popular "The Flight of the Bumble-Bee" will delight in its original context as part of the suite The Tale of Tsar Saltan, Op. 57. Fanciers of the rarefied, perfumed, and colorful realm of Rimsky-Korsakov will find much to savor with BIS' Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Espagnol. While there are a couple of decent recordings of Rimsky-Korsakov's Piano Concerto around, this one with Ogawa is probably the best made in digital sound. This, among other positive attributes, should be more than enough to warrant a top recommendation.
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Classical - Released December 4, 2012 | BIS

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Classical - Released January 31, 2003 | BIS

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Symphonic Music - Released June 5, 2012 | BIS

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Classical - Released June 2, 2017 | BIS

Booklet
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Classical - Released March 31, 2001 | BIS

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Classical - Released October 1, 2003 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released September 30, 1996 | BIS

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Classical - Released April 1, 1998 | BIS

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Classical - Released June 7, 2011 | BIS

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Classical - Released June 1, 2003 | BIS

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Classical - Released April 1, 2008 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
Listeners not familiar with the three previous volumes in Noriko Ogawa's recordings of the solo piano music of Claude Debussy may be surprised by the young Japanese pianist's staggering virtuosity and consummate musicality. The magic of her playing is in her precisely calibrated attack, her brilliant tone, and her nuanced balances, but Ogawa's virtuosity is impossible to overlook. Debussy's etudes are technical studies pitched at the highest level and Ogawa carries them off with a panache that's infectious, and all the more satisfying because Ogawa finds more musical substance in the etudes than most pianists. Generously filled with appropriate late-period works, including Debussy's elusive and exotic Six Épigraphs Antiques and Les soirs illumines par l'ardeur du charbon (The evenings lit by the glowing coals), the composer's final work written as a gift to the man who supplied his family with coal during the war's cold winters, this disc will be obligatory for anyone who's heard the previous three volumes, and fascinating to anyone interested in the composer. BIS' digital sound is big, clear, and close.
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Classical - Released December 1, 2004 | BIS

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Classical - Released August 31, 1997 | BIS

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Classical - Released February 1, 2003 | BIS

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Classical - Released November 1, 2005 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
In BIS' Debussy: Piano Music, Vol. 3, Japanese pianist Noriko Ogawa takes us through Claude Debussy's La Boîte a JouJoux, the second book of his Preludes, and three shorter pieces. Debussy's piano music, even "complete" sets of it, is recorded with such frequency that one may wonder what Ogawa might be able to add to the discussion that has not been said before. But when the disc goes in, Ogawa's will be the only voice you hear -- she has an amazing control of her touch and a complete understanding of the variety of sounds that it can produce, resulting in an approach to Debussy that is natural, bewitching, transparent, and even spectral. In softly focused pieces, such as in Brouillards, one cannot even hear or sense Ogawa's touch; the music radiates forward from the piano as though spontaneously generated and floats in the air. By comparison, the touch rings out La Puerta del Vino with assertiveness -- this appears to be the only recording of this piece among many heard where the Habanera rhythm does not break down under the stress of executing the spray-like flourishes in the piece. Ogawa's Ondine is a perfect example of what makes Debussy: Piano Music, Vol. 3, so superlative -- it is flexible and expressive, but dynamically all the various little components and figures within the piece are spelled out precisely. Feux d'artifice comes roaring out from the distance practically into one's lap, but by the time the second section of the piece the piano sound seems to be melting like soft candle wax, an illusion that one hears in concert but is seldom picked up on recordings. BIS' sound recording is extremely generous, picking up on every nuance and detail emanating from Ogawa's piano, even when her footfalls are so distant that they seem ghostly, yet it is never overpowering or noisy in loud passages. Debussy: Piano Music, Vol. 3, represents state-of-the-art Debussy. There are always critics who say that no one will ever surpass departed giants such as Walter Gieseking or Samson François in this literature. As fine as these historical artists were, it is hard to imagine that even they wouldn't sit up and take notice of this special and amazing recording if they could: its warmth, Ogawa's command of the music, and her sensitivity to its requirements. Noriko Ogawa's Debussy: Piano Music, Vol. 3, should prove completely satisfying to everyone who loves Debussy's music, and if the number of recordings of it out there is any indication, this seems to encompass most people who still bother to listen to classical music.