Britain's Dame Gillian Weir is one of the world's foremost musical artists. Her unique career as an internationally acclaimed concert organist, performing worldwide at the great festivals and with leading orchestras and conductors, has established her as a distinguished musician. She is known for her virtuosity, integrity and outstanding musicianship, which combined with a notable personal charisma, have placed her in the forefront of her profession and won her the admiration of audiences and critics alike.
Combining works by Debussy and Poulenc on an album may, to some, seem a bit ironic seeing as at one point, the latter railed against the music of the former. Poulenc was later to change his tune, though, and eventually became one of Debussy's most ardent admirers. The two were greatly responsible for a new direction in French music, which, ironically, required both of them to look to composers of the past for inspiration.
No prizes for predicting that this Liszt B minor Sonata is technically flawless and beautifully structured. What may come as more of a shock (though not to those who have followed Pollini's career closely) is its sheer passion. To say that he plays as if his life depended on it is an understatement, and those who regularly accuse him of coolness should sit down in a quiet room with this recording, a decent hi-fi system and a large plateful of their own words. The opening creates a sense of coiled expectancy, without recourse to a mannered delivery such as Brendel's on Philips, and Pollini's superior fingerwork is soon evident. His virtuosity gains an extra dimension from his ability at the same time to convey resistance to it—the double octaves are demonstrably a fraction slower than usual and yet somehow feel faster, or at least more urgent. There is tensed steel in the very fabric of the playing. By the two-minute mark so much passion has been unleashed one is bound to wonder if it has not all happened too soon. But that is to underestimate Pollini's unerring grasp of the dramatic structure and its psychological progression from paragraph to paragraph; it is also to underestimate his capacity to find extra technical resources when it would seem beyond the power of flesh and blood to do so.
Solid Gold Soul: Deep Soul album features 22 intense soul cuts, including Aaron Neville's "Tell It Like It Is," B.B. King's "The Thrill Is Gone," and Otis Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is."
Early '80s is a part of Time Life's "Solid Gold Soul" series. If You like old school, then this it the one for you. This collection has many years to choose from. Brings back all the old memories.